Celebrated by taste-making culture websites such as The Fader, Dummy and Stereogum - and loved by a network of established and fast-rising entertainers like Ryan Hemsworth, Nina Las Vegas and Tunji Ige - Eddie Johnston, better known as Lontalius, is one of the most crucial musicians to emerge from Wellington in the last decade.
Just 18 years old, Eddie is a competent singer-songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, producer and DJ. Over the last five years he's self-released a steady stream of original music and casiotone covers of Top40 songs, playing well attended shows up and down the country along the way. Described by The Fader as "...the New Zealand teenager behind the internet's best rap covers", his melancholic interpretations of modern chart anthems from international stars like Drake, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber spread rapidly online via social media platforms like soundcloud and tumblr. In the process, they've afforded him an ever growing genuinely international audience.
In conjunction with his covers, he's slowly carved out his own hyper-truthful melodic alt-rock sound. Initially heavy on lo-fi presentation and shoegaze style aesthetics, Eddie's resonant songs of youth, confusion and sadness have become cleaner, richly melodic, and lyrically focused, allowing him and his live band (Taylor Groves, Daniel McBride of Sheep, Dog & Wolf, and Miles Sutton of Tuff Wizard) to open for crucial American indie pop stars Perfume Genius and How To Dress Well. Alongside these efforts, Eddie has shared stages with New Zealand's Liam Finn, Dear Times Waste, Glass Vaults, and performed at the Camp A Low Hum Festival.
The sound he's been carving out, an honest expression of Eddie's interior world, came into sharp focus late last year with the release of his game-changing single 'Light Shines Through Dust'. Having tallied up over 70,000 plays on soundcloud, and dominated national student radio charts earlier in the year, 'Light Shines Through Dust's beautifully damaged vocal performance and warm yet listless guitar figure hinted dangerously at the emotional depths Eddie was capable of mining.
More recently, Eddie travelled through the US, UK and Japan, stopping off along the way in Bristol to finish recording and mixing his debut album proper with legendary recording engineer and producer Ali Chant of Toybox Studios (PJ Harvey, Perfume Genius, M. Ward, KT Tunstall). Not long after returning to New Zealand, his was announced as an invited participant in the 2015 November edition of the Red Bull Music Academy in Paris and profiled by i-D magazine. i-D dubbed him, " the 18 year old New Zealand singer/songwriter spending the late night hours writing and recording songs of reflection for his generation. " Thanks to the connectivity of the internet, Eddie isn't just writing for one geographic location and it's scene. He's writing for his generation worldwide, and connecting with them song play by play along the way.