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Meet Trey Johnson of State Fair Records in Design District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Trey Johnson.

Trey, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas. I was a founding member of the North Texas band, Sorta. In its seven-year run, we enjoyed notable regional success with four full-length records. The band garnered national attention, when our songs were picked up for several television series.

In 2007, the members of Sorta parted ways after the tragic death of our friend and fellow band member, Carter Albrecht. I’ve continued to record songs, and perform sporadically. At that time, I had a young family with two children under the age of four, and my personal focus shifted.

I’d been teaching music for several years at a local music school called Zounds Sounds, and began taking an interest in artist development. Since the sorta band days I’ve released three albums, Mount Pelee, Where The East Ends, and The Family Piano.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Generally, it has been a smooth journey. I am a lucky man. I have a fairy tale wife and a very supportive family. The business of writing and performing music can sometimes be painful, especially as we grow older. But it’s no different than anything else.

I’m still hunting and pecking around for the next song like I’ve done since I can remember. We have a very vibrant music scene in Dallas. I don’t have to look very hard.

Please tell us about state fair records.
State Fair Records was formed by myself and two other partners, Scott Davis and Paul Williams in 2013. Paul Williams has been a successful performing artist and producer in Dallas for over 20 years. His long list of accomplishments as a performer include Tablet, Vibrolux, and Mur.

As a producer, he’s worked with many artists including The Reverend Horton Heat and Polyphonic Spree at Dallas’ Last Beat Studio in Deep Ellum. More recently he produced Madison King, Christopher Holt and Pueblo’s debut ep ‘Boring the Camera”. Scott Davis is a renaissance man. An electrical wizard, family man, accomplished musician, pilot, philanthropist.

Scott owns and operates Dallas Avionics. They manufacture and distribute cockpit audio systems, radars and many other things. Trust me when I say, that description only scratches the surface… Our business model has always been to operate a studio, make records, and promote/distribute the sounds of the cities we love. State Fair Records Studio is located in the design district. It’s a great room with great gear, creative people, and an easy vibe. We have several releases planned for 2018 including John Pedigo’s new project, Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner in March. When we started to build State Fair, it was well documented that the music business as it had been known was gone, forever. However, the business of making music and distributing it to audiences that want it is still alive, and thriving in many new and exciting ways. Also, Denton, Dallas/Ft Worth benefits from the University of North Texas, which has one of the most respected music schools in the world, and pours classically trained musicians into our artistic community every year. This is a highly educated musical community full of remarkable bands and incredible talent. The label now has ten original acts signed which include a variety of musical genres from our newest act, Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner, to the lyrical Brooklyn based duo, Pueblo, to the alt-country rockers, Vandoliers that were recently named “Top Ten Country Bands to Watch” by Rolling Stone. I am most proud of the fact that we didn’t quit. Last year we secured a distribution deal with Sony Records and moved into our beautiful new studio in the Design District. As a result we are now able to attract great artists, increase their profiles and ultimately create more opportunities. On a personal note, I am a songwriter. My artistic high water marks have all come from songs. I can appreciate the art of songwriting, and though this is a complicated business, when you get right down to it, it’s always about the song.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Boating on Aransas Bay

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
personal image was taken by Will Montgomery
all album cover images courtesy State Fair Records

1 Comment

  1. Betty Ewing Dicken

    February 17, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Fantastic article !

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