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Interview with Johnny from Highly Suspect

 Highly suspect just had some killer success at SXSW which resulted in them gaining the #1 spot on Hot Alternative playlist on Spotify. They recently released their new single “Lost” off of their debut album Mister Asylum, which we had the opportunity to chat with them about. Check out our interview with Johnny from Highly Suspect below
Your debut album Mister Asylum is coming out in July, what was the process like? Writing your first album?
“The album wrote itself really. These songs are only translations of real things that have happened in our lives. We recorded with Joel Hamilton in Studio G. Brooklyn,  which was not the original plan. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to focus on “work” because we were doing it in the city we live in – I wanted to get out of New York and go somewhere strange to get away from it all…but that doesn’t make sense considering these songs were written here, they are a direct result of shit that has happened here and this is our home. These songs had to be recorded here, we gotta represent. Once we started making the album, there were no distractions, I didn’t even shave for almost 3 months. I can’t fucking wait for the next LP.” 
How has growing up in Brooklyn influenced your music? 

“We grew up on Cape Cod. We started playing together out of high school as a reggae cover band. Yup. A reggae cover band. It’s kind of cool because sometimes now at a live show we will just bust out ‘Exodus’ or something and people are like “What?”. We were able to get free drinks and eventually real money out of the local bars playing Sublime songs and what have you. Things progressed from there…I think we played “Say It Ain’t So” from Weezer one night and it felt so good to just wail. After years of doing the sports bar thing we just said fuck it…saved up all our show money one summer and headed to Brooklyn. It was the best decision we ever made because when you get here you have to hustle or your getting evicted. We didn’t have any money, friends, jobs…just had to make shit happen REAL quick, you know what I mean? We did what we had to do, and here we are 4 years later proving that we aren’t gonna be chewed up. I’m really proud of that because for anyone that has lived in New York you know that it isn’t easy. In fact, most people only last 3 months out here before heading back to their hometowns. So many broken dreams. Fuck that. You want it? Go get it. So, this struggle, this pain, these hardships, (not all of us have Williamsburg lofts that mommy and daddy pay for) these are what comes through in the songwriting and in the playing. It is real music from real people. (laughs) We’re like Bruce Springsteen on real strong amphetamines.” 

What has been the best/craziest thing to happen to you guys since releasing Lydia?

“We aren’t allowed to tell you yet.”

You guys just spent 10 days at SXSW. How was that? Who were you most excited to see? What new band(s) did you become fans of while out there? 

“I think that’s the 4th time we’ve been in Austin in the past year. Fucking love Austin, love being warm and eating BBQ. All of it. The thing that kind of sucks about playing 2 shows a day is that you don’t get a chance to see anyone. Seriously, most of the acts we were hoping to catch were either playing at the same time we were or close enough to it where we just couldn’t make it. They shut the roads down so you have to lug the gear a pretty good way, and guard it…find parking for the van ten minutes away, run back to the club, repeat when the show is over. It’s a lot of work when you play as much as we did. But it is cool…we weren’t there to see bands. We were there to play. We live in New York so we always get to see the bands and artists we love, ya know? I guarantee if they played at SXSW, they’ll be here at some point this year as well. Got to meet Action Bronson, but still haven’t seen him live. Thats one I want to catch.”

Can you tell us a bit about future performances / tours?
“Not yet. It is all getting worked out, and the stuff that is worked out is still “secret”. Very good things though! Stay tuned.”

What’s one piece of clothing you wish you could always perform in?

“Sometimes when you play outdoor shows in the fall or the spring it can be freezing. We played at this snowboard magazine party once and as you could imagine it was cold. I wish I could wear gloves for those shows…the strings become razor blades on your fingertips.” 

If there was a TV show about Highly Suspect what would it be called?

“Trailer Park Boys.”

This or that:

DC or Marvel

“Marvel – but can we have Batman too?”

Disneyworld or Disneyland
 “Fuck them both.”
Coke or Pepsi
“Fuck them both until they pay me.”
Thomas Shelby or Arthur Shelby

“I’M ARTHUR FOOOCKING SHELBYYYYY !! RoOIGHT!! hahah FAVORITE SHOW, FOR REAL!!!! We just scream and pretend to be Arthur shelby all the time. It weirds people out. Especially people on planes. Tommy has the better haircut though.”

Lydia or Lost 
“Lost.”
Listen to their new single Lost below and let us know what you think:

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