Johanna Warren Tickets

Johanna Warren The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Wednesday 9th November 2022 Doors at 19:30

Johanna Warren + support TBC The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham

Sunday 13th November 2022 Doors at 19:30

Johanna Warren + support TBC Moles, Bath

Monday 14th November 2022 Doors at 19:30

Johanna Warren + support TBC The Joiners, Southampton

Tuesday 15th November 2022 Doors at 19:30

Performing at Pitchfork Festival London Anjimile/Charlie Hickey/Girlpool/ Guerilla Toss/Johanna Warren/KAINA/ KOKOKO!/Lala Lala/Lido Pimienta/ Lyra Prymuk/Nnamdï/Romero/ Sister Ray/SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE/Wild Pink/ William Basisnki London Earth Theatre/Earth Hall/Shacklewell Arms/St Matthias Church , London

Friday 11th November 2022 Doors at 19:00

“I think it’s a mistake to equate ‘perfection’ with flawlessness. To be human is to be perfectly flawed,” Johanna Warren observes while describing the joys of analog recording. Her new LP Lessons for Mutants was tracked live with a band to two inch tape - a revelatory new way of working for Warren. “Tape forces you to commit to a performance, eccentricities and all. The little glitches and anomalies that we’re tempted to ‘correct’ are often what make a thing magical.”

Lessons for Mutants is the prolific songwriter’s sixth solo LP and her second for Wax Nine/Carpark Records. The album’s running theme of metamorphosis (the title of the closing track, “Involvulus,” is Latin for “caterpillar”) reflects major changes in Warren’s personal life: after a decade of relentless touring, as the world was closing its borders, the American multi-instrumentalist unexpectedly found herself quarantining in rural Wales, where she’s now permanently homesteading.

Though tracking for the new album began in New York in 2018 in tandem with the sessions for 2020’s Chaotic Good, the majority of Lessons for Mutants was recorded in the UK surrounded by sheep, cows and a forager’s paradise of wild edible plants - a far cry from the urban jungle of LA that Warren had most recently called home. The body of work that emerged from this dramatic about-face is Warren’s most dynamic to date, shapeshifting seamlessly from searing punk screams to sparkly psych-folk soundscapes, from the bootleg ambivalence of Dylan’s Basement Tapes to cosmic stoner grooves reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s acoustic moments.

“Sometimes I can relate to myself/ I disassociate more than I’d like to, but what can you do?” Warren croons in “Tooth for a Tooth,” a wistful piano ballad that conjures the grainy romance of some smoke-filled 1940s jazz club. This kind of to-the-bone lyrical honesty has always been one of Warren’s strong suits, but these latest reflections are especially unflinching. Being forced to stop touring brought no shortage of self-examination for Warren, who quickly came to view her history on the road as an addiction from which she’s been detoxing. This sentiment dances through opening track “I’d Be Orange,” a drum-driven indie rock number replete with Beatles-esque male backing vocals: “Thirst for power, hunger for fame/ Always was a junkie for pain,” Warren confesses. This exploration of masochistic ambition and artistic martyrdom overflows into grunge anthem “Piscean Lover”: “It’s alright, we’re not ok/ We burn out not to fade away.”

“There’s this unspoken rule in modern music - modern life, really - that everything needs to be Auto-Tuned and ‘on the grid,’” Warren concludes. “This record is an act of resistance against that. There’s beauty and power in our aberrations, if we can embrace them.”

Artist Bio

Johanna Warren is no stranger to death. As a toddler she was notorious for jumping into the deep end of swimming pools when no one was watching. At nine she grew mysteriously ill, eventually fell into a coma and emerged with a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, a condition that has consistently taken her back to what she describes as “liminal, mystical places” in bouts of extreme hypoglycemia. And at 23, Warren (at the time a staunchly cynical atheist) was in a fatal car crash that left her with an unshakably vivid experience with what seemed to be an angel.

This close collaboration with mortality and mystery is key to Warren’s artistic practice. Floating in the doorway between worlds, she has repeatedly found herself looking out at an ocean of etheric colored light and indescribably beautiful music�"and been left with a feeling of purpose. “It’s the role of the artist to try to carry some of that beauty, even one tiny drop of it, back over the threshold,” explains Warren. “Of course it’s doomed to fail, but it’s a sacred failure.”

It makes sense, then, that Warren seems to make art like her life depends on it. Since self-releasing her debut solo album Fates in 2013 she has barely stopped touring, performing alongside similarly masterful artists including Mitski, Julie Byrne and Marissa Nadler. Her 2015 sophomore album nūmūn propelled her to the forefront of artists to watch, with Rolling Stone naming her an “Artist You Need to Know” and Stereogum citing her as a best of that year. In 2016 Warren founded Spirit House Records, an independent label that promotes a queer, artist-friendly ethos, and announced a twin pair of albums: Gemini I and II. The two LPs are in conversation with one another, offering glimpses of a passionately dysfunctional relationship�"perhaps between two warring parts of the artist herself.

Following the release of Gemini II Warren embarked on her extensive “Plant Medicine Tour” around the US. At every one of the 70+ shows, she welcomed local herbalists, farmers, and activists to share their work with attendees. In the spare moments between tour stops, Warren recorded her fifth solo album, Chaotic Good, at thirteen different studios around the US. It was released on Wax Nine/Carpark Records in 2020 to critical acclaim.

In addition to music, Warren has a love for acting. In October 2021, she premiered selected songs from a new musical adaptation of Euripides’ ancient tragedy The Bacchae, in which she plays both Pentheus and his mother Agave. She recently starred in forthcoming indie feature “She the Creator” (Bioluminescent Films) and lent her voice to Netflix series The Midnight Gospel.

Currently homesteading in rural Wales, Warren spends her days foraging for wild medicinal plants and raising two dogs, four chickens and a vegetable garden. Lessons for Mutants is her sixth solo LP and second for Wax Nine/Carpark Records.

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