For John Enghauser, ‘Reality’ Is A Good Thing

Written by on May 23, 2013 in CD / DVD Releases, Gigs / Tours / Events, Interviews, May 23, 2013 - Comments Off on For John Enghauser, ‘Reality’ Is A Good Thing

John Enghauser Reality (def.) – “The state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined.” The world around us and the things we all experience on a daily basis as seen through the astute eyes of John Enghauser comprise the twelve insightful tracks on his rockin’ new album, Reality.

Making the arduous cross-country move from the relatively chill vibe of San Francisco to the ’round-the-clock hectic pace of New York City may have affected many other musicians’ songwriting, but not John. The soft-spoken, tall Michigan native has always maintained a cool, calm demeanor; living in The Big Apple hasn’t changed that part of Enghauser at all.

All Access Magazine Publisher Debra Stocker (AAM) recently sat down with John (JE) to discuss his new record, life in The Big Apple, and more.

AAM: The title of your new album is called “Reality.” Some people’s reality is not all that good these days. How is yours?

JE: My reality couldn’t be much better. I am, however, in the middle of a long distance break-up after 2 years. Always difficult, but we both agree it was for the best so I’m looking at the bright side. In life, one door closes and ten more open.

AAM: How did relocating from the relatively chill environment of San Francisco to the non-stop hustle bustle that is  New York City shape the songs on Reality – did it make them darker, more manic, etc.?

John Enghauser JE: Well, all of the songs on Reality were fully written by the time I arrived in New York City so we’ll have to wait for my next release to see how NYC influences things. There’s no doubt that my lifestyle here will shape my creativity differently. Hopefully for the best.

AAM: Overall, how do you find the whole recording process to be – easy breezy or tedious and grueling? Or some point in between?

JE: A little of everything, ha! But it’s mostly a very creative and fun experience. There are basically three parts to the process… songwriting, recording and mixing. Songwriting is ongoing and I’ll record bits at home or while traveling on my phone and then perform rough versions of it that I’ll record at home on my logic studio software. Once I get all of the songs and lyrics basically structured, I bring them into Joerg Stoeffel’s studio where the final recordings are done for all instruments. I’ll then perform lead vocals at his studio and sing back-up harmonies at home as well as keyboards. For lead vocals, I like to have Joerg turning the knobs so I can just sing which is why I don’t record them at home. Same goes for playing guitar. There’s no one else I’d want engineering my record than Joerg. We totally understand each other and most importantly, we have fun! The final step is the mix and the FINAL mix. This would be the most tedious step in the process because your perfectionist gene kicks in. Once the final mix is done, it’s done! I do most of the editing on my own in my home studio and then send to Thor Laewe in L.A. who turns it into magic! Such an incredible talent and a delight to work with. I was lucky enough to reach him when he was between projects with Disney and a feature film.

AAM: The title track is obviously a well-deserved stab at Reality TV. Were there any shows in particular you had in mind when you wrote this song?

JE: The song definitely pokes fun of those who are on these shows and those who aspire to be. I didn’t have one particular show in mind, but have seen bits of shows like Jersey Shore and The Kardashians that are just absurd to me. I think some people love watching these reality shows (which aren’t as “real” as people think) because stupidity and fighting are amusing to them. The sub-plot of the song is about a guy who got dumped and thinks that by becoming famous on a reality show, he’ll win her back. I feel that it portrays the mentality of people that aspire to be on these shows and those who are on it. But the glorification of it all is what I think can be damaging.

AAM: Let’s throw you a curve ball here: What’s your take on today’s music industry as a whole, and what place an independent artist such as yourself has in it going forward?

JE: In today’s industry it’s much harder to make it big, but easier to make it small. What I mean by that is the days of the big record deal are almost extinct because music doesn’t sell nearly as well as it used to due to piracy, especially among younger music fans. However, there are many more ways to access an audience via the Internet that didn’t exist before. It can be done organically now without the help of Clear Channel Radio or big record labels as there are many tools to reach an interested audience with social networking.

Some bands still make it happen the old fashioned why through lots of touring which can be grueling, but incredibly lucrative for some. One thing I like about today’s industry is that a guy like me, who’s experience with major label showcases is a distant memory, can make his mark via placement in film, commercials and TV. I’m an original songwriter and I write and perform what comes from me. I don’t write songs that fit into genres based on what music execs are looking for. But there are some who do that well and make a decent living at it.

Unfortunately, music has become such a big business that there are hardly any creative people or musicians left that help run it. Business people aren’t musicians so they use a proven formula which doesn’t allow for many new and adventurous sounds. They will literally ask for music that sounds like someone else who is currently popular and making them money. The music also has been watered down to appeal to the masses. They play it safe.
Overall, I think the golden years of pop/rock music are in the past, but on the bright side, there’s still some great music out there. You just have to look for it.

AAM: Where is Reality available for purchase?

JE: You can buy it on Amazon, ITunes, CD Baby, Rhapsody and some songs will soon be added to my Pandora channel. It’s accessible elsewhere, but the ones I’ve listed are confirmed.

AAM: How would you best answer this question: “In five years my music career will be…”

JE: Ha! The “Where will I be in 5 years?” question. Call my answer boring, but if my life is anything like it is right now then I’ll be grateful. As long as I’m loving what I do and I’m healthy then that’s all that matters.