The Johnstones

Ska/Punk/hip hop band The Johnstones are back in town with their fifth album "Suck" out on November 13th, 2012.  Lead singer Ryan Long and his band have been active on the media scene in the last few years having been part of different shows including Canadian idol, MUCH Spring Break Special, Musiqueplus and MTV Live; Ryan Long (lead singer) has also been a featured comic on Video On Trial.  When music and humour are unseparable, keeping things light and fun, it is not surprising that The Johnstone is experiencing such success.  They will return on the screen with their mock/reality comedy TV series, Crown The Town with Ryan Long, premiering on Rogers TV Toronto on October 3, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.  For more info on this band, visit:
Interview by: Valerie Bastien
Valerie: Please introduce yourself and describe the music you do and what your influences are.

Jarek: Hey, what’s up! I’m Jarek from the band The Johnstones. We play a mix of punk/ska/hip hop. Our influences are bands like Rancid, The Beastie Boys and The Bloodhound Gang.

Valerie: Your fifth album “Suck” is coming out on November 13, 2012; that is very exciting. How do you feel?

Jarek: It feels awesome. And the album is badass! I can honestly say that this is our best album to date. It totally encompassed everything we are and have grown to be as a band. It’s catchy as hell too!

Valerie: Why did you choose “Suck” for the title of this album?

Jarek: Honestly, it pretty much started with the image of the album cover. We thought it would be cool to have us all wearing the same “suck” t-shirt, and it stuck with everyone. It obviously is some part sexual innuendo but we all got a good chuckle - especially when Gary (our 45 yr old merch guy) and his brother posed for the front and back of the album in the same shirt.

Valerie: You are undeniably a very funny bunch. Why is humour and music a good combination in your opinion?

Jarek: Ha, I’d love to have some deep, well thought out answer like: “humor and music are both basic elements of entertainment that have been combined far back in the past beyond Chaplin and Vaudeville blah blah blah”…. We play the music we loved while growing up, and we have fun doing so. Our music is light-hearted for the most part, so why not laugh a little or a lot too.

Valerie: Tell me about the challenges of releasing this record?

Jarek: This record has definitely had its fair share of challenges. But we were also busy creating a TV show. I feel like too many bands whine about the struggles involved with the recording of their album. Who cares. It took longer than our other albums because we were also creating a TV show.  We’re done both and I’m extremely happy with both, so I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

Valerie: How are the writing responsibilities divided amongst the band members?

Jarek: Ryan and I write the most for sure, but everyone throws their own “twang” into the mix once we bring it to the drawing board. That’s what keeps it fun. When we decide that we’re putting another album out though, Ryan and I jot down a bunch of ideas and show them to everyone else. When everyone’s having a good time, it usually means the song works.

Valerie: Will you be releasing a single off this album? What will it be?

Jarek: Yep, our first single that we’re releasing is “Jennifer’s Jacket”. We shot a music video for it as well, and we’ll be releasing that very soon as well.

Valerie: What song is the most special to you and why?

Jarek: The song most special to me personally is “Mr.Gillezeau’s Opus”.  Rene wrote this song entirely and I recorded and mixed the whole thing. It’s super raw with Rene rapping the entire song, and I think people are really gonna like it.

Valerie: Is there a song that wrote itself up really easily? In what circumstances did it happen and what inspired it?

Jarek: Yeah, some songs are definitely like that. We had a few, but for the most part on this record, we put each song through the grind. We tweaked and retweaked until we got exactly what we wanted, and as a result, I’ve never been happier with a record.

Valerie: Tell us about your comedy show Crown the Town with Ryan Long? How do the creative and production processes work? What is the link between the show and your band if any?

Jarek: Crown The Town with Ryan Long, that airs on Rogers TV Toronto cable 10/63, is a ridiculous comedy aimed at finding the best of the best within the city. Ryan’s the host, and I’m the on-screen producer. There are insane sketches, interviews, music videos and celebrities. And the episodes range from off-the-wall topics such as finding the best gold buyer in the city to finding the best pole dancer in the city. Also, it features local celebrities, musicians, and even Jackass’ “Steve-O” in one episode. It’s honestly hilarious.

One of the coolest things about the show is just how DIY it is.  Ryan writes the entire show with a few outside “creative consultants” such as myself. He edits it, I do sound and motion graphics, we record all the voiceovers… We wanted a show so we made one, and as such had to learn how to make one. It’s rugged, raw, in your face, and out-right hilarious. Watch it!

Valerie: What are your future touring plans?

Jarek: We’re putting together a tour for our album “SUCK” as this is written, so keep posted. Also, our punk rock “Yellow Snow Tour 3” is going to be happening in the winter, so everyone’s gotta make sure to keep posted for all of our upcoming dates!

Valerie Bastien is a vocal coach, teacher, musician and freelance journalist.
Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication of this content is strictly prohibited.
2010-2012 Voice Yourself Inc. All rights reserved.