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PAPA ROACH & JERIS JOHNSON | TATTOOS, MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS, AND “LAST RESORT (RELOADED)”

March 23, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Jeris Johnson is the artist on everybody’s lips. Boasting co-signs from Bring Me The Horizon, Chad Kroeger and Papa Roach with only a debut EP (My Sword) under his belt, Jeris Johnson pushes musical boundaries with a one-of-a-kind punk rock sound that blends palpable energy, gritty melodies, punchy vocals and unapologetic emotions.  However, it was TikTok that allowed him to break into uncharted territory and forge relationships with his idols.

“Last Resort (Reloaded)” came about after Jeris posted a cover of the original on TikTok. It quickly caught the eyes and ears of the critically acclaimed group themselves. Uniting to breathe new life into an iconic track, Papa Roach teamed up with rising artist Jeris Johnson for the official “Last Resort (Reloaded),” which immediately skyrocketed to the #1 spot on the Billboard Rock Chart and Rock iTunes Chart. With Jacoby being a veteran in the game and Jeris’ undeniable talents in creating heartfelt music that transcends genres, the dynamic duo offers the perfect synergy as both hope to revolution rock and bring it back in 2021 the best way they know how.

With the original “Last Resort” music video named the most played video on TRL at one point, it was only right the two created an equally powerful visual for the remake, highlighting mental health and the vulnerability in getting help (especially in men). Plus, both artists together meant automatic traction on TikTok, with videos of both in the studio rocking and jamming out in true punk rock fashion.

Currently signed to 300 Entertainment, Johnson is best known for standout single “damn!”, which recently received a remix from Chad Kreoger. It was his cover of Blueface’s “Thotiana” that went completely viral on TikTok, something he planned from the jump. Having been in bands and releasing music since the age of 13, Jeris recently decided to wipe his slate clean and start fresh. Check out EP My Sword here, and his latest release “My Sword” music video here.

Flaunt caught up with both Jacoby and Jeris at The Cabin at Whisper Valley Ranch in Santa Margarita, getting tattooed and enjoying each other’s company without the constraints of social media or society. Upon arrival, Jacoby was getting a vibrant tipi on his lower leg, reminiscent of when he lived in a tipi for a year when he was a toddler. Jeris on the other hand patiently awaited his own tattoo, rocking a camo shirt from Goodwill, self-made pants with holes and graphics ironed on himself, brown hiking shoes, and blue light blocking glasses.

Read below as we discuss how the two collided paths, the significance in “Last Resort (Reloaded),” why the two are the perfect duo, the role TikTok plays in their careers, mental health, goals and aspirations, and more!

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“Last Resort” is such a nostalgic record, what memories do you have tied to that record?

Jacoby: Oh man, where do I start? The depth of the song and what happened is one part of the story, but I’d like to talk about the effect that song had on people. It had such a profound, massive effect on a lot of kids out there, that come around on tour and say “hey man, that song saved my life. That song speaks to my soul, saved me from a dark place. That song made me feel I wasn’t alone.” That’s the centerpiece to the memories. That song took us around the world, sold millions and millions of records. It gives us the opportunity to come back to the well every time and drop a new record. Anywhere we go, people know. Some people can look at that part of their career and resent it, fuck we celebrate that shit. We worked our whole lives to have a classic, and we got one. Fuck, let’s go! We’re very grateful. We celebrated 20 years of it in 2020 so we spent a lot of time reflecting. When did you drop that TikTok…?

Jeris: October 2020.

Jacoby: We’re celebrating that record. ten up comes and bubbles up this viral TikTok. Fuck dude celebrating 20 years, and we see this young cat celebrating the music.

How many views was it at when you saw it?

Jeris: It got a million the first day.

Jacoby:  It’s already gone viral by the time I saw it, I was last to the party to be honest. Everyone’s texting me “yo, you seen that shit?!” I was intrigued because I liked what you were doing. I heard “damn!” and thought “cool, this kid’s doing something original. Alright, let’s dig deeper.” I was at my neighborhood grocery store checking out, picking up some stuff. This guy knows me, he asks “what have u been up to man?” I said “oh nothing, working in the studio. Writing cuts, working on a new record.” He goes “did you see that dude that did the TikTok for your song? The dude who does ‘damn!’” He already knew your music, the grocery guy’s going “have you heard that shit yet?!” I’ve heard it but it was another one of those breadcrumbs going “yo Cobe, look deeper into this.”

Jeris: Thank God you did.

Jacoby: On the real, this collab’s been awesome. We’ve had a great time doing it.

Did you plan to drop on the 20-year anniversary? 

Jeris: Nah. I started going down a rabbit hole of doing these remixes, fucking with these older songs. Everybody’s in this whole emo pop punk space right now, but I wanted to do a different era of it. I started going through that rabbit hole, “Last Resort” was one of the first songs I thought of because talk about a nostalgic song. First time I met him, I told him—rarely do I ever remember the first time I heard a song, but I remembered the first time I heard “Last Resort” was at a football game. One of the dads pulled up his trunk as we’re warming up, starts playing music. I remember feeling so “yeaaah!” [laughs] The first time I heard edgy music with cussing. It was being played loudly, like fuck! It got me pumped up for the game.

You were only a few years old when it came out.

Jeris: I was literally 4 when it came out. I was 8 or 9 playing Pop Warner when I heard it, song was a few years old.

Jacoby: His coach was playing it: “kids, let’s get pumped up!”

Jeris: The song’s already Platinum by that point, already a smach. When I started thinking about reviving this style and making it a new thing, that song’s the first to come up and I did it. It’s funny too, I did a version of it. I was making the beat for it thinking “honestly this beat’s too good to make a cover, I’m going to make it my own song.” I made a whole song, then “fuck I actually need a new cover. I’m gonna try ‘Last Resort’ again.” I made a new thing, I posted it. I had a feeling, I’d already gone viral for a couple weeks at that point. I knew that’s a good one, it’ll get attention.

Jacoby: I got a trippy little story. When we wrote “Last Resort,” those lyrics were on a different bed of music. The band brought in the music it’s currently on. Fuck that’s way catchier, let me see if these melodies work on this song and it stuck. It was a magic thing.

Jeris: That’s trippy dude.

Yeah, ‘cause it starts out acapella!

Jacoby: Not a lot of bands were doing that. Queen started out with vocals in a couple of their tracks, but not a lot of songs start out with the vocal. We felt it was so catchy. “Fuck starting it out with a riff, with the band jamming, let me fucking take it.” Best decision we ever made.

Jeris: Honestly it’s very forward-thinking because you said “fuck it, let’s get right into it.” Attention span: “fuck, let’s hit it right.” I consider that the chorus, but I know in the original song…

Jacoby: It has 2 to 3 choruses.

Jerris: That’s the lyrically part, the title of the song’s there. Having that forward-thinking idea: nah, get right into it. Hook right away, boom vocals.

To remake a hit, you have to do it justice. Was there pressure? 

Jeris: Fuck yes there was pressure, it was on me! [laughs] Fuck.

Jacoby: Don’t fuck it up!

Jeris: The problem was I only did the minute or 50 seconds for TikTok, because why would I do the whole minute if I was going to post 50 seconds of it? You know the time limit. Once we realized it needed to be a real thing, fuck now the weight of it kicked in. Shit, I’m the person who re-releases… I imagined to myself like Papa Roach is going to drop a song called Last Resort (Reloaded),” that’s going to get a lot of attention. That’s a crazy thing to do so it better be fire. Better be fucking good because if it’s not, it’s embarrassing.

Honestly, the song was a war to figure out. Me and my producer dove in, we had Jacoby go over to the studio, track new vocal takes of those original parts. We wrestled and wrangled with it for a while, trying to figure out how to make it forward-pushing. My style but still honor the song. This crazy balancing act of trying not to disrespect the original song, still prop up an original song: iconic riffs, moments, lyrics, also push it in the future and make it sound new that you wouldn’t expect at all. A really, really hard balancing act to try and do that.

Jacoby: You fucking nailed it. Seriously when I rolled in the studio, you guys were like “we’re not sure, we got it to a place where it’s…” I’m listening to it, “this is fucking dope. You guys are fucking killing it!” When I’m in the middle of making something, in the weeds in a project and I’ve been in it for so long, I forget what’s good and what’s not. Outside perspective going “yeah dude, you’re on it” helps. Coming in there going “you guys are fucking killing this shit, you’re doing it!”

Jeris: Your reaction right away made me go “okay, I’m just crazy.”

Jacoby: The pressure of it, I get it. You want to fucking kill it and you murdered it.

Jeris: From my perspective going from my fucking bedroom to alright, I’m going to share the stage with Papa Roach. We’re making a song called “Last Resort (Reloaded)” together, we’re going to drop it and do this big music video. It’s this big breakout moment for me as an artist, all this stuff happened so fast. Fuck, I was determined to get it right. This shit has to be right. I put a lot more effort and was a lot more harder on myself to make it good, because of what it was. If it was another song of mine, I’d never think about it that much or put that much pressure. It’s the magnitude of the original song and the moment of the way it all unfolded.

How’s it feel to hit 4 million streams total? 

Jacoby: Fucking great, it’s picking up steam. It’s fucking dope, it’s going to keep going. I have a really good feeling: the more and more it keeps getting out there and keeps getting played, I don’t think it’s gonna [stop]. It sounds like the future. Definitely the elements of what you’re bringing to the table and this cross section of our two styles together, it’s exciting. The song itself, the classic version keeps going viral:. All these different ways, all these different memes. We have all these drivers behind it, fuck let’s go!

Jeris: Never-ending.

Jacoby: We got a double hit, let’s go!

Why are you two the dynamic duo? 

Jeris: Is it not obvious? Look at us! [laughs]

Jacoby: Do we need to explain that?

Jeris: The reason we get along so well is we do have a lot of differences. I’m very different at 24 than you were at 24, for sure. Right now I see a lot of myself in you because you’ve done what my life purpose is wanting to do.

Jacoby: Been down that road.

Jeris: I think about it, I’m going to be like him when I’m 40. You said this before, you see yourself in me because you were once where I am.

Jacoby: Young and energetic. Those delusions of grandeur we have as young artists, that’s what it takes to make it. It takes talent and hard work ethic, which both of us have. Before I even said yes to doing this, I had Jeris over to the studio. I want to vet this kid, see if he’s the fucking real deal. He told me a story of how he’s been playing music since he’s 13, and that’s what we did. We had style changes, genre changes even from the beginning. To see somebody have that passion for the craft at such a young age, stick and commit to it, we’re cut from the same cloth. I told my mom and high school teacher, “I’m going to be a rockstar!” They say “good luck with that bud,” but they don’t know. This is what I’m going to do, same with you. It takes those elements to be able to get to these spaces and be confident enough when people are telling us no, to still see our path.

Talk about the mental health tie-in to the music videos for “Last Resort” and “Last Resort (Reloaded),” and the vulnerability in getting help (especially in men).  

Jacoby: For P Roach, this song’s about dealing with those dark moments and having to respond to those dark moments. It’s a serious issue, a lot of people struggle. Sometimes they struggle silently, music’s that thing that can make them feel connected to something because they’re too scared to speak up about how they’re feeling. That’s powerful when something can touch you like that. The world these days, mental health is the next frontier in our overall well-being and health as people. It’s cool because even hip-hop and rap now, cats are talking about their mental health and what they’re struggling with.

Sometimes as men, we have a harder time being in touch with our feelings, feel like “oh, that’s not a manly thing to be broken.” We’re supposed to be strong and leaders, but it’s good to be intuitive and know what’s really going on in your mind. It’s the new frontier, we got to look out for each other. I’ve been one of those people, I wear it on my sleeve. I have my moments but I sit here as a testament as somebody who’s fucking fought through that shit. I know I don’t have to be in the darkness, so many good things to live for. That story I tell a lot in our music and the response we get is so overwhelmingly positive. Fuck, thank you God. I’m living my purpose through carrying that flag, there’s a lot of light shooting out of us even though it sounds dark. That’s important. Really this rock and roll music we make is a celebration. We take our fucking madness, throw it on the fucking ground and we dance on it. It’s a fucking celebration. That’s what I like about what you brought to the track: shit was dark but shit’s dope now. I love that.

Jerris: Mental health can to me be about being healthy, being happy and feeling good. Feeling powerful, pushing through, persevering, achieving, rather than I’m sad right now. You can take it further and say “I used to be like that, but I fucking battled it. I fucking won, I’m on top of the world right now.” want people to listen to my music and feel confident, feel fucking good. I always want people to walk away feeling better than when they first turned on the song, not turning on the song and being like fuck!

Jacoby: My son listens to the sad boy rap, is that driving you further down that hole?

Jeris: For me where I’m at now, I don’t know if I could write a sad song. I went from poor to being rich, from my bedroom to on the stage with Papa Roach, from 0 followers to a million followers. I’m not really sad about anything, I’m ready to fight. Let’s go, I’m ready to feel powerful. I’m never writing something that’s a complete fake emotion I’m not feeling it. How can I still honor the OG lyrics but still be true to how I’m feeling and where I’m at?

What are your dreams and aspirations now? 

Jacoby: At some point, headlining stadium world tour. We’ve played stadiums, headlined Sonic Temple. 60K people, we fucking murdered it. I want that night after night, that’s something I see. That’s what Metallica’s doing right now. Metallica can only do that so long, who’s going to step into those footsteps? We see Slipknot, why can’t we do that? I’m here now, I’m 44. We’re still fucking murdering it, why not? Come on, I’m pretty!

Jeris, do you have any goals?

Jeris: I’m going to take over the internet first, can’t tour or do shows. Rock’s been thrown under the bus and pushed to the wayside in mainstream culture. I want it to be the coolest genre again, what people play at house parties again. In order for that to happen, it needs to not sound the way it used to. It needs to sound new, like it came from 2030. My main goal is, fucking try to revolutionize a genre and see what the fuck happens. I’m riding the wave. New things are happening so fast, I’m trying to be open in whatever way the tide takes me.

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