Friday, February 29, 2008

J. Perry, Music Man—Friday Feature

Today’s Friday Feature belongs to J. Perry, my friend and colleague and musician extraordinaire. Not only is this guy talented but he actually created a song just for me on Valentine’s Day! Thank you, Justyn! It was only recently that I learned that Justyn was such a gifted musician. I’ve known him as my friend and colleague at EDGE Publishing, where he serves as marketing manager. I recently invited Justyn aboard Vinny, because I knew he was keen to see the sentient ship and meet my little robot, Harry. It was a trap well set…or so I thought…


No sooner are we aboard Vinny when Justyn starts to fiddle with some of the ship’s settings. I’m annoyed; he’s managed to fix Vinny’s hiccups in three minutes when it’s been two days for me to even identify the problem. We end up in the aft lounge where Justyn roams, curious to see the spectacular view of Earth below us. I have to admit, I never tire of it either. As he accepts a Pink Lady (which is a Smirnoff with a shot of Grenadine) from Harry, who is being very uncharacteristically polite, I bore down on him:

SF Girl: “How would you describe your music? Does it have a name and does it fit into a style or type?”

Justyn: He turns from the view with a grin and eyes his milky pink drink. It reminds me somehow of Pepto-Bismol… “I would describe my music as being either Techno or having some elements of Trance. I used previous songs already composed and created a remix (and changed the melodies as to not infringe on copyright stuff).”

SF Girl: Eying Harry askance as he finally hands me a glass of red wine (he was too busy getting Justyn a snack). “Is music important to your life?”

Justyn: “Yes, because I believe that music defines who you are. Some people like country, some hate country; its all a personal choice that in the end, defines who you really are. For instance, my favorite kinds of music are Techno or Trance, some Country, and some Pop. When I`m feeling down, I listen to upbeat music with a strong bass line, and when I want to feel energetic, I listen to my favorite Pop artist.”

SF Girl: I lean forward. “Who is?...”

Justyn: He just smiles enigmatically at me and sips his Pepto—er—Pink Lady.

SF Girl: Okay, I can take a hint, I think. He’s probably too embarrassed to admit, or can’t remember their name…Wait—no that’s my problem… Oh well… I forge on, “Can you tell me (a person who knows absolutely nothing about digital music) how you create these awesome tunes (in simple terms, like you would a child)?”

Justyn: He grins at me. “Well it’s simple. There is a music program that I use (Fruity Loops Studio Producer) which takes regular instruments (like a piano, guitar, violin, etc) and makes them into a digital instrument in which any pitch can be played. From there, the program goes even further and from those basic instruments, it creates new digital instruments (like synthetic strings or other instruments that would only be possible digitally). It doesn`t stop there... These instruments can be made to sound completely different through filters which will alter the wave form to create yet another digital instrument; there are unlimited possibilities from combinations.”

SF Girl: Thankful that he hasn’t used techno-mumbo-jumbo-lingo, I persist cheerfully, “Are they all original or do you borrow some material from elsewhere?”

Justyn: “I did borrow some melodies,” he admits, “but then altered them to make them my own. They could be classified as remix`s to already existing songs, but I wouldn`t call them remix`s because it sounds different from the original.”

SF Girl: “What inspires you to write music?”

Justyn: “I have always enjoyed writing music. Since I learned my way around the newer versions of Windows (Windows XP), I was using various music programs to create music. What inspires me is the sounds that can be created from a single note, and the combinations of the notes to make a song. I don`t view it as writing music, I view it as creating a story or journey that takes the listener from the beginning, all the way through a climax and then to a close.”

SF Girl: “How long have you been doing it?”

Justyn: His brows furrow and he purses his lips in reflection. “That`s a hard question...” And I thought I was being easy on him, I thought. “I started taking piano lessons when I was in grade
six (roughly 10 years old) for 8 years and loved every minute of it. My parents were worried they would have to push me to practice, but instead it was the other way around; they were always pushing me to be quiet and stop playing. I would sit at the piano for hours and practice a song until it was perfect (or close to perfect). It was my stress reliever - the more stressed I was, the more I played. I had also played the clarinet in junior high for 3 years, which helped me increase me knowledge of music. after piano lessons ended, I still played the piano and looked into how I could make music on the computer.”

SF Girl: Now totally engrossed in the topic, I pursue, “Is the equipment costly and/or hard to learn to use?”

Justyn: “Fruity Loops (the new editions) tend to run for close to $600.00 USD, but there are other programs out there, like Encore.. Sony has some good programs too. Some programs to steer away from (but good for beginners) are the ones that advertise that you too can learn to play in days! (Those are horrible, but if you have no music training, then they are not too too bad). Fruity Loops is somewhat complex to learn. I`m still learning Fruity Loops after using it for close to 7 years (each year Fruity Loops tend to come out with new versions). But there were some years I couldn`t afford to upgrade. The only advice I could give on Fruity Loops is to plod through it and learn by Trial and Error. (Fruity Loops can be downloaded). As for the others, it has been a while since I looked at them. The Sony one seemed to be difficult to me, but I didn`t spend much time with it.”

SF Girl: “What advice would you give someone just starting to do this?”

Justyn: “My advice, is to listen to as much music as you can and surround yourself in the culture with that genre. Read all that you can that is going on with the big guys (For me its DJ Tiesto, Paul Okenfold (I always spell his name wrong), Benni Bennassi, Darude (Still good, even as an older DJ), Wow I feel bad for forgetting another DJ). And always keep listening for new songs, new trends in that genre. The techno genre is constantly changing, however it always revisits and incorporates previously done themes, melodies, what have you. But ya... You can never listen to too many songs in the genre.”

SF Girl: “Is there some place where people can get your music?”

Justyn: “My songs are currently only available on my blog and they will be available for purchase as soon as I get an entire CD available (online only). When I get the CD finished, you will be able to purchase the entire CD or individual songs (getting the CD would be cheaper than buying each individual song).” He then takes a last sip of his milky-pink Smirnoff and smiles at me, quite self-pleased. “Well, Nina, this is my first interview ever! Thank you so much for interviewing me.” He’s thanking me? Then he startles me even more by adding, “And for all those readers out there, the best read I have had this year was Nina Munteanu`s book, Darwin`s Paradox. I would HIGHLY SUGGEST it to any science fiction fan.”

Geez…and I didn’t even pay him to say that! Well, you can listen to the tune he made for me here. It’s called “Into the Night”, rather apt for a mad insomniac writer like me. It's Track Number 5 of his CD, Undefined. Enjoy it and the other tracks… I know a talent agent from Tarken 7 who might be interested.

J Perry


Jennifer Rahn said...


Jean-Luc Picard said...

That was good of him to say those words about your book.

sfgirl said...

Jennifer and Jean-Luc, you'll have to come back to hear the music... I couldn't load it...having technical difficulties.... arghh... well, in the meantime you could go to Justyn's site and listen to some of his other stuff. Very cool!

SciFiDrive said...

very cool music!
And if you love garlic have you tried Mongolian BBQ? Out of worlders love this recipe I recommend mutton (lamb).

sfgirl said...

OOOHHHHH! I'll be over right away! you serve beer too? I like beer with my garlic--I mean my BBQ lamb....mmmmmm

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