Jonny Couch is the power-pop punk rocker you’ve been dying for.
Last year BTRtoday chatted with Jonny Couch (yes, his real name) before the release of his debut solo EP Animal Instinct and Couch had big plans for the future. Now, with a solid solo record behind him and Halloween approaching, we’re premiering the video for his spookiest song “Haunting.”
While the melody sticks in your head, its dark and eerie lyrics about a person from their past that keep haunting him keep it edgy and rock ‘n’ roll. The video involves skeleton costumes, drumming and running around the creepy industrial area of Brooklyn’s Red Hook.
It’s perfect to get you in the Halloween spirit.
“After being the drummer in so many bands for so long, I must admit it feels damn good to be the frontman,” Couch tells BTRtoday about going solo. “I don’t have to take abuse from the frontman since I’m now the frontman.”
After drumming in pioneering punk bands like The Cynics and The Napalm Stars, Couch catapulted onto the dance floor with tracks like “New Kind Of Cruel” and “State Of Mind.” The tunes might be about love gone awry, but the soothing back-up vocals combine with Couch’s sultry and fun vocals make you move those hips whether you’re heartbroken or not.
“[“Haunting” is] about a spirit coming back to haunt you, but in a way that helps you remember someone you loved,” Couch says about the song. “The video itself tells a different story, however that’s okay too because the lyrics are open-ended and can be interpreted in different ways, which is a good thing.”
Check out the ghostly premiere below and catch Jonny Couch in Manhattan on Nov. 16, at Berlin.
BTRtoday(BTR): So what have you been cookin’ up since the last time we chatted? (Which was literally a year ago on Oct. 14th, btw!)
Jonny Couch (JC): Has it been that long? So much has happened since our last interview. I released the Animal Instinct EP, plus, have played dozens of shows in NYC and also in the South. I have a great following in Savannah, GA where I made the record. Folks are so incredibly supportive down there.
One of the most exciting shows in NYC was playing on the Booze Cruise with High Waisted. I’m so happy that you were there for that particular show. And of course I’ve released three music videos—this one will be the fourth.
BTR: Tell me about the making of this music video.
JC: The director Art Boonparn and I also did the “Animal Instinct” video together. We start each video with about five meetings in which we drink whisky, eat pizza and brainstorm. We probably would only need two meetings without the whisky. We shot the video on a beautiful day in Red Hook, Brooklyn. We wanted the background to be desolate and industrial, and so Red Hook was perfect for that.
It was a long, tiring day because the video required Hallie and I to chase each other all day long all over Red Hook. Goddamn, I needed a drink after all that.
BTR: Is there a story behind this song?
JC: Yes. A friend of mine, Patrick Salt Ryan, passed away a while back at a relatively young age. He was a bartender and songwriter that everyone on the Lower East Side just adored. He had a great smile and it was easy to think about all the things he did to make me laugh when we worked at Fontana’s Bar together—that was enough to inspire the lyrics.
So, it’s about a spirit coming back to haunt you, but in a way that helps you remember someone you loved. The video itself tells a different story, however that’s okay too because the lyrics are open-ended and can be interpreted in different ways, which is a good thing.
BTR: You’ve been going solo for a while, how does it feel so far?
JC: After being the drummer in so many bands for so long, I must admit it feels damn good to be the frontman. I don’t have to take abuse from the frontman since I’m now the frontman. [Laughs] But in all seriousness, it’s a challenge because I’m used to hiding behind the drums.
I had the pleasure of working with a lot of great frontmen and frontwomen while I was playing drums. They have been a huge influence on me, along with, of course, seeing some of the greats live. I’ve been lucky enough to see Iggy & The Stooges, Tina Turner, The Pretenders, Cheap Trick, New Bomb Turks, Dead Moon and recently, Escape-Ism with Ian Svenonius. These are all bands with the absolute best singers in rock ‘n’ roll. I just try to let my memory of these musical gods and goddesses guide me in my performances.
BTR: Are you planning on experimenting with anything totally different with your sound in the future?
JC: I got quite a few comparisons to Sparks with my Animal Instinct EP, and in the same way that they became more synth driven as time went on, I think that’s what seems to be happening with my new record.
With the big melodies as the driving force to tie the older and newer records together. I’ll be in the studio this weekend and we’ll be experimenting with all of this. Some of the new tunes are taking on more of a Giorgio Moroder style production as well. Sparks worked with Moroder later in their career—so it’s a funny and cool coincidence that I just saw them with my producer in NYC right before another one of our studio sessions.
BTR: What’s your ideal Halloween celebration?
JC: On Halloween, I’m gonna be playing at the Knockdown Center again for Jonathan Toubin’s NYNT Halloween party. I will actually be playing drums with the Danny Goldstein Trio for our tribute to “Bloody Holly” in the Room Full of Mirrors. We’re gonna start our Halloween celebration the night before by playing a “Bloody Holly” set at Baby’s All Right, where we’ll be opening for Shannon and the Clams.
BTR: I’ll see ya there. I’m DJing between sets at that event in the Room Full of Mirrors. So, what is your costume this year?
I think I’m going to be dressed up as a Skeleton because I already have the outfit. [Laughs]
BTR: What should we keep an eye out for Jonny Couch?
JC: I’m working on my first full-length LP right now to be released in 2018. The next big show is at Berlin with Velveteen Rabbit (brand new NYC rock band). They have a new record coming out soon on Hozac Records. Also on the bill is Nat Brower (from the band Metalleg) doing his brilliant solo material, and Jane Church, which is another great band with great songs. It’s a night of dedicated NYC songwriters playing full on rock ‘n’ roll.