Artist of The Month: Alain Johannes Unveils The Haunting Hypnosis of ‘Swan and Crow’


If you’ve been a rock fan for the past 20 years, chances are good that you already own at least one album on which producer and multi-instumentalist rocker Alain Johannes has played or produced, whether you know it or not. An independent musical force through both performance and production, Alain has been involved in a jaw-dropping run of projects including Queens of The Stone Age, Chris Cornell, Them Crooked Vultures, Eleven, Spinnerette, PJ Harvey, Mark Lanegan and many others. With the Nov. 11th release of his sophomore solo effort Fragments & Wholes, Vol. 1, he further blossoms as a cigarbox-guitar slinging independent artist with an inimitable culture of sound all his own.

A co-founder of Los Angeles heroes Eleven with his late wife Natasha Shneider and former Pearl Jam/RHCP drummer Jack Irons, Alain has concreted his artistic legacy as both a solo artist and a contributor to an avalanche of revered records featuring his rhythmic flurries, production technique and style of instrumental expression. Possessing a depth of haunting warmth and classical flare that’s become an audible signature of the man, his independent excellence was first evidenced in the stunningly gorgeous solo album Spark. Now Alain brings his unique blend of gifts to his sophomore release, Fragments & Wholes, Vol. 1, for which he’s launched a PledgeMusic campaign.

Just before heading to South America for a tour with Queens of The Stone Age, Alain met us at Swing House in L.A. for an Artist of The Month studio session, resulting in a fantastic run of new material and seasoned favorites. We first debuted the understated, Beatlesque beauty of “Whispering Fields” last week, and today we continue with the official unveiling of “Swan and Crow,” a hypnotically gorgeous meditation inspired by the duality of beauty and horror inside of each of us. 


The song received a visual interpretation by artist Nick Rhodes, and the gorgeous result graces the vinyl cover of Fragments & Wholes, Vol. 1. With such strikingly lovely & contemplative imagery, this one may require a more prominent display than to be simply added to the mass of vinyl on the shelf.

Alain explains the upcoming release on his Pledge Music page: “On this new album, I expand on the Cigarbox guitar driven sound of Spark into a wider sonic palate including electric guitars, bass, drums, horns etc. The songs started as improvised sketches I posted on Instagram. For 12 days I chose one song each morning, finished writing it then recorded and mixed it.”

Learn more about Alain’s Pledge Music campaign here, and keep up with Alain at his official site, as well as on Twitter and Facebook. Check back next week for another exclusive CraveOnstage performance from Mr. Johannes!