The first thing that strikes me when I sit down with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, Justin Anderson, at Starbucks to discuss his project Via Linota[translated from Latin meaning through words and notes] is his level of intensity. I think “no caffeine for me” and immediately order an herb tea. He holds a copy of his recently released CD World Gone Crazy and is quick to point out to me the care and detail that went into it’s creation. It was recorded in Nashville with producer, Darell Lehman. “I met Darell through a friend. We met at this same Starbucks and I told him my ideas for the record. For one thing no samples.” All the instruments on the songs are played for real including the dozen or so that Justin plays. Some of these I am not even familiar with.
“A big influence of mine is Sigur Ros,” says Justin. “I wanted to make the kind of record that could be in the background of your consciousness, but that would reveal many layers and textures when paid attention to.” We got on the topic of how difficult it is to get people to listen to your music with the assault on our senses that modern life throws at us. So much input, so little attention span. “The other thing is that we are afraid to be silent. I always have to have something on. It’s like there is a fear of what we would do with the empty space,” Justin explains.
I comment on a couple of standout tracks from World Gone Crazy that have resonated with me. “Seasons” talks about how we all look forward to that time in the future while forgetting to enjoy the beauty of the moment. The title track “World Gone Crazy” says it all in the line ”in a world gone crazy for life lived alone”. Played over somber piano chords you can feel the melancholy and longing. The album is a carefully crafted work of art that is both literate and easily accessible. Like most good music it rewards with repeated listens. That brought Justin and I to the topic of how to get the message out. “An artist is more than just the music”, says Justin. “It’s hard to be both artist and agent. When I am focused on booking shows then I find I am not composing.” This is a dilemma that most upcoming indie artists face.
In the meantime Justin teaches German to pay the rent, works at his craft and keeps many irons in the fire. There is talk of a horror film soundtrack in the future. “I have always wanted to do movie scores and made a connection with someone who did the Halloween sequel H20.”
In this writers opinion, Justin Anderson and his project Via Linota should not be missed. He plays 2 shows in December with his band. On the 21st he appears with Joy Ike at C4 coffeehouse at Calvary Church in Lancaster. He will also be performing at Crocodile Rock in Allentown on the 30th. For more info and to be able to purchase World Gone Crazy go to his website www.vialinota.com.