Molly McPhaul is a force to be reckoned with.

Insanely talented guitarist, beatmaker, and singer, Molly is back with a new single that sounds so much fun. "Johnny Boy" is a mix of dream pop, and indie rock, sprinkled with a punk attitude. I love the spacious and delayed sound across the chorus that makes the whole thing sound so powerful.

After releasing her highly anticipated debut album mollo's world last year, she clearly indicates there's no stopping her.

She and I connected some time ago and hopefully we'll do an interview soon, but until then she was kind enough to open up about the meaning and story of this special track. Honestly, in just a few hours this grew so much on me. Isn't that the point of it all?

The track came to be in a studio in the woods of upstate New York in a matter of a couple hours. I had just met artist/producer Emmett Kai the evening before and since I was about to leave town we planned a last-minute session the following day. Being an artist who often creates in my room all by myself, the opportunity to work in someone else’s studio is very exciting, to say the least.", Molly starts the story with. I think this would absolutely resonate with all the producers who create from the confinement of their home.

She then continues, "I got to the studio driving through the upstate winding roads and was feeling a lil car sick when I arrived. Emmett showed me around his space and within no time we were recording. I don’t know exactly when we decided we were making a pop song, but I think when I started singing the “Oooooh” that you hear at the intro is when there was no looking back. The instrumental came together quickly, Emmett did some wizardry laying down live drums then mixing his chops with some electronic percussion. The guitar, bass, and piano were all recorded live in classic jam sesh fashion. I’m excited to have played some upright keys on this tune -you can hear me shredding it out at 00:52, haha." I had to re-play that part a few times, but it is true - those keys at a sense of innocent playfulness to the track.

"We talked about our own songwriting processes before the writing even began, and doing so led me to a fresh approach to telling a story within a soundscape. I also write by myself most of the time, so bouncing ideas and metaphors off each other was really awesome."

If you're curious about the experience that impacted Molly's sound, she adds "I grew up in the suburbs in the forests of Maryland right outside of DC, and I spent a lot of time riding my bike around the Potomac river right off of the C&O canal. This was a go-to spot for me growing up, as I know it is for a lot of kids in the DMV. These memories of spending time by the river were flooding my mind when we were listening to the beat, so I followed my instincts and started writing about them."

Naturally, we all wonder who Jonny is. Well, "Johnny Boy isn’t anyone in particular, but at the same time I know a lot of people that remind me of this character I created. All those kids just like me looking to pass the days skipping rocks on the water, riding their bikes all around town, letting the hours pass as they soak up the warmth of the summer sun rays. I even see myself in Johnny boy.

It’s often a goal of mine to be able to look at and read my songwriting like a poem, especially a poem that can interpreted in various ways by the listener. What I think is super cool about this song is that though it might sound like a song about a significant other in one person's headphones, it might deliver an entirely different experience to someone else’s soul. Also to be able to inspire others' imaginations through music is just the coolest thing ever. Working with and learning from Emmett as a producer and writer is really where the magic of Johnny Boy came from. The energy was there with us in that lil upstate studio that day. And I guess sometimes you get lucky crossing paths with the right homie and redirecting that energy into something special."

Reading all of this added so much context and made me love the song even more. Keep it up, homie.

posted by Ivo
March 2024