Interview – Justboy

Recently, I reviewed the new EP by Scottish artist Justboy, titled Head Sick. Whilst he is more well known for his work band Alkanes, I felt he had a knack for songwriting within the folk genre, so wanted to find out more. Read our interview below and don’t forget to check the EP out!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released an album titled Head Sick, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the album and where can it be purchased?

Head Sick is a more intimate and vulnerable side to my song writing compared to my work with Alkanes. The entire process from writing, to recording and then the release was very cathartic, and it allowed me to accept who I was and who I am today, and explore my struggles with mental health in recent years. I really opened up and laid my soul bare on this EP. You can find Head Sick across all major streaming sites and you can even purchase a copy on cassette tape on Bandcamphttps://he…ndcamp.com

You’re based in Scotland. What is the music scene like in your part of the world?

I’ve always felt that the Scottish music scene is very strong. It’s so vibrant; there’s always something special brewing. There’s some insane talent around Scotland and there’s a really nice community feel to the scene up here.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

As mentioned previously, I find it very cathartic. With this project the lyrics are very personal to me and I think that really helps convey the emotion in the performance. I feel like writing keeps me sane, it’s a great way to express yourself. The recording process is always really enjoyable too. I’ve been lucky to work with some incredibly talented people in Steve Bull (producer) and Connor Meeks (drums). They completely understood the vibe I was attempting to create with this EP and we just clicked very well and bounced great ideas off each other.

Have you started writing for your next EP/album yet? If so, what can you tell us about it?

I have written a couple of new songs recently. Sometimes you need to let life happen a little bit before diving straight into writing, and it seems to be paying off. Everything was a bit turbulent in my personal life before Christmas time, but hey, it’s given me some material! I also have a couple of older songs that I had written around the same time I wrote Better Off, so there could be an opportunity to revisit them. There’s no immediate plans for another release, but I would expect more material to come this year for sure.

Do you plan to release any singles at any point in the near future?

I am quite proud of the stuff I have written recently so I might try to lay something down for a single to bridge the gap between releases. We’ll see!

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

I tend to write about personal experiences. It’s therapeutic for me. As for artists that influence me, my taste is quite varied and the big ones for me are Radiohead and Biffy Clyro, but specifically for this project and whilst writing for the EP I was listening to a lot of City and Colour and Phoebe Bridgers. I am absolutely obsessed with Dallas Green’s voice.

Recently I took some time to actually listen to Jeff Buckley. I don’t know why I didn’t before. Another who’s voice is becoming an obsession. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Superlove and Fatherson, so I would expect any new material from me to be a bit soppy.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

I would definitely say so. Right before the first lockdown, my band Alkanes just had our first sold out headline show and we wanted to carry this momentum into work on a release and touring in the summer. That stopped us dead in our tracks and I personally struggled for a long time with motivation and confidence when it came to writing. I think a lot of it stems back to that point I made about needing to let life happen. Nothing was happening, I was just stuck indoors with nothing to be inspired by. So I certainly feel the progress of Alkanes has been hindered.

Luckily, I found that spark again as life moved on and restrictions started to ease, and it allowed me to get this project off the ground and try my hand at something new.

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

At the moment I have a show with This Familiar Smile coming up in my hometown of Inverness on 16th March. I have an exciting wee trip to Dundee coming in April too which is yet to be announced, keep an eye out!

What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

You can expect a raw, emotional and vulnerable performance. If a sad boy singing some folky numbers in the vein of City and Colour sounds like your thing then come say “hi” at a future show. I’ll probably buy you a pint.

Any last words for the fans?

I would just like to thank everyone for their continued support. It means the world to me that people can enjoy and connect to music that I make. Keep spinning the EP and keep being wonderful!