Anthony Ravenwood is the mystical author of The Breathing Wheel, a fabulous fantasy fiction story for children that was some 24 years in the making.
His vision was eventually laid out on the pages of a paperback with Magic Oxygen Publishing at the end of last year. Alongside his musical partner and the other half of 2 of a Kind, Andy Johnson, there also a soundtrack to accompany it too.
Not only that, this talented duo are going to put on a live performance of this incredible musical journey in July 2014.
Incidentally, in order that you don’t miss a detail of what’s coming up, I suggest you subscribe to Ant’s blog on www.BreathingWheel.co.uk.
I wanted to find out more about the quiet man that is Andy Johnson, the man responsible for some of the most haunting riffs on this outstanding album; they will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading The Breathing Wheel and will bring the story back to life every time you play it.
Q: Let’s kick off with the basics, tell us a bit about you.
A: I’m Andy Johnson, I’m 46 and I live in the beautiful county of Northampton.
Q: How and when did you hook up with Ant?
A: Actually, we met at school many moons ago, but he says he doesn’t remember me!
Q: When did you hear about The Breathing Wheel and what was your reaction to Ant’s work?
A: I was first introduced to the music when we started our songwriting partnership way back in 1989. I was aware of the story as Ant had carried the concept around in his head for so long. When the book was finally published I thought it was a great achievement to see the dream realised and especially to have accompanying music too.
Q: Tell us a bit more about your musical background.
A: My family have always been musical and performed in bands, but I didn’t actually get started until I was 23. I’ll let you into a secret, it was Ant who gave me the inspiration to get involved and he even taught me my first guitar chords!
Q: When did you both start writing material for The Breathing Wheel?
A: I suppose it was when I dreamt the song Under The Evil Sky. I had the music floating around in my head and Ant quickly wrote words to fit the story. Since then I have written music for Crimson’s Tale (he’e one of the heroes of the book) and I re-arranged a few other tracks and had a big hand in their production. It’s been a fantastic process watching it all come together and right now we’re loving the rehearsals for the live show in the summer. That’s going to be incredible.
Q: How easy do you find the songwriting process?
A: Being honest, it’s not very easy at all. Mostly I find I need to bounce my ideas off of Ant but with regard to The Breathing Wheel, I’m probably best listening to one of his ideas, then suggesting my responses and finding out which bits he likes and we take it from there. That’s how it rolls most of the time and it’s a nice calm process.
Q: Do you have any particular musical influences?
A: I guess it’s quite predictable to say The Beatles but they are the main ones really. My brother has also been a great inspiration. He’s a fantastic guitar and bass player and a good songwriter too; he is musically very clever.
Q: Do you have a favourite time of day to be creative?
A: The evenings are usually when we sit down to write and record but an idea can come to me at any time of the day. To make sure it doesn’t slide away, I’ll often put something down on my mobile phone recorder.
Q: Tell us a bit about the plans for the live show next summer.
A: Well, there’s a great deal still to do, including re-learning all the songs, which will help! Once we’ve written and recorded them, it’s surprising how quickly I forget the chords because we’ve moved onto the next one.
Q: Are we able to listen to any of the tracks for the album?
A: Yes, in fact some of the songs are ready to listen to right now on Reverbnation and Soundcloud but we will probably be keeping the rest under wraps until the album comes out…
Q: What’s the best way to keep up to date with your work?
A: Our band name is 2 of a Kind and you can find out details of our events and performances via Facebook and Twitter. Obviously there’s the Breathing Wheel website too, my personal Twitter page and Ant’s personal Facebook pages; that should probably cover it!
Interview by Tracey West