Khruangbin’s DJ Johnson talks touring ahead of Bonnaroo

Donald “DJ” Johnson is the percussionist for, and one third of, the Texas trio Khruangbin, which released its fourth studio LP called A La Sala in April. The band that draws inspiration from funk, soul and psychedelic rock made all across the globe is currently touring the states (with some July dates abroad) and playing A La Sala front-to-back.

“Every time I sit down and play it, it takes me back to where we were and who we were when we recorded it,” Johnson said on performing these songs in sequence on this tour. “Every album and recording process comes along with its unique challenges, highlights and also lowlights. It’s like a personal time capsule of who you were when the recording took place.”

There’s not a Nashville date on Khruangbin’s A La Sala tour because they’ll be close by at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, on June 14. A festival favorite, they’ve previously played Bonnaroo as well as Pilgrimage in Franklin, Railbird in Lexington, Kentucky — we first spoke with Johnson and his bandmate Laura Lee before that performance in 2021 — and several other major draws including Coachella, Austin City Limits, Pitchfork, Newport Folk and Shaky Knees.

Hear Johnson describe dusting off the rust to prepare for touring this year, how the band continues to grow and connect with each record, how festival sets necessarily differ from Khruangbin headlining shows and an item he’s learned he cannot live without while traveling.