In Depth with Johnny Depth

by Maryann Pisano on February 6, 2011

Tony Macada, aka Johnny Depth is an up and coming musician whose music is a mix of emo, pop, and rock.  Johnny Depth talks to emme about music, inspiration and his goals for his career.

emme: When did you get interested in music?

JD:  Everybody loves music as a kid.  I remember my first favorite songs being “Dancing with Myself” by Billy Idol and “Summer of ‘69” by Bryan Adams.  I think I was in 1st Grade and I remember wanting to be able to play the guitar parts in those songs.  They were such catchy songs.  They’d make me feel so happy.  I remember listening to them over and over, singing along and playing air guitar, pretending that I was Billy and/or Bryan.

emme:  What/ When was your first concert?

JD:  My first concert as “Johnny Depth” was in the summer of 2004 at Buddy’s Sports Bar in Franklin Park.  I had just graduated from college (which is where I wrote a majority of my music), and my friends had been bugging me to play a live show for quite some time.  I was so nervous!!!

emme: What was the first CD that you bought?

JD:  My first 2 cd’s were from Santa Claus.  They were Peter Cetera’s Greatest Hits and Amy Grant “Heart in Motion”.  I think the first cd that I bought with my own money was “Deluxe” by Better than Ezra.

emme:  What bands most inspire you?

JD:  That’s difficult to answer.  Any music that I’ve ever enjoyed has inspired me.  I’ll just name a couple of the bands that have most inspired me:  Reggie & The Full Effect, Jimmy Eat World, Counterfit, and The Get Up Kids.  More recently, Say Anything has been overwhelmingly inspirational.  I’m actually listening to the singer’s (Max Bemis) new project while doing this interview.

emme: I read that you recorded your first cd by yourself. How did you do it? Describe the experience.

JD:  During my second year of college, I purchased a nice soundcard for my computer and began teaching myself how to record with it.  Over the years, I’d buy more and more equipment, while attempting to learn how to use it.  I eventually got pretty good at it, and more importantly, very comfortable with the process.  I love being able to sit in my room, by myself, and write, record, listen, and evaluate.  It’s such an amazing feeling once it all starts coming together.  When I recorded “In Depth” in 2007, I took a week off of work, locked myself in my room, and spent 10-12 hours a day recording.  The recording process can be very tedious and frustrating, but at the end of the day, when you give your song’s recording that final listen, you feel the biggest sense of accomplishment.

emme: Do your songs come from real life experiences?

JD:  Yes.  Anybody that knows me and listens to my music knows that my songs reflect my life.  I think that, even if you don’t know me, you can tell that the songs are coming straight from the soul.  I don’t consider myself a very good lyricist (“I’m not a lyricist, I’m just an eyewitness of experience”), but many people have told me that my songs have been very meaningful to them.  As a musician, that’s the best possible feeling you could ever feel… knowing that somebody is listening to your songs, and grasping them for all that they are.

emme:  What is your fav. song to sing/ perform?

JD:  Probably “Making Up”.  I always close out my shows with that song.  It’s loud, upbeat, dance-y, catchy… a great sing-along track.

emme:  Are you working or have contacts to get signed with a major label?

JD:  Not really.  I’ve had plenty of “close-calls” in the past, and lots of people that have been willing to help me get “out there”, but nothing major has happened, yet.  I’d love to be on a major label, and/or be able to write/perform music for a living, but it gets harder and harder to find time for it as I get older.

emme: I LOVE the song ‘OMG It’s MySpace’. It is so funny! What inspired you to write that song?

JD:  I think most musicians, or artists, in general, are huge critics.  I love making fun of people with my friends.  I especially love making fun of people that are un-original or fall into certain trends.  I wrote that song when Myspace first came out.  I remember being in my parent’s living room, playing on the family piano, and just started blurting out the lyrics.  The song pretty much makes fun of anybody that was addicted to Myspace, including myself.  For a long time now, I’ve had a theory that sometime, in the not-so-distant future, everybody listen to the same music and love all the same movies, and eventually have the same thoughts and ideas.  This would be a direct result of the internet.  Nowadays, a new song is released, or a new movie is made, or somebody simply makes a funny Youtube video, and within one day, it spreads around the world like a plague!  We are all listening to these same bands/musicians, or watching the same movies, and therefore coming up with similar new ideas.  I feel like “artistic expression” has basically become a “race”… a “race” to think of that new, original idea.  “OMG it’s Myspace” was, in itself, one of these new, original ideas.

emme:  Will you be coming out w/ new material soon?

JD:  I’m always coming up with new material, but like I’ve said before in this interview, it’s harder and harder for me to find time for music these days.

emme: What is your dream career and your goal as a musician?

JD:  My ultimate goal would be to write the best song that I possibly can, a song that I feel truly and completely satisfied with (if that’s even possible).  My dream career would be to write and/or perform music as a living.

emme: Do you ever get stage fright? If you do, what do you do to calm down?

JD:  I get nervous before every single show, some more than others.  Over the years, it’s become more of a combination of nervousness and excitement.  There’s really nothing I can do to calm down.  The best medicine for nervousness is preparation.  The more prepared I am, the better I feel.  The second I start performing, though, something clicks in my brain, and I’m “in the zone” and nothing can stop me.

emme:  What is your song writing process like?

JD:  I have so many incomplete songs/samples it’s ridiculous.  I can’t say that I ever actually sit down with the goal of writing a complete song in mind.  I usually hear a good song, get inspired by it, and end up playing either my guitar or piano.  If I like what I’m playing, I’ll either record a little bit of it, or simply play it over and over and try to come up with a vocal melody.  I can come up with introductions, or verses, or choruses fairly easily.  The hardest part is actually taking one of those small samples and transforming it into a complete song.  I have songs that I’ve written in one day, and I have songs that I’ve been working on for years!!!  Like all artists, I’m a huge critic of my own work.  I’ve found that the best thing to do when writing songs, is to focus on one idea at a time… but that’s very hard to do.

emme: How do you feel as a song writer that so many artists are “manufactured” when there is so many talented musicians out there?

JD:  As a musician, there’s nothing more frustrating than knowing that there are many artists out there that don’t go thru the true “struggle” of being a musician.  I know that all artists have their own personal struggles, some obviously more than others.  The saddest part is that many of the most talented artists will never “make it”.  But, if you are a true artist, giving up is never an option.  I’m not saying that I need to “make it” in order to be satisfied with my music career, so far.  I’m very proud of my musical accomplishments and I can say, with 100% confidence, that creating music will always be a huge part of my life.

emme: Have you ever thought about auditioning for a talent reality show such as American Idol?

JD:  People ask me that question all the time.  I never got into the American Idol craze.  And I can honestly say that I’ve never considered auditioning.  I feel that American Idol is for very talented vocalists that are searching for fame and fortune, and need the help of others to get their musical careers going.  I’m just a simple dude that loves creating music.

To purchase, listen and learn more about Macada’s music, go to:

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