Hiya, welcome to RGM, What made you decide to become a soloist?
I started making music sophomore year in high school, I was obsessed with electronic music and spent hours watching videos of Skrillex, Dillon Francis, Martin Garrix, and Hardwell. I started djing for fun and eventually got into production. I didn’t have the slightest clue what I was doing and had several projects through high school. I started with DJHERPDERP as cringey as it is it was fitting at the time! I eventually got into concert photography and covered festivals from EDC to Outsidelands. I was even set to go on tour with Shallou right before COVID and lost that opportunity. I struggled with social media and self worth and losing my outlet of creativity sent me into a downward spiral. I took what I was feeling and dove back into music and started Nightly Gatherings! Looking back I wouldn’t change anything as it made me who I am now. It helped me separate myself from my art and try to enjoy the little things in life to the fullest.
Introduce you and your musical history?
My name is Connor Johnson and I am a singer/songwriter/producer from Chico, CA. I started Nightly Gatherings January 1st, 2021 and released my debut single Little Steps shortly after. I also played the online event ZAXX & Friends with ZAXX, Smle, Lizdek, and more. I soon after released singles Up All Night, and Affirmations. After three singles under my belt I was ready for a bigger challenge and spent the next 8 months making my debut album Tethered Together which released Dec 10, 2021. In that time I also opened for Gorgon City and was direct support for Whethan.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
This is only my third interview ever but I know I’ll get tired of telling the Nightly Gatherings origin story by the next one. I need a copypasta for it.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I love conspiracy theories. I don’t necessarily buy into all of them but I love hearing them all. I do think there’s something wack under the ice in Antarctica, also that aliens have been here the whole time. Maybe I’m an alien? Who knows?
What useless party trick do you have?
I can disassociate on command.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
Definitely when I opened for Gorgon City. It was my first time playing as Nightly Gatherings in person and it was such a blast. I had played shows in the past as cnrjnsn but this gave me an opportunity to reinvent my stage prescience and to be a lot more interactive with the crowd. I went above and beyond with personal edits and even played my originals live for the first time. The crowd reaction was better than I ever could have asked for and someone even told me, “great performance” instead of “great set” which made my entire life.
What was the worst experience on stage?
When I opened for Whethan I somehow lost the mic like three songs into my set. I asked everyone on stage and my manager eventually found it. Where did it go? How did I lose it in five minutes? These are questions that may never be answered. There’s a conspiracy theory in there somewhere.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
I got my second-degree black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do at the age of 15.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
This is unfair. I don’t even know how to describe my music to a human. If you took a time machine and recorded the sounds of the past and then travelled to the future and recorded that and mixed it all together. It should probably sound like Nightly Gatherings.
What makes you stand out as a band/Artist?
I approach music in a couple different ways. I approach it from a visual standpoint, my track Lake Shimmers was inspired by a trip I took to Lake Tahoe a few years ago. The lake at sunset was something that has stuck with me and I spent so long trying to recreate that feeling. Though I can’t ever relive that moment again, Lake Shimmers takes me back.
I also approach music in the simple way of, “I want to hear indie rock with hyper pop vocals, lets make it.” That’s how I made my new track Time with U 2022. I listen to a lot of music, everything from rawstyle to folk. I love making something that’s genuine based off what I adore.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus )
I’m trying to “find my voice”. All my tracks with my own vocals have a vocal effect that pitches them up an octave. I absolutely adore the way it sounds but I am trying to use less of it and use my real voice. I’m always trying to push myself creatively and I know this is my next step. As someone who never sang until nine months ago, I’m doing my best with what I got, which isn’t much.
What’s your favorite song to play live and why?
I love playing Lake Shimmers. Though my music is generally slow, I like my live shows to be the opposite. Lake Shimmers is that moment in the set to slow down and appreciate what is happening right now at the moment. I ask the crowd to throw up their phone lights and it’s truly a beautiful moment.
I hear you have a new single/album/ep, what can you tell us about it?
My new single is Time with U 2022. Indie rock has always been one of my favorite genres and as an electronic producer, it’s definitely a challenge for me. Every new year is a time when I overthink. I’ve been struggling with my mental health now more than ever and forced myself to take a step back and appreciate what I have right now. Not what I had last year, or what I might have next year. The time you spend dwelling is time lost. Time with U 2022 is about that. I owe my sanity to my friends and family and this song is for them.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
I started the track with a guitar loop and everything came organically after that. If a song doesn’t come to me instantly I often don’t pursue it further.
What was the recording process like?
My music is heavily sample-based but I had a ridiculous amount of vocal takes. I record all my vocals on my iphone and have to convert the files and it’s this whole thing. The first verse took me so so many takes. So many to the point where I honestly hate hearing it. But it’s still a banger so it’s whatever!
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album/ep?
100% getting better at singing. I definitely want to be seen as an artist not necessarily a producer. Porter Robinson is my hero and his transition from Worlds to Nurture is my biggest inspiration. To be able to have total control over the entire song from production, vocals, mixing, and mastering is the most fulfilling thing.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
The song had eight final versions and I still want to change it. I kept going back and forth between the modulated vocals to the clean vocals and was continuously changing the tempo and key. Luckily I have a live edit in the works that will satisfy me completely.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Time with U 2022 is a part of a bigger project. I have about 8 songs in the works and is definitely a complete opposite from Tethered Together. It’s time to have fun and throw all my rules out the window.