Post-hardcore consistently delivers an immensely personal walk through the valleys of treacherous human emotion like on the debut track “Orchid” from the brand new project mosaics. The music is the work of Trevor Johnson, who like many, has spent a considerable deal of time in the past in the metalcore scene but now is taking his artistry a different direction and claiming his inspirations for himself. He’s making some real grassroots, intense, and ultimately heavy in more ways than one music that will stick with you, hitting that sweet spot between personal expression and something for outside listeners pretty epically.
The music didn’t just pop out of a vacuum, though, as the tension contained in the new song itself might suggest. Getting to that point isn’t an easy ride. “This project is for the most part me making me push myself and doing something I can own, love, and be proud of,” Johnson shares. “I’m terrified of putting myself out there and am working on facing that fear to win back things I love doing from that fear, mostly starting presenting things I’ve either written about personal experiences or things that mean a lot to me. The main drive is that I can create something I’ll enjoy and believe in and use as a platform to work with likeminded people.” Capturing some of that energy in music is no small feat.
As Johnson puts it: “I’m working to spark a fire in myself and I’m hoping other people can find a catalyst to chase their own flame.”
Besides a personal background in a metalcore band for the last couple of years or so, Johnson has personally long gravitated towards the kind of gripping emotional breakthroughs that his own new music offers. There’s a real community operating under the shadow of these kinds of songs, since you might say that if someone gets there in the first place, some previous barriers have already come down — but that’s not where it ends.
“I want someone to be able to listen to a track and feel the same way I felt when I picked up the albums Wooden Heart from Listener or Run Wild, Young Beauty from Hotel Books for the first time,” Johnson shares, observing: “To me heavy music in general is being able to take pure, unadulterated passion and make something with it.” In other words, it’s a lot more than brutality.
The music is in a way necessary for the actual full experience of the sometimes word-less emotions at hand.
“In everything we do: the way in which we communicate things tells more about how you feel about the thing than the thing itself,” Johnson observes. “Everything from the way we carry ourselves to the way we make an inflection in our voice can betray mountains more about our feelings than our words ever could.”
That’s where intense new post-hardcore like mosaics comes in. Words alone could never capture the swelling loss of a loved one lingering over the past, present, and future like Johnson’s new track deals with.
“Orchid” is on the spoken-word end of the post-hardcore spectrum, reminiscent of artists like Listener with the emotional poignancy dialed up big time from that shared base. The music that Johnson has been crafting normally starts with the lyrics, he shares, explaining he’s been writing privately along these lines for years. Working with producer Lee Dyess — who he describes as “wonderful” — Johnson says that he’s got more music on the way, including an EP that he describes as sporting the thesis question of: “There are awful things going on around us, what do we do with it?” From there, Johnson also aims to bring a concept record to the world reminiscent of the styles of La Dispute’s Wildlife and Silent Planet’s Lastsleep, and he’ll be playing his music live when and where he can, with friends and when he can support causes he believes in, he shares.
“My goal with my presentation is to make something extremely personal to myself that still sounds broad enough to fit someone else’s personal life,” he sums up, adding: “My processing of the way I’ve felt when I didn’t know how to handle what I was feeling has been to dive into writing, music, books, and so on. I feel like a part of all of us is in that same vein though. None of us have ever experienced the life we’re living now before or have a total grasp on our surroundings, so I feel like a lot of that barely processed emotion you see in post-hardcore is intrinsically tied to us figuring out what it means to be ourselves or coming to grips with it.”
Listen to “Orchid” below and follow mosaics on Facebook here. Photo via Christopher Pursley