You may have heard indie rock duo Elenowen's music on shows like "Pretty Little Liars" and "One Tree Hill." Tonight, Knoxville will have the chance to see Elenowen join singer-songwriter Matt Wertz on his "Heatwave" Tour when they come to NV Nightclub in the Old City at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 and doors open at 7 p.m. The show is welcome for all ages.
Elenowen is made up of husband and wife duo Nicole and Josh Johnson, the latter a Knoxville native. According to their Facebook biography, "though emerging from the same Nashville-based Americana-folk scene as The Civil Wars, Elenowen deliver a sonic glow all their own. Amidst haunting harmonies and elegiac lyrics, their songs flow with an undercurrent of yearning, surrender and unexpectedly sharp edges."
The Daily Beacon's Arts & Culture Editor Claire Dodson had the chance to talk with Elenowen on the phone and discussed the duo's current tour with Matt Wertz and their artistic journey.
Claire Dodson: To start off, how would you describe Elenowen's sound?
Josh Johnson: I think it has really evolved. We like to experiment.
Nicole Johnson: It's been very blended. I was more simple folk...
JJ: And I was more pop-rock indie, so the result is a kind of indie rock.
CD: How long have you been making music together?
NJ: Well, Josh has been making music since high school. I've always sung, and when we got married, a lot of our friends encouraged us to try doing it together. We wanted to start doing Christian music. Then we wrote "The Storm" together for our first album and have gone from there.
CD: How did you guys meet and end up in Nashville?
NJ: His cousin is from Nashville and we met through him. We became good friends and then started dating in the summer of '03.
JJ: We were long distance for a while, because I lived in Knoxville and went to Christian Academy of Knoxville. For college, I moved to Nashville to go to Belmont University. I've always been passionate about music and so Nashville seemed like the next step.
CD: Elenowen auditioned for the first season of The Voice and made it onto the show. What was that like?
JJ: It was crazy. It was a lot of waiting and waking up at the crack of dawn – the TV world is insane – but the show was just what we needed. It served as a launch pad for us and gave us a lot of exposure.
NJ: We were on two episodes, and that allowed us to be full-time from that point forward. Before, we were both juggling other jobs.
CD: Since then, your music has been featured on several television shows.
JJ: Yeah, our music has been on shows like "Pretty Little Liars" and "One Tree Hill." One of our songs was in the promo for the show "Revolution." It's been great to get that kind of exposure. And we usually try to pair those kind of things with a YouTube video when people look us up.
CD: Josh, you are from Knoxville. What's it like performing in your hometown?
JJ: The crowds get bigger and bigger. We've played shows at the Square Room before. It's been exciting and humbling.
CD: Let's talk about the headliner for this tour – Matt Wertz. How did you meet him?
JJ: We have some mutual friends and we went on a trip to the Dominican Republic with him and a few other Christian artists with the organization World Vision.
CD: What was that trip like?
NJ: The trip was so we could see what World Vision is all about and see if we wanted to work with them. We saw firsthand and got a chance to wrap our heads around all the problems in that area and what World Vision is doing to help. Now we can talk about World Vision at shows and get sponsorships for those children. We get to talk about our trip and encourage people to partner with them.
CD: What are you most looking forward to in going on tour with Matt?
NJ: When you tour with other people, they rub off on you. Matt is just such a positive person.
JJ: He just released a music video, and you can just see the fun-ness in it.
CD: What is most important to you in your music?
NJ: What's important to us as artists, our main thing is that we want to do our best to write genuine, true music. We have branched out, but that truth is behind all that we write. We want our lyrics to come from the hurt.
Elenowen is launching a Kickstarter to raise funds for their new record. Each donation increment comes with incentives. The money will be used to record, mix, master and release the new album. To donate to the project, visit Elenowen's Facebook page.