top of page


Johnny Manchild and the Poor Bastards - Dylan Johnson _giantclick -36.jpg

Electric Music Magazine with Johnny Manchild from Johnny Manchild and the Poort Bastards.


When did you decide that a career in music was for you?


A: Music has always been a big part of my life. I started playing drums seriously around 8 years old and was in my first band at 10. I don’t think I ever really questioned if it was what I was going to do for a living. 


Who are your musical inspirations and why?


A: I love Dresden Dolls, Elton John, Green Day, Queens of the Stone Age, Esperanza Spaulding, Nine Inch Nails... all kinds of stuff. Dave Grohl is a big inspiration specifically, in that he's an accomplished drummer with SO many different projects, and also leads his own project. He's also gone on to direct and make films, and it's inspiring to see someone work in so many mediums and also not be a dick while he's doing it. 


Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?


A: I love to cook when I can find the time. I'm a recording engineer outside of the band, and I work with lots of other artists making music. Third thing... I love the Enders Game Series of books. 


What song of yours best describes you and why?


A: I think it might be Resolve. It has a lot of different elements, and topically is really close to my heart. 


What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?


A: My favorite personally has been Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. We left our van and gear in Brooklyn, took the train into the city, and used the backline stuff. I got to perform on an actual grand piano, which is a totally different vibe and so much more fun than a keyboard. It was a blast. 


If you could perform a gig at any venue, where would it be and why?


A: I'd love to play Red Rocks someday. It's a gorgeous venue, and it has such a unique sound. 


What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?


A: I think it was in 2019 when we released a single every month for a year. That was such a fun challenge, and it brought in so many new fans. In the future, I'd like to try something similar but while we're actively touring and meeting people and performing. Releasing music that way keeps things fresh, and it also really helps not to overthink the music when you're creating and releasing. 


Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?


A: We were performing in Chicago, and afterwards we stayed at a friend’s house in the Ukrainian Village. They moved their car so we could have the street parking, but we couldn't quite get our van in the spot straight without the trailer blocking the street. So, all 8 of us who were there got on each side of the trailer, picked it up, and walked it to the curb. We almost tipped the thing and killed ourselves, but we got the job done.


What do you like best about being a musician and why?


A: I love finding new music, listening to it, performing it, meeting new people, seeing cool venues, and recording studios, and just all of it. I'm a huge fan at the core of everything, and I love getting to experience all the little bits of this job. 


What has been the best gig you have been to as a fan, and can you tell us about it?


A: My favorite personally was seeing Hop Along in 2018. They were so good, and their sound was so clean, it sounded like the record but better. They also couldn't find a lighter, and I got to give them mine and hang in the green room. Best night ever. 


What would your ideal festival lineup be and why?


A: This is impossible for me. I would need a few different festivals to get all my favorites out. I'd love to see LCD Soundsystem, Nine Inch Nails, Spoon, Haitus Kaiyote, Sammy Rae and The Friends, Dresden Dolls, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Rufus Wainwright, and maybe like... The Dirty Nil? It's too hard. 


What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?


A: Life isn't something to be conquered alone but enjoyed together. 


What things make you happy and what things annoy you?


A: Good food and good friends make me happy. June bugs annoy me. Stay away from my friends and my food. 


What things do you like to do when you are away from music?


A: I like cooking a lot and reading. I go on a lot of walks and drink a lot of coffee and tea. I try to just enjoy my little life and not pay attention too much to what it is I'm doing when I can. 


Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?


A: Like anything, there's good and bad. We have this incredible tool for outreach and connection, but it also hangs around our neck and weighs us down sometimes. I don't love the idea that we have to commodify our interests and always be creating and creating just for other people to take in. In moderation, it's a great tool. In excess, it's literally mainlining depression. 


How important do you think your look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?


A: It's always been relevant, now maybe even more so. I've never been good at cultivating a style, but I'm dipping my toes into it, and it's actually very fun. Like anything else, it has to be genuinely you, otherwise it's just not going to take. 


Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?


A: sure thing. I have my piano logo on my right bottom forearm. My left bottom forearm has a little skull, and the eyes and nose spell OKC. My left shoulder is a surreal man in a suit with a trumpet gun blowing music notes through his head. He also has a little hat. My right shoulder is a piano monster design our friend Shelby Criswell drew up for us. On my right bicep is an eyeball from the album art of our last record. My left bicep is an eyeball resting in a skull, drew up by my friend Avery Huckabee after they got in a bad wreck. 


If you ran the country for a day, what would you change about it and why?


A: Never let me run the country. I would very probably give away too many things, and legalize everything. 


What would your ideal day consist of?


A: Some music, some good food, some good exercise, a nice sunset or sunrise, ideally some good conversation, and probably some fooling around sprinkled throughout all of that. 


If you could say one thing to your fans, what would it be and why?


A: Thanks for listening, and I hope you stick around for what’s next. I always appreciate the listeners, but it's always so difficult to keep them around. So much music coming out all the time, it's very difficult to actually find a chance to speak to people directly, so I'd keep it simple. 


How would you answer the question Who are Johnny Manchild and the Poor Bastards and what are the differences between you as a music artist and you away from music?


A: JMPB is my baby, and it grows and changes with me as we go. It's me and my friends and colleagues; whoever I can get to help me actualize this stuff I write. There aren't many differences between me and me as an artist lately. The longer this goes, the more that line blurs. This project has helped me grow, and it’s this big back and forth transaction where I learn more about myself, and take that back into future writing and expression. Of course, I'm a bit "bigger" on stage than real life, but even in real life, I've become far more extroverted than I ever used to be. 


What was the first record or song you purchased and why?


A: From Here to the Infirmary by Alkaline Trio. I remember listening to that single on the headphones in the record store, and I thought it was sick. It was the first thing I ever bought with my own allowance. 


What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?


A: If you don't love the shit out of this, be wary of it. It'll test you in a million ways, so be sure that you love it. That being said, nothing is forever, and nothing is that serious, so if you wanna just make some tunes with your friends, then go and do it until you can't anymore. It doesn’t have to be a career. 


If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician, who would you choose and why?


A: I would love to write with Fiona Apple or Amanda Palmer. I just think we'd jam out something really rad and weird. Also, I think working with Blake Mills or Lizzy McAlpine would be a blast. 


If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?


A: Strangely enough, American Dream by LCD Soundsystem. The lyrics are gorgeous, and they hit me hard for some reason I don't quite get. Something about getting older and losing the magic tends to be a sensitive topic for me. Its a beautiful song, and I think it would be beautiful even outside of the electronic arrangement.


What things make you uncomfortable?


A: Hateful people, slightly damp socks, and maybe watching a movie with your friend after telling them how much you loved it and how great it is, only to get to the incredibly graphic and long-winded sex scene that you forgot about. 


If you wrote a book about yourself, what would it have in it?


A: Lots of mistakes, and lots of food recommendations. 


What has the rest of the year got in store for you?


A: Lots of touring, and travel! I hope to record some new music this year after the record comes out as well. Who knows! We're gonna keep it movin. 

bottom of page