I Interviewed Kyle Justin

Kyle Justin (kylejustinmusic.com) talked to me about his gig at the Tin Angel (20 S 2nd Street) on March 1st.

Wanna listen to it? Click here (13:43, 3.14MB)

Want a transcript?

Transcript of the interview:
Jay V: Yeah, I’m sittin’ here at a table at the Barrington Coffee House with Kyle Justin. He’s a little sick right now.
Kyle Justin: How ya doin’, Jay?

Eh. I could be better. How about you?
I could be better because I’m sick.

So you have a show on March 1st at the Tin Angel, and that’s gonna be cool, because the Tin Angel is a big Philly place.
It’s one of the best venues in the city.

I can’t wait. I’m gonna be there at that show. I have to mark it down on my calendar so I don’t forget.
I appreciate that.

If I don’t mark it down, then I will forget and I won’t be there. But otherwise I will. And I hope a lot of other people will show up, because the Tin Angel is a cool place and you — we’re gonna try and pretend to do an interview. That’s why I’m holding my pretend microphone right here. So — I wanted to start out by finding out where did you — where did you start learning how to play guitar? Let’s start off all the way back in the day.
Okay. I had guitars in my parent’s house for forever, but I never touched them until I was fifteen. My friend picked up one of the guitars and it was broken. And he kind of played a couple of licks that didn’t sound too great, but I was really curious that — it was just wood and metal strings, and it was very barbaric and they made these unique sounds and I just didn’t know that’s how music was created. And as soon as he played those licks I fell in love and I started to get some lessons. Eventually I liked learning about music so much that I went to the University of the Arts.

What did you study at the University of the Arts?
I studied Jazz Guitar.

So, you were there for performance.
Yeah. A performance major. I continued there to get my Masters in teaching. That way, in case playing out didn’t cut it I’d be able to make some money somehow and not —

So basically you just wasted money getting a Master’s degree.
(laughter) Pretty much. Yeah. Yeah.

Where do your songs come from? Whenever you write songs, where do they — what inspires you to write songs?
I think writing music is the art of communication, and you wanna communicate to your audience, so I try to write things that a lot of people can connect to. I write about everything and I’ve had 80-year olds come up to me because they connected to something, and I’ve had 15-year olds come up to me. I like that, that people can connect to music on different age ranges and that.

You make your music timeless that way. I got John Shaughnessy and my girlfriend sitting there laughing at us right now because we’re pretending to do an interview.
I’m laughing at me.

I’m laughing at me, too.
It seems like a real interview, though, actually.

You’ve been recording songs — I finally got around to popping onto your MySpace and listening to the recordings, which sound pretty darn good, a couple days ago. People add me as a friend, and I just click on approve. And that’s the end of it. And sometimes I go to the pages — but you know. You have a few songs up on the MySpace and you’re recording an album.
(breaks down with laughter) This is too much. I can’t do this anymore. I need a break. We got an audience now.

Now it just gets slightly embarrassing.


We had to cut the interview short the other day, so I decided to call you back and you happen to be at the supermarket, which is always a great place to do an interview.
Yeah, and we have some background music — some elevator music. I dunno if you can hear it, Jay.

I dunno. I can’t hear it very well.
Oh no? Okay. That’s probably for the better.

Yeah. We lucked out. Elevator music is only good on elevators. It’s not really good background music for a pretend interview.

I forget where we left off. I wanted to ask you — when I listen to all your music — like, for example, “She’s What a Woman Should Be,” I like that song and my girlfriend also really made this connection with it. Tell us the story about how that song came about.
She asked me to write her a song and she deserves a song. I just put — really the words of the song are really simple. If you really read the page without the music in the background, the words are very simple. And, I just kind of wrote and whatever came out came out. I think I’ve been trying to hone the art of writing music and songs for about twelve years now, so it’s definitely improved. And that’s my goal, to be able to write something that’s really well done and really focused. I really appreciate it as a well-written song and that’s all it is.

It’s also a good sounding song. As a matter of fact — if it’s all right — I’m gonna play it right now for all the listeners who bothered to download this MP3 and listen to it. Is it cool if I do that?
That’s absolutely fine.

Here’s Kyle Justin with “She’s What a Woman Should Be,” coming up on his album . . . . It’s gonna be on a CD that I hear you’re recording.
I’m beginning to record it. I’ve only recorded a little bit. Right now I’m looking into about five studios to figure out which studio would be the best for me. So I’m still in that looking process. But I have begun to record a little bit at one studio which is Milkboy Studios in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

Oh. That’s kind of a trek, isn’t it? Because you live in Jersey —
It’s not too bad. I mean, most of the gigging I’m trying to do is in Jersey. It’s really only about — a forty-five minute drive from where I live. So most of my gigs are forty-five minute drives so I’ve gotten used to driving and it’s well worth the energy to go to a good studio that’s gonna record a good CD.

When do you expect to get the CD done? Do you have a name for it yet?
I expect to get it done by summer. Although I’m putting on my website it’s gonna be my debut CD — it is gonna be my debut CD but it may not be a full-length album. I have about nine songs that I’m very satisfied with but I might only release five of them for the EP, and then I might come out with a full-length album sometime after this summer.

Well we’ll make sure to look out for that.
As far as the name goes, I’m still trying to find what songs are gonna finish up the album, find the focus with the songs and the music in order to find the title.

Right. It is a dumb question to ask, what are you gonna call a CD, before you have the whole CD recorded.
No, I think you can actually come up with a title and then write songs around the title. One of the titles I was thinking of was Life. I thought it was a cool title, kind of like the magazine, and nobody in the music market has ever tried that, I don’t think.

I was thinking Life like the whole, entire — Life. Naming the CD after Life, not the magazine but the actual thing.
Yeah. It’s really the actual, physical act of living, and I think it’s a really hard thing to portray life in music. I think it’s portrayed in all songs but I’m trying to portray it differently, so I’m still trying to find how I want to portray life.

That’s gonna be a big undertaking. I think that you should save for your double-LP. So, anyway, just to recap, you have a show at the Tin Angel on Wednesday March 1st.

Doors are 8:00. Show is 8:30. It’s $8.00. And there are gonna be a few other arists, Beven Caulfield, Liat —

You got Sarah Hyntze playing…
Yeah. And then there’s one other person.

Greg Ralls. It looks like it’s gonna be a great show and the Tin Angel has never really disappointed, ever. So I know that that show’s gonna be great and I hope a lot of people come out. I hope you, dear Listener, will come out to see Kyle Justin play at the Tin Angel on March 1st. It’s sure to be a great show.
I hope they come out, too. Absolutely. It’s gonna be great music, and it’s gonna be a great night, and the Tin Angel is one of the best places to play at in Philly. I just saw somebody there, and he’s played with — the Tin Angel attracts national and international acts — I’m just getting over being sick but my memory is poor. But he [Kasim Suton] has played with Mick Jagger, Celine Dion, so this is the type of people that the Tin Angel attracts.

All right! Well it’s good talkin’ to ya. I’m glad we were able to get this thing done even though it took two tries and it took a lot of editing.

Thanks, Jay. Thanks for doing this. I really appreciate it, and if anybody’s listening, I hope you make it out to the show.

Jay V out!


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