ONYX Collective sweet joseph the lemon twigs
Other / Erica Snyder

Onyx Collective and The Lemon Twigs member Daryl Johns is currently breaking out on his own as Sweet Joseph. Through this solo endeavor, the bassist is banging out what he describes as “progressive bubble gum pop” music that will jolt you with energy. Today, we’re premiering his self-directed video for “Friends Forever.”

Before you start watching, we should warn you that you will experience two things from this video—hunger and FOMO. If you haven’t already eaten breakfast, all of the pancake stacks might be extremely triggering. On top of that, Johns looks like he rolls with a tight knit crew so it might make you miss being around your closest companions.

In an email to Highsnobiety, he explained how the video “shows friendship in various ways, and features some of my most funniest, creative, and talented friends.” He adds, “The video is a story about a handful of friends who wake up to the scent of pancakes, have a nice breakfast and go play some baseball, with a dope barbecue to follow.”

After you eat up the entire visual, scroll down to learn more about Johns in our exclusive Q&A.

What was your entry point into music? Tell me about your background and how you fell into this art form.

My parents are jazz musicians, dad a drummer, mom a saxophonist. My dad would play music for me all the time from jazz fusion to rock n roll. I remember my dad playing a Todd Rundgren greatest hits record all the time for me, and there was one track that sounded like what I called “teenage music.” I don’t remember what song it was but it made me blush and have these feelings of embarrassment, sexuality, and excitement, cuz it reminded me of youthful rock roll teenagers having sex. That was an interesting feeling, I always thought teenagers were cool, maybe that’s why I have this fascination with boyish power pop these days.

I have a huge background of playing jazz bass since I was 7, I was like a little bass prodigy, then when I got to college my roommate got me into Mac Demarco and all the indie rockers, which made me start recording my own music using portastudios and stuff, and the rest is history.

Does NY inspire you creatively at all?

I mean I grew up in the tristate area so I owe a lot of my New York/New Jersey friends for influencing me, so yea. I would prefer repping New Jersey since I really grew up there, although the city was really close, but honestly I’m sick of New York I’m probably gonna move to LA or something in the west, it’s just way more beautiful out there. I think northeast America is really really ugly and cold and I actually kind of hate it. When I’m I la I’m happier than I am in anyplace in the world.

How does your solo project differentiate from The Lemon Twigs and Onyx Collective?

My music is at the cross roads of bubblegum pop and jazz fusion while Onyx’s stuff varies from free jazz to punk/hardcore to trap R&B. So that’s the difference, but we definitely both share a deep fascination with modern trap music and hardcore music. One day I’ll contribute to those genres since I’m obsessed with the aggressive energy behind them. I make happy somewhat light cute music sometimes, but I love aggressive angry ignorant music man, I love it, one day man I swear, one day…

What’s the story behind the name Sweet Joseph?

It all started as a band with me, and my college friends David Zyto and Evan Wright. At first I called it Led Zeppelin and The Beatles just cause there were all these bands like Elvis Depressdly and Chet Faker, a play on words of old artists, so I thought it’d be funny to actually use the names word for word of other old bands to just be weird and random. Then I think I subconsciously heard David say “Sweet Joseph,” which apparently was what his sister used to call him when he was young so I guess he came up with the name.

What is the inspiration behind the song “Friend Forever”?

I was in my basement two summers ago listening to the Lemon Twigs perform “Carolyn Will You Come” with R Stevie Moore on YouTube. I then checked out R Stevie’s original version, freaked out with how good it was then was like I need to write a dope love song write now, and then friends forever just popped out. Now a year later I’m playing with the Lemon Twigs and R Stevie Moore sat in with us playing the same song. Pretty crazy stuff.

Do you have anything else in the works that you can share?

I’m coming out with a new song called “Corner Store” along with a wild video. That song is a fucking shoegaze banger lolz. And then I’ll just be releasing singles, trying to record as much as possible while I’m off tour with the Lemon Twigs.

What are you hoping to accomplish as an artist? What do you want people to take away from your work?

I just wanna write anthems and then rock out obnoxiously on stage, that’s my goal. I want people to cry and also feel like they’re biting into something really sweet and they’re like “Oooooooooh this is exciting.” I wanna make exciting music not sleepy music. Everyone makes stoner music now, especially in the indie world, so I wanna make cocaine music. I wanna cure anxiety/depression ultimately for me and others, that’s what some of my favorite artists did for me.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

I wanna write as many anthems as possible and come up with an exciting live show that’s an energetic and cathartic experience in order to get all of my emotions and feelings out , so after the show we could party and relax 😉

Why do you hate cheese? What did it do to hurt you?

I like it on pizzza and pasta and like some fancy stuff, but sometimes it’s fucking disgusting looking omg yuck. Sometimes the presentation is god awful, don’t really like the look and consistency of melted cheese-eww eww this is making me gag fuck.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I want people to hear me on a distant radio and they’re brains be like “WTF is this? This sounds so fucking good, I need to know what this is. This is what I need in my life to stay sane.”

For more of our premieres, check out A.CHAL’s video for “Exotica” right here.

Words by Sydney Gore
Life & Culture Editor

Softcore tastemaker at your service.

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