Want punk rock? Johnny Hunter will show you how it’s done

After a number of weeks touring, Sydney punk rock band Johnny Hunter are settling down to bring their debut EP to life. Their music is soaked in adamant, adolescent fury, and enough endearing insecurity that you’ll want to give them a big sweaty hug as they come off stage.

Catching up with frontman Nick Hutt in the days after a tour with The Lulu Raes and Gold Member, I was burning with questions.

Johnny Hunter

A listen to Johnny Hunter’s music will reveal punkish stories of heartbreak, overconfidence, and the millennial masculinity.

Where did the name come from? One could be forgiven for assuming that it belongs to a member of the group, but in fact the story is a lot less complicated. As Hutt explained:

“Really, it’s just a name, a name that screams degenerate but determined. Something people can call us that our mums can’t. One day it might look nice in lights but for now we are stoked enough seeing it bolted outside the pub when we are having a show.”

These past weeks have been full of firsts for the band, but touring along the East Coast and playing alongside mates is the dream for so many. Having myself been at a few of the shows, one would be an idiot to think that no debauchery occurred. I implored Nick to divulge some of the highlights.

“Staring into the faces of strangers at 2am looking for our guitarist Xander in Canberras’ Mooseheads bar was pretty ridiculous. We copped a few daggers from the locals, maybe it was the smudged eyeliner? Or maybe it’s because the thought of anymore than eight people in one venue right in the middle of the city after 8pm on a weekend is terrifying, speaking as a Sydneysider?”

“… I was on a mission to get him back as he had the keys to our joint, while my supposed search partner spent the entire time at the bar putting away Sailor Jerry’s and Coke. Thanks Gez.”

For a band whose sound is drenched in the best of punk, of rock and a low hum of pop, here is a group whose biggest lesson in their career thus far has been “you can never listen to enough music”. When I asked who their sonic influences were, I already had a bit of an idea (hard not too when you see Hutt’s performance), but was pleasantly surprised to hear a few Australian names in there.

Bowie is king in our camp. Honestly though, from there it can span out – Sonic Youth, Midnight Oil, Lorde – you know what I mean. We are still a bunch of giggling plebs when it gets down to it but we try to take something from everything.”

Johnny Hunter is currently working on their debut record and with some of the best in the business, Nick proudly talking up their recent work with producer Dylan Adams. His experience is phenomenal, so it’s not hard to see why Johnny Hunter is excited to bring this record into the world.

“He’s just finished working on the West Thebarton album and has worked with the likes of the DMA’s, Skegss and The Lulu Raes. Dyl’s a great guy and a lot of fun to work with. The record will consist of four tracks, three we have never played live before – so it’ll be interesting to see how they go – and one that has become quite a staple in our set.”

“All held in the same vein as our first single One Of A Kind. Expect raw, punky driving riffs, bravado and a lot to say about nothing.”

For an emerging band, it’s not hard to develop some criticisms of the world around you. With the industry and its trends being so acutely scrutinised from venues, to labels, to creativity, where does Johnny Hunter see the progress being needed as they step out?

“We know we are saying what everyone’s thinking when we ask; when do we get a Wiggles 2.0? Show me someone who disagrees and I’ll show you a liar, Freya. When this is all over, who else are the kids going to listen to? And where the HELL is the next Kylie??? Seriously… we were doing something right in the ’90s!”

Jokes aside, for bands coming out now you have to dream big. So where does Johnny Hunter see themselves performing in the near or distant future?

“[We] could keep true to our roots, and make it the BDO Mainstage in 2002 alongside the likes of New Order. God what a time to be alive. Or maybe somewhere classic (Brixton Academy would be eets). Anywhere that’s full of people who are unhinged enough to actually part with their money just to willingly sweat and eat strangers’ elbows for forty minutes on end, sounds like a dream venue to us.”

If you are after shredded, pantomime punk rock then Johnny Hunter are here to deliver. They’re hitting up a few venues before their record is released is November – catch the dates below:


Sat 7 July – Record Fair Live – The Bank Hotel, Sydney – with Neighbourhood Void
Sat 14 July – Yah Yahs, Melbourne – with Triple One
Sat 28 July – The Lansdowne, Sydney – with Triple One
29-30 Sept – Yours & Owls – Stuart Park, Wollongong