Editor’s Note: Modern Love Child, which is the pseudonym of Jonny Shane, recently released his third single entitled “Ali”, for upcoming debut album release entitled “MLC”, which is due out October 25th. The song was written by his dear friend Greg Hillman, who tragically took his own life while in college, and Jonny decided to move to Los Angeles to focus on making music. Now Jonny Shane resides in Venice, California where he surfs and makes music. Modern Love Child sat down with Madness To Creation to discuss his friendship with Ben Kweller, writing and making “Ali” as a music video, and we also get into a discussion about mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Fans can find Modern Love Child at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: You told me that you went to school at Georgetown and I love Allen Iverson, so tell me who are you five favorite basketball players out of Georgetown?
Modern Love Child: I’m more of an NBA person, I like Georgetown basketball, I try to follow the program, but I liked Patrick Ewing, he helped Georgetown win a national championship in the 80’s, but when I was at Georgetown, I played on the football and lacrosse team, in the athletic department, we shared the locker room with the basketball team and the training room, it must have been cool to go on to the NBA and make tens of millions of dollars.
Madness To Creation: Do you use your football and lacrosse background to prepare for your music?
Modern Love Child: Not at all! *laughs*, but in general maybe using perseverance through the disciplines to prepare for life, in athletics, you use a lot of important life lessons, like football could be a metaphor for life anyways, I think I can take a lot of those fundamentals from sports and apply them to my everyday life, and persistently chasing a dream that is an uphill battle.
Madness To Creation: If music didn’t exist, which would be kind of a depressing thought, what would you do for a career instead?
Modern Love Child: What would I do? I would go back in time and become a professional surfer.
Madness To Creation: Do you use surfing for your mental health and to inspire you to write?
Modern Love Child: Absolutely! Surfing is one of the better times for me to relax as well as yoga, it sounds very Los Angeles of me, but you’re just in a really clear your mind state, and to be in a happy mind state, that’s when I like to write when I’m feeling really optimistic and happy about life. Creative thoughts come to me when I’m feeling loopy or happy or when I’ve been surfing all day, you’re feeling a little lighter on your toes, so that definitely helps with the inspiration part for sure.
Madness To Creation: Can you do all those tricks when you’re surfing?
Modern Love Child: Not at all! I’m very much a novice, I also like to longboard as much as surf, you can just cruise then. I just really enjoy it as a way to connect with nature.
Madness To Creation: Do you ever get afraid of sharks coming after you?
Modern Love Child: Not at all! A couple of years ago, I actually saw a baby great white shark, it was just cruising around going about where all the surfers were, but it wasn’t really bothering anybody, but all these people were paddleboarding and kayaking with their Go-Pros trying to get a closeup of the shark, but there was a shark attack this past week, some guy was swimming down this pier called Hermosa Pier, he was leisurely swimming with full cap and goggles like a triathlon swimmer, and he swam right in the line of where someone was fishing off of the pier, and I guess you’re not supposed to be fishing for certain things off of the pier, it was a baby great white shark and naturally the shark was so angry because it was getting reeled in, and the guy happened to get bit right in the torso, I think he’s alright, but I’ve been surfing with so many people out there, especially here in L.A., the water is super crowded, I think I’ll take my chances.
Madness To Creation: Is that what fans can come to expect these laidback pop songs?
Modern Love Child: Not really! The song that I’m putting out called “In A City”, that and other songs are more about longing for something. The song “In A City” is more edgier, but definitely has some pop sensibilities. There’s another song on the album called “Sweet Like Me”, the song sounds all poppy and happy, but the words are kind of sad as I’m talking about an ex-girlfriend who has been off with other people, I like the happy pop music with more emotional lyrics.
Madness To Creation: Would you say that’s how you stand out from your peers in terms of your music?
Modern Love Child: I don’t know man! I would say that my voice stands out cause it’s different, a lot of people would say that I sound like a girl when I sing, so I guess that could kind of be different, I think I have clever lyrics, but I don’t know if I’d say I stand out because of that because there’s so many incredible lyricists, but I would say my voice, and I got some cool lyrics.
Madness To Creation: You seem to draw a lot of influence from The Pixies and Ben Kweller, tell us about your relationship with Ben Kweller?
Modern Love Child: I was a big Ben Kweller fan growing up, loved all of his love songs, I would really dig into his music and try to emulate the styles of his songwriting, and I was in California getting a coffee and I looked over my shoulder, and I saw Ben Kweller down the street with his wife, and I was like, “Oh my God, I need to go up to him”, so I ran up to him and said, “Dude, I love your music so much”, and he was so cool about it, it made my day, and I thought that was it. Cut to three months after that, I’m back home in Connecticut where I grew up in this little town and I went to go run some errands with my mom and I stepped into this deli/coffee shop type of place and I was ordering my food, and I looked over my shoulder and I saw Ben Kweller there, and I was like, “holy crap”, it was weird, it was one of those things where I was like, “why am I seeing him”, this is someone that I revered so much, and where I live in Los Angeles, those are the type of people that you see in Los Angeles or New York or whatever, but to see him in my hometown where all my dreams were brewing, to see him there was just crazy and we got to talking, and I continued to stay on him to foster that relationship, and I went to London to make this record, and we wrote a song together in Texas, and he was giving me pointers, and now he’s my big bro, so it’s really beautiful.
Madness To Creation: So he pretty much looks after you?
Modern Love Child: Yeah! He’s obviously a super talented artist, but he’s also a super smart business person, I call him BK for Ben Kweller but also call him BK for “Business Kweller”, he started his own record label called “The Noise Company”, and I’m signed on with them for management stuff him and another manager help me out, he’s just a really smart dude, he really invests in the stock market, he’s just kind of there for anything and everything, so he knows the music industry inside and out because he started doing this at 14 years old, he didn’t even go to college and I think he even dropped out of high school, he’s been a career musician, he’s a good person to have in your corner, he just knows plenty of people.
Madness To Creation: Nowadays, it’s who you know it seems, that’s why networking is so important. Ben invests in the stock market, what’s one nerdy thing that you do?
Modern Love Child: I’m pretty nerdy about music, I like watching a lot of music interviews, especially with artists that I look up to, it’s kind of funny because I was laughing at myself the other night because I got the biggest opportunity of my life so far musically and got to open for Houndmouth, which is like I am and have been a total fanboy when I would go see them play in L.A., and I would go drive and see them whenever they were around, and I got to go on tour with them, which was like the coolest thing ever, and the band was super cool and super nice, and last night I was on YouTube watching interviews of Houndmouth, and I’m still nerding out about it, I just nerd out about bands that I really like. I’m just pretty nerdy about the handful of random bands that I like. I’m also just nerdy about watching music videos.
Madness To Creation: What is one band that you are nerding out over right now?
Modern Love Child: I don’t know if it’s a new one, but I’m one of those that just have a steady rotation of bands that I’ve been into but haven’t explored much since then, but I pick them up a little bit along the way, but some of those recent ones including Rayland Baxter, he’s pretty incredible songwriter, apparently he played at this coffee shop which is right up the street from me, I think he knows a lot of the same people, I just need to get in touch with him, I tried but he hasn’t responded, so Rayland Baxter, if you’re reading this, holler at me, I know some people that know you! *laughs* I just think that he’s an incredible songwriter.
Madness To Creation: Take us into the recent single and video that you released for “Ali”.
Modern Love Child: Growing up in middle school and junior high, I met my friend Greg on a bus, we both had music in school and Greg had a guitar and was a really beautiful person and he knew a lot about music, he had an older brother that was in a band, and we would just get together and listen to bands that weren’t just on the radio, so Greg and I started playing in a band together in middle school and started writing and recording together in middle school and all the way up through college, so he was just kind of my partner in crime and unfortunately Greg took his own life when he was about 21 when he was a sophomore in college. He had written a song we were literally playing and recording when we were 14 and 15 in high school, and I decided that “Ali” had to be re-recorded and brought back and given a rebirth and brought out the old archives, it’s also on the upcoming album. It’s just kind of an ode to Greg, it’s also an ode to staying true to dreams that we have in middle school and high school and our teenage years.
Madness To Creation: What advice do you have those that are struggling with their mental health?
Modern Love Child: The message that I have is to just reach out for help and say something and never be ashamed.
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add in regards to Modern Love Child?
Modern Love Child: You can find me on all the major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and Spotify and all that. I’m really excited to put some music out this fall, “MLC” is coming out this fall, and I just put out “Ali”, which people on Spotify are streaming more and more every day, which is really nice, and the song “In A City”, we’re getting ready to shoot the music video for sometime this month, that’s kind of the song that got me signed to this little record label in the U.K., which gave me the opportunity to go make this album, that song has been done for a couple years now, so I’m really excited for that one to come out, and I hope people dig it.
And there you have it! On Wednesday, August 21st, Modern Love Child has a gig with Courtney Cole at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, California. For tickets and further information on the gig, click here. Also, be on the lookout for “MLC” by Modern Love Child this fall!
- Photo Credit: Priscilla Boullion