A headshot of Michael Johnson

Music Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology (BS)

Michael Johnson is an accomplished performer, producer, recording engineer and label founder who leads UArts' Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program. He's been very active in the American independent rock universe for the last two decades, having been a part of releases on labels including Sub Pop, Matador, Ninja Tune and his own imprint, Boiled Records.

Michael has performed on or engineered albums by Kurt Vile, Daedelus, The War on Drugs, Nightlands, Lilys, Holopaw, Japanese Breakfast and Pattern Is Movement, as well as his Ape School project. He has toured the United States and Europe extensively and shared the stage with the aforementioned artists and such rock luminaries as Dinosaur Jr., Iron & Wine and Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse). His music has been featured in film, advertising and television in recent years, including campaigns from Chanel and shows such as Showtime’s Shameless. 

In 2016, he partnered with a Canadian colleague to form Boiled Records, an international label intended to bring obscure and imaginative music to an unwitting public. Boiled has enjoyed surprising success with one group, FET.NAT, placing in the final 10 for Canada’s Polaris award and another, Sessa, is making serious international inroads. Boiled is now Michael’s primary focus outside of his work at UArts, though he is still occasionally active in the studio with other projects. 

Over the years, his efforts and exploits have been featured in the likes of Rolling Stone, Pitchfork.com, CNN, Playboy Magazine, Newsweek and MTV.


Partial Discography
Holopaw, Holopaw, Sub Pop, 2003
Holopaw, Quit +/or Fight, Sub Pop, 2005
Lilys, Everything Wrong is Imaginary, Manifesto, 2006
The War on Drugs, Wagonwheel Blues, Secretly Canadian, 2008
Kurt Vile, Childish Prodigy, Matador Records, 2009
Ape School, Ape School, Counter Records/Ninja Tune, 2009
The War on Drugs, Slave Ambient, Secretly Canadian - 2011
Kurt Vile, Smoke Ring for My Halo, Matador, 2011
Ape School, Junior Violence, Hometapes, 2012
Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze, Matador, 2013
Pattern Is Movement, Pattern Is Movement, Hometapes, 2014
The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream, Secretly Canadian, 2014
The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding, Atlantic, 2017 (Grammy Winner)
Japanese Breakfast, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, Dead Oceans, 2017

Explore Music Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology at UArts