Interview with Johnny Touch

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Johnny Touch have recently unleashed their stunning début album to the world. Inner City Wolves is the kind of throwback to a bygone era in Metal that has no business being as good as it is. It has the timeless appeal of pure, original Metal, however; that and the fact that it’s just a great collection of songs mean that this is an album that everyone should be getting their grubby mitts on. Determined to find out a bit more about this seeming anachronism, I grilled Denimal about the wonder that is Johnny Touch…

For those of you unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

There’s 4 heavy metal maniacs in JT; Ramrod Hodgson on vocals, Jamie Whyte on guitars, Inphiltrator on bass guitar and Denimal (me) on drums/cowbells.

Give us a bit of history to Johnny Touch…

I started JT sometime during 2009, effectively a mere project at that point. I had collated enough material of the heavy rock/metal ilk since the late 90’s, to warrant some form of project at the very least. Along with a couple of session members, I recorded a demo called ‘Fight For It’, which was released on pro-cassette by Abysmal Sounds Productions.

It was soon thereafter that the primary band members wove their wicked ways towards JT! From that point on we became a focussed and deadly laser beam, having wrought 2 more split 7 inch records released and more recently the début album.

Where did the name of the band come from?

I think I construed this name on a whim, it kind of stuck! It is inspired by 80’s street gangs, the leader of such bearing the name, Johnny Touch.

What are your influences?

Rock, metal, martial arts, classic action films, big haired ladies.

Johnny Touch BandWhat are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

Rainbow – ‘Long Live Rock n’ Roll’
Realmbuilder – ‘Blue Flame Cavalry’
Pariah – ‘Blaze Of Obscurity’

That’s what I’ve been listening to this week, and heck, I’d recommend them all!

So, a bunch of Australians manage to faithfully recreate the glory days of the NWOBHM in style and with quality. How did that happen?

Hahahaaaa jesus man! They were the ‘glory days’ for a reason. We aspire and work hard! Simple. Whether that be in relation to our skill level, performances or song writing.

In my review I also state that if this album had actually been released back in said NWOBHM glory days, you’d probably be very big indeed and famous to most Metal fans. Discuss.

Maybe, it’s hard to know, but I appreciate the sentiment nonetheless mate. It seems to me, the biggest ‘metal’ bands worldwide are still the traditional heavy metal bands. The music appeals to a broader range of music lovers due to it’s quality, catchiness, conviction, and less extreme nature. Though I remember hearing Twisted Sister’s track ‘I Wanna Rock’ when I was a kid, and seriously believed that to be the heaviest song in existence! There’s a more extreme perspective nowadays, but that song is still really fucking powerful, no doubt. If you doubt, watch them play it live!

Unfortunately many of the great metal bands are disbanded so there may be necessary voids to fill in the near future!

What did you want to achieve with Inner City Wolves?

We wrote and recorded what we would want to hear from a new heavy metal band. There’s no good reason why traditional heavy metal should be dead. So we took our own high expectations and forged something that vintage metal and rock fans would froth at the mouth for. Interestingly we also have a large cross section of extreme metal fans into JT. Especially when we play live, is the power of classic heavy metal most apparent.

And that album cover! Tell us about that…

A fantastic artist called Andrei Bouzikow painted that up for us. It’s a vista of earth in post nuclear/war ruin. Fallout having altered the local flora and fauna, huge wolves are abound. The scantily clad warrior-ess has claimed this one from a pup, riding down men for mating and food.

Are you happy with how the album turned out?

Pleased enough. It’s a snapshot of that time I doubt we could really improve on without destroying the feel of it. Everyone whom we have spun it too has thought it was an album from the late 80’s…mission accomplished.

Give us a bit of information on the songwriting process.

Jamie and I write about 50/50. So either he or I will demo the tune, give it to every member to get acquainted with, then we work on that sucker until everyone has made it their bitch! I think songs should age a little bit too. Nothing like Father Time to weigh in on the formation and depth of a song.

How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?

In all ways one could respectfully imagine. We’ll produce speed metal songs, some 60’s/70’s sounding rock ballads, some overtly technical tunes. It really comes down to what the album needs to keep it interesting from start to finish.

What’s next for Johnny Touch?

JT had a quiet year in 2013 due to Inphiltrator being in hospital, so there were no live shows we could play. With the album fresh out we are now playing select live shows nationally and booked some shows outside of Australia. Hopefully ‘Inner City Wolves’ will earn us some invites to any of the myriad traditional metal festivals the world over. New material is currently being put together, we have a title and album cover concepts for this album, but who knows when we’ll be ready to record. Why rush?

Why indeed.


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