Alex Johnson – Violin Influences
Alex Johnson began playing violin at the age of 10. Having been inspired by a Chicago Symphony Orchestra performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, featuring Yehudi Menuhin as the violin soloist, Alex asked his father for a violin. He got his first violin on his tenth birthday.
During his training at University of Utah Department of Music he played violin in the symphony orchestra and chamber orchestra, favoring earlier classical music styles. As he worked his way through music school, additional musical influences began changing his life.
His work while at music school included hosting music events for the music department. Because of this position he saw many different performances of every sort of music, from piano recitals to modern music multimedia events. He also took part in all of the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects that make up live music performances.
Alex Johnson – Rock & Heavy Metal
While continuing to take violin lessons throughout high school, at the age of 14 Alex also began playing electric bass guitar in heavy metal rock bands.. Initially, he was inspired by groups like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Pink Floyd.
His first band, “Armageddon”, was an all original hard hitting trio. Through these experiences in heavy metal and playing with others he learned to improvise and compose music and songs.
After leaving music school and his violin studies, Alex began playing in rock bands again in the Seattle area, in the early 1980’s. He took an active part in the Seattle heavy metal music scene which at that time included Queensryche, Sanctuary, Fifth Angel, Metal Church, and others.
Only after his last heavy metal band “Hammer” disbanded in 1987 did he begin integrating violin into his heavier brand of music.
Alex Johnson – A New Style of Music
Playing violin, bass guitar and synthesizer (ARP 2600) Alex began recording and developing his own style of music… blending his electric bass guitar with electronic effects (which he dubbed “fuzz bass”) and violin melodies and harmonies
“Fuzz Bass” combines delay effects along with distortion and volume control. It creates a unique sound that is reminiscent of some synthesizer sounds, but has a different feel and mood to it. Usually this is used on his more “spacey” ambient songs.
On some songs, the Fuzz Bass is used without much delay, and has a more punchy and gritty sound. This is usually used for “lead bass” parts that are melodies in the songs,
This new sound and style would lead to his first music releases in 1991.
Releases by Alex Johnson include:
For more details, reviews and music samples
Alex Johnson – Violin, Synthesizer, Bass Guitar
Alex’s musical style blends melodious violin strains with bass guitar and synthesizer, drawing from his influences of classical music, North Indian classical music and rock bands such as Pink Floyd.
It incorporates modern techniques and technical advancements, but reaches back to the expressive elements of the classical traditions.
Alex Johnson is currently engaged in fusing a new style of “east joins west” on violin, and writing new songs and ambient music.
It has been said that Alex Johnson is one of the original founders of the “Minimal Ambient” music style.
Above: (Not Ambient) – This video is a song I started and thought I would let people see what just the bass and drums are like. Later I would add some other instruments and musical parts. The song is called “Steam Shovel”. Anyone wanting to jam along, feel free… plenty of space for solos!