“Modern Johnny is a feeling,” says Theo Katzman in regards to his third LP, Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in the Age of Vibe. “He’s an archetypal character who represents the plight of the singer songwriter trying to make it in today’s music world.”
Modern Johnny is not an alter-ego, per se, but he and Katzman do have some striking similarities. Born in the mid-80s, both were raised on the rubble of 90s rock radio, the remains of their parents’ record collections, a handful of ‘Greatest Hits’ CDs, and several hard drives worth of mis-credited MP3s from Napster. Both left home for [INSERT BIG CITY] with a “songs-can-change-the-world” attitude. Both find themselves stumbling through the free market in the age of social, the age of streaming… the Age of Vibe.
And it’s a confusing climate out there. Billy Joel hasn’t released an album in nearly three decades, Stevie Wonder is ranked 230th on Spotify, and The Beatles are best known for their appearance in the XBOX video game Rock Band.
To be clear, Modern Johnny isn’t necessarily what the kids are asking for: He’s too heart to be hip, too hip to be pop, too pop to be rock, and too rock to be art.
But no matter the zeitgeist, both Katzman and Johnny forge ahead the only way they know how: in pursuit of messy, honest, exuberant human emotion through popular song. The result is Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in the Age of Vibe.
As a songwriter and composer Benjamin Jaffe has had his music featured in shows on major television networks, a whole bunch of cable, internet and streaming platforms too. Most recently his songs have appeared on Nancy Drew, currently streaming on HBO Max, Bill and Ted’s Face the Music and The Guestbook, on which he had a recurring musical role and wrote the theme song. That one is on Hulu these days. He collaborates with a range of artists from indie acts self-releasing to major label artists like Birdy who released a co-write with Jaffe in April of ’21 on Atlantic Records. As a film composer, Jaffe has scored several shorts selected by film festivals such as Tribeca, Palm Springs and Mammoth and recently finished his first feature, starring Bruce Dern, currently streaming on Hulu as well. With a focus on indie, chamber, jazz, folk and rock music Jaffe’s deep network of close collaborators extends to an even wider web of styles making Diamond Family Productions uniquely versatile and suited to meet the challenge of creating to meet the demands of modern narrative.