Born in the late 1970s on an unfathomably snowy night in Miami, Michael Johnson began life somewhat auspiciously. Transplanted to rural panhandle Florida at a young age and later exiled to inland Gainesville as a teen, Michael was lucky to not get sucked into the world of baseball and 4-wheel drive, sinking instead into fascination with Circus Psych, Trumans Water tribute and Alt-something-or-other.
Michael signed to Sub Pop with fellow Floridians Holopaw in 2002, recorded with Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Caifone), toured with Iron and Wine and Fruit Bats, and developed an entirely unhealthy method of making music, dubbed 'wino-synthesis'.
In 2003, locked safely away in a back room in Pensacola, Florida, Michael completed his first solo release, 'Nonsense Goes Mudslide', for Must!Delicious Recordings. Nobody noticed its primitively ambitious, sprawling but touching collision of acoustics, electronics, vocals, layers, space, and frenetics.
Transplanted to Philadelphia, Michael squandered time and money on his mid-twenties until eventually lucking into a job at a music university replete with arcane wall-tall analog synthesizers and hirsute student body. Michael persuaded Holopaw to record their second full, 'Length Quit +/or Fight', in a modular box in Brooklyn, NY, aided by the mastery of Michael Pecchio. Electing at first to fight, Holopaw embarked on a tour for which Michael insisted Daedelus support as opening dandy.
Leaving Holopaw shortly thereafter, Michael began simultaneously smashing toms for Philly funnyman Kurt Vile, playing with Floridian chums Human Television, and entering into unholy union with Kurt Heasley and his Lilys. Rapidly gaining knowledge of what to do and not do, Michael Johnson joined the Lilys on their album 'Everything Wrong is Imaginary' and tour, shared stages with countless lovely individuals, and returned finally to his lonesome guitar and delay.
Providing refuge for a wayfaring Daedelus in 2007, ideas were exchanged. Michael supplied guitars, synths and disembodied vocals for Daedelus' 'Love To Make Music To' album, released to acclaim in 2008; Daedelus provided a viable outlet for Michael's then yet-to-be recorded opus, which would soon share his collaborator's home of Ninja Tune, on its Counter Records imprint.
Alone in a university studio in the summer of 2007, as professor and head technology monkey, Michael conjured his second solo release, his first recording as Ape School, a more cohesive, dramatic and accidentally lyrical love affair between machines and, less so, American whitey. Again with the help of Michael Pecchio as head research mixologist, Ape School has become reality. With a live band now featuring members of the aforementioned Lilys, Holopaw and Human Television, Ape School is purging alumni and accepting new enrollment.
Ape School Headlines
"the little guy who's been playing synth in ape school just put this up and it's batshit crazy: https://t.co/wsxBmZIQlM"Sat Dec 07 00:11:15 2013
"@bearbait LYING SUCKS"Sun Dec 01 05:49:09 2013
"Tonight @BootAndSaddle we go for broke. PUT THAT MOTHER TO BED."Sat Nov 30 16:12:35 2013
"RT @highline_online: @theLILYS psyched-out version of Good King Wenceslas from Festivus 2 premieres today on @SPINmagazine! Check it out! h…"Tue Nov 26 17:11:50 2013
"@drgnkingDOM there are three or four discarded verses for that song. something about "the monophonic thumping of my amplified old brain""Tue Nov 26 14:58:08 2013