From the perspective of music, Christopher Johnson is a musician at heart, a guitarist by preferrence, though he can tickle the ivories when needed… Recording and Mixing is a passion for Christopher and his catalog of music can back that up…
But how did Christopher get from there to here? In his words;
“I was in fourth and fifth grade playing church music giving it no attention I thought because I wasn’t playing Van Halen. As it were, I knew a few songs at best and a handful of chords but didn’t realize that church music I played used the same chords to play the rock music I loved from the radio. I set it down…
In 1992, I was over at a duplex with a friend and we were visiting a friend named Eric Boyce. Eric had been playing a couple of years and when he played “American Pie”, I payed attention to his hands and recognized the chords, at least a few of them if not most and I was inspired… I went out the next day and bought a classical acoustic and tried to put steel strings on it, which as anyone knows, will destroy a pawn shop guitar meant for nylon strings… Anyway, after a terrible electric guitar purchase, I traded it in with cash, to buy a Lotus Acoustic Dreadnaught with black binding. I named the guitar “Stoney Kingston Buckthorne” . I still play Stoney as my main acoustic to this day…
I started recording songs with a four-track tape recorder in probably mid-1993 or later, but I was recording myself to get better and learn songs. I bought my own Fostex X-18 4-track recorder and Eric had the same model and so we shared and collaborated between the tapes we shared. Sometimes we would setup and just jam… Other times we worked out songs or came up with different parts and they would come together in a song. This is the basis for the drawing on the album cover of “Midnight Jam”.
By 1995, Eric and I were sort of drifting and life was happening for him and me. I started to play at a Sunday jam session which I ended up being a strong member of most of the summer. In November of that same year I played my first solo show. I opened for a St. Louis band named MU330…
Just about a month prior to the show opening for MU330, I wrote a long-hand rough draft of a screenplay which I wrote over three or so days at an AppleBee’s in Topeka, KS. The story, “The Overnight Success” was about a band who sold platinum in literally one night over the internet. It was way ahead of it’s time. iTunes didn’t even come out until 2003 and the iPod was only released in October of 2001. Recordable CD drives were out barely and were outrageously priced in 1995 . Windows 95 was only just released in August of 1995 and I saw a story to be told to shape the future. I got on AOL as soon as I could, probably in 1996 and early 1997. I was working on recording with my Multitrack recorder and worked on learning about the content to write a full screenplay with a basic soundtrack which I copyrighted in 1998 as “The Other Side Of Blue”.
I ultimately had to turn down a record deal that I’d negotiated for the film. I feel it would have laid the ground work for a quite different outcome. However, “The Other Side Of Blue” went unproduced and probably just as well.
I followed up over the next couple years with writing two or so more screenplays in a series of the story of SPEKTRUM, the band in “The Other Side Of Blue”. I set to work on a work that was different.
I had become intrigued by AI, Artificial Intelligence and I started looking into programming in a language called AIML . I’d envisioned a hybrid language called SPKML based in part in the XML structure of AIML with the MultiMedia capabilities of HTML, or then DHTML; now, HTML5… SPKML is an acronym in this case for Specific Purpose Knowledge and Media Language. I call it something different in a book I wrote inspired by the idea in 2003-2004, “<CodeBase />” was written and then published in various incarnations as well as in paperback since 2005. You can find it today in paperback at https://www.amazon.com/Codebase-Chris-Johnson/dp/1438248628
In early 2005 I began working on a MacBook G4 laptop and it was a dream for the time. I set out recording an album of music that year and started mainly recording midi Karaoke tracks that were more real than midi, at least in my attempt to make good ‘covers’… There’s a selection from those recordings… under ‘Music’ in the menu.
I worked on some stuff but not much for a couple years, dealing with life on life’s terms as it were and doing poorly until I got to build my first computer in 2009 and it was good enough to run World Of Warcraft. Though that doesn’t say much since I also was able to get it hackintoshed and was able to not only hackintosh an atom powered netbook from hp but also run World of Warcraft.
I played a few years and worked on music on my hackintosh machines but I had to come back to windows and then back to a real mac. I’d run my website and ran a podcast for a while and have run SPKML.com and SPEKTRUMCreations.com for years, perhaps since 2003-2005?
One of the reasons that I thought a Mac works better for me is that Apple bought Logic, they slimmed it down to make Garageband and include it as an app in a standard install… Now Garageband is a full-fledged app that is more than capable and though I like Logic, I find with 24 bit audio master mixdowns, it is plenty good enough for my needs… On top of that I now share on blend.io/spkml where you can download my actual Garageband sessions to remaster or remix yourself.
I’ve recorded on an iPhone in fact to the point that I’ve actually done entire albums worth of material on my iPhone 4, 6 and now 8. I’ll eventually upgrade but that’s not the point of this… I guess I’m a nerd still… But I’m a music nerd, so I think my 4th grade self would think that’s pretty neat.