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Interview with Johnny Gioeli

Miles Wolf

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Hi there everybody. 

In the spanish community Sonic Reikai I have interviewed the great Johnny Gioeli. I asked about his past, his work on Sonic games and Crush 40, his solo album... 

The interview is in our site translated to Spanish, but I think it would be interesting to share it with you here in English so non-Spanish fans can read it too (without using Google Translate), so... Here you have it. Hope you guys like it. :) 


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Hello Johnny, this is Miles Wolf from the spanish community (¡hola!) Sonic Reikai. First of all, thank you for allowing us to make this interview. We are really happy to be able to get in contact with you.


We would like to ask you first about you and your first steps in the world of music.

Ahhhhhhhh yes….. I started at the very young age of 8 playing guitar and then drums. I became a professional musician at the age of 11.  I knew I wanted to be a rock star and work in the business of “music”. To have millions of fans, play around the world, meet people from different countries and cultures was my dream. I worked VERY hard to fulfill this dream.  All I thought about was MUSIC.

- What have been your inspirations and influences as an artist?

I would have to say that I love “melody”.  I love BIG powerful choruses. So, I think back in the early 80’s listening to Scorpians, VanHalen and bands like that really excited me musically.  I never had a collection of music or one particular band that were my heros.  I listened to a lot of “rock” and that was it.  As a songwriter, I didn’t want to be influenced by any sound or person….just wanted to be me.

- How were your beginnings? Which obstacles did you find and what helped you battle your way?

Beginning anything is ALWAYS difficult.  It takes patience and persistence.  I focused immensely. The most difficult part of the music business is “getting heard”. Back in the day, we didn’t have the internet or youtube to show off your music or be heard.  We had to work our way into the record companies and PUSH HARD for them to listen to our work. Not easy.

- We know you learnt drumming watching your brother’s band. How did you learn to work with you voice to be a vocalist? How was the change from one role to the other?

I actually learned how to sing or I should say discovered that I could sing while doing theatre. I used to star in a lot of theatre shows from 8 -11 years old.  There was a musical director that tought me that “I could”.  I didn’t know I could sing!!  From that point, it was just “me”. We all have our gifts…this one was given to me and I’m grateful.  Very grateful.

- What’s that theme you have worked on and thinking of it makes you say, “man, I did a good work there!”.

Well, I try to make every song count.  Make them all as great as I can. But with Crush40 there are always songs that you say….wow…..cool.  And that one for me is “What I’m made of” and “I am”. Just killer tracks. 

- What advice would you give to somebody wanting to start his own music career?

That’s a hard question…but here’s a snapshot:  First thing is to listen to others. Take criticism well.  Understand your capabilities and work within them. Don’t try to be something your not.  Work HARD. Don’t give up.  

Let’s talk now about your new and first solo album.

- Has the fact of working to help a friend inspired you when composing and singing? In wich way?

Oh yea, for sure. Helping others gives your life purpose. We as people are naturally selfish. We want. We want. We want. I’ve been there!  The feeling of GIVING BACK is more powerful than anything.  To give than receive.  So, when you have a focus like that, it absolutely inspires you naturally.

- Being this a solo album gives you total freedom to unleash your own ideas. What goals have you set as an artist with this project? Is there any idea you haven’t been able to include?

I think I just want everyone to proud of what I create. I don’t have an expectation set for myself, I just want it GREAT! Hahahaha  

- In your PledgeMusic campaign you receive the proposals from the fans for the album. What’s the idea you have received you like the most?

I think some of the old school re-makes get me excited.  Sometimes I’m too close to music and the fans pull me back to a more simple approach.  They want to hear some old-school Queen…wow….I never thought of that!  Ya see!  hahaha

- As far as we know, you will finish the album on may. Seeing that you are almost in the finish line, do you think you will repeat this experience? Will this be the first of a series of Johnny Gioeli’s solo albums?

Good question.  I don’t know.  I don’t like to plan music out very far because it’s a natural process that can’t be structured.  To be forced to sit with an instrument and a sheet of paper is not cool at all.  But to be driving down the road and have to pull over because you hear a melody or a lyric in your head…..now THAT’S cool.  Get it?

Changing now to Crush 40 and Sonic, we would like to know…

- How did you react when you received the proposal for working on a videogame like Sonic?

I thought it was the most interesting concept ever. I related it to making music for a movie…and I enjoy that!

- You and Jun Senoue both form the core duo of Crush 40. How did you meet Jun? How was your first encounter?

Jun was a big fan of Hardline.  He found me through a buddy of mine who used to play with Whitesnake….Doug Alrdrich. We spoke and put the whole idea together. We hit the studio like 18 years ago….and here we are. Still together making music.  Sometimes its just the right fit. 

- Any unknown anecdote you would like to highlight when working on Crush 40 and a Sonic game all these years?

We sort of have our own formula….It all starts with the “Scene” in the game.  That sets the tone for the music and lyrics…then….Jun creates music ideas….sends them to me…..then….I create lyric ideas and melody…. We have NEVER sat together to write at the same time. Hahaha   Being creative is about having your time with the idea. And that’s what we do.  It works. 

- We have heard you singing from obscure themes like “I am (All of Me)” to lighter songs like Sonic Heroes. How do you achieve to change form one style to other?

This is natural to me.  I just “get inside the song”. Lyrics and melody are EVERYTHING. It doesn’t matter if it’s a screaming rock song or a love ballad, it’s all a “song” with a “feeling” for me.

- Related to the last question: what’s the most difficult Sonic or Crush 40 theme you have worked on? Why it was so difficult?

We never encountered a song or theme we couldn’t figure out!  Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!  Don’t jinx it! 

- We know that you and Jun will be at Sonic’s anniversary party in San Diego on July. In past concerts you have held in other Sonic events sometimes you have played for first time in public new covers or remixes from past themes of the series. Seeing this will be a very special event, will there any surprise like that this time? 

I think we’re gonna stick to a Sonic “classic” theme and play the “hits”. It just makes for a reallllllllly fun night when everyone knows all the songs.  Sometimes I can hold the mic out and everyone sings every word!  It’s so fun.  I cant wait.


Closing the interview, we know about your concert in Madrid (Spain)…

- As a spanish fan community, we are very happy to know that you will come to our country with Hardline to hold a concert in Madrid on May 28th. This will be Hardline’s first time in Spain, is this your first time too?

I LOVE SPAIN.  I love the people, the country and love performing there.  I have been there a few times with Axel Rudi Pell band.  I can’t WAIT to get there this month! 

- What should a Hardline fan expect of this show?

Expect to rock you butts off!  Classic tunes mixed with some new….

- Will we ever see Crush 40 in Spain?

That would be a great dream.  Ya never know…

- Are there any plans to make a tour with your solo album?

There are a few plans but one step at a time. Let me finish recording first! hahaha


And that’s all! Thank you so much for your answers. We wish you the best with your solo project; it’s a very cool and beautiful initiative. And from all Sonic/Crush 40 fans, we hope to hear you soon in a Sonic game.

Thank you!  For all the fans who have stood by my side, Jun’s side….we love each and every one of you guys!  Let’s keep the music going!  -Hugs   -Johnny

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