Justin Roberts is an award winning artist from Chicago whose music is the fusion of pop rock perfection and insightful introspection. Justin Roberts’ songs reminisce about simpler times while running, dancing, and soaring your family into the present. On Friday October 14th, Justin Roberts will release his newest album, Lemonade, and while our official review won’t be complete for a few weeks, from our initial listen we can safely say that we think you will all agree that it is AWESOME!
For this #8isEnoughQuestions interview, each question was written and asked by one of our Full Van Fun family members and answered directly by Justin Roberts. Enjoy!
1. When I listen to “Recess”, it makes me feel happy, excited, and joyful in an upbeat way – how do you hope listeners will react to your new album “Lemonade”?
I love the giant wall of sound power pop of Recess. But I really felt like I wanted to make something that was a bit more inviting with a little more space. So the idea of recording live in a room with a bunch of great musicians seemed like the best way to do that. There are some pop songs and upbeat things but the whole thing is a lot more intimate, like listening to people perform in your living room.
2. Is your new album good?
I’m super proud of it. I think it’s totally different than anything else I’ve done but I think it still has the elements of what people like about my music. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what I think. it’s up to you to decide if you think it is good. I think there are so many wonderful surprises from Robbie Fulks guitar playing and Gerald Dowd’s unusual percussion (he plays cardboard boxes, paint cans, salt shakers and anything he could hit with a stick), and Liam did such a great job of preserving that live in the studio feel in his mixing. I find the songs very moving and they get stuck in my head. There are some heart warming moments and some silly songs with attitude. There’s something for everyone!
3. What was your favorite recess activity?
Four square all the way. Not the app, kids.
4. What is the hardest part about writing a song?
Starting it and then believing in what you are doing long enough to finish it.
5. Who is your favorite baseball team and did you ever catch a pop fly at one of their games?
The Chicago Cubs, of course. I absolutely did not ever catch a pop fly. I hit the ball once and was so surprised as the grounder made its way up the first base line. The crowd was cheering. My life was about to change. And then it rolled foul.
6. Do you like pink lemonade?
I like lemonade in general. But it has to be balanced perfectly. I don’t like it too sweet. In fact, I often just drink iced lemon water. How’s that for being grown up.
7. When you were a kid, was an elevator really the best ride you ever went on?
I did like pushing buttons on the elevator but I think my favorite ride was the mouse trap. This was a very questionable run-down wooden roller coaster in Peony Park in Des Moines, IA. It would go to the edge of the track and then back up and turn. Looking back, it probably was extremely dangerous. But that’s part of what makes childhood fun.
8. Can I play the drums? (this last question was from Tom and Liz’ 3 year old.) Perhaps Gerald can answer that one…
Anyone can play the drums. But only a few can play them well. It takes tons of practice and it doesn’t hurt if you have an innate sense of rhythm. I’m told by Gerald’s mother, that he would sit on the kitchen floor and bang on pots and pans when he was a toddler … in perfect rhythm.
FROM GERALD: You can definitely play the drums! With a little practice, anyone can be a drummer. Just make sure to play them around the clock, and as loud as humanly possible. (Your parents may disagree with me on this.)
Thank you Justin Roberts for a sweet and sour #8isEnoughQuestions interview! Don’t forget to take a look at some of our other #8isEnoughQuestions interviews with authors like Daniel Pinkwater and artists like Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Emily Arrow, Mista Cookie Jar, The Not Its, Mike Phirman, Danny Weinkauf of They Might Be Giants, Turkey Andersen, Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis, Bryan Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe, Play Date, Recess Monkey, Andrew and Polly, Greg Page (Original Yellow Wiggle), Rissi Palmer, Jim Cosgrove, and Tim Kubart.