Published Apr 12, 2013For eight years, Vancouver musician Jeff Johnson has performed in one way or another under the name OK Vancouver OK. This month, on April 20, Kingfisher Bluez will release his latest album Food. Shelter. Water., a collection of ten brand new songs.
Speaking with Exclaim!, Johnson explains that the new LP is slightly different in that it was recorded with Eli Moore of K Records band Lake rather than his usual method of recording to a four-track.
"Except for the song 'Loving You,' all the songs were recorded live as a band," Johnson says, pointing out that he's expanded the band's lineup to include two other members. "It used to be just me. Then I collaborated sometimes. Now it is a three person band. But we are going on tour for about a year, so collaborations may happen along the way. Hard to say."
The new lineup has also changed Johnson's writing method slightly, as he explains, "I write the songs. I write the lyrics.... I also listen to suggestions and I am happy to accept ideas that I like. I make people cry sometimes, and laugh. I love the current band. It's fun, and Laura and Liza are so talented and open."
As for the band's moniker, Johnson says that it represents where he was at when he first started the project in 2004. "I was asked to play a show and OK Vancouver OK described how I felt about living in Vancouver at the time — I was lonely, sad and found it difficult to find 'open people' that agreed with ideas and struggles of living similar to me and my experiences."
The city has continued to be a muse for the project, with Johnson saying, "Vancouver influences me because I have great friends here. Vancouver influences me because it is extremely expensive to live here if you want a house and to afford healthy food."
That struggle seems to play into the themes of the album, including its title. Johnson's solution to the surviving in the city might seem unorthodox to some.
"I have been living in a car with my wife for almost three years now. Living in a car allows us to access paying for healthy food and generosity from us to share and receive from others in our community. Finding what is available for toilets, showers, and finding trees with food (not many)."
It's all summed up in a single word. "Adaptability."
To check out Food. Shelter. Water. in its entirety, you can also stream the album here via Exclaim.ca.