The L.A.-based solo project Sofa City Sweetheart is the centerpiece around which (Juan Antonio) Lopez shapes his masterworks. Writing, arranging, recording, and engineering all the music himself, Lopez tangles together his spectrum of childhood influences into stories of acceptance. Over layers of gentle guitar sit toe-tapping melodies and intermingling harmonies that merge art and feeling, spinning stories that tie the persistent tragedies in his own life to the stuck-to-it-iveness that’s often required in any contemporary artist.
Sweet Sweet Music talked to Juan about his new release ‘Super(b) Exitos’.
For every song you record, how many end up in the bin?
WAY too many. But the bin is more of a “to do” bin instead of a trash bin (or do you guys say “rubbish” over there?) Most of them are just unfinished, or need better/completed lyrics and are waiting for their day to shine. There are literally hundreds!
As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?
It’s kind of funny, because I am a naturally shy and private person that doesn’t always like to reveal too much or be the center of attention. But this is essentially what I’m doing when I perform and release my music to the world. It’s a strange dynamic, but I think I feel most comfortable expressing myself through music. You can feel it more when the words and feelings are delivered with a soundtrack.
Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million seller?
If I knew that, I’d be flying in my solid gold spaceship right now. Maybe legally changing my name to “Adele”?
Honestly, I think my music tends to be most popular with musicians and other music/songwriting nerds (of which I am proud of!) so I’m not sure if I will ever have a mega platinum hit. (But maybe if enough nerds come together and form a union I can start making payments on that spaceship!)
Recording music. What’s all the fun about?
I always say that writing songs is the closest I’ll ever get to giving birth. And recording is where you get to see the song “grow up”. This is where the greatest magic happens. It’s important for me to not only write a great chord progression and melody, but to write all of the other parts that add to the song and make it more beautiful and powerful. Countermelodies, bass lines, guitar parts, harmonies, etc… That’s the fun stuff! Only when the song has grown up is it ready to go out into the world.
You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?
Maybe just exactly how much work I put into every single aspect of my songs. From the writing, to recording, producing, and mixing… I spend a lot of time at every step. I’m basically a mad scientist in the studio and try everything I can to make the song come out just right. Then eventually, one day, lightning strikes and… IT’S ALIVE!