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First of all, I don't want to write a 200 word essay on why Eric Johanson of Emptyself is a genius. But I can. The vocals and music are perfectly matched, and Johanson sounds a lot like Maynard Keenan, but less hollow, more intelligent. His lyrics are cryptic, metaphorical and beautiful, evoking thought, passion and righteous indignation.

Every single track I've listened to is a musical work of art. My favorite is Liberated, which carries a powerful message that will hit right at the heart and soul of a lot of listeners in the wake of 9/11 and our government's subsequent retaliations with the eerily ironic line, "After all this time you'd think we'd now know/every time you're told not to question you should do so"; strong advice which lingers in your mind long after the song has ended.

A very impressive mixture of Industrial and Progressive Rock sounds form a symbiotic relationship, and through the nihilistic and depressive themes mastered by Johanson, the product is darkly beautiful to the core, and its aura is enough to drag even the most optimistic of listeners down into the void of human regret which Johanson evokes within thin walls of superior sonic production, balanced guitar playing, and unconventional synthesizer manipulations. - Insomnia Radio

"Emptyself Review"

"A very solid release from a man who has a knack for providing the world with a unique brand of rock music. In his latest effort he tackles the softer side of rock, but makes it manageable for even the heaviest of metalheads." - I Ate Your Microphone (iaym.com)
- IAYM.com


Emptyself [self titled] 2005, Genome Records


Feeling a bit camera shy


Emptyself is hauntingly beautiful music from artist/producer Eric Johanson, featuring lush acoustic and electric guitars, trip-hop and industrial beats, and intelligent, visionary lyrics. Fans of Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, Portishead, Massive Attack, and Zero 7 should give Emptyself a listen. Emptyself's self-titled debut CD is now available from Emptyself.com.

Eric began playing guitar at age 5, and was recording his own guitar-laden rock songs by the age of 12. By 13 he was assisting in a commercial recording studio, already beginning to learn the production techniques that would ultimately lead to the intense sonic atmosphere of Emptyself's music.

At about 13, Eric began sitting in at local blues clubs in Louisiana as a way to play live with older and better musicians. Before long he was spending his weekends touring clubs and festivals in the Southeastern US, becoming a regular attraction on Memphis' Beale St. as a scorching young blues guitarist.

"[Eric] has a real chance of filling the void created by the untimely death of Stevie Ray. It may not be too bold to say that he even may be another Jimi Hendrix. Eric plays with an inventiveness and creativity... He is simply amazing." - Ned Theall, New Orleans- Times Music Magazine (Published in 1999, when Eric was 17.)

As he neared the end of high school, Eric began to feel limited by the role of "blues guitarist". Not only did he want to explore more complex musical structures, but also began writing lyrics to deal with personal, political, and philosophical issues. He broke away from his blues gigs, moved to New Orleans (August 1999), and returned to writing music with a guitar and a keyboard sequencer. This would eventually spawn Cire, the progressive rock band that released 3 albums, gaining an international cult following that continues to grow.

Eric's songwriting began to take new directions in the summer of 2004, away from the standard rock-band format, and toward a more intimate and conceptual sound. He began experimenting with the open palette of sampling and synthesis to tastefully compliment the guitar/vocal-based songwriting, to create a sound beyond anything he'd done before. This new project, both defying normal genre classification and yet strangely accessible at the same time, became Emptyself. Johanson seamlessly blends modern electronic production with soulful musicianship and powerful songwriting to create a sound that is truly unique.

Despite its unique character, Eric had long wished to leave New Orleans, and in an ironic twist of fate Hurricane Katrina flooded his uninsured apartment/studio in August 2005, destroying all of his instruments and leaving him with nothing but a suitcase. Faced with the devastating but liberating task of starting over, Eric decided to move to Auckland, New Zealand. Eric now lives on the fringes of the Waitakere Ranges, and is currently writing and recording new Emptyself material while being inspired by the land of the long white cloud.