Artist & Advocate: Jonny Campos

Jonny Campos is a musician based in New Orleans, LA commonly known for his guitar playing with The Lost Bayou Ramblers. In his newly released “Droste” EP, the songs are named for Louisiana sites lost to rising sea levels.

Q:  Please describe your work and the medium/media you use. Why do you make this type of art? 

A:  I play ambient pedal steel music using loop pedals, reel to reels, and a cello bow. I only realized recently that I had always wanted to make records with little interstitial musical vignettes linking songs together, and with this project, I just made a whole record of just the vignettes with no typical verse/chorus songs.

I can’t help but feel that the music that I’ve made is a product of where I’m from.

Jonny Campos

Q:  What is most striking or inspirational to you about the wetland landscape?   

A:  I can’t help but feel that the music that I’ve made is a product of where I’m from. Especially with the Weeks Island project. I’ve always felt that ambient music was somewhat cinematic. I’d like to think that my music could help someone appreciate the natural beauty of a sacred landscape. 

Q:  In what ways has the Louisiana wetland landscape changed in your lifetime? 

A:  Last statistic I found was 50 square miles a year in 1987 and has only escalated. I know the flood plain wasn’t prepared for Katrina so now more than ever we need to restore our coast.

Q: Why is it important to you to create art about Louisiana wetlands? 

A:  I’ve got to come clean here. With the thought of having to name songs without lyrics, I shuddered. Thankfully, Nouveau Electric Artist Director, Louis Michot had the idea of naming each track after places in Louisiana that no longer exist due coastal loss and rising sea levels. It felt like a no brainer.

People drowning in their basement apartments in New York from a gulf hurricane should be proof enough that coastal restoration is important.

Jonny Campos

Q:  In your opinion why is coastal restoration in Louisiana is important? For folks out of state, why is  Louisiana’s coastal restoration work important for the nation? 

A: Coming off the heals of Hurricane Ida (we were very fortunate here in New Orleans and were very little damage), it’s now more than ever apparent how the restoring our coast will provide more and more protection. People drowning in their basement apartments in New York from a gulf hurricane should be proof enough that coastal restoration is important. 

Q: How does your art challenge existing barriers and assumptions about our environmental crisis? 

By naming each track after places that don’t exist anymore due to land loss, Louis helped me bring to the forefront of the listener’s mind of the real impact of coastal erosion.

Q:  Where can people view your work (displayed in galleries or links to websites)? 

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