Written by guest blogger Ruta Andriunaityte, for Industry_Files live from New York
I met music artist Justis this winter for the very first time and we spent the whole day getting to know each other. Strolling both trendy and trashy streetscapes of Brooklyn, abundant with graffiti, hip coffee shops, urban street wear, artisanal food stores, artsy vegan eateries and chic pop-up art galleries, we talked about art and music, and of course – the wonderful New York, where he spent a decade living. From the first glance, I could tell he blended in perfectly with the cool bohemian crowd of Brooklyn being a Lithuanian himself. A real Brooklynite – a low-key indie electronic music producer and songwriter, melomane and esthete clad in skinny jeans and riding fixed-gear bike. All that, except for that pretentiousness and fake artsiness that so many of the infamous Brooklyn suburbia seem to posses.
There is just some profound serenity and unfeigned honesty that Justis is radiating that can be felt in his music too. Dreamy, nostalgic and bittersweet 80’s tinged synth-pop-indie-electronica, if you will, when truly saying it is better off not being categorized at all. Justis has been shifting over different music styles over the years. Pulse Bizarre, his recent project, is the kind of music that is perfect to end your night with, when all is quiet and peaceful or simply to shift out to a dream world of faded soundscapes and spiritual longings perfectly laced over his gloomy and somber vocals.
How would you describe yourself as a music artist?
I am a calm geek that patiently and diligently produces music on his computer and when I write the lyrics and when I sing I’m a weirdo and a bit of a punk. I’m a split personality when it comes to music. I’m kind of a split personality in life too.
How and when did this urge to create your own music start?
Several years ago. I was DJing at the time so the need for creating my own songs came as a natural progression. I started producing then, but I knew that I wanted to write songs much earlier.
How would you describe New York’s music scene?
There are a lot of great venues and many of the popular musicians and bands come to New York when they are touring. It’s great ‘cause you can see almost any big band you want. And there are also a lot of small venues and independent artist shows all around the city. It’s a fertile ground for developing artists. Sadly, there aren’t too many good music festivals going on.
How has this city changed you as a person and as an artist?
New York is tough on you, but it’s good in a way. It builds a stronger personality and it can be rewarding. I became an artist here, although it ain’t entirely true. I think I was always an artist and I only allowed myself to be an artist when I came to New York. This city gives you freedom to be whoever you want to be. I was pleased to see how many of the young people were busy doing something they like. Things like writing, singing, dancing, acting, modeling or building companies. It’s inspiring and it’s contagious.
Music is something that follows our mood and energy. The music that we listen to often reflects our current state. Also like a hairstyle or clothes that we wear, our preference for music defines our style. It brings alike people together.
Where do you find your inspiration for music?
Life experiences, arts, I also attentively listen to music. I see what I like and what I don’t. This way I learn from other artists.
Who are your music heroes?
Technology comes first, then the artist and finally the art. I think people who create the technology are often overlooked music heroes.
Early pioneers like Kraftwerk or Brian Eno, people who made electronic music popular are electronic music heroes.
Do you think that those music influences reflect in your music?
Yes, maybe, but it’s really difficult to trace back the influences at this point, there are so many genres and experimentations going on.
What makes your music distinctive?
It’s upbeat yet soft, it has a vintage feel to it.
If you had to frame your music into a certain genre, what would it be?
Three words that best describe your music?
Gloomy, dreamy, repetitive
What is your mission in life? Is it music?
Yes, although a purpose would be a more accurate word. I want to make art, great music and I want to reach people, I might have other goals later in my life, but that is my goal now.
How do you come up with lyrics for your songs?
I look for words in my head, I look for words outside of my head. I often choose to write what feels right and sounds better as opposed to what would logically make more sense.
Are you trying to convey some message with your music or is it more an embodiment of personal moments?
For certain, a big part of it is personal. I think it’s a good music for weirdos and misfits.
If you could make a song with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Jim Morrison. The time I started making music I was fascinated by his character. I still am. I like his weird lyrics and he would also bring some sort of chaos to the songs. I think it would sound great. I believe he would like electro music.
What else interests you besides music?
I’m interested in technology, graphic design and visual arts, I’ve made all the artwork for my songs and eps, I recently put together a glitch video for my song. It’s not much, but I had a lot of fun making it.
If it wans’t music in your life, what would it be?
I’m not sure, but I can say my work pushed me to become a better version of myself.
What makes you happy in this world?
Meditation and just being in the present moment, creating something good or making others happy.
What was the last book you’ve read?
I’m reading Amanda’s Palmer book now “The Art Of Asking” I haven’t finished it yet.
What was the song you listened to today?
TR/ST – Dressed For Space
What is your favorite song?
Secret Service – Oh Susie. There are other songs that I like better than this one today, but I liked this song when I was a kid and I still do, I like it the longest period of time, so I can say it is my favorite song.
What’s your life motto?
I don’t have my personal life motto, but a well-known saying “less is more” fits well. I like to keep things lightweight and simple in my life.
What’s next for you?
I have started recording a new album I would like to tour and get signed. I hope it all happens.
What is your message to those that want to start creating music?
I am the one who is starting so I’m not really in a position to give a solid advice. What I learned from others is that it’s important to have fun. We get so caught up in our work and things don’t always go smoothly, we forget why we started in the first place. We started ‘cause we enjoy doing it. Don’t forget to enjoy the process.
Connect with Justis: www.pulsebizarre.com