INTERVIEW: Justin Nozuka

Hi Justin, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hey, thanks for having me. I’ve been well, settling into winter and feeling alright. Hope you guys are well.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “No One But You”?

For sure. This is a love song. It was written for someone special I was with earlier this year. We shared a really comfortable thing, I opened up a lot and let my walls down really quickly. I spoke about things I don’t tell most people. My good friend and collaborator Alex and I got together to write and this song just came out during our hang. And once we recorded it, we really felt it should be a duet. I had connected with Mahalia years ago and just reached out with the idea of her singing it with me. She said yes and the rest is history.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Kind of cheesy but it was just nearing valentines day, so I wrote this for the person I was with as a gesture of my love.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

The video was a really really good experience. I had been working on this with my friend and Director Julia Hendrickson for a pretty long time leading up. We had a lot of things we wanted, like filming on 35, capturing the dark and warm tones of love. It was, no doubt, the most effortless and comfortable experience on set, everything was treated with a lot of care and intention. I attribute all of that to Julia. And having Catherine Lutes DP it, I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better team.

How was the recording and writing process?

writing this song felt effortless and smooth. the recording process was more intensive. the arrangement and production took a few shapes and it really was a bit of a trek getting it all the way there. You think it’s there and realize it’s not even close. But not settling is a big part of reaching the potential of the record I think. Braden Sauder from Marquee Sound brought a lot to the record with his drums and engineering. He’s cultivated a lot of 70s era gear and instruments, which is a big part of what I’ve been reaching for with the new records.

You get to do some collaboration on this record like with Mahalia – do you tend to take a different approach when collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?

Ya, absolutely. the general vibe/approach I try to take when collaborating with someone is to surrender, not hold on too tightly and be open minded. Sometimes an idea I don’t like turns into something that really works, so I try my best not to get in the way and allow things to unfold. while also voicing my instincts.

What role does Canada play in your music?

A pretty big role. One of the biggest things is Canada has programs, like grants, that have allowed me to develop and invest in my projects without going broke. I’m very grateful for that. Another thing is, it’s a fairly calm place to develop and be creative. Most of my collaborators and partners are from Toronto which is also super dope.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Every song is different, but for No One But You, the lyrics and music were inspired by a person in my life and the experiences we shared at that time.

What else is happening next in Justin Nozuka’s world?

Lots and lots of mixing, lots of writing and recording. Just building this world one piece at a time, and honestly really enjoying the process through and through. 

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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