Upon discovering The Artisanals, I was immediately entranced.
Now that I’ve listened to their debut album, I’m completely in love with this Charleston, South Carolina-based band. Recalling my first experience listening to the album, the beautiful image of sitting by the window, gazing at the delicate sunlight streaming in, completely at peace, and vibing out to this intelligent, yet happy-go-lucky collection of songs, stands out to me. I was known as the hippie chick in high school and college, and while I’ve grown up a lot since then, listening to The Artisanals brings that fun-loving side out of me again- and I’m utterly grateful to be reminded of my free spirit. The Artisanals aren’t afraid to experiment with unique instruments and create a seemingly effortlessly diverse array of songs.
Their medley of sounds puts a smile on my face, because it’s obvious their vibrant energy is cultivated by a sense of adventure and living in the moment.
The first notes of their album evoke a trippy, esoteric vibe that immediately puts you in a happy mood. The mosaic collection of instruments and lead singer Johnny Delaware’s lilting voice, both charming and wistful, combine to create a listening experience that is full of life and giddy. What I love most about this album is the diversity they created within their songs. One minute, you’re enjoying a sunset while reflecting on a past lover with “First Time,” and the next minute, you’re jumping around your room, vibing to “Grow With You,” and feeling optimistic about the future.
Their grounded spirit, so translucent in their music, is an absolute gift for me. As much as I yearn to be a stress-free, happy individual, I tend to stray from that path a bit and let my mind fester in unpleasant thoughts. However, the wonderful thing about music is how therapeutic it can be; The Artisanals’ debut album has reminded me just how lovely life is. Their down-to-earth message is something I’ve been working towards. Such simple observances of details remind me to notice the little moments in life. Listening to The Artisanals’ lyrics, it’s easy to notice how they are appreciative of simple moments. For instance, in “Roll With It,” they sing,
There’s a bright light breaking through the clouds
It’s time to reach out
I gotta change my life
I gotta roll with it, baby.
This is the kind of music I live for- artistic, truthful, and a little bit hippie.
Everything about this band is pure joy. Their message of embracing life and one another is so invigorating and real- I dare you not to listen to their song, “Angel 42,” without a smile sneaking onto your face! The happiness, adventure, and spontaneity explored in this album encompasses all the best parts of celebrating the good in life. The Artisanals’ retro vibe just makes you feel some sort of way; for me, it reminds me of the classic rock songs my parents listened to when I was a child. It brings back memories of dancing in the sprinklers and climbing trees, with the musical strains of The Beatles and Tom Petty in the distance.
The Artisanals’ debut album is the kind of record you can put on when you’re chilling out, ready to feel good, and embrace what life gives you. The Artisanals’ self-titled debut album is set to release September 21st, along with an east coast tour going through October. I’m overly enthused to see the band September 20th when they come to Florida! This group offers their own perception of life; give their album a listen and maybe you’ll recognize the ability to live the same way- free and full of love. The Artisanals is a band that really speaks to you, if you’re ready to listen. Read on to hear lead singer Johnny Delaware’s favorite instruments from the album, the band’s creative process, and more below.
What musical influences inspire your current sound?
All the old heartland rockers & George Harrison
What does the creative process look like for you?
A lot of trial and error with chords and melodies. Sometimes writing a chorus first and building verses around them. A lot of times melodies and songs just pop into my head and I’ll build something from there to demo in the computer and show Clay Houle (lead guitarist of the band).
What kind of message do you hope your band conveys to your audience?
To have fun and feel good. That we’re all the same and should look at each other as family.
Are there any non-musical influences that inspire The Artisanals’ style?
Yeah, totally. The quest for self-betterment is a common theme throughout our songs, which is influenced by the Mystics of the past, mainly of the east. Eric (bassist) and I tend to read a lot of the same stuff and draw inspiration from those teachings and books. Psychological paradigms and looking at life as lessons and reflections can be fun to work with in songs. People who I love and know have a great influence on me. Also, people watching and creating caricatures through past memories is always nice. Marijuana can make the mind think in really creative ways, too.
How has the band’s aesthetic and musical style evolved?
I love that question, but we’re a really new band, so that’s hard to answer at the moment. I can say that the next album is already pretty much written, and it’s gonna have more of a desolate desert, purple feel to it. The album after that will either be something of the same, but more singer-songwriter-esque, or electronic and dance-y.
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
When I was very young. I tried starting a band at around 8 or something. I think the others in the band had a general idea before they were 16, too. Most people have that knack or intuition before they’re adults and get conditioned by the big machine.
What’s your favorite part about being a songwriter?
That we can create something that makes people feel the same way we did when it’s written or recorded. Music can be so healing for us and all the others in the audience. It’s symbiotic and I’m honored to be in a band that can have that beautiful power.
Do you guys place a heavier emphasis on the lyrics or the melody, or are both equally important?
Where’s your favorite place to write songs? Do you guys set aside time to write music together, or does it happen randomly?
It’s usually arbitrary. If I’m feeling inspired, I’m almost always gonna dedicate my time to that feeling and what it is I’m trying to capture. It can be while driving the van or playing an acoustic in Clay’s parent’s basement. You just never know when it wants to come out. Inspiration usually stems from giving yourself time to sit down and play and hum out some shit though — which I never have any time to do anymore, so it’s driving me a bit nuts, honestly.
You guys utilized so many unique instruments in this album! What’s your favorite instrument that was used while recording?
Well, thank you! Probably the sitar and koto.
I love how versatile this album is. What inspired you to create an album that encompasses a wide-ranging array of musical styles?
Being inspired by all the different music in the world and being in different moods throughout the year. Each day is different, and the seasons and the geography of where you are can reflect into what you’re creating.
What’s the overall theme of your debut album?
Don’t fucking give up on yourself and stop putting expectations on everything.
What’s your personal favorite song on the album?
“First Time,” for sure. Clay’s is most likely “Roll With It,” because it’s all he ever fights for in setlists and talks about.
Were there any specific events that inspired you to write certain songs?
Yes. I wrote the first 3 songs of the album for a dear friend who I used to be romantically involved with. She really struck out this wellspring in me — I was so in love with her.
I wrote one of the songs for my mother, as well. She was going through a lot at the time and seemed very obtuse and distant.
What’s your favorite aspect of the album as a whole?
That they’re all really great songs! Each song has its own mojo and life to it and I feel that’s important. I’m not a fan of musical themes in albums where a lot of songs sound the same.
In your bio, it states the band feels most at home while on the road. What do you love most about touring?
Meeting all the people who bought tickets and still buy records. It’s harder to find people that do that these days. We love them and are so fortunate to cross paths with them. It makes us all feel so good to make them happy. We’re here on this planet to help people, so if our music can have the leverage to do that, that’s something we’ll never take advantage of.
What’s next for you guys in terms of upcoming music and shows?
Lots of shows coming up. Starting the tour down in Florida to hang out with you!
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