Hey guys, it's time for another weekend delight - an interview I managed to arrange with one of my favourite upcoming acoustic artists. Besides his music, which is full of soul, I feel the need to point out that I've been following him for quite some time now and I can really say that the guy is all about his music. His passion, efforts and emotion are really touching and I hope you enjoy his music as much as I do. Without further ado - Justin Yates!
Ivo: Hey Justin! How are you today? Where do we find you now?
Justin: Hey, Ivo! Today I’m pretty great!!! Thank you for asking. Currently I’m staying in a town called Gurnee, IL.
I: Tell us a bit about yourself and your music journey? Which are your earliest music memories?
J: Sure! My name is Justin Yates. I’m a 27 year old acoustic musician from the Chicago land area. I've been playing guitar since I was 13 years old. For the first 8 years of playing I did nothing but focus on harder genres of music, but these days I play a much different style of music. Currently I have been doing my best to spread the word about the new music I've been creating. Just recently I posted a new instrumental titled “Patrick”, a 6 song EP titled The Jig Is Up and most recently another instrumental titled “Stuck”!
I grew up listening to all types of music thanks to the influence of my mother and sister. One of my earliest music memories would have to be lying in bed (I had to have been like 7-8 years old) listening to SRV albums while my family stayed awake playing cards.
I: Where does the inspiration for your album “The Jig is up” comes from?
The short story…..The inspiration for The Jig Is Up came from a very dark time in my life. The idea came together as I was falling apart.
I: What music are you currently listening to? Do you stick to acoustics?
NO WAY! I listen to all kinds of music. I’m an addict actually. Here are a few bands I've been listening to: Punch Brothers, Tadashi, Big Chocolate, Bad Bad Not Good, Nickel Creek, Misery Signals, dormLife, Sky Eats Airplane, Chris Thile, Cloudkicker, Fair to Midland, CKY, The Goo Goo Dolls, Jamie Cullum, Of Legends, Rob Scallon, Sioum, and The Devil Makes Three...just to name a few!
I: What’s the hardest thing about being a musician nowadays?
Well I think to answer that question we would need to clarify what type of musician we are talking about. For musicians like John Mayer, Mariah Carey, or Bob Dylan, I would imagine the things that are hard for them are not the same as the things that are hard for your average struggling musician. With that being said, I think the biggest issue that almost every musician faces is the issue of money. Personally, I put EVERY cent I earn into music...and it is still not enough. I go without food at times, a place to stay, and even a clean shirt because I’m that crazy about pushing the one thing I connect with. Edgar Meyer once said, “Just watch every band you have ever looked at. They don’t stay together and if they do it’s cause they’re making a bunch of money.”
I: What are your future plans as a musician? Do you think you will eventually be in a band or you prefer being a solo act?
I've played in bands in the past and I loved it! But finding the right band members is about as hard as finding a wife/husband. Maybe one day I will have a full band to perform with, but I'm looking for the right band members and I know that will take time.
My plan as a musician is to learn, create and grow! The music I’m creating now is a full 180 from anything I've done in the past. Hopefully I can keep progressing as a musician and continue writing, performing, learning and much more! I just started this crazy journey….who knows what the future will hold!
I: Acoustic gigs are related to a lot of intimacy; how difficult do you feel it is to establish this intimacy with a crowd you don’t really know?
I think it all depends on the crowd and venue. I've played in rooms with hundreds of people, but when you have alcohol flowing and people talking, it is hard to grab anyone's attention. I've also had the pleasure of playing smaller gigs that allow for the possibility of an intimate setting. When the crowd is willing to listen I find it easy to build a good connection. The music I'm making now is very honest, so when I perform I treat my audience with respect and I'm honest with them. I think that even if they don’t know me…..when I’m done playing my set I feel that they know much more about me and that we have connected in a way that some can only dream of.
I: Thank you for the interview, any last words you would like to share with us?
Thanks once again for letting me be a part of Stereofox. I think what you guys are doing is AWESOME and I can't express how happy I am to be a part of it! I really hope that your audience takes a minute to check out the music I just released! It is very hard to get people to check out new music and I'm extremely grateful to anyone who takes a minute out of their day to listen to mine.
If you want to be updated about the latest of Justin, just drop by his page!