Video Premiere: “Tambourine” | Interview with vocalist/guitarist Christo Johnson | By John Silva
“I love heavy music, but I also have this affinity for pop music, and just combining those two things and making catchy riffs—that’s been the most exciting thing to me,” says Christo Johnson, lead vocalist and guitarist for Yarrow.
Johnson’s love of both heavy and catchy music gives the Philadelphia-based band an interesting sound. Broadly, Yarrow might best be defined as post-hardcore, but it’s difficult to put them in any box. In addition to being both unique and catchy, their biggest asset is how well they play together, each member possessing a style that blends quite nicely when fused together. “All three of us come from similar but pretty different musical backgrounds, in terms of bands that we’ve been in over the past few years, and it all just really jelled in a way that I haven’t experienced too much,” Johnson says.
The band are new, but they’re getting ready to make a splash with their debut EP, A Mild Circus, which is out Feb. 16 from Get Better Records. Yarrow are a perfect fit for Get Better, a Philly label that values inclusivity over profits. “I had never seen a record label that was expressly a queer-leaning or a queer-focused record label that seemed to have this really distinct set of values and a really distinct mission that is in line with what I’m about,” Johnson explains.
The Philadelphia scene has been getting a lot of buzz lately for its high volume of quality independent artists, and Yarrow fit right in. “That’s one of the reasons I chose to move to Philly, because of all the things I heard about the music scene and all the bands that were coming out of there,” Johnson says. “I love how much energy and how much creativity and how much creative output comes out of this city.”
A Mild Circus is a well-written EP with personal, vulnerable lyrics, but it’s the music that Johnson is most excited about, noting, “What I’m most proud of concerning this band is the musicianship and the compositions. Meri [Haines] and I have very different styles of playing guitar, but I like how much they interplay and how much they work with each other. I love making weird, good-sounding music, and I wanna keep doing that.”