Interview Woe Is Definitely Piano Magic

Glen Johnson describes how to write about heartbreak and death and come out smiling.

Piano Magic’s Glen Johnson talks us through how to write about the topics of heartbreak and death and come out smiling.

I’ve written 243 songs about heartbreak, which is pretty good since I’ve only had four girlfriends. If I divide those songs equally between the four of them, that’s 60.75 heartbreaks per relationship. And yet I only have one heart.

I’ve also written 328 songs about death and if I divide these songs by how many people have died since the beginning of the human race, there’s not much to go around.

12 years ago, girls stopped breaking my heart and ever since, writing songs about heartbreak has felt contrived. It’s like singing about Ugandan poverty when you were raised in Shropshire. As an alternative, I started to write songs about death, the futility of human existence and Raggety, the evil parsnip/twig-like creature dropped from the original 70’s series of Rupert Bear for being too scary for kids. Though ‘The Raggety Quadrilogy’ hasn’t yet made it to acetate, I have oft been accused of glorifying suicide, misery and being a poor man’s Blaise Pascale (17th century French philosopher who, amongst other things, liked to pour water into a barrel via a 10m long vertical tube until the water pressure caused the barrel to burst). I’m not sure what difference the difference between a poor man’s Blaise Pascale and a rich man’s Blaise Pascale would be. Perhaps the latter would be able to replace the barrel each time?

In some ways, with every song I write, I am replacing a barrel. Or perhaps I am just adding to a long list of songwriters who preferred to air their disgruntlements as opposed to their jollities. My jollities, I save for my own personal pleasure. They are kept in labelled jars behind a thick, dusty, black velvet curtain in the pantry, betwixt the shattered fragments of broken hearts, pickled parsnips and Sainsburys two-for-one marmalade. I do not do ‘Wake Up Boo.’

Piano Magic’s new album ‘Life Has Not Finished With Me Yet’ will be released on 11th June. Listen to a new track from the album, ‘The Slightest Of Threads’ here.

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