COSMIC ROUNDUP: JOHN NEWTON OF JOHN
The first time a saw John, it was to absolutely nobody in the Blackheart a few years ago and now they are taking over the world. I'm so proud of them it's unreal. Here's what drummer/vocalist thinks about it all.
Hi John, how are you?
Hey Rich, I’m good thanks, just preparing for the last shows of 2019. I know that a lot of bands have already wrapped up for the holidays but we still have three to go.
You've had a ridiculous year. You've gone massive. Talk us through it all.
It’s certainly has been a special year for us, getting to see the gradual reaction to the release of our second album ‘Out Here On The Fringes’. It has been humbling - and in someways surprising - especially with all the radio support, which lead us to a live session at BBC Maida Vale, and gained a play from Iggy Pop, I haven’t quite got over hearing his voice say a combination of words that I wrote on my phone notes!
I got invited to a John Fan Club Facebook group the other day. How are you coping with your new-found fame?
It’s very warming to know that there are people who really affiliate with the outlook of the band. We, personally, haven’t really changed anything about our approach, so we’ll just keep our heads down and continue enjoying writing and performing. We know that the music is first and foremost, so we’ll just keep exploring on that front.
You've done a fuck load of touring. Are you sick of the sight of each other?
Up until recently, I lived in the house where Johnny rented a workshop, so we really couldn’t escape each other (even post-tour). We’re pretty good at knowing each other’s idiosyncrasies after so long, so you just try to be accommodating especially when spanners get thrown in the works - which is quite often when in a band.
Any shit hot bands you've played with that we should be keeping an eye on?
It’s always great to come across like-minded bands/people throughout the journey. We played with a German band from Berlin/Leipzig called Pigeon - who we both really enjoyed. Johnny also recently did some tech work on Tom from Dry Cleaning’s guitar - only to realise he lives down the road. They’re a great band and it’s been nice to hang out off the back of these musical encounters.
What was the best gig you played in 2019?
What a horrible question... We’ve had a lot of special shows this year, whether that be supporting peers such as Mclusky* and METZ, or selling out some of our own headline tour shows. I can’t choose between children, but the album tour in October was genuinely overwhelming.
Best gig you attended?
I haven’t been to that much of late because of all the tour shoes, but I did finally catch and enjoy Girl Band as I was too slow to catch them in the earlier days. As a drummer, it’s pretty captivating to watch how meticulous Adam Faulkner is. I bet his flat is spotless. Best festival you attended?
I grew up going to 2000 Trees (as it was the closest festival to my hometown) so it was special to get the chance to be on the other side of the barriers this year. The lineup included lots of friends so it was nice chance to catch up with them alongside an enjoyable show in a packed out tent.
What are your favourite releases from 2019?
Dry Cleaning - Boundary Road Snacks And Drinks
Christian Fitness - You Are The Ambulance
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
Drahla - Useless Coordinates
Girl Band - The Talkies
What the hell are you up to next year?
We have a UK tour booked in for late January/early February followed by lots of the earlier spring festivals. From there it only looks to get busier. We’re even off to Greece for a special one off show in Athens at the end of February, who would’ve thought it eh?
Photo by Paul Grace
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