Friday, September 26, 2014

INTERVIEW: More from Justin Froese

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 10:25 AM


This week the Source published a piece about singer/songwriter Justin Froese and his infectious pop tune "Finally Here."

There was much more to our interview with the ultra-friendly, porkpie-hat-wearing nomad and you can read it below before you catch his show this Sunday at Volcanic Theatre Pub.

On his love of hats...

You feel different in a hat, like you feel when you're wearing a suit. You hold yourself differently. You're also seen differently. The hat helps me keep my cool and is a barometer of who else in the room has good taste. Goorin hats are my favorite right now. I've had three and have even performed in the Seattle Goorin shop. Love Goorin!

On working solo versus collaborating...

I've been performing solo and with bands for the same amount of time; since I was 11. The solo act and the band act are really different beasts each with their own challenges and rewards. The ideal is to reap a little in one of what you sow in the other. I'm always most intrigued by how simple a band can play and how big a soloist can sound. It's a feat to get everyone contributing onto the same page musically, emotionally and energetically, but when the band is of one mind the results can be powerful.

On his time in Seattle...

My time in Seattle has been some of the best years of my life yet. I've made some amazing friends there. It's not that large of a city and the music community is pretty tight. It can also be clique-y, but that's just life. I entered the scene as The Head and The Heart had blown up at Conor Byrne Pub and this indie, folksy Fleet Foxes sound of three-chord acoustic guitars, tamborines amd oh-oh sections was all the rage. Everyone was dabbling with that. I saw a lot of people wanting to ride the coattails of others. Ultimately that scene didn't continue to inspire me enough and that's what I'm tryin to get down to now on my creative journey. Where it doesn't matter what other people are doing or not doing or how they're doing it; the focus is, what do I want to do? So, lots of coming out of my shell in Seattle, and making the final transition from serving others' dreams and reacting to others' dreams to serving my own.

On living in Austin...

Austin was a little rough at first. I moved there in the middle of wrapping up my album. It was hot, my car didn't have A/C, I didn't make many connections off the bat like I did in Seattle. I spent three months there before starting the tour I'm on now. The vibe of Austin is very much like Portland to me. I feel Austin is a better hub for live music and creativity. It's closer to the density of the south, it has an edgier, rootsy indie rock vibe, it has better breakfast tacos [and there's] nothing like a southern woman. I know I have to give it more time, and will.

On getting his start in music...

My background is not that of the struggling artist. It's not some, I-lost-my-job-so-I-had-no-choice-but-to-face-my-art kinda thing. I started playing when I was five, I guess because my dad played and it just found it's way into my hands naturally like any other object of youthful curiosity. My first real job was actually playing classical guitar for an art gallery show. I had an amazing mentor, Peter Pupping, who I studied with for 8 years. He got me my first gig at age 16, enrolled me in college level guitar classes and through his encouragement got me 10,000 plus hours of guitar practice under my belt by age 18. In my college summers I did work as an outdoor adventure guide and camp counselor in the Rockies helping kids learn to trust themselves and discover their own strength, but that was one of those kind of 24 hours per day jobs where you weren't ever really off and it didn't pay much.

On his approach to songwriting...

The music really comes first for me. The music has the emotional information within and the lyrics help root that sonic element. I long for that simplistic potency of Leonard Cohen. And I feel sometimes that my technical proficiency at the guitar gets in the way of pure song craft because it's so easy for me to develop and speak through a guitar, partly from all of that classical guitar training.

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