Producer Justin Naundros has just released a brand new EP entitled "Obsession" on his newly launched record label Zenith Point Records. Jus, as he is known in the industry, has brought in a very talented array of artists to make Obsession an excellent debut collection of songs. Collaboration is a key element in his art and Jus feels that when everyone pitches in and contributes, the result will be a nice work of art of everyone's "Obsession". I recently corresponded with Jus.
R.V.B - What kind of music was playing around the house when you were a child. What were you initially exposed to?
Jus - I was exposed to several different genres as a child. From Gospel in church, to Hip Hop, along with CDs of classical music, and Country on the radio. I'm grateful to have been exposed to so much music and I feel that it helped me grow through the different messages given. We don't only have one emotion so having different genres gives us several ways to express ourselves.
R.V.B. - When you started playing drums and percussion in school, did you start off with percussive instruments like woodblocks, snare, bass drum and then work your way up to a full drum kit? How did it evolve?
Jus. - When I first started the drums I was in middle school. I actually mainly wanted to play the Saxophone at first and hadn't thought about drums at all until the band instructor suggested I try them. I loved them and other parts of percussion. I actually started off on mallets at an earlier age so when I first started in the band I started on the xylophone first, and worked my way to other instruments like snare drum, bass drum, Aux percussion, but I never really got into Drum set. Now that I'm in production I'm going back into playing more.
R.V.B. - What were some of the major Hip Hop, R&B or other genre stars, that you like to listen to - pre and post high school?
Jus - My all time favorite artist has always been Luther Vandross, but others like Talib Kweli, J. Cole, Kirk Franklin, Garth Brooks, Modest Mouse, Kendrick Lamar, No I.D., Just Blaze, Timbaland, Pharrell, Mos Def, Andy Mineo, Kinetics, Lecrae, Zedd, Whitney Houston, Brian McKnight, and many others have all influenced me. The list can go on forever.
Jus - While in high school I had a desk top windows me and a few of those 30 day trial dial up internet trials. I didn't know to much about what I was doing but I found a music program online and downloaded it and just messed around with some loops. I had written a small rap that I called “What's My Name” a few years before and I just rapped it over the small popish beat that I made. I burned it to a CD and let others hear it.
R.V.B. - Were you able to work on any music during your stint in the military?
Jus - The military is what I consider the start of me actually trying to work in music. While stationed in South Korea I signed up for a class online that came with a copy of Logic Pro 9. I began doing small beats and on the weekends others would come by and we would sit and record to them. I love the collaboration in music so I believe the military is what really helped me recognize my desire to produce and work with others to create and give others feeling as music had done for me all my life.
R.V.B. - How did you wind up in the Bay Area and how did you enjoy learning at Pyramind?
Jus. - After leaving New York the first time after interning there for a short period. I went home for a bit back to Florida. A lot of things had changed and I felt that I needed to find a place that I could grow and improve my music skills in order to be able to better express what I wanted to through music and be able to work with more people who loved music like I do. I found Pyramind while searching for a place like that and really like what I saw. One of the first people I spoke to at the school was Nick DiLullo ( Nico Breeze). He had attended the school himself and now worked at the school. I began sending him some music that I had been working on and we began to collab while I was attending Pyramind. I believe the collaborative atmosphere is the best part of Pyramind, even more than there long list of credits or their amazing and talented instructors is the ability to be able to work with them and not just sit and hear them in a class setting.
R.V.B. - When you first thought of the concept for "Obsession", what was the plan of attack? Find the artist and work with their talents, or create music beds for them to write over. How did that work?
Jus. - My main goals in during the Album were to have an outlet to say what was on my mind, to have people listen and feel the message, and to collaborate with different people. The original plan was to get the instrumentals done first while finding artists that could express the message. I love working and seeing how others work on their music so I had planned to take a month in a studio down in LA and write and record the full album with everyone together giving their input, but things didn't work out as planned. At a certain point I got stuck doing the work myself, which went against one of the main goals goals until Nico Breeze & Hrmonik stepped in and began to help me to get the project to where it is now.
R.V.B. - How did you enjoy working with the other engineers and production people that helped you with this project?
Jus. - I love working with others on music. I feel music was never meant to just be done by one person. Collaboration is the #1 reason I chose to make music so I loved working with everyone that I was able to work with and I hope to work with even more on the next project.
R.V.B. - Did you have any kind of CD release party once the EP was complete?
Jus. - I did a few small listening sessions at the Student housing I was living at but I didn't do any kind of official release party.
Jus. - My plan is to just get the music heard and listened to much as possible anyway that I can. I want to hear peoples thoughts on the messages and the music. The release was a way to get the music to the furthest possible reach that I could.
R.V.B. - How did you find yourself in the New York area? Do you have to network with new people for further projects?
Jus. - I first got to New York the day after I left the Army to intern and I fell in love with the city and variety of culture there. After leaving I promised myself I'd come back and I felt it would be a good place to be to further grow and find more people to create with.
R.V.B. - What do you have in mind for a follow up to "Obsession"?
Jus. - I have a few ideas that I'm thinking about doing that I need to work out and grow more but the main idea is to make a project with a message. I believe that Marvin Gaye's “What's Going On” was made after witnessing a beating. The album was made to go against what was considered the Motown sound at the time. I want to do something that will be different today. Something that will make people think. The album may take a while to come because I plan to use more live sound. I also plan to go after artists that I've always wanted to work with including JoJo, Pharrell, Common, J. Cole, Kendrick, Talib Kweli, Ryan Leslie, Faith Evans, Flying Lotus, Rapsody, Yasiin Bey, Carl Thomas, Angie Stone, Jill Scott, Bryan McKnight, Musiq Soulchild, Maxwell, Timbaland, Jussie Smollet, Thundercat, Quest Love, Tech N9ne, Andy Mineo, Lecrae, Kinetics and others. I don't yet have the full laid out vision or plan of action for doing it or how long it might take to happen, but to quote J. Cole “If you believe in God One things for sure. If you ain't aim too high. Then you aim too low.”
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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For more information on Jus visit his website https://thisisjus.bandcamp.com/
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