Tell us a bit about your musical background?
I’ve been playing guitar since age six taught by a local genius in the Bronx names Richie Giorgianni, was lucky enough to go to F.H. Laguardia Performing Arts High School and then study with some amazing masters at the Berklee College of Music where I was in a jazz fusion ensemble with 3 of the members of Imagine Dragons (Wayne, Ben, and Dan. Ben makes amazing cinnamon rolls.). I’ve since then had the pleasure of playing with many of NYC’s phenomenal up and coming artists like Nisha Asnani and Mario Spinetti. I’ll play with pretty much anyone, I just love sharing the experience. I’ve played in jazz bands, dance bands, rock/funk bands, big bands, kirtan combos in yoga studios, solo as a one-man band, with improv comedians, theater orchestras, my own vegas style shows, and much more. I enjoy playing in hospitals, retirement homes, prisons, rehabs and delivering live music to people that can’t afford it or aren’t able to go out and hear it. I love to play pretty much all styles of music and see all vibrations as being created equal, but especially like really spaced out soulful music that has a phat pocket groove with a catchy melody and room for improv with an eastern undertone that sounds like it was spat out by an extraterrestrial aboriginee. I recently went on a tour with Brother Joscephus and The Love Revolution and had a blast playing with them. If you haven’t heard them, go see them live. It’s an amazing experience.
I’m currently working on cruises in Australia and New Zealand as a one-man-act with a loop station. I loop guitar, bass, vocals, beat box, world percussion, household items and an iPod synth attached to my guitar with velcro while doing sorcery, mind reading, pranks, yodeling, vocal toning, animal noises on guitar, and a lil’ comedy and speaking about holistic health and transcendence.
I’ve designed my own guitar along with Godin called Aurora. She’s got a killswitch, sustaniac pickup, Stets Bar tremolo system, Slidefly slide holster, bone nut, harmonic overtone switch, and an iPod holder for synth and sound effects. If James Bond had a guitar, I’m pretty sure he’d want this one haha. It’s a blast.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am working on an album trilogy with my band of extraterrestrial, inter-dimensional shamans called the KoZmiK CoLLeCtive. They and others like myself are part of a sleeper cell of a secret agency from the 9th Dimension called L.O.V.E. that zips through the inter-dimensional multiverse to spread love, color and liberation among it’s many inhabitants. We’ve currently been driving around these earth-body machines to create a traveling sound healing festival on Earth that will incorporate vibrational sciences, integral education, holistic health, transcendental practices, performance and visual art, and more along with some and kick-ass music to heal people, empower them and bring out their love and special abilities. Check out some of the the music at www.jonnymantra.com.
We’ve recently patented an exciting new type of guitar slide called the Java Slide that’s really going to shake up the music world. We’re currently looking for a partner to team up with or license the patent to. You can check out the video.
I’m also working on an instructional video called “Strange Guitar” that will display tons of unorthodox, but useful tricks on the instrument along with some of the ones that players may have overlooked as well as another video on the topic of “Ultra-Creative Solo Guitar” that will hopefully extrapolate some fun new ideas out of solo musicians and bands alike. Check out some of the ensuing music and mischief at www.jonnymantra.com.
How would you describe the state of music right now?
As for the state of music right now, I think there’s just so much going on and so much to explore. The quickly emerging technologies, population boom, growing cosmic awareness and the most access to culture and information that we’ve ever had can shine many paths to walk along if the interest of the individual is there. As long as the spirit of creativity and authenticity are kept alive and we don’t forget where we’ve come from, we can expect lots of new and beautiful musical colors to emerge. I do think that music as a service to humanity, nature, and the universe has an infinite amount of implications that have yet to be explored by many. I feel that the more people think outside of the box while creating music, but do it in an accessible way, the bigger the impact it can have on a wider audience and raise the center of gravity of awareness and musical intelligence. The only way to charm a snake out of her basket is to first play her what she likes. Then you can show her the many colors and lights of your world. (Piss her off and you might get a bite on your ass filled with venom.)
What’s coming up for you in the future?
In the near future I will be traveling all over the US with in my funky camper-party-van named “Iris the Space Van Love Machine” performing everywhere so look out for us this Summer 2014. We plan on visiting Eco-villages, Native American Reservations, festivals, bars, clubs, hospitals, random streets and subway stations, ashrams, temples, churches, parks, crop circles, vortexes and anywhere we can play and meet some really cool people and jam with some sweet musicians while picking up talent for the KoZmic CoLLeCtive Festivals. We’ll need all the help we can get :). Videos and dates will be posted at http://www.jonnymantra.com . In the long term, I’m looking to run a Cafe/Healing Concert Venue/ Hostel/Permaculture inspired eco-village that will provide shelter for those who need it, and give people a place to let loose, be creative and evolve into the infinite beings that they’re destined to bloom into.
What attracted you to Mooer pedals?
I love Mooer because the pedals are super small in size, quirky, and they sound amazing, but best of all they sound unique! They have really cool names too. I’ve been traveling all over the world and it’s been so great to see these popping up in guitar stores on the most random places and islands in the middle of nowhere! I’ve been especially loving the sounds of the Lo Fi Audio Machine and the Bass Sweeper. I play a lot of spacey and funky music and it’s really been enhancing my live performances. I’m really excited to do some recordings with them too. It’s nice to see somebody doing something so different for such a great price, creative high quality, while conserving pedalboard space as an added bonus. You guys rock, your pedals turn heads and your videos are awesome and the people that you have demoing your pedals are brilliant artists! Thanks again for introducing these amazing new sonic bliss machines into the world. P.S. Pickboy pics are the s#!t!
Jonny Java Mantra