By Sebastián Chacana Jan 02. 2019

«It’s been like a rollercoaster ever since I joined the band»

Just a year has passed since bass player Chris Johnson joined Deafheaven, but what a year. The metal band has released a critically acclaimed new album (“Ordinary Corrupt Human Love”), has a Grammy nomination for their single “Honeycomb” and toured across the United States. “It’s definitely been quite a ride so far” says Chris about the journey. “It’s kind of been this rollercoaster and I feel lucky to have gotten myself into this when I did… I’m just enjoying the ride”.

This ride goes back to 2014, when Chris was hired to do sound for a short run of the band’s concerts. “I hadn’t heard them before, but I had to listen to the records so I would know what to expect”, he recalls, “and it was kind of off-putting at first since I’m not really a huge metal guy”. That feeling evolved once the live shows began, “It all made sense” he remembers, “I think we’re still a band that’s somehow better live, or at least the music is more impactful in person”.

Those first jobs behind the scenes shaped up his identity as a musician, “I’ve been working as an engineer since 2008 and that has taught me that nothing about making a living from music is easy, but it’s damn near always worth the effort”, he tells us. “I felt that way as an engineer, and I absolutely feel it as a musician”. That’s why the Grammy nomination comes as a welcomed surprise. “For a band of our size, it just came as a total shock to be considered” he says, “I guess I just wouldn’t think of the sound of this band as something that would catch the ear of the people involved in the Grammys, but then, what do I know?”.

I am stoked for 2019” he recognizes about what’s ahead, as he has a bunch of projects going on. “I play bass in a band called Doomriders and sing lead and play bass in a band called Summoner” Chris adds, and he still finds the time to work as a recording and live sound engineer in Boston. Also, there’s more touring ahead, with Deafheaven playing festivals and fly-in dates all around next year. “We’ll be traveling to some places I’ve never seen before” he tells us, “I’m just psyched to see where we end up!”.

(Picture from Metal-Archives)