Johnny Craig is a household name – whether for the right or wrong reasons that is open to debate. Known for his unique and powerful voice, Craig has a new musical project that has already seen steady attention: Slaves. The band wasted no time putting out their debut record, ‘Through Art We Are All Equals’. Now, Slaves will grace Australian shores this September. Killyourstereo.com caught up with Craig to talk about the tour and the album.
How does feel to be coming back so soon after your May solo tour?
It feels good man. I love Australia and I’ll always love coming to Australia. Always. Great people, great cities and great shows. I’ll come down there as long as I’m a musician and I’m pretty pumped to bring out the boys in Slaves and play some tunes.
With Slaves, did you switch it up from your solo stuff and early Emarosa or did you stick to what you know?
Oh man, I just stick to what I know. Slaves is not that different to any other stuff I’ve done before. It’s the same rock appeal and sound and so I write to that. The lyrics are sort of the same in their tone or whatever because well, it’s me writing them. It’s always gonna be the same I think and not identical but it’s the same feel. I don’t think that’s a bad thing though.
With Slaves’ debut album, ‘Through Art We Are All Equals’ what kind of message are you trying to convey with that? It’s an obvious title but what exactly are you trying to say?
Well man it’s how I see music. Through music and expression we all become equals. It’s the same as at a show or whatever. No one gives a shit what you wear or what you look like. You’re all there for the music and that’s something special. We can, most of the time, put aside our differences and enjoy music or art and that’s awesome to me. It also links into what I’ve said about the name Slaves. Men are all slaves to whatever they love but it’s in art that we find ourselves equal.
It’s quite a poetic album and the song that stood out to me the most is ‘My Soul is Empty and Filled with White Girls’. The album has this whole poetic feel to it and that track sticks out like a sore thumb. What the hell does that all mean? (Laughs)
(Laughs) Well it’s a stab at myself pretty much. People would say to me that I’m so empty and I really took a look at my life and what I was trying to feel that emptiness with. I’ve had so many problems over the years man with substances and I’ve slept around a lot and I saw that I was filling my empty soul with stuff that wasn’t actually filling it. It’s a bit of a personal stab and joke when looking in retrospect.
What was it like to get Vic Fuentes onto the record for ‘Starving For Friends’?
It was awesome man. He’s such a professional guy and did it so well, and I think it’s the best song on the record. I absolutely love the track and the guy. We’ve had some issues and he’s one of the people that I’ve hurt with my issues in the past and after I sorted my shit out, I spoke with him and we sorted it all out. I wanted him on the record and it’s a song about the people who I’ve hurt with all my abuse of myself and because he was one of them of whom I’d made up with, I think it fits in well.
To put it bluntly you have a beautiful voice. There’s no denying it and you use it a fair lot. What keeps you so inspired to sing?
Singing is my release. It allows me to be who I am and bear my soul. It sets me free. When I sing I feel empowered. It’s been an outlet for me for a long and it’s helped me to really help myself in a way. With my singing and music career I’ve had some bad parts but I’ve come back from that and it’s this singing that’s helped that.
Slaves tour Australia this September. All info can be found here.