Multifaceted artist Johnny Yukon is releasing his new Flight Plan 001 project today, marking his debut on Elektra Records.
The new release follows a pair of singles and it opens a new chapter for Yukon, who has built a name for himself working behind the scenes writing for the likes of Young Thug, Ty Dolla $ign and Camila Cabello, as well as co-writing Internet Money's hit "Lemonade" and Skepta and Pop Smoke's F9 cut "Lane Switcha," which features A$AP Rocky, Juicy J and Project Pat.
Yukon chatted with Variance about the new music, the inspiration for his aviation-centered concept, his dream collabs and how quarantine inspired him to really lean in on his skills and focus on his own music.
Hear Flight Plan 001 followed by the chat.
You’ve said Flight Plan 001 is like your airport. What inspired this concept?
I’ve always been enamored by travel. As a kid I loved seeing airports and their different designs. But when it comes to the music, it really just represents being able to fly to any destination in my mind. I’m inspired by so much different music and each of my songs, I feel, is a different journey.
You’re showing a lot of different angles on this project. How important is it not to limit yourself to one sound or genre?
It’s very important to me. I feel like any artist I look up to has explored different sounds. I sometimes obsess with trying to find “my sound” and stick to it. But I don’t think that will necessarily ever happen. I will always be trying new things when it comes to genre and sonics.
You apparently kept pretty busy during quarantine—signing to the label, working on music. How did it affect any of your plans?
Honestly the quarantine really solidified that it was time for me to focus solely on my own music. I had been writing for others for years, and when the pandemic hit almost all the studios closed and sessions got shut down for some time. I was at my house and naturally had more time to work on my stuff, and I haven’t stopped.
What’s the biggest difference when you’re working on somebody else’s music and working on your own?
I think working on other people’s music is easier to me, but also became a bit repetitive and less stimulating for me. When it comes to my music, I find lyrics harder to solidify. I care so much about being honest and true to my experiences, so it can take more time. But I love the freedom in making my own music.
Who’s somebody you would love to collaborate with but haven’t yet?
So many people. Don Toliver is one of my favorite artists, the most unique voice in music right now, I believe. I’m also addicted to PinkPantheress’s music like the whole world is. Would love to see what a song together would sound like. Sufjan Stevens. Kanye. Mike Dean. Cudi.
What are you working on lately? Anything you can share?
Right now I’m fully locked in on the next album. Not much I can share other than that there’s a whole lot of music on the way after Flight Plan 001.
What comes next?
Hopefully shows soon. Trying to figure out a tour. I’m dying to go perform these songs live and see my fans in real life.