IBG Interview – 8 Questions With… Johan Ruborg

Johan Ruborg

Creating your own musical style requires that you rely on the masters of the past. Take the music you have loved and expand on it with your own personal style. Our recent find Johan Ruborg seems to have done just that.

We caught up with the guitar rocker to get a little deeper into his music and future. Check out the interview here:

First off, what is it that drives you to create music?

For me it’s like a drive, I’ve actually tried to stop writing music a couple of times through the years, because as an independent artist it can sometimes be kind of discouraging and you don’t get much back. But after a while, it’s like I have to get it out of me. I don’t think you can kill that creative force, for me it’s as natural as breathing and if you try to choke it you’ll eventually lose your mind. 

How would you describe the Johan Ruborg sound?

I think you have to release a few albums before you can label yourself ‘soundwise’. For me it’s very much about creating organic music and staying connected to the artists and bands that I grew up listening to, without trying to emulate anyone. My music is often guitar driven since I almost exclusively write my songs on guitar. I guess it’s a bit roots rock with some unorthodox elements in it. I still want to create a new listening experience. 

Which artists have had the biggest influence on you?

It depends on which part of the craft we’re talking about. 

Vocally I wouldn’t have started singing at all if it weren’t for Ozzy Osbourne. He was my big hero in my early teens when I started out. But as I grew older and evolved an interest for other genres and discovered the possibilities and limitations of my voice, I guess the singers that affected my vocal style the most were guys like Eric Burdon, Joe Cocker, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Daltrey and actually also Ry Cooder. Ry’s a huge influence for me when it comes to singing, being one of the greatest guitar players in the world he’s also one the most underrated male blues singers ever. 

When it comes to the guitar I say like Charles Bukowski “my ambition is handicapped by my laziness”. I love listening to guys like Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani but I prefer to integrate elements from players that I actually have time and energy to learn, players that kind of uses the guitar as an extension of communication, with a unique and personal tone rather than technical skills. Guys like Neil Young, Buddy Guy, Pete Townsend, Link Wray. 

Last but most importantly the songwriting. There are so many influences here. Bruce Springsteen of course is an institution when it comes to songwriting and also of course Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon, Tom Petty, M Knopfler, John Hiatt and not to mention Stan Ridgway, a great american songwriter.

How does a song come together for you? What is your songwriting process?

It could be with just a line, a phrase, sometimes a title. But it’s always in good company with a guitar. 

What do you hope the listener will take away from a Johan Ruborg song?

I hope that they at least try to listen to what I have to say. Since the lyrics itself is a big part of my artistry I don’t want it to be secondary. Not to say that the music’s not important here. If you get the ol’ shivers down your spine when you hear one of my songs I think I did something right. 

Where do you find inspiration to write original music?

From real life, books, relationships, movies, work, friends, politics, religion, sex, poetry, family, philosophy…or sometimes you just have to force it out with a bottle of scotch.

Share some advice for other artists updating classic music. 

Learn from the masters but create your own thing, find your own voice.

Be persistent and keep a continuity in your work. You’ll most likely not have a breakthrough with something you did 10 years ago. 

Give us a look at the future of Johan Ruborg.

I have another album in the works already. Of course, I hope to promote my upcoming album with some gigs but it doesn’t look promising thanks to the Covid-19. I’ll take one day at a time and we’ll see. 

Keep up with more from Johan Ruborg on his WEBSITE.

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