Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes recently celebrated its 15th anniversary as a band. How has the band evolved over time and how is that reflected on your latest album, Sketch?
This record is the most song-oriented of all the Johnny Sketch records. There’s still plenty of the eclectic funk-rock that’s been our signature since the beginning, but these songs have more pop elements, with very melodic choruses and catchy horn lines.
Has the creative process changed over the years? If so, how?
Now we have to schedule time to create, for starters. Over the years we have all spent a lot of time together; a few of us even lived together at different points in time. Now that we are all working on various projects outside of JSDN we have to consciously set time aside for us to come together and write.
Sketch is the first album you guys have made with this current lineup of Dirty Notes. What do they bring to the album that sets sketch apart from other JSDN albums?
The current lineup, in addition to the original Dirty Notes [Andre Bohren, Marc Paradis and David Pomerleau] includes Omar Ramirez, who we have played with since right after Katrina and who is a fixture in the Dirty Notes. We have also added Josh Paxton on keys. Paxton brings so much talent to the table and really fills out our sounds. Rounding out the band on this album on alto, tenor and baritone sax is Sage Rouge. Sage was a student of our former saxophonist, Brad Walker, so the transition between the two was fairly seamless. However, on this album Sage brings the heat! She even engages in a rap battle with David Pomerleau on the track ‘Stop It.’
Sketch marks a major milestone for you as this is the first time you have been the producer of a JSDN album. What was it like to have this added responsibility this time around?
When we started making this album I did not originally set out with the goal of being the producer. I have always been heavily involved in the album production process in terms of arranging and composing the songs; however this time, as we started the recording process I realized that I had a very clear vision for this album. About halfway through making the album, I called the rest of the band members and we all agreed that I would be the one to take the producer credit for this one.
So bottom line… Why should we pick up this record?
The album opens with an in-your-face cello fanfare and never looks back. I think it’s our most focused effort yet—the rock stuff rocks extra hard, and the funk stuff has a deeper groove. We’re all really proud of the final product.