Queensland musician Damien Johnson's debut album is titled 'Girl'.
Industrial-electro artist out of Ipswich, Damien Johnson has released his second album, titled ‘Girl', which features a cover of the White Town hit 'Your Woman'.
Damien's version of 'Your Woman' is his way of addressing transphobia and, like most of his music, comes from personal experience as well as his desire to grow and confront his own limitations, prejudices and preconceived ideas.
"I had the experience of matching with someone on a dating site who was transgender," Damien explains. "There was an initial question of 'does this make a difference for me?'.
"I had to sit there and ask why should it make a difference; does this need to be such a big deal? That's what led to [the ‘Your Woman’ cover].
"I don't want to be the type of human that dismisses people based on their labels or their history. I want to get to know people for who they are, and if I'm attracted to this person and we get along great then why shouldn't we have a relationship? Those are the questions I was asking myself and that's what prompted the piece."
In selecting White Town's 'Your Woman', Damien found a poignant connection between the dating experiences of trans women and the song's hook line: 'I could never be your woman.' "For me that connected big time," Damien says.
"Talking to a few of my transgender women friends who were in the dating scene. . . When they go out dating, they have to be very upfront on their profiles that they are trans.
"I was wondering for them if that was limiting the pool of people they could potentially meet.
"I'm aware there are going to be prejudices out there from people not wanting to date someone who is trans and possibly dismissing someone who is by all means very much a woman now but because of their past, being dismissed.
"I thought the connection between that experience and the line of 'I could never be your woman' was quite a good marriage."
Musically, Damien approached his cover of 'Your Woman' with the intent of recreating it in line with the other music he is currently producing.
"I knew in my head I wanted it to be darker and more industrial than the original, because that's the music I like and what I'm creating now. I had in my mind the sort of instruments to put in there to make it happen," he says.
"I deconstructed the original fairly intensely, and how to replicate the key licks and melodies. More or less, [I was] recreating the original White Town composition and tweaking the instruments to make a heavier sound, then putting in synths and stuff that I thought would give more depth to the overall piece. I'm really happy with how it all came out."
'Girl' is available now. Damien Johnson plays Studio 188 (Ipswich) 12 June supporting Selfish Sons and O'Skulligans (Brisbane) 25 June.