Justin Farrell Bio I was born March 1, 1983, at the very edge of Chicago suburbia amid cornfields and a web of poetically named subdivisions. I grew up wearing Superman underwear and biking with my friends on really cool bikes to Collin's General Store to buy Nerds and Hawaiian Punch. My house sits between two Coca Cola drivers, who love to mow, roll, and spray their lawns. Some may call my neighborhood cookie-cutter dreariness. But it is a 'working class' neighborhood and I grew up happy and encouraged to discover the poetry of St. Charles nuclear squareness. My first observation: all people, suburban, urban, or rural, even my obsessively perfect neighbors, are complex and contradictory when you tear away the skin. I try to make music that is true to the innate stickiness of people yet passes on some suburban-Midwestern optimism. Writing music for me is like writing in a journal. It is an escape from the day's stresses, but it is also a chance for me to frame moments and feelings into riffs and melodies. It is challenging, laboring, pretentious (because who should care about my thoughts?) wonderful work that I want to do until I die. I write about things I see wrong with myself. Partially, writing music is my call out from my room where I sit and contemplate the ups and downs in life. Other times it is about escaping from a strange feeling of boundary. I'm unsure whether this feeling of confinement comes from living in suburbia, or just the anxiety of being in my early twenties. I write about seeing the beauties of the world outside the fences of cornstalks; the trees, the mountains, the sky, the people. I write about jumpstarting myself out of ruts and cycles. In respect to my childhood, I write about seeing the poetry in things that we pass by everyday: unrequited generosity; an old woman sitting on a bench; good parents; growing up as the youngest of six kids, with it's noise, arguing, making up, my siblings giving me a hard time, but always looking out for me. Sometimes my lyrics are metaphorical as in Follow Sun in which I describe two personalities. One, the more concrete form, wishes to stay home and raise a family and the other, the shadow, wants to explore every crevice of the world. One wants stability, the other wants to discover the angles no one has seen and see all the angles everybody has seen. So, I write about conflict and tension. You could say it is the conflict between the tenderness of the suburban dream and the urge to scream myself out of it. My music is rather folksy-influenced by the light, feel-good riffs of Grateful Dead, the slow, emotional, intelligent phrasing of David Gilmour, the reflective harmonica of Bob Dylan. I am forever impressed by Simon and Garfunkel's harmonies and the craftsmanship of Neil Young, the whimsical looniness of Syd Barrett and the raw darkness of Led Zeppelin. I take from these musicians a desire for emotional, yet technically astute music. But, my music isn't stuck in yesterday. Today, I feel challenged and drawn to Radiohead with their brash, almost ancient guitar riffs that seem to burst from a desert cave or grueling subway (I'm not sure which for I've seen neither) and Tom Yorke's philosophical unleashing. I take from Radiohead a desire to make my music dynamic, progressive, and raw. I make and want to continue to make music that is complex, yet clean. I want to give suburbanites and all those who are interested a look into what it's like growing up clean, content and Christian in the Northern flatlands of Illinois. I want people to realize that I'm more complex than my nuclear upbringing and that my nuclear upbringing is more complex than a perfectly mowed lawn.
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