By Jay Oakley
So you just started the tour and where are you heading now?
The next show is in Denver, Colorado. It's on Friday at the Marquis Theater.
How has the tour been going so far?
It's been great man. We couldn't ask for anything better. It took us three days to get out to Salt Lake City, Utah and we rocked the first show. Everyone did great, Requiem, William Control and us too. I think it's a great combination of bands.
Are you familiar with Requiem and William Control already?
I had not heard of Requiem until we did this tour and William Control I had seen him live opening up for CombiChrist and until then I had heard of him but I had never heard his music. So that was my first exposure to him and after that show I was really blown away by his performance and excited when he asked us to come out on this tour. This is our first tour.
For people that are unfamiliar with you talk a little bit about your style.
I would say that we do electronic rock and a very theatrical live show.
Nice, is it just yourself or do you have a band?
I have a band, it's four of us right now. Myself, my drummer Will E. Vill, guitarist Soda and bassist Fox.
Would do you look to put across and what do you want the crowd to feel at your live shows?
I want the crowd to feel an exciting live show with a lot of theatrics. I want each song to have a different theme visually to reflect the themes of each song. I want to deliver a savage fucking rock and roll take on electronic music. Just in your face and attitude.
You've said this is your first tour but have you been able to do any kind of touring or traveling on your own to get your music around the country?
This is the first tour. We did a little mini-tour called the Tri-State Whore Tour back in December. This is our first national tour so we get to cross the whole country which is really awesome. We're looking forward to meeting people and meeting our fans and excited to meet the people that are inspired by what we're doing.
When it comes to your fans, what do they bring you?
Our fans are really nice. Actually last night we had two girls who bought us pizza after the show and we hung out with them all night. In the move SLC Punk there is a scene where they are looking out over Salt Lake City so they took us to the mountains where we could look out over Salt Lake City and then they took us to the serial killer Ted Bundy's house actually. The house is abandoned but there was a light on in the window. That was really awesome. We're big fans of serial killer culture.
That's awesome. It's amazing that you made it to the next city, I would have wanted to stay and sight-see. But, getting back to that previous question is there any kind of enthusiasm or enjoyment that you get from the crowd that supports you?
The thing about the people that support us is they're very eccentric. They express their love in very unique ways. I have a fan that says his wife wants to fuck me with a strap-on and he wants to watch. Our fans are very unique, let's just say that.
For people that come to the show mainly for Requiem or William but are really stoked at what you do are you going to have merchandise available or is it best for them to go to your website?
We have a lot of merch available in our online store. We have Voidhead which is the debut album, we have Fuck Head which is the new remix album I just put out and it has remixes from Psyclon Nine, Bile, Statiqbloom, Stereo Assassin and a bunch of other big electronic and industrial acts. So we have that for sale. We have new Voidhead tshirts, stickers, and we have some older EPs as well. An EP called Nursing Home which is something I did with another crew of people a while back but it's a really good EP as well and we play one song off that live, a song called "Emerald City."
What are you looking to achieve out of this tour?
I think this tour is an opportunity to connect with a lot of the people who may have heard Voidhead or discovered us through some of the music videos that we've put out in the past year. We put out five music videos and I think those have attracted a lot of attention nationally. The whole point of the tour in to connect with people and to make new fans across the country so we can do it again. Even at our first show where we drove across the country and I look down while we're performing and there's a chick singing along. It's just very heartwarming and it shows us that we do have a national fan base already just based on the online content that we put out whether it be the Voidhead album, the music videos or the Fuck Head remix album we just put out which is getting a lot of attention.
Talk about your influences and what got you into music.
Originally, I started as a visual artist. I found out that my artwork was too offensive or inappropriate for the art class I was in back in high school and I was kicked out of art class. I think that sent me on a certain path where I realized that some of my ideas were probably better expressed through music. With things like music, people are more accepting of things that are more "out there" and rebellious ideas like what I had at the time. Music is just sexier and I love visual art but it's not very sexy compared to music which has that swagger, that rock and roll swagger to it and that's another part of my personality. With music I found that I was able to express myself visually and also in other ways like performing live. I'm able to interact with people in a more raw way that I couldn't really do as a visual artist.
I formed my first band when I was at school at Syracuse University. I was studying television, radio and film there and I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I was into journalism and stuff but I was kind of confused and we formed this band and we actually did a music video for our first song. I happened to be in a video editing class at the time so that's how I started editing music videos and those two things have gone hand in hand for me. So I have a career as a video editor as my day job and I would have to say that my connection with music has always been 50-50 between visual artist and musician.
For the people that will be seeing you for the first time, what do you want them to be thinking when they leave?
I want them to think whatever they want to think. There were some girls at the show last night who absolutely hated what we were doing and I fed off that. I got off to that just as much as I got off to the people that loved me because I just want to affect people. When you do something powerful artistically it's going to affect people one way or another and I think that's more important to me then saying that I want everyone to leave there with a smile on their face. Not everyone will and that's fine so I enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed someone coming up and saying they really loved us. It's the indifference that I don't like because that means we're doing something wrong. As long as we made a strong impression then we did our job and we definitely did that last night and we will definitely continue to do that every single night of this tour.
Where can people find you?
The official website of the band is justinsymbol.com, also facebook.com/justinsymbol and instagram @justinsymbol
Justin, thanks so much for taking the time to talk and congratulations on getting this tour.
Absolutely, thanks so much.