Teens to shake Gibbston
A group of Central Otago musicians who have been friends since preschool have come a long way from playing in front of small crowds at community events in Roxburgh.
J-Chill – a band made up of Josh Johnston (lead singer), Jordan Dance (lead guitarist), Blaine McGann (bass guitarist), Jesse Orchard (percussionist) and Alex Darling (keyboard) – is playing the opening act at the Gibbston Valley Winery Summer Concert.
Lead singer Josh Johnston said he formed J-Chill at the start of 2015, when doing a summer job berry picking. The thought struck him that his close friends could all play the instruments to form a band.
The band was given the name ‘‘J-Chill’’ as it was made up of three Js and they were ‘‘just a chill band’’.
J-Chill based their songs on how suitable the melody was for the lead singer. They believed music nowadays had become lost in the techno world and should be brought back to more use of live instruments.
The band started performing at local community events, then in 2016 things kicked off with J-Chill signing up to perform at Big Break, then at Queenstown’s Winterfest event. That gave them a taste of gigging away from home and to a different, much bigger crowd.
Johnston said they were contacted about two months ago advising they were going to play at the Gibbston Valley concert.
‘‘We still can’t put into words how amazing an opportunity it is. It is just absolutely amazing to think that we will be performing on the same stage as some of the greats, for example, Bonnie Tyler. At the start of 2016 we made a goal to push ourselves to get somewhere. We started to perform at local events and eventually decided to take it out of Roxburgh and go somewhere where we can make a name for ourselves. The first event that we performed at out of Roxburgh was Queenstown’s Big Break.
‘‘We waited and waited for that call (for Gibbston) and when it happened we were just over the moon. We couldn’t believe it, we were just so bloody happy to have this amazing opportunity handed to us.
‘‘We aren’t really nervous yet. We still are just so excited that it’s actually happening. But I bet you when it comes to the day we will be shaking.’’
Josh Johnston, 17, is the lead singer of the Roxburgh band J-Chill (inset) that is playing the opening act at the 2017 Gibbston Valley Concert.