When most bands split up it is common knowledge that most members either form another band, go it alone or in this day and age milk their fame for all they can via reality TV. This is not quite the same story for Johnny Daukes.
When an 18 year long relationship came to an end in 2006, Johnny picked up his guitar once again and began to write. The result is Promise, an album he recorded under the alias All Our Good Friends. Released earlier this year, it is a lo-fi, alt-country gem of a record that has marked his triumphant return to music. But why such an unusual route to releasing a solo record?
“After FIN split, I accidentally got into writing and producing comedy” explains Johnny. “I never actually ‘gave up’ writing music, it just became less of a pull for a while. For better or worse I’ve always let my creative impulses lead me rather than trying to push them.”
Since All Our Good Friends’ debut, Johnny has been getting nothing but praise with Promise seemingly picking up album of the week in every British publication even if some of the comparisons have surprised him. “I never realised I sing like Roger Waters” he comments. “And for the record I don’t think I’m similar to Elliot Smith, we both just sing quietly”.
The record has also seen Johnny being compared to Radiohead, Robert Wyatt, Eels and more commonly; Sparklehorse. Yet songs like ‘Long Enough To Bring You Back’ and ‘Bleach To White’ hint at a more rocking side to the record with some fuzz-driven solos.
“The next record will be a lot less introverted” he says. So we don’t have to wait for another crisis in his life before another record? “I’m in the foothills of a new album at present, sifting through new and old songs” promises Johnny. “I’m currently staring down the barrel of a heavily pregnant wife and I have a 3 old so expect songs about ducks, bears and diggers,” he jokes. “It’s quite exciting and daunting at the same time.”
Even with a family, work has become even more hectic for Johnny lately as he has been bringing the All Our Good Friends very visual live show around the country accompanied by his nephew as a roadie, a video playback deck and four TVs. “It’s a doddle compared to transporting a band of living and breathing musicians,” Johnny says although admits his live show hasn’t quite gone to plan; “I have discovered that playing with a backing tape and some films has a tendency to create a slight emotional detachment from an audience and I am considering interspersing some more traditionally stripped down numbers in my set.”
While All Our Good Friends has brought Johnny great critical acclaim so far, he is still making a living full-time from Radio and TV voiceovers including the current Virgin Mobile adverts and has also finished his second film script. As for the motorcycle stunts? “I’ve always been into bikes and doing stupid things on them but it’s only ever been a hobby” he says, “And it still is.”