While in the country performing a run of shows, Highly Suspect’s Johnny Stevens joined Jay and Dunc in studio to talk about all things from the band’s beginnings, to addressing the New Zealand ticketing and venue issues.
“We had no idea how big things were getting over here,” Johnny said.
The band’s agent, Greg agreed saying in the beginning they thought the smaller venues would be all they needed.
However, the initial shows sold out almost instantly due to the overwhelming flood of fans wanting to see the band live.
“We had to call the promoter and they were like ‘what?’, and I said ‘I think we might have an issue here’,”.
But it wasn’t always sold-out gigs, with Johnny speaking about the early days of the band.
"You wake up next to a dumpster...That's the reality," Johnny reminisced, saying that their success still feels surreal.
"I didn't see it coming, I didn't even realize how big things were getting for us. One day you're sleeping next to a dumpster, the next you're selling out shows in a minute and topping The Rock 2000 chart. It was all so surreal."
Johnny went on to talk about first meeting his now bandmates, Rich & Ryan, and how they came up with the name ‘Highly Suspect’.
"Apparently, the ‘highly’ part was because you were smoking a lot of weed at the time, whose idea was it to do the second part in a random name generator?” Dunc asked.
“We put in highly, and a list came out, and we were like ‘Oh Highly Suspect, that sounds cool’, and now every time I hear it, I want to puke, I hate the name of it,”.
Johnny shared the moment he was able to quit his job, working at a karaoke bar in New York, a place where he had some…. interesting…. Experiences.
“Do you want to hear about the time Lindsay Lohan called the police on me, or the time where I f***** an Elf in the basement?”, Jay and Dunc both replied, almost instantly, “both”.
Speaking of their music, Johnny talked about what it was like writing music in Columbia, a place easier to get drugs into than it is getting fruit into New Zealand.
“You want to see someone go from 0-100, is go to touch the dog,if they’ve found 2 cherry tomatoes in your carry-on, you are done”.
Speaking truthfully, Johnny said the next album is the best music we’ve ever made” while also talking about the music he’s least proud of.
“I Think on Midnight Demon Club, I tried to pander, I don’t think I was my complete self when it came to the process of making that album and I don’t love it.”
Watch the full video below to see Johnny talk about loving his time in New Zealand so much he’d like to live here, looking back on his time taking drugs, and which songs he finds it too hard to perform live.