Today I spoke with eccentric Sacramento rock duo Paul Y Justin, who are currently working on their debut album.
We started out in a punk band in high school, back then as members of “The Celery Stalkers”, trying our best to play as fast and obnoxious as possible and got pretty good at instigating food fights.
This project is a little different because we are putting pieces together remotely and seeing how it ends up. Paul has always handled all of the guitar work and arrangements and Justin has rotated between vocals and drums throughout our various iterations but for now is just handling vocals. As far as what we bring to the table, I’d say a little genre-bending, a little paranoia, and maybe a touch of our former punk roots. I think what may make us a little unique is we work on ideas independently and let each other interpret what direction we think we might want to go in for a particular song. Considering our polar opposite tastes in music these days, that probably flexibility probably works to our advantage.
What do you feel are some of the ways that indie artists should adapt and change in today’s music industry? What qualities should a successful artist have?
When we first started playing, and recording demos on 1/2 inch reels, in the mid 90’s studio time was ridiculously expensive. We felt a lot of pressure to get things right within a few takes and it really put limitations on what you could do, edit or add. I couldn’t be happier with how the digital revolution has changed the music industry because it has democratized it so well. Certainly, mainstream artists still have major advantages but now more than ever, your content matters. Successful independent artists need to get comfortable with the DIY aspects of recording, design and marketing and should should use these developments to their advantage instead of angling for some record deal that may never materialize.
What have you found works well for you as far as promotion goes?
For us word of mouth has been the traditional method that we could lean on. Usually, we’d play shows with other bands or meet bands at someone else’s show. However, now we find a lot of success networking with other bands on music networking sites like reverbnation.com. We are still in the development stages for playing live again, so networking online is invaluable.
Who in music do you most admire most and why?
We admire Bad Religion a lot for what they’ve been doing so well for so long. They seemed old when we were 17, so more than 10 years later to continue to rock so hard without compromise is awesome.
I guess for a close second it’d have to be “Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children McNuggets” because they took original and obnoxious to levels unseen. Banging pots and pans and vomiting all over the place, it left a lasting impression. Anything but generic.
Do you have any advice for aspiring independent musicians who may feel disillusioned or discouraged at times?
I guess our advice would be to stick to experimenting with what you like and don’t stress about it making it. It’s great if you can hit it big but try not take yourself too seriously. It isn’t about how good your music is, its just about who you know and being in the right place at the right time. There should be nothing to be discouraged about, when you get to do what you love.
How can music fans keep tabs on Paul Y Justin?