10 Questions with ... Justin Furstenfeld
August 22, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
(Photo Credit: Nicola Gell)
Facebook: www.facebook.com/blueoctober Twitter: twitter.com/blueoctober Instagram: www.instagram.com/blueoctoberband Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/blueoctoberband YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/blueoctoberofficial
Justin Furstenfeld is the singer of the Texas based band Blue October. They have charted nine Top 40 Hot AC and Alternative singles over eight albums. Their catalogue includes the songs "Into The Ocean," "Hate Me," "Home" "Calling You," "Dirt Room," "Say It," "Bleed Out" and "Fear" from albums such as 2009's Billboard Top 200 #13 debut 'Approaching Normal,' 2011's Billboard #8 debut 'Any Man In America,' the Platinum-selling 'Foiled', Billboard's #13 debut 'Sway,' and most recently 2016's new album 'Home' #1 Alternative Album, #1 Rock Album, #1 Independent Album, #5 Current Album Top 200.
1). What was it that got you interested in music?
As far back as I can remember, I've always been in love with the way music made me feel. I remember when I was four-years-old hearing Roy Orbison's song "Crying" for the first time. It hit me so hard that I remember tearing up and my mom asking me what's wrong. I could only explain by saying this song is just so beautiful. From that day forward I knew I wanted to make music like that.
Around age nine I began listening to The Smiths, The Cure and Peter Gabriel. These artists changed my life forever. I wanted to be them no matter what it took.
2). What was the inspiration for your new single "Home?"
This song was inspired by people in my life that gave me a second chance. My family and friends mean everything to me. They literally saved my life by simply believing in me. The life I have today is because of them and I'm just so proud to have them all in my life. What a better way to show it than to write a song for them.
3). A lot of your songs seem to come from a very personal place. What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes?
It's a feeling. I'll get chills on my arms and sick to my stomach. Like the first time you hold someone's hand. Inspiration comes everyday. You just have to recognize it.
4). Your brother Jeremy also plays drums for Blue October. There are a lot of successful groups that have siblings in the band. Do you think this connection with your brother helps the overall relationship of the band and the music you're making?
He's my rock. The petty fights have long passed. He trusts me, I trust him. We move forward together and every night on the road is another adventure.
5). Your paintings have been featured on the cover of two Blue October albums. How did you get started painting and who are some of your biggest influences as an artist?
I don't consider myself a painter. Nor have I had any kind of training for it. I just love to express myself in different ways. Jean Michel Basquiat was my biggest influence when it came to visual arts.
6). Blue October has a very loyal following. You seem to have grown up with your fans. How are you using social networks to connect with your audience?
Social media is the lifeline of the entertainment industry for artists these days. If you're not doing social media you're being lazy and you're missing out on a lot of opportunities and connectivity. I love keeping my listeners engaged and showing them aspects of my life that are relatable to theirs. I use social media as another outlet for expressing myself. This is where I can show them my newfound positivity and lust for life.
7). Please tell us what it is like running your own independent label versus being on a major label?
It's lot of hard work. I had no idea how much went into the marketing side of my music and how many people out there play such a huge roll in the outcome of a song's success.
While everyone rates success differently, the industry has a path. You can either embrace it and work hard or get off the train. Everyone needs to make a living. Understanding how everyone makes a living is key. Running an independent label is expensive, but when you believe in the music it's not a gamble, it's an investment. I'm not going to lie. I love seeing Up/Down-Brando Records on the charts neck and neck with the big dogs.
8). What are the biggest changes you would like to see happen in the music industry?
A new format of music delivery that prevents the theft and the devaluation of what so many great artists work so hard to create. I'd like to see music be considered just as important as film.
9). So far, what experience has really stood out to you as a performer?
The obvious moments, sharing the stage in front of thousands of people with the Rolling Stones, performing on Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O'Brien, touring with some of the most amazing artists in the world.
But honestly, the moments that really stand out are when I find myself in a boardroom surrounded by programmers who know little to nothing about me and it's my chance to impact their lives with an acoustic guitar and my voice. Those are the moments that are most important to me. Because I know when I leave that building I gave them something to remember.
10). Is there anything in particular that you'd like people to take away from listening to your music?
I'd like to people to remember important moments in their life because of a song I've written. I just want people to feel and have my music add color to their life.
What do you do in your spare time? When you aren't performing or recording new material, what do you all like to do for fun?
I stay active in my program of recovery. I'm studying to be a better film and video director. I'm a huge fan of American Traditional tattooing. I'm currently working on getting my barber degree. First and foremost I love being a husband and a father.
How do you balance your family life?
I take my family on the road whenever possible. I have a family bus full of toys.
Please describe your experience the first time you heard your song on the radio?
I had to pull the car over and take a few deep breaths. It was pretty fucking cool.
Who are some of the newer musicians that you think are incredible and are really breaking ground today?
Drake, twenty one pilots, Future, Sigur Ros. These are the artists out today that I'm listening to.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Peter Gabriel, The Smiths, The Cure, Ella Fitzgerald, Sigur Ros, Red House Painters and Idaho. The list goes on and on.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
If you had the opportunity to work with any act/artist from the past, present or future, who would it be?
From Peter Gabriel to Drake's production team, to twenty one pilots. I'd love to write with Justin Tranter and Stephan Moccio.