An Interview With Songwriter Justin Carbonari


Justin Carbonari is an aspiring songwriter, here is a link to his Soundcloud page:

Q: When did you know you wanted to write music?

A: Well it’s just something you have to know and accept for yourself. I would always have a song stuck in my head, I loved singing and making up my own words and melodies for songs I’d hear. Since I can remember. I’ve always assumed it’s what I was supposed to do. Now I’m learning how.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?

A: I try to rip off people who move me. Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, and Johnny Cash started me out. Ray Charles especially; “Night Time is the Right Time,” That’s rocknroll. Their voices, the instruments, they all fit the feeling so well. That’s what I’m looking for. Of course, ze Beatles. I could talk for days about them. A few years ago I took two days and listened to every album starting with Please Please Me, and I began my junkie-like journey into their world. The Stones and The Animals definitely feed the raw and heavier sensibilities. I think the stones were the best live band. And I love Motown and Stevie Wonder and James Brown. Both just brought so much rhythm and soul to the each instrument. I’m influenced by those who paint a landscape using each part to fill out the space in the best way. I’m inspired by these fleeting perfect moments that these amazing people somehow came up with. Pink Floyd was really good with that, ELO as well! I love tracing the influences through the decades. I should have just made a list.

Q:  What inspired you to write the song Miss Behave?

A: Originally I was trying to write a few songs like Stevie Wonder. I was living in San Francisco and I was getting off a bus to wait for another  and the call and response melody came into my head, “Oh baby I’m tired,” I thought it could go so many places from there.

Vocally I was really into Queen and Freddy  M. at the moment, so it stared out very grand. Eventually it morphed into it’s own groove, but it’s still a work in progress, you know. They all are.

Q:  What kinds of themes do you write about?

A: I try to relay some sort of truth, or some honest feeling. Otherwise what’s the point? I’m fascinated with our brains and how we interpret the thoughts of those around us. It’s all in our head and we can get mixed up.

So I try to write thoughts that we all feel sometimes but can’t talk about. I think if art is to redeem man then artists must be an honest reflection of the human condition. But ultimately it’s about me. So I try to translate a real feeling that I connect to whether it’s about a girl or about our place in the universe. It’s all related anyway.

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your music?

A: Well I’ve mostly worked in restaurants to pay the bills but for the past few months I’ve been acting and organizing rock shows for a venue down in Orange. I’m hoping to use work I can get acting to support myself. The industry has a bit more structure than with music.

Q:  what have you done to pursue your acting career?

A: Well I’m starting out. At this point I’m taking whatever I can get my hands on and working hard once I’m on set. I understand its a business so I have to find my form, how to market myself at first. I love improv and comedy so I’m trying to push towards that. I’m starting to meet with some agents. Little by little. You just gotta show people you can do the job. I’m also writing a script like the old spaghetti-westerns which I’d really like to get made. I think it could be great So I’ll be pursuing that as well as other writings.

Q:  What kinds of things have you done to promote your music?

A: I wanted to focus on writing it rather than promoting. For a few years now I’ve developed that part of me, knowing it’s all that really mattered. To write great songs, instant classics. That’s the goal.  Slowly getting there, but I’m still learning.

I’ve put some songs up on websites, soundcloud and bandcamp, but I feel now that I’ve recorded a few decent demos I can start to peddle them around town and show everyone who I am and what I can do. In many ways I feel like I’m just now starting.

Q:  What do you like about the music industry?

A: For a long time I was very against record labels and the industry at large. But for distribution and marketing purposes it’s still hard to beat. The internet and the technological advances it has brought will continue to change the landscape and maybe soon eliminate the need for middle men between artists and fans.

But If you want to reach a great deal of people now you must make your work great and easily available. I believe people don’t have the time for anything that isn’t great. I want to be great. If it’s good enough people with want to spread the word. So I’m just starting to spread the word.

Q:  What about it would you change?

A: It’s hard to be definitive because as of yet I’ve had very little experience with the “machine.” But I suppose my main issue is that they’re not cutting edge anymore and music and the industry used to be sought out by the best and brightest. It’s always been about money, and that’s fine. But Napster and the 21st century scared the labels and it became about making safe bets. So the rich and diverse culture of music went underground to find those who understand. We’re all just looking to connect with someone who understands. Thus the industry further shriveled trying to live in the past where they could charge $20 for a CD and sell two million.

But a change is go’n come.

  1. What is your theme song?

So hard. My gut instinct was, Good Vibrations or, Tomorrow Never Knows.. But, Like a Rolling Stone also shines through..reminds me of my journey and how hard it is to get along in this world. Ol’ Rob Zimmerman. You should listen to all of them.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)


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