Meet The Gathering Group’s Youngest Music Guru: Sam Johnson


Q. Where are you from?
I’m originally from the Indianapolis area but I’ve spent most of my life in Valparaiso, Indiana. Most people give me a funny look when I say Valparaiso, so I just say it’s about an hour South from Chicago.

Q. Who is your favorite musical artist/group?
That’s a huge question, especially with all the different genres of music that I enjoy! I’m going to cheat and give two answers. When it comes to electronic music I would have to say Porter Robinson. For everything that isn’t electronic, my favorite band is usually Streetlight Manifesto, sometimes the Cloud Nothings. Yes I know that I named three bands.

Q. Who (or what) inspires you?
I’m inspired by the thought of pushing sound and music to their limits, and by people who have a history of doing just that. I’m currently studying audio at Columbia College Chicago to better explore this topic. Joel Zimmerman (Deadmau5) is someone I admire for his love of experimenting with sound.

Q. What drew you to The Gathering Group?
I like to think that I was doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time. I volunteered at Future Sound Fest 2014 and I was told that I should come in for an interview! I was initially drawn to the event because of my love for electronic music.

Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
If I could travel anywhere then I would go backpacking in New Zealand. I’m pretty nerdy but I love the outdoors, so backpacking through the places where The Lord of the Rings was filmed would be the trip of a lifetime. Australia is a close second.

Q. What’s your favorite place to see a show (doesn’t have to be in Chicago)?
My favorite venue in Chicago is The Metro, mainly because of how intimate the venue is and because I’ve seen more than a few really great shows there. I swear, whoever hires their talent must have the same musical tastes that I do.

Q. What are 3 of your favorite things?
Chicago deep-dish pizza, concerts, and experimental music

Q. What is your favorite album of all time?
My favorite album of all time would have to be “Celebration Rock” by Japandroids. From the droning, noisy, garage-band tone of the guitars to the messages they try to send with the album, everything is perfect.

Q. What song can you listen to on repeat without getting sick of it?
The answer to that question probably changes weekly. At the moment my favorite song is “Your Graduation” by Modern Baseball. The song is very dynamic and just never gets old to me. I’ve racked up almost 125 “plays” on that song in the last week alone.

Q. What has been your most memorable moment to-date with The Gathering Group?
My most memorable event so far is walking into the Redmoon Theater after spending months working on Afterburn, only to see everything come together into one of the most unique events that I’ve seen. I’m proud that I was a part of making that event a reality.

Q. Do you have any hidden talents?
I play the trumpet, I’ve worked as an archery instructor, and and I’m learning to make music on vintage Nintendo GameBoys.

Q. Anything else we should know?
My favorite sports teams include: The Colts, Pacers, White Sox, and Blackhawks. I’m also a huge foodie. Recommendations on where to find the best of anything edible are always encouraged.