Get to know the hauntingly beautiful artist giving folk a modern face-lift.
Johanna Glaza is a London-based artist who creates ethereal folk lead by bewitching vocals. Her sound is unique and intriguing whilst her captivating performances grabbed the attention of those in her audience, even since her debut as front woman of cult band Johanna and The Wolf. Since her departure from them in 2011, she’s focused on her work, creating music that is surrounded by an air of mystery. Her recent single ‘Coming Home’ has left us curious…
Hey Johanna! I am curious to know the inspiration behind your single ‘Coming Home’, it’s amazing! Can you give us a little bit on an insight of what it’s about?
Lyrically it’s a string of several dreams I saw about my home. A premonition of things to come. I wrote this song to my Dad.
How would you compare your single ‘Silence is Kind’ to ‘Coming Home’? Has your music matured over time?
Possibly, I became more free with the process of the songwriting and recording too. ‘Coming Home’ and the whole album was recorded to tape at analogue studio. I refused to use computers or any kind of software this time. All sorts of make up and layers of reverb were abandoned too. It made the whole process more intense and hopefully more believable.
It seems like a lot of your inspiration comes from your personal life. How do you translate those experiences into your music? Is it a hard task?
I guess I needed to create my own language to be able to express the most difficult feelings and talk about very painful situations. It’s very healing too to find an image or a phrase which would unlock things. With time it became like a habit- my brain has it own “google translate” now-where feelings and events are translated into images and metaphors.
What are your five favourite tracks at the moment? What are you itching to have on your playlists?
Simeon ten Holt – Canto Ostinato for two pianos and two marimbas, Joep Franssens – Harmony of the Spheres, William Basinski – Watermusic II, Alice Boman – Dreams, Daniel Schmidt – And The Darkest Hour Is Just Before The Dawn.
How would you describe your genre of music?
It gets harder and harder to name it. When I first started my solo project I self baptised it baroque folk. Later French magazine In Rocks called it chimeric pop. I love the fact that it doesn’t fit into one specific box.
Have you always wanted to make music? Has this been a passion since you were young?
Always coming up with my own melodies and lyrics since I was a child. By the age of 14 or so I was singing everyday to my DIY mic, poor neighbors. But it took me a long time to start learning to play any instrument. I felt quite intimidated by piano for a long time. It seemed like a very big, loud and independent creature, unlike my voice which felt like an animal within me- so easy to tame.
What is the best thing about playing to a live audience? Is it hard to win certain audiences over?
Performing live has always been my most memorable experience. I just love being there in the room with people when both silence and music are weaving our own universe. I don’t notice when it’s hard, because eventually if I stay open people tend to open up too, but sometimes it’s much easier when the audience brings to the gig their own warmth and love from the very start. It’s a mutual work to have a good show.
Your songs, especially ‘Gravity of Your Face’ is hauntingly beautiful, how is the creative process for you, when you are writing?
Thank you. I love this song too. My creative process involves a lot of raw tomatoes with rye bred as I’m skipping meals when I’m writing and quite often it coincides with the full moon. It comes as an obsessive wave, you never know when and why, catches me in the middle of other things and leaves me pretty burnt out when it goes away…Probably for the better. It would be impossible to do it every day.
Lastly, what is next for Johanna Glaza? We can’t wait to find out.
My debut LP Wind Sculptures is out September 29. It’s available for download and on vinyl via bandcamp too. And then lots of show to follow. (Please keep an eye on my social media).
Watch the video for ‘Space Mermaid’ below…