Week 3: The Johns and Jordan Dean
These past few weeks, Taylor Swift made history by being the first musician ever to hold all of the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 (I bet Kanye regrets his 2009 VMA stunt now.) As other big names like Rhianna, Steve Lacy, Drake, and Harry Styles are continuing to occupy these lists, other musicians are working hard on the sidelines creating the future of the music industry.
This week, meet The Johns and Jordan Dean as they begin their climb towards the Billboard Hot 100.
The Johns (@the.johnsband) are a three-piece band based in Salt Lake City, Utah that is comprised of Jeff Dewsnup, Shayn Thompson, and Aleko Louras. The band began long before their musical debut in 2021. The name “The Johns” is certainly an interesting choice given none of the band members’ names are actually ‘John,’ but the inspiration came from the “whole band loving the guitar and music legend John Frusciante…We have always loved his story of life and overcoming addiction, and all of us in the band that play guitar have always loved his diverse, innovative guitar playing. John Frusciante means a lot to us all in the band, so we thought The Johns was unique, kind of funny, and people would remember us.”
Lead singer Jeff Dewsnup had been making music his entire life and had been writing his own music since he was 14. By the time Dewsnup turned 17, he formed the band and they recorded their debut album “Taxi to San Fran” that would be released in early 2022. The songs on the project were a collection of pieces that Dewsnup had written over the course of many years with the additions of the band’s instrumentalism.
In their sound, it is easy to recognize their influences from bands like Slowdive, Mazzy Star, The Smiths, Stone Temple Pilots, and The Strokes. They also generally have influences from genres within the indie new wave, shoegaze, grunge, and indie folk subcultures.
Their musical debut was almost a year ago in December of 2021 when they released their single “Noon to Noon,” and they most recently released their single “The North Star” this past May. With a discography of roughly 22 songs, I was interested in knowing what songs of theirs meant the most to them. Dewsnup explained that “the song that we believe means the most to us and represents us the most is our song ‘Taxi to San Fran.’” Dewsnup stated “Often our topics tend to have to do with growing up and the fear of what the future holds and hoping one day everything will feel ok. We think this song represents that the most.” “Taxi to San Fran” is definitely a good choice on the bands part, this song carries a shoegaze-sound partnered with lyrics about simply wanting to get away with someone close to you and creating your own future. Can you relate? These are such common feelings that can be shared throughout our youth with lyrics like
“Maybe one day
But I know there’s nothing there
Escaping it won’t help
But our intoxicated brains
Make us wanna run away
To a life where we have peace”
help exemplify these feelings and the way the band rationalizes it. These themes of feeling trapped at a young age are something many teens understand, and with the band being in that same age range as their demographic, it’s so easy to associate with them.
Although the band is so young and in very early stages of their musical careers, it is clear that they have quite the future to look forward to. Looking into their future, they hope to “have reached all the people that need our music; we hope that we can keep impacting people’s lives with our music, and we really hope we can get to a point where we can do music full time!”
Jordan Dean (@jordandeaner) is a Nashville-based musician who is verging between the indie, rock, and punk scenes. Dean feels that he is “ everything he wants to be, but nothing he wants to be at the same time. I’m a conflicted individual, but that’s why I make music to work through that internal conflict and come to terms with the world around me. The world that we all must navigate.” That theme has been relevant throughout his musical career. Dean began making music at a very young age in order to say all the things and feelings he felt didn’t fit into mundane, everyday conversation. all of the thoughts he couldn’t put into words, he verbalizes through his music–a universal truth for any creative. From a musical standpoint, he draws inspiration from musicians like The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, and on a more intellectual standpoint, he draws influence from music that evokes emotion for him: “If it has an effect on me that’s when music is music.”
Dean’s debut single “Gone” premiered in October of 2019 which has since harbored over 300,000 all-time listens. The song starts exciting from the get-go, it has sounds reminiscent of the Strokes and Vampire Weekend with modern comparisons to fellow Nashville-based band COIN. The single follows a relationship that has ended and the spiral that Dean endured once their relationship was gone.They rethink their mistakes and all the would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve that stemmed from the relationship. And this is a feeling many people understand in regards to relationships.
Most recently he has released his single “Quiet on Set ” which still has the same electrifying feeling intertwined into his music; this single feels more electric and has a sound similar to the Exploding Hearts or Sex Pistols. It is the first song I ever heard from Dean, and it is such a classic take on rock done in a way that feels fresh and exhilarating. This single is a gleaming representation of Dean’s growth musically.
Dean has so much more to come and he even recently announced his single “End of the Year” which drops this Friday. With so much music of his being produced and released, I was interested in hearing which song of his meant the most to him musically: “probably my next single ‘End of the Year,’ it’s a very real and down to earth representation of my life over the course of the past 12 months.” Since these releases, he noted that “I have plenty of material written and planned for release. I’m focusing on making music that translates well to the live setting right now so that means to me: high energy, in your face, and exciting.”
As he’s producing and bringing so much music to life, he has his future set on one thing: “Touring, touring , touring. I want to be constantly on the road and making records so that I can share my music with everyone and connect with as many people as possible that want to connect with the message behind the music.” Dean has a sound that I (as a self-proclaimed music connoisseur) have absolutely fallen in love with. Dean is a musician with a bright future ahead of him, one in which I can’t wait to watch as he makes his way towards the Billboard Hot 100!
Spotlight on Rising Stars Series: an Author’s Note
This is the second edition in the “Spotlight on Rising Stars”series. In the last article in the series, I introduced the herald to Frat Mouse and ForeignHomes . Over the next few weeks, I will be introducing the Herald readers to some brand new names (and even some you’ve seen before). Get excited because in the next article in this series, I will be shining a spotlight on Aberdeen is Dead and Oceanic, and there is SO much more to come that I cannot wait to share with the Herald’s readers! Until the next release in the series, check out The Johns and Jordan Dean’s links and the link to my ‘Spotlight on Rising Stars’ playlist available on Apple Music and Spotify that is updated with each article release! You can also read the full interview below:
Spotlight on Rising Stars Playlist:
Week 3 Interviews:
The Johns: Who I Spoke With: Jeff Dewsnup
Who are the Johns? For example; if you were talking to someone who had absolutely no idea who the Johns were– what would you tell them?
The Johns are an indie rock band from slc utah.
How did the band start making music (what were your journey’s like, whether individual or collective)/who were the influences that inspired you to make music.
The band started with lead singer Jeff Dewsnup who had been writing music alone in his room since the age of 14 and then around age 17 Jeff formed the band with some of his buddies and they recorded their debut album “taxi to san fran” and released it in january of 2022. All the songs on this album were a collection of songs Jeff wrote over many years, plus a few instrumental parts added by the other members of the band. The band has a lot of influences from many different bands across the genres of indie new wave, shoegaze, grunge, and indie folk. such as bands like Slowdive, Mazzy Star, The Smiths, Stone Temple Pilots, and The Strokes
What song of yours means the most to your (again either collectively or individually)/why?
The song that we believe means the most to us and represents us the most is our song “Taxi to San Fran.” Often our topics tend to have to do with growing up and the fear of what the future holds, and hoping one day everything will feel ok, and we think this song represents that the most.
Where do you see yourself in five years (what is the future of the Johns/where do you want to be in the future)?
In five years we hope we can have reached all the people that need our music, we hope that we can keep impacting people’s lives with our music. and we really hope we can get to a point where we can do music full time!
What would your dream collaboration be, what type of song would you create?
Our dream collaboration would be with neighboring band the Backseat Lovers, we are from the same city as them, we grew up going to their early shows and hanging out with them, we think our writing topics are similar and our overall vibe. and I think if we combined our two tastes we could make something beautiful
Where did the name ‘The Johns’ come from? What is the inspiration behind the name?
The name “The Johns” comes from our whole band loving the guitar and music legend John Frusciante. We have always loved his story of life and overcoming addiction, and all of us in the band that play guitar have always loved his diverse innovative guitar playing. John Frusciante means a lot to us all in the band, so we thought The Johns was unique, kind of funny, and people would remember us
Who is Jordan Dean? For example, if you were talking to someone who had absolutely no idea who ‘Jordan Dean’ was– what would you tell them?
Jordan Dean is everything he wants to be but nothing he wants to be at the same time. I’m a conflicted individual but that’s why I make music to work through that internal conflict and come to terms with the world around me. The world that we all must navigate.
How did you start making music (what was that journey like)/ who were the influences that made you start making music?
I started making music to say all the things I felt like I couldn’t say in regular conversation. All the thoughts that went through my head that I either couldn’t articulate or didn’t want to. I draw influence from any music that connects with me on any level. Whether it excites me, makes me feel sad or happy. If it has an effect on me that’s when music is music.
What song of yours means the most to you/ why?
Probably my next single ‘end of the year’ it’s a very real and down to earth representation of my life over the course of the past 12 months
Where do you see yourself in 5 years (what is the future of Jordan Dean, what do you want it to look like?)
Touring, touring , touring. I want to be constantly on the road and making records so that I can share my music with everyone and connect with as many people as possible that want to connect with the message behind the music
You just released your single ‘Quiet on Set’ a week ago, what does the future hold for you musically?
I have plenty of material written and planned for release. I’m focusing on making music that translates well to the live setting right now so that means to me: high energy, in your face, and exciting.