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A Spotlight Interview With Johnny & The Mongrels

A fresh and feel-good single released from Johnny & The Mongrels brings out a warm and danceable funk riddled pop groove that comes with some bright soulful vocals that all just welcomes you and gets your ass shaking in no time flat.

"Love's Giot Something to Do with It" is a massive banger and it's so uplifting that it makes you smile even if you're not in the bet of moods. This tack can turn your day right around with its infectious positive and righteous vibe.

You get organs, horns, soul, soul, and more soul! Even heavy gospel elements peak through and it all becomes something you get wrapped up in.

This single was as colorful as they get, and it was a burst of fresh air and something I think every single person needs right now. We all need to hear about love. Sing about love. Turn it up and feel the goodness.

These guys just crush it and do it with character and style along with a variety of instrumentation used to paint a wonderful picture.

The palette is lush and full-bodied, and it comes through absolutely charming from start to finish.

You just want more and more, and the band has plenty to share, and it all has this set of hooks and powerful impact that is quickly memorable.

This is something you should pop on in the morning to get your mood set for the day.

With the release of such a delightful single, we wanted to touch base with Johnny & The Mongrels to find out where this came from and what's next for them.

Here's what happened.

RAG: Okay so let's start with "Love Got Something to Do with It". This single has an amazingly genuine classic soul feel to it! Where did this track come from?

That's definitely the vibe I wanted to convey with it, so I'm glad to hear that. "Love" was a song I had written during the pandemic. It's a tribute to my wife and our relationship. I had it in my back pocket as a track I wanted to present to the rest of the band during our last recording session for our upcoming album "Magnolia & Pine." The bulk of the songs had already been determined for the record but I knew we were going to need at least 1 more track to round it out. I had the lyrics and the melody for the chorus/hook already laid out, so that's what I presented to the fellas. Upon positive response, guitarist James H. Dumm and I secluded ourselves upstairs in the apartments above the legendary Dockside Studio in Maurice, Louisiana, to flesh out the rest of the music for the track. Within 30 minutes, we had come up with the entire structure of the song! We promptly went back downstairs to the studio and ran through it with the rest of the band. 5 takes later, the song was finished and in the can. It's undeniably my favorite track on the new album. Crazy when songs come together like that! RAG: So how did this all begin for you? When did you fall in love with music really?

My whole family on my mom's side is in the music business. She (mom) was a professional singer for over 40 years. She would have rehearsals and jam sessions at our house when I was growing up. so I was chronically submersed in the inner workings and nuances of music and the music business at a very early age. It was easy to fall in love with music for me. It's always been a member of my family.

RAG: Who is in your headphones right now?

Marc Broussard's new single "Fire" is on eternal repeat in my car right now! Can't get enough of it. He's one of my all time favorites and a true idol of mine.

My other go-to artist and musical hero is JJ Grey. His "Brighter Days" live concert album has been a compass for me on my journey to stay humble, genuine and honest as a musician in this business. Can't say enough good things about that record and JJ's talent.

RAG: What inspires you to write a song?

All of my music stems from things that have happened or that I aspire to happen in my life. I learned a long time ago to always write about what you know or have do otherwise, will always ultimately be "sniffed out" by your listeners. It's always on my mind that the possibility of the content in my songs could relate to another person and their experiences in life. The sheer remote possibility that something I wrote a song about could potentially help or inspire someone else is a very sacred and invaluable thing to me.

RAG: I'm hearing some great styles on this song. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Some of my influences are most definitely JJ Grey (& Mofro), Marc Broussard, Tedeschi Trucks Band just to name a few. Really any artist who can bring that soulful, gritty vibe from not only in the studio but to the stage is what I migrate toward.

RAG: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

If I'm not touring, writing or in the studio, I love to help my wife with her passion project which is rescuing, training and finding good homes for wild mustangs and wild burros. She has an amazing gift and it's a great pleasure to be a small part of helping these magnificent animals live quality lives instead of being subject to kill pens or living in holding pens for the rest of their lives. I also really enjoy going to see live music as a fan. It's what connected me to music from the start.

RAG: Would you say live performances are a big part of what you do?

Without a doubt! It's the most direct line of connection with our fans we have and where we feel the most at home as a band. The experience of the being without that connection for so long during the pandemic makes me focus on being even more present in everything I do now but especially when performing live. Those connections are at the core of why I and the rest of the Mongrels do what we do for living.

RAG: This song feels like a big undertaking, is there any advice you'd give to other up and coming artists out there?

I'm incredibly fortunate to have the bandmates, producers, engineers and facilities I've had the privilege of experiencing in my career. I think the best advice I could give is to do all you can to create the highest quality relationships you can create around you. It's what will make your life and your career in this business so much more fulfilling and successful. Always be building relationships and creating "win-win" scenarios in every one of those relationships.

RAG: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

This single ("Love's Got Something To Do With It") is the first release from Johnny & The Mongrels' sophomore album due out in December '22 with a subsequent album supporting tour to follow promptly after the release. So there's much more Swamp Funk comin' your way!

RAG: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

We call our community of fans "Mongrels-Nation." They are like family to us. The story behind where the name Johnny & The Mongrels comes from is probably the best way to express how important our fans are to us. So growing up, when my mom used to call my brother and I in for dinner each night, She'd say affectionately, "get on in here you's time for dinner!" So the word "Mongrels" has always been a term of endearment to me. Hence, the honored moniker to call not only my fellow bandmates but our fans Mongrels. If you're a Mongrel, you're family and always will be. We're so profoundly grateful for each and every one of our Mongrels-Nation family members.

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