Doug has been in quite a few bands. He variously sings, plays drums, guitar, keyboards, drum machines and anything else lying around. Here are some facts:

Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers
Doug is the drummer for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a crime-writing supergroup featuring Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste.

Doug Johnstone

In July 2021 Doug released an album called Crow Hill, which received amazing reviews. It’s about the stroke he suffered in 2020, but it’s cheery, honest. It’s available on all streaming platforms, or you can buy it straight from him on Bandcamp. Enjoy!

living all the way through cover final

Living All the Way Through, a four-track EP, was released in January 2019. It’s available to stream or download here, or on all the usual music streaming services. The songs are about California, bullets, sports and imposter syndrome. Enjoy!

i did it deliberately cover final

In June 2014 Doug released a new EP, I Did it Deliberately. You can stream it here, where you can also download it for free, or whatever you want to pay. The songs are about driving your car into the sea, burning your house down, crashing your car (again), getting married and jumping off a bridge. Not necessarily in that order.

Doug released his debut solo EP, Keep it Afloat, on 1st May 2011. You can listen to it over at his Bandcamp site, where you can also download it for free, or whatever you want to pay, or order a CD copy for £3. The songs are about parenthood, homesickness, the creative process and having a car crash with Bjork.

Some quotes:

‘Like King Creosote fronting Husker Du.’ Is This Music?

‘A charmingly lo-fi indie shambles.’ The List

‘Keep it Afloat has an honesty that few of Johnstone’s contemporaries would dare, and it still has you on your feet by the end.’ Scots Whay Hae

‘The title track is an epic indie anthem… shares similar DNA to Malcolm Middleton.’ Manic Pop Thrills

‘There is something very endearing about this EP.’ Peenko

Northern Alliance

Northern Alliance are Doug Johnstone, Craig Smith and Viv Todd. They formed in 2002 and have released four albums, two each on 45B Records and Fence Records. They are very proud that they once got 4 Ks in Kerrang. They make lo-fi, sleepy indie sounds, even when they try not to. They are currently in hibernation, but you can stream or download all their albums here, and find out more info here.


Some nice quotes about the band:

‘amazingly haunting… an epic slowburner’ Steve Lamacq

‘a mesmerising sonic masterpiece’ The Daily Record

‘a near perfect dreamlike album. Blissful listening’ The Skinny

‘breathtaking’ Maverick

‘Northern Alliance merge the dissolute melancholy of Arab Strap with the smudged alt folk of Sparklehorse… superb’ Scotland on Sunday

‘Gloriously ramshackle, heartbroken and drunkenly swaying, but that’s exactly where their charm lies’ Kerrang

‘This trio are a thing of real texture and beauty’ The List

‘Genuinely affecting with a heart as heavy as the sun’ Metro

The Ossians


The Ossians were a fictional band who nevertheless managed to release a real album in 2008. Doug Johnstone and Craig Smith pretended to be arrogant twentysomething indie-punk assholes from one of Doug’s novels. The results were interesting and you can hear it here.

‘sometimes sweet, sometimes blisteringly noisy and sometimes too good never to be performed’ The Highland News

‘one of their best albums’ Daily Record

‘there are moments when you would wish The Ossians into existence’ The Scotsman

Back in the dim and distant past, Doug drummed for numerous Edinburgh bands including Imperial Racing Club, Little Hopetown Giants and Cheesegrater.