An Interview with Johnstone Macpherson-Stewart

So after saying for the last year that we wouldn’t be adding anyone else to the ranks of our sponsored athletes, a fake Scotsman with a taste for training in red shoes popped up and made it quite clear he was the missing puzzle piece we didn’t realise we were missing. 

Most of you will not be aware of Johnstone Macpherson-Stewart and to be honest, neither was I until around a year ago. He’s another one of these athletes who has been brewing in the shadows of our community whilst honing a set of skills that are not just confined to the athletic. Our paths crossed a couple of times in early 2017 however it wasn’t until the 4TLOM summer event where I realised that the guy flexing an incredible skillset of movement was also the same person behind a string of beautifully produced videos that Robbie Griffith had starred in.

Robbie & Johnstone have been training together for years and, as Johnstone’s interest in videography flourished, Robbie often became the focus of his projects. The pair kept grafting & it wasn’t long before a Parkour themed remake of the Trainspotting intro went seriously viral. This then went on to Johnstone being commissioned by the BBC to shoot more content of Robbie as well as both of them starring in a Devin Supertramp video for Visit Scotland.

via GIPHY

After spending most of his time at 4TLOM with Robbie & the rest of the Motus athletes a solid bond had formed. This combined with the prospect of an unplanned summer meant it wasn’t hard to convince Johnstone to fly out to join us on our impending U.S Tour.

To say he made a positive impact would be the understatement of the year. Not only was he throwing down powerful & creative lines but also picking up the camera & shooting beautiful content at every opportunity. The tour was a huge undertaking to stay in control of and it wasn’t uncommon for Johnstone to step in and take over the filming responsibilities while I was dealing with something else. I remember driving back into Joshua tree after a long journey to pick up more water to find Johnstone churning out clips with all of the other athletes before then throwing down a sick line himself!

Upon returning from America it wasn’t long before Johnstone was pushing to get started on a video idea I had been putting off for the last couple of years. Within a month or so we were on location & it was here I really got to see his confidence as a director and filmmaker flourish. The final edit is far beyond anything I could have produced myself & I’m so thankful that he pushed to get this project completed. 

I am incredibly happy to welcome Johnstone to the team & I cant wait to see what he gets up to as both a creative & the powerhouse of an athlete that he is.


via GIPHY

 

Below is a short interview with Johnstone:

So to keep up with tradition… How & when did you first start training Parkour?

 I started after my friend showed me a video of him and another friend trying what he said was "parkour". I was about 12 at the time and didn't  believe that it was a legitimate thing at first but we went out and jumped over fences and balanced on walls that day anyway. So I have been training for about 7/8 years by now I think. 

 

How did you come to start training in Glasgow with Robbie?

So I'd been training for about 4/5 years before I met Robbie but I was pretty much a nobody at that point. I wasn't even known among the Scottish community because I lived in a really small town in the North of Scotland. Eventually though I found myself in Glasgow one day where I met Robbie and about a year after that I moved to Glasgow for university and the rest I guess is history. 

 

I often refer to you as a fake Scotsman because you have little to no Scottish accent. Why is this? 

Hahaha I'm pretty sure you're the only one who knows me as that but for some reason it fascinates everyone as to why I have the polar opposite accent to Robbie. Basically I'm from a really small town called Forres in the North of Scotland and there used to be a pretty large RAF (Royal Air Force) base right next to it. That meant there was a relatively large percentage of English people in the vicinity which I guess diluted the accent of the area to some extent. My parents were also pretty strict when it came to pronouncing my t's so when you here me say "catpass pre" you know it's gonna sound crisp.

via GIPHY

 

You’re studying video production at University right? When & how did you get into videography? Was it a side hobby that complimented Parkour or did you always want it to be a bit more than that?

So in 2011 I asked for a camera for Christmas that did pretty good slow motion for the time. Like 480p 240fps or something like that and I started making these little YouTube parkour videos which if you're reeealllly interested you can find here - https://m.youtube.com/user/johnstonems19 which all got a really good response from my friends. I just kept making videos and training and they both complimented each other really well but it eventually reached a point where I became interested in filmmaking almost beyond parkour videos so that's pretty much what I'm studying now. I'm in my final year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland  where I have made some short films and written some scripts but my favourite place to be is behind the camera, unless I'm doing parkour, so I definitely want to keep developing that aspect of myself in and outside of parkour.

 

Not only are you hugely talented behind the camera, you consistently impress me every time you move. You’re a very well rounded athlete as you have a solid Parkour foundation but can also be incredibly creative when it comes to flips. Has this always been a focus?

There aren't many great spots in my hometown so while I loved doing parkour, the architecture didn't really lend itself so well, so in my early years flipping definitely gave me more joy and was the main focus of my training. For the past 4 years or so though my training has definitely been more orientated around parkour, technical movement and barwork so being able to train with Robbie almost all the time is such a great way for us to both push each other... But I still love flipping haha! 

via GIPHY


We were lucky enough to have you join us for over half of our U.S Tour in 2017. Any standout memories from that trip, either positive or negative?

There were so many awesome moments from the tour but if I had to pick some stand out ones I would definitely say waking up at sunrise every morning while travelling through Utah and Arizona was one. I also loved training in San Francisco and cliff jumping in Vancouver. George beating the daylight out of Max after he flicked a penny at him on the first morning I joined the tour is also high up on the list.

 

That was your first time in America right? Any other countries you’re hoping to tick off the list?

First time in America and pretty much the first time out of Europe! I'd definitely like to tick off some South American countries like Peru or Brazil and yeah, definitely some east Asian ones as well like Singapore or Indonesia. New Zealand's a given too.

In regards to both Parkour & also your film work, where do you want to take your skillset in the future? Any particular goals?

Honestly I just want to travel the world jumping on walls and bring my camera with me. I definitely want to see how far I can push my movement as well. With regards to filmmaking I don't have any immediate goals other than to keep making better stuff but I'm still trying to sort that one out before I leave uni haha. 

 

Now that you’re officially part of the chaotic family that is The Motus Projects have you got any aspirations or ideas for what you hope to accomplish with the brand before you are driven mad by Max Barker singing frozen for the 90th time?

I definitely have aspirations for and within The Motus Projects, I already have some ideas for the brand so I'm excited to see what else I can bring to the table as someone who is also interested in media. It would obviously be amazing to see the brand continue to grow as it is at the moment, I also love frozen so that shouldn't be an issue.

 

Finally what are 3 facts about you that we don’t know about?

1. I shave my armpits.

2. I have a spotty arse.

3. I can't grow facial hair. 

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