Christopher Johnson - Hard Look

Interview: Hard Look’s Christopher Johnson on Faith, Musical Influences, and ‘Omnexus (Redux)’

Early in his formative years, Christopher Johnson of Hard Look picked up his first instrument, but it wasn’t until he became a teenager that he began to take music seriously. Fast forward to the present, and this one-man band is on fire, releasing EPs, remixes, and merchandise quicker than most mainstream bands.

Christopher Johnson’s passion for religion and people bleeds through every song he writes — highlighting his mission every step of the way. With violent growls, crushing guitars, and electronic beats, no metalhead could deny Hard Look is at the top of the genre, although few have ever heard of them.

We had a few questions for Johnson about his one-man band, musical influences, and his latest album,

While splitting his time between church, a day job, and music-making, Christopher Johnson was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his one-man band, musical influences, and more.

Christopher Johnson - Hard Look

Eulalie Magazine: How does it feel to be on Broken Curfew Records? How did that come about?

Christopher Johnson: It is a blessing! I was hitting a wall with reach and advertising to get more listeners, and the label has doubled my reach easily. It’s a great label with great bands — and I love being a part of it.

Eulalie Magazine: Who are your musical influences?

Johnson: A vast majority of my influences are secular bands, but I aim to utilize that sound with Christian lyrics. My main influences are Fear Factory, Rammstein, Slaughter to Prevail, Dawn of Ashes, Psyclon Nine, Wumpscut, Cattle Decapitation, Megadeth, I Declare War, Terror, Korn, Slipknot, Suicide Silence, Zao, With Blood Comes Cleansing, Sinai Beach, and Bleeding Through.

Eulalie Magazine: Being a one-man band, would you ever consider going on tour? Who do you think would be the best tour mates?

Johnson: I would definitely consider it if there were dedicated musicians who wanted to play my stuff live. So far I haven’t found this, but it’s definitely something I would like to do.

I’m trying to come up with a way to perform live and have it be entertaining and sound good. I’ll probably just have to wait and find people.

The best tour mates would be dedicated Christians who can talk about Jesus and who aren’t consumed by addictions like smoking, drugs, and alcohol.

Christopher Johnson - Hard Look

Eulalie Magazine: What is the central message of your music?

Johnson: Jesus is the only way out of this mess. No matter what you have done, what you have previously believed, and no matter how bad things may seem, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Jesus is the only way to heaven and the only real source of truth in this world of lies. The whole world is hurting, and they all need Jesus. Many just don’t know it yet.

Eulalie Magazine: As a Christian artist, do you see yourself as super spiritual?

Johnson: Super spiritual? No, I wouldn’t say that necessarily. I believe what the Bible says, I pray, and I go to church.

I try my best to do what the Lord calls me to do. I try to hear and obey the Lord more and more every day. I have a constant desire for God, but I’m not going to say I’m super spiritual.

I’m just a dude who realized Jesus is the way, and I’ve just been following Him. This music was something I was called to do, and I’m more or less just obeying.

Music is a tool. It can be used for good or evil. I’m using it for good and for sharing the Gospel, fulfilling the Great Commission through music.

Christopher Johnson - Hard Look

Eulalie Magazine: At what age did you start playing music, and what was your first instrument?

Johnson: I started playing percussion in elementary school, but I didn’t take it seriously. I first got serious about playing music at age 13.

I got an acoustic guitar and I played on it for a year straight, saving my money for a BC Rich Warlock electric guitar (because it looks so metal, haha) and once I got that thing, I took off fast. I would spend hours in my room riffing and trying to play Metallica and Megadeth songs from tab books.

I became addicted to guitar and just kept practicing into my 20s. Then I realized bass was similar, so I picked that up.

I would jam on drum sets whenever I had the opportunity. I spent a lot of time desk tapping in high school, learning how to syncopate double bass (by tapping my feet) and doing high hat (with a pen) and snare (with my knuckle on the desk), which led to me getting behind my friends’ kits and stuff.

Though all HL’s drums are programmed, I do know how to play drums — just not good enough for what I want to do. Importantly, I only program drum parts that are indeed playable and not impossible. My love of music even took me into synths, and I bought my first cheap Casio.

I just wanted to learn as many instruments related to metal as I could, and I put my efforts into it. I started the screaming vocals journey in my late teens/early 20s as well, just trying to sound like all the vocalists I have liked.

Eulalie Magazine: How would you describe your music to a potential listener?

Johnson: Deathcore with industrial flavors thrown into it. It’s metal with brutal vocals and breakdowns. There just happens to be a lot of electronic elements as well.

Eulalie Magazine: What does the word Omnexus mean to you and for the album?

Johnson: It’s a word I came up with to describe the nexus between the Omniscient Omnipresent One (God) and His people here on earth. It’s about our communion with God as believers in Christ. It’s a theme found throughout the album, especially with “Roots Like Veins.” We are all connected through God.

Christopher Johnson - Hard Look
Christopher Johnson – Hard Look

Eulalie Magazine: Is being a musician your career goal or a hobby?

Johnson: Both. I would love to make a living doing music and ministry. Currently, I have to work a normal job, go through seminary, train for ministry, and make music with whatever free time is left.

If I could make enough through music, I would definitely choose it for a career. I’m grinding every day trying to make that a reality. My end goal is to pastor my own church and make music.

Eulalie Magazine: You’ve recently started offering to do remixes for other artists. What can you tell us about that? Which ones are you looking forward to the most?

Johnson: I did a remix for a Christian Industrial band called FHTH and their song “Bunker Rat.” It was the best remix I’ve ever done, and people dug it! It inspired me to do more.

I have two remixes for Christian Metal bands in the scene, but cannot disclose just yet who those bands are. It will likely be something I continue doing.

Follow Hard Look on all major social media outlets. Stream all Hard Look music on Spotify. All merchandise is available only at Broken Curfew Records.

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Self-proclaimed entertainment guru Charles E Henning fills his free time reading books, watching movies, and listening to music. While not always up on the latest trends, he is always willing to dissect the themes of pop culture.

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