Q&A: The Head and the Heart’s Josiah Johnson

Seattle’s The Head and the Heart have gone from coffee shop indie band to nationally sold-out in a little over a year.

Currently touring the United States, the band will be in Boise on Thursday, Sept. 20, at the Knitting Factory.

The Arbiter’s Lauren Hooker caught up with band member, singer-songwriter, Josiah Johnson. Here is what he had to say.

 

Q:How did you guys come up with your band name, The Head and the Heart?

 

A:I came up with it and it’s one of those things where a lot of people are at a crossroads and you’re at a turning point in your life and you’re trying to decide what path you should take, there’s always one that makes sense: there’s the logical one and then the one that you know you really want to do but aren’t really sure it will work out. People live by that, making decisions off of their head and logic or their heart and their passion.

When we were starting this band, that’s what it was. I had a good job, I was a web developer, I was making enough money and was comfortable, but it wasn’t satisfying.

Writing songs and music has been such a big part of my life, and sharing songs; and I was like, ‘this whole music thing never worked out for anyone except a few people, but I can’t shake the thought that I won’t stop doing this whether or not I do it for free so why not try it and take a chance?’

 

Q:What inspires most of the lyrics?

 

A:Living, and watching other people live. You run into these problems that don’t have a simple solution and words are the easiest way to voice what it is that you’re feeling or thinking in a song. A lot of times that’s the only way to say something, and that’s why I started
writing songs.

 

Q:What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in being a part of this band?

 

A:One of the things we all realized and talked about as a band early on was how much being in a band is like being in a relationship, where you’re in this together, you’re going somewhere, you’re stuck with each other, even if sometimes you don’t like each other, you compromise, you make decisions between six people. I think that learning to trust those people.

Conversely, not being afraid to make your opinion known, to admit when you’re wrong, because you’re part of a thing that’s bigger than yourself. I’ve become a stronger person from dealing with all of the relational things that a band goes through.

 

Q:Are you guys working on your second album?

 

A:We kind of have this huge process to writing songs where Jon (Russell) or I will write. It’s less often a full song, it’s more like pieces of a song, like a chorus or a couple of verses or something like that and then the second part of it involves the whole band kind of helping, like, ‘Oh, try putting that there,’ or ‘Let’s try this transition to that part’ and the whole band helps write
these songs.

We’ve had a lot of individual time, Jon and I, to write songs, but the band has been touring so much that there hasn’t been a whole lot of time
to do it.

 

Q:Where is your favorite place you’ve played?

 

A:I feel like for a long time, before I’d been all around the country, I’d pick Boise. Which is a totally cheesy answer.

But I feel like my favorite places to play in general are places that most bands don’t go to or that don’t get as many shows, and Boise it seems like is one of those places. But any of the smaller towns. The big cities are the least fun to play, because people at the show have probably been to two or three other shows that week and they’re just like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been to another show. Like, I might listen, I might have a drink’ but where, you know, if it’s like the one show you’ve been waiting to see for a few weeks, I feel like people in small towns are way more excited, way more appreciative of our band. They always end up having the most energy and being the most fun, in general.

About the author  ⁄ Lauren Hooker

Lauren Hooker

Lauren Hooker is the Marketing Director at Boise State Student Media. She is a senior Communication major with a certificate in Public Relations. She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. Follow her on Twitter: @shesahooker.