Q&A Scene: Josh Johnstone

Tell us about your new album & upcoming tour?

The album is named ‘Call in Whispers’ – it was recorded in Western Australia with Joel Quartermain of Eskimo Joe. Joel and I produced the album together and between the two of us, played pretty much all of the instruments on the album. It was a different process than I was used to, which is always good. Tour wise, I have just finished up 3 solid months of touring around Australia Europe, USA, UK. Right now I’m in Indonesia about to play a show here, and then finally home to Perth. It’s been a beautiful whirlwind since the album was released.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time? 

Without a doubt, it is the new album. I feel that by working with the people I did during the writing, demoing, producing etc of this album, my songwriting, singing and musicianship has improved more in the last 2 years than it did in the 10 years preceding it.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

I guess it’s like Pizza, in the sense that it is not an acquired taste – it appeals to a wide range of people of all age groups, and everyone seems to like it haha

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

There have been a lot of crazy moments when on the road – these things tend to happen though when you spend a lot of time around eastern Europe and Russia.  There was a time in Poland after a show. Our accommodation was in a huge medieval castle on the top of a mountain. In the middle of the night we decided to go and get a bottle of 10 euro vodka from a small shop half way down the mountain. On the journey, walking towards us we saw a huge guy carrying an axe. He stopped and stared at us with quite a disturbing expression on his face. We all thought ‘Well, this is it, we are dead’. It was the middle of the night, none else was around, what could we do. So we all just ran as fast as we could out of there. When we got back to the castle, we told our Polish tour manager. She said ‘Why did you run? He was probably just going for a walk with his axe. People do that all the time around here!’  Funny stuff haha

What, or who, inspires you?

I don’t think anyone has inspired me more than my parents. My dad is in a band, he selflessly put music as his second priority to raise us kids, and nothing makes him and my mother happier than seeing me and my brother out there playing music full time all over the world. And nothing makes me happier than seeing him back playing in a band now.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

That’s hard to say, many many songs. Perhaps ‘Learning to Fly’ by Tom Petty?

What’s next for you?

Well, the intention was to go home and regroup after the long world tour. But I guess I got excited while overseas and started planning more tours: East Coast of Australia for November 2016, then another USA tour for April 2017, and Europe for June – August 2017. In between, I will be writing the next album I suppose, and holding songwriting and social engagement workshops for people experiencing mental health issues, which is something I have been doing for several years now.

What’s your scene?

Interesting question haha. Outside of music, it is going to the beach every day with my parents’ dog ‘Millie’, swimming, cooking, partying, socialising. I guess the same for a lot of people?

Josh Johnstone‘s Call In Whispers is available here.

Tour Dates


Sep 03           National Hotel                      Fremantle, Australia

Sep 04           Quindanning Inne               Quindanning, Australia

Sep 08           Prince of Wales Hotel       Bunbury, Australia

Sep 09           Shark Bay Resort               Shark Bay, Australia

Sep 10           Gascoyne Hotel                   Carnarvon, Australia

Sep 11           Gilgai Tavern.                       Kalbarri, Australia

Sep 16           National Hotel                      Fremantle, Australia

Sep 29           Exchange Hotel                   Kalgoorlie, Australia

Sep 30           Exchange Hotel                   Kalgoorlie, Australia

Oct 01            Exchange Hotel                   Kalgoorlie, Australia

Oct 02            Oktoberfest Laverton        Laverton, Australia

Oct 03            Higginsville Mine Site        Kambalda West, Australia

Oct 06            Prince Of Wales Hotel       Bunbury, Australia

Oct 07            The Ship Inn             Busselton, Australia

Oct 09            National Hotel                      Fremantle, Australia

Oct 14            Vida Cain Album Launch Perth, Australia

Oct 20            Exchange Hotel                   Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Australia

Oct 21            Exchange Hotel                   Kalgoorlie, Australia

Oct 22            Exchange Hotel                   Kalgoorlie, Australia

Nov 11           Venue TBA                           Melbourne, Australia

Nov 16           Venue TBA                           Sydney, Australia

Nov 17           Venue TBA                           Newcastle, Australia

Nov 18           Venue TBA                           Coffs Harbour, Australia

Nov 19           Venue TBA                           Byron Bay, Australia

Nov 25           National Hotel w/Jetpack Fremantle, Australia

Dec 09           ITS MY BIRTHDAY PARTY & A GIG!   Fremantle, Australia

Dec 20           Jaguar Mine Site                Leonora, Australia

Dec 24           Xmas Eve at The Prince!  Bunbury, Australia

Dec 29           Warrawandu Mine Site     Newman, Australia


Feb 11            Boddington Music Festival    Boddington, Australia

After being based in Melbourne and touring throughout the east coast of Australia, The USA, UK, Europe and Asia in his various bands for several years, Josh moved back to his home town of Fremantle in 2012.

To launch his solo career, Josh released debut EP ‘Half a World Away’ – a 6 track release comprising of old demos from the archives which were simply polished up and put out to the public.  First single from the EP ‘Reckless’ was written and recorded in Italy with producer Fabio Tumini over a 4-day wine-soaked burst of creativity, and mixed back in Perth by Andy Lawson (Basement Birds, Eskimo Joe). The  EP took fans on a journey through four particularly eventful years of Josh’s life, both musically and emotionally. Josh explains, “I think that the EP has multiple personality disorder of the musical variety. One track dabbles in dance grooves with synth, the next has a country twang, then some ‘60s organs with warm breathy vocals take place, and then an acoustic ballad to finish off. But at the end of the day, the thing that ties it all together is melody, meaning, and an emphasis on writing songs that connect with people. There is no wrong or right with music. Music is everybody’s therapy, it is there to make you feel emotion, whatever that emotion may be”.

For the past 12 months Josh has been busy in the studio writing and recording his debut album ‘Call in Whispers’ with Eskimo Joe’s Joel Quartermain. The now completed album is set for release in April 2016 and is by far Josh’s best work to date. Two singles from the album have just been released; ‘Rain Dancer’ and ‘Front Light’ both of which you will find online with a little help from your ol’ mate Google… and if you don’t, then you will just have to go and see it performed live. Hit up the TOURS page for national and international tour dates.

Taking cues from the sounds of Boy & Bear, The Temper Trap, Matt Corby and Bob Evans, and marrying them with the pop sensibilities of acts like Foster The People and Empire Of The Sun, Josh’s experience writing for a range of stylistically different projects – as well as co-writing with Joel Quartermain (Eskimo Joe), Davey Lane (You Am I), Steve Parkin (Basement Birds), and Jen Chloer – has given him the perfect education to meld rock and pop together in sublimely diverse and catchy ways.

Of course the live arena is where Josh shines, with his various acts impressing punters when on the bill for the Big Day Out, Australia Survival Day Concert, Rock the Bay Festival (VIC) and St Kilda Festival (VIC), as well as supporting the likes of Gotye, The Waifs, John Butler
Trio, Sleepy Jackson, Little Red, Children Collide, Eskimo Joe, Shihad, Gyroscope and more. International highlights include playing Positivus Festival (Latvia), Summer Sound (Latvia), IPO (LA, USA), Zagare Cherry Festival (Lithuania), Ollesummer (Estonia), OrowHaus Festival (Berlin, Germany) and Karju Rock Festival (Finland), as well as unforgettable shows at iconic Los Angeles venues ‘The Viper Room’ and ‘House Of Blues’.

For more information: Josh Johnstone Facebook Instagram

About Mary Boukouvalas 1612 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.