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JOHN – JSF’s Featured Artist for March

This month, we caught up with duo JOHN to hear about what they’re cooking up…

  1. So, where did it all start for JOHN?

We met off the back of our studies in the East End of London back around 2013. We had chatted a lot about a mutual love of certain bands/music throughout the house parties and pubs of our university days, but it took until the end of our studies to get into a basement rehearsal room together. Thankfully things started to flow pretty quickly – we took the jump into the live circuit in early 2014 and we’ve never really looked back since. We were always keen to retain the control of the band’s journey, so the decision to call it ‘JOHN’ was not only logical (us both being called JOHN), but it also served as a manifesto against the more sensational elements of musical culture that we found less attractive and necessary. This led to us creating our own record label to release and distribute our music – Pets Care Records – which has also meant that we have continued to hold the creative vision of the band in our palms.

2) How would you best describe the sound you’re creating?

Having identified our mutual love of energetic live-focussed bands, we were keen to make something with a visceral presence that steered clear of the repetitive trends of rock-based music happening at the time. Having come from a visual background, I wanted to make sure the lyrical side of the band offered multiplicity – not relying on the direct and often expected themes or styles of writing. As a two piece, we recognise the inherent limitations of two bodies, and having understood this, we have always aim to celebrate it: for example, as a singing drummer, my body and vocal have to work in sync, meaning that the music gains a certain rhythm unlike other outfits.

3) Whereabouts are you fellas from, and what’s cracking off there?

I’m originally from the countryside of the south west of the UK, and Johnny’s from Ipswich – despite being born/growing up in South Africa (with his Dad was performing on cruise ships as a musician). Having grown up outside of metropolitan cities, it’s not a surprise that we both sought subcultures like music, art and skateboarding as ways of developing our view of the world. Knowing the limitations placed on culture outside of major cities, it’s been a pleasure to visit less-visited towns with JOHN and still see a thirst for what we do. 

4) Tell us some of your highlights so far…

We’ve been lucky enough to play some of the best festivals and venues that this country has to offer. Walking out to a packed 5000 capacity tent at the legendary Green Man Festival in 2021 was something I’ll never forget. Simultaneously, we’ve taken JOHN across many borders, and playing 13 different countries in support of Bristol’s IDLES in 2018 (concluded by a sold out show at Paris’ Bataclan) was a real dream come true. It’ll always feel great to get the chance to take our live show into new territories.

5) … and what’s next? Any new sounds we can expect/shows we can see you at?

We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes since our last full length ‘Nocturnal Manoeuvres’ in 2021. We’ve just released a standalone double-headed single called ‘Theme New Bond Junior / Hopper On The Dial’  which has just landed on limited 7” vinyl. In typically cryptic JOHN fashion, the single teases plenty more activity through this year. We’re really excited about what’s in store, and it’s great to feel like we’re still developing/exploring as an entity after a decade of writing and touring. 

Photo credit: Paul Grace






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