Interview: Arrested Youth on Debut Album ‘Nonfiction’

Arrested Youth, a project led by Ian Johnson, has just released his debut album, Nonfiction, an introspective record about growth and discovery. It meshes pop-punk, alternative, and hip-hop and focuses on building a stronger sense of self.

We caught up with Arrested Youth as he’s set out to perform the album to chat more about the project and what’s in store for the future.

How does it feel to have your debut album ‘Nonfiction’ out?
It feels great—especially performing it. We’re on tour right now, and it’s been an incredibly special experience to step on stage and hear people screaming the lyrics to these songs. There’s a strong feeling of human connection around this album and the live show. It makes all the hours I put into this album worth it.

Where did the name Arrested Youth come from?
I had written a few demos back in 2018 and knew I wanted to make a music project out of them. I didn’t want to use my personal name. Arrested Youth came to mind and just sort of stuck. The name embodied the lyrics and overall sentiment within the songs I was writing at the time.

How would you describe your sound as an artist and the contents of your debut album?
My sound is a hybrid of rock, hip-hop, and pop influence. As for my lyrics, I focus on writing introspective, relatable songs that allow the listener to connect with me, the artist.

Did you always go into the project with two separate themes, one more bright and nostalgic and the other darker, and more reflective? Can you talk more about giving the album those two separate “chapters” of sorts?
The two themes within this album came very naturally. It wasn’t a pre-planned concept. I believe in paradoxical thinking—there are many sides to the same coin. I always see the world for what it truly is—a blend of darkness and brightness.

I try to capture both sides within my song writing. Life tests you. It’s a struggle to live life. It’s also an incredible experience with ample joy, opportunity, and meaning. It all comes down to how you chose to think about your life and the world around you. You can live in darkness or chose light.

I know you have enough to think about right now, but I’m curious if you have thought at all about what’s next, and what fans could possibly expect from Arrested Youth in regard to the future?
We’re currently on the second leg of our first headline tour. Once we finish the Nonfiction Tour, we’ll be opening for Twenty One Pilots on their Takeover Tour. After that, we’ll see what’s next for Arrested Youth.

Watch the video for “98 Degrees” here:

For more from Arrested Youth, find him on Facebook, Instagram, and his official website.

Photo courtesy of Arrested Youth and Shervin Lainez

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