With inspiration ranging from Palm to Erykah Badu, Jianna Justice creates a genuine sound that leaves you in a state of nostalgia and reminiscence. Get to know the band below:
Would you rather become mainstream or just be able to make an honest comfortable living doing music with a steady fan base?
Whatever allows us to be honest and consistent musically is where we want to be. It seems like the music industry is in a place now where artists can subvert mainstream success, stay economically viable (although not particularly prosperous), and continue to be genuine and I think that’s super gnarly.
It’s definitely difficult to listen to some of our songs objectively now, because they’ve become almost second nature. If becoming popular is a natural part of the progression of this band then that’s fine with me, but it’s definitely not something we’re striving for. It would be awesome for this band to at the very least be my job.
Which venue would you love to sell out and what festival would you love to headline one day?
My scope of the music world is pretty limited, to be honest. I grew up in Athens, so other than going to a few shows in Atlanta, all I know are the venues here. But with Athens being our home, I honestly think it would be really cool to sell out the 40 Watt Club or the Georgia Theatre. They’re not concert halls or stadiums, but they’re places that mean a lot to me and it would be cool to see that kind of grassroots support.
Other than music, what else do you want out of life? Any future business plans?
I’d like to direct a movie and adopt a dog.
I just want to continue being politically active in such a way that I can help people less privileged than myself. And play video games professionally.
I’m in school for printmaking and I wouldn’t mind going to graduate school for art and later teach at a university. I also want to spend more time with my dog Basil.
What have been some of the most positive moments you have experienced so far as a band? Whether performing or just being together?
These guys are my best friends, and I’m really thankful to have the chance to make something I believe in with people I want the world for.
Honestly, just the relationships I’ve built with my bandmates is probably the most positive thing that has come out of this. Also playing Athfest was cool, I had always wanted to do that.
The first time we played together was amazing. I came into this band expecting to play one show and ended up really wanting to stay. We all sound like a bunch of saps and you probably rolled your eyes which is totally valid, but it’s true.
APPAREL PROVIDED AND PROVISED BY:
I understand that you used to be a solo artist? What made you want to become a band over a solo act? How did you all meet?
A few summers back I put out a twee-pop release under the moniker Penny Lame, that was really more of an archival project to document a snapshot of my life and preserve the feelings and people associated with that time. As I kept writing, my musical ideas grew in such a way that I really couldn’t execute them on my own. I started to feel a bit suffocated and realized I needed other players to take the weight off of my shoulders and add a level of refreshment to the process of making music. It’s been hard to shake the twee label that defined my solo project, but I’d like to emphasize that our full band sound has moved in a different direction that we’re really stoked about.
As for the guys, I met Colton at a poetry night at Kristine Leschper’s house and we just began casually jamming every now and then. Eventually, Colton brought Trent to a practice---they had both previously played in a band Group Stretching---and really from that first practice we knew we had tapped into something special. There was a buzz for sure.
Where or what do you find inspiration in, to create musically? Who or what has inspired you the most?
Sometimes it’s James Baldwin’s essays or Frank O’Hara’s poetry, or the films of Agnes Varda. Other times it’s the little iPhone recordings of song ideas Trent and Colton send, or phone calls with my mom. Mostly it’s when I am stuck in traffic.
Musically, Kate Bush, Frank Ocean, Arthur Russell, Erykah Badu, Nana Grizol, and Philly band Palm. Each have a sensibility and a tact that I envy and am regularly inspired by. I also just want to create something as important as what those artists have given me.
Most of the time I make music as catharsis. I read a lot of philosophy and it puts me in weird head spaces, and music gives me the ability to approach my feelings in a positive, productive manner. I listen to a lot of different stuff that inspires me in one way or another: Kool A.D., Omni, 90’s country, Hop Along, Cate Le Bon, Janelle Monae, St. Vincent, Protomartyr, Palm, Mothers, noname.
Honestly, a lot of the time I find film or visual arts influencing my musical practice more than what I’m listening to. I like to capture the feeling I get from watching Spirited Away or looking at Giorgio de Chirco paintings when writing guitar parts or deciding what effects to use. But when it comes to musicians that influence me, it’s usually my friends’ projects that find their way into my sound—Big Hart, Group Stretching, and Ryan Gray Moore, to name a few. We all love Palm!
As indie artists, do you find it hard to find your place in an over-saturated market or do you feel you have enough room to create and become a stand out act?
I’ve never felt the pressure to become a stand out act, and maybe that’s because we’ve primarily played in Athens where big bands still play small venues so there is a sort of equalizing of the scene.
I think we also tend to keep to ourselves which helps when we’re writing. I remember reading somewhere that Prince never listened to music when he was writing, and that’s what I definitely try to do.
The market has never been a concern of ours. We are friends and we like making music and that’s about where it ends. If anything we make music that is fun and engaging for us, not really anyone else.
JIANNA JUSTICE- NIGHTSWIMMING
JIANNA JUSTICE- ODD STREET BLOC PARTY
JIANNA JUSTICE- ODD STREET BLOC PARTY 2
What new work should we be expecting in the future? Any new tour dates? Any last words?
You can expect a new release and a new member in the near future. As for shows, we’ll be supporting Mothers and Big Thief on March 23 at the 40 Watt in Athens and may sneak a few others in between now and then.
Also, thank you for letting us listen to Channel Orange and not laughing at my horrible dancing!
You laughed at my dancing and it’s fine. No hard feelings
Your rapping was incredible and your mother was a delight.
Jianna Justice - Lead Singer/Guitar
Trent Johnson - Guitar/Bass
Colton Reeves - Drums