Pianist John Shannon’s lent his dexterous accompaniment to a range of local projects. From adding atmospherics to electronic duo LANNDS’s live performances to providing the North Star-melodies as a member of the indie-emo quintet Modern Violence, Shannon’s proved himself a versatile collaborator, able to fill the roles of both bit player and protagonist.
Music’s long been Shannon’s main gig, and after years as a music educator, he’d only recently dove in head-first, committing to spending large chunks of his year on the road as a tour manager for several high profile artists, when the pandemic threw a stick in his career-spokes.
Like many, Shannon found solace in music during quarantine, embarking on a kind of sonic retreat from the woes of the world, which turned into a groovy solo project under the nom de plume Johnnyliar, a three song EP called Maza Dohta.
“I couldn’t meet up with my bandmates to write or play music, and I felt like I had no avenues in which to create,” Shannon told me of his situation at the onset of quarantine. “So, I dove deep into creating these tracks to take my mind off of that whole situation.”
The crackly, downtempo “B4 the Party” kicks off the collection, making use of electronic drums and samples, while deploying an ultra-laidback lead melody line as its sonic compass. “Grapes” keeps things chill-AF with a swirling ambience and a handful of contemplative electric guitar riffs that creep up from deep in the mix. Emerging from an afternoon rain storm, the leisurely “Kerle St” closes things out–and threatens the non-THC-licensed listener with the closest thing to a big bong rip of sativa they’re likely to get (legally, that is).
“These came out of that desire to share what I’ve been going through,” says Shannon, offering that, listening and creating music “has helped me get through it.”
Joining other pandemic-produced entries into Jacksonville’s local music canon, Maza Dohta is an exceedingly relaxing, LoFi groove-affair that’s certainly worth putting in your earholes.
Click play to hear Johnnyliar dispense some groovy truth.
And watch Shannon perform with his indie-emo group Modern Violence during the band’s Into the Void: Office Music Series set below.