Highly Suspect is a Brooklyn-based group comprised of Johnny Stevens (guitar/vocals/synth) and twin brothers Ryan (drums/vocals) and Rich Meyer (bass/vocals). Since relocating from the sandy shores of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the trio’s played DIY venues and dive bars across the Big Apple, honing its ferocious and cutting sound — a potent melding of blues and garage rock that calls to mind bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood, and even Pearl Jam.
This summer, the band will release their brand new album ‘Mister Asylum’, which is the follow-up to 2012’s ‘The Worst Humans‘ EP. We talked with Johnny Stevens, lead singer of the band, about the album that in my opinion, will change the band’s career forever. Hit the play button and listen to their powerful song “Lydia” as you read along.
Indscene: After listening to “Lydia”, I am curious on how the songs from your new album ‘Mister Asylum’ will sound and I am looking forward to this release. How is this album different from your EP ‘The Worst Humans’?
Thanks! Three years have gone by since that EP, so you’re gonna hear a difference. I guess our songwriting has evolved a lot. We recorded that E.P. a year after we moved to Brooklyn, New York and so we carried some of our earlier reggae influence with us from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Now, having been in the grind of the city for much longer, the songs naturally have more of an edge. This is a pretty hard hitting album and we can’t wait for you to hear it.
Indscene: What does the name of the album mean?
Mister Asylum means a lot of things. Some of those things aren’t going to make sense to the listener until they put the headphones on and spin it from front to back. I guess in general however, the theme is going to be relatable to anyone who has gone through hardships in their life. There is a healthy mix of pain and beauty in everything that surrounds you. Mister Aylum encompasses this thought. The word itself can mean a place of safety, or it can mean a mental institution. Mister Asylum dances in between both worlds.
Indscene: Are you planning on touring this summer in support of the album?
Indscene: How did SXSW treated you?
This was our second year at SXSW and it was an absolute dream. Last year was fun because we only had a couple relatively small shows. We were able to see so many great acts and really get a feel for the festival. This year was MUCH different because we were playing two shows a day. There wasn’t as much of a chance to hear new artists, but we were able to make an impact. SXSW was vey beneficial for Highly Suspect and I think we were able to get a lot of eyes and ears on our shows.
Indscene: Which bands inspired you to began writing music?
Everything we have ever heard since we could crawl, right? Music is huge. Honestly, we are into so many different types of music as a group that it would be impossible or maybe even unfair to try and give you a concise list of names. If it made it into our ears, somehow and in someway, it inspired us.
Indscene: Can you tell us a band or artist you would like to tour with?
Patsy Cline, Madonna, but only 80’s Madonna, Mozart and Elvis. (Laughs) We love going out with all types of music, but I guess in all seriousness it would make sense for us to hit the road with Queens of the Stone Age or the Deftones, right?
Indscene: Where are you at this very moment and what are your plans for the upcoming weeks?
Smoking cigarettes in my Brooklyn bedroom like a champion with my cat. Rich and Ryan are at a tattoo parlor in Manhattan. Over the next few weeks we will be fielding interviews and planning out our summer tour schedule. Oh and a music video or two, we are getting started on that right away.
Finally, we ended asking him our traditional quick facts.
A song you can’t stop listening to right now: I just pre-ordered the new Wolf Alice album, My Love Is Cool, so “Moaning Lisa Smile” and “Giant Peach” by them.
The craziest thing you’ve experienced in a gig: It’s really crazy watching people sing along to “Lydia”.
A place or venue you would like to perform someday: The 02 Arena.