Johny Dar may not be a household name in the world of music quite yet, but with 2018 set to be the year of Dardelica, his upcoming album, there’s a powerful force coming to the scene, and it is one to be reckoned with.
Dar’s work in art and fashion has been featured on the glossy pages of Vogue, strutted on the NYC catwalk and exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery. But Dar has more to give and with his debut album Dardelica coming out next year we chat with the man behind all the hype. To find out more about his recent move to music, being born weird, Dar Time and future plans.
Describe yourself using 3 words.
Never give up.
Where are you based right now?
I was based in Germany for the past 4-5 years, but originally I am from California. The weather is absolutely great there and Germany was contradicting that quality of life for me, therefore I am relocating back to LA - which fits better with my next projects.
You’ve done fashion, you’ve done art, you’ve done charity work. So why music and why now?
Because music is the dream that has been haunting me but I always dismissed it until now, because everyone wants to be a rockstar. Why now? It’s more like, it’s been a long way home...
So what do you bring that’s special?
I have been on my own since age 16 when I was forced to raise myself, and that is when I discovered what is special about me. I can turn things around, just when it seems like there is no turning point anymore, by being deadly serious about completing my task, because otherwise, I have nothing to fall back on.
Let’s talk about your latest single, ‘Scars’ - does the song depict a specific time in your life?
Yes, it depicts my journey in breaking through all resistance that I faced in coming to develop my artist self and creative expression - with my childhood at the heart of it.
We all know it's a challenge to make a living from being an artist in this world and the challenge of breaking into the industry is even greater. To add to all those challenges, my dad had to be one of those people who thinks that every artist is broke and starving, and so he fought my artistic side as much as possible. To a point where I was drawing underneath my bed because I just couldn't stop drawing but to some extent he managed to get me away from art for a while.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the gnarly music video for ‘Scars’?
I usually look for the right alchemy in anything I am doing. I know once I have the right alchemy, it is just a matter of creating the atmosphere for this alchemy to take form and be able to capture it as it is unfolding.
Therefore in my cast, I don’t look for an act, I look for the real emotion behind the person. I am almost able to sense what is hidden behind their character, and that which has not been brought out yet. I have almost mastered directing without having a set direction, but instead having a set intention and a vision to bring to life.
This video is raw - an explosion of emotions. Because when we believe in pain, we end up empowering our weakness and fears. Part of my journey to break out of pain was to face the ugly and dark and uncontrollable aspect of pain, when it gets hold of an individual.
There’s also been talk about ‘Dar Time’ and at the end of the music video for ‘Be Free’, the previous single, there was a watch. Can you explain what this all means?
The real luxury in life is time. Therefore, if I can expand time and expand my experiences by expanding time then I believe I can expand my own lifetime. We believe we can achieve so much in 8 hours, but once you take the clock away and ask someone to work 8 hours - what is really the deciding factor? How many hours and minutes someone hung out in the space, or how their hours and minutes are counted based on their achievements within that time?
We tend to confuse reality with a belief system - therefore we make our idea of 24 hours proportionate to our idea of reality and decide our capacity within 24 hours based on the previous experiences we had within 24 hours...but that is not necessarily the reality for other beings. Other than people with the same watches. The idea behind Dar Time is to have a fresh perspective on what is possible in your day now, with 32 hours in it, instead of 24 hours.
Within my creative team, this is the clock we run on. My team tend to stay fresh, on point, not experiencing lazy moments and spending the day looking at the clock - not counting the hours like they used to at work. It’s a super team, with super outcomes.
Dar Time works on a principle of having 8 hours to work, 8 hours to play, 8 hours to sleep and 8 hours to enjoy life! I believe a lot of issues in society could be resolved by changing our concept of time and productivity... think of traffic, efficiency, frustration, stress, unemployment and all these things that could be shifted by simply changing the idea that lies behind them.
We know you have a new form of vocal instrumentation called ‘Alien-Rap’. How did you first discover that you could do it?!
I was born weird. I remember speaking an alien language from when I was a child - and drawing worlds that were never seen before. My father found this alarming rather than creative. He found it really scary and felt like he needed to save me from my art, therefore I suppressed it for a long time - and rediscovered it on my travels, through hanging out with different cultures, tribes, and musicians, and developing my vocal talents.
Your sound is very fresh and very new- can I ask what inspires you?
I believe music can transform us in many ways. I am keen to produce music that actually feeds the movement of the body, the movement of the emotion or the movement of the blood. I’ve partied a lot and my quest became how to produce the ecstasy and satisfaction of partying solely through the music.
What is your least and most favourite thing about the music industry?
I feel like it's an industry, after all, art is the packaging and the rest is like the rest - finances are the bottom line - therefore you end up robbing the soul from the main support of the soul in our society, which is music.
When you’re not making music and art, what are you doing?
It's always music or art or designing ...wearing many hats in my company and not really having time to do much else - because I am committed to proving that money is an idea, and the only way to beat the industry is by creating the bigger idea and bringing it to life.
So what ideas changed your life?
That everyone around me is a reflection of myself and that money is an idea.
What would you do to make the world a better place?
Continue on the journey of living my truth, no matter what, and hoping to inspire others to do so as well. If we managed to get 5% of the world to do that, I believe the world would transform the next day.
What would you fill a swimming pool with, if it could be anything?
Currently, my pool is filled with salt water, and I like it this way but if I could fill it with anything, that would be peace, love and eternal youth.
What can we expect from Dardelica in 2018? What will the live show be like? Any teasers you can give us?
The show is going to take people back to church. It’s going to be the first musical performed by everyone attending the show. No one should feel left out or too far away from stage.
And finally, is there anything weird and wonderful that you can tell us about yourself that might surprise our readers?
I sometimes get up in the middle of the night and start walking the city when everyone is asleep, finally crashing on the beach for sunrise - or frequently ending up in my neighbour's house. So if you ever run into me sleepwalking, you know I am just dreaming of the next idea.
You can find Johny on Instagram // Twitter
Words by Serena Bhardwaj