Justin Lassen’s Nine Favorite Highlights of Two Thousand Nine
We asked Justin Lassen what his favorite creative and career moments were for the year of 2009, so without further ado and in his own words (and in no particular order):
- The opportunity to remix a handful of Indie and Major label artists this year, including: Lady GaGa, The Killers, LowHero.DLL, Zach Ashton, Wendy Starland. A few of these became extremely popular all around the world throughout the year, and gained me a lot of new fans. Listen to some.
- I had the honor of being invited into the IAA (Intel Audio Alliance) by Steve Pitzel and Michael Rivet at Intel. I was also invited into the Advisory Board of the Game Audio Network Guild (Tommy Tallarico’s G.A.N.G.), by the amazing and hard working Dave Chan and Paul Lipson! Such an honor to be co-advisory buds with all those wonderful game audio industry people!
- I was featured in 2 respected industry books (print) this year. “Music To Die For” published by Cherry Red (UK) by author Mick Mercer, which humbly credited me as one of the early pioneers of the kind of music and audio editing I’m known for. "DDH was doing modern glitch-tech edits (by hand) over Goth soundscapes before it had a name (before Linkin Park, etc.) DDH was the initial career launching-pad for Justin Lassen." – Music To Die For (2009)
I was also featured in the infamous #1 music industry book “Confession’s of a Record Producer” published by Backbeat Books by author Moses Avalon. It was a huge honor because this was one of the primary books that influenced me in the 90’s. Not only that, I was on the very first page of this 10th Edition! I thanked him for that, and putting me before some of the other much bigger names, and he said "Thanks Justin. You deserve it." – Mo (2009) :)
- I contributed to my industry (audio) in 2 very cool, very fun, and very creative ways. Firstly, I got the brilliant opportunity to design special presets for iZotope Alloy™ in August (Thanks to Nick Dika)! I got to test this audio plug-in and create some really great starting points for producers, remixers, composers and engineers. Even created iZotope’s favorite preset “Squiggly Fish Frequencies” :)
Lastly, but not least, from March – November, I worked on my own Justin Lassen signature loop library for Sony! It is under their 24-bit Premium Collection series, and will be out early next year. (Thanks to Steve Foldvari , Rich Thomas and Mike Scheibinger) It is called “Justin Lassen Presents White Rabbit Asylum”. I sub-title it “those amongst us with broken hearts, hide inside the darkest arts.” – J. Lassen*
*It also doubled up as almost a “journal” through my own sadness, heartbreak and other such nonsense this year. 2 CD’s worth of creative starting points, and a chance to “compose like Justin”.
- On 09.09.09 I ended my extremely successful LiveJournal blog (2005-2009), which lasted for 4 years and was one of the most successful writing achievements for me, to constantly document and archive my adventures around the world, in and out of the industry. It didn’t capture everything, but it came pretty close. It had tons of dedicated readers all over the world giving me millions of unique hits a month. It was time to kill it, for new mediums to come. After that, I wanted a fresh start and decided to “tweet” and “facebook” instead. I’m proud of what that blog represented, and met a lot of visionary people in the past 4 years and personally, I think it showed a lot of growth. Took a lot of guts to end it. I’m also thankful for my new assistant who watches over the sites and blogs for me now.
- A lot of press and exposure this year on a HUGE international scale. I have done dozens of interviews this year, in magazines, websites, videos, blogs, top-tier ad-campaigns, reviews, brochures, newsletters, in-stores, catalogs, sponsorships (full page JL ads in a bunch of top audio mags), shows, radio, conferences, stages, talks/lectures, etc. I was represented very well at several of the key tradeshows in my worlds, such as NAMM 2009, GDC 2009, ASCAP 2009, E3 2009 an Siggraph 2009. Some of the feature highlights include being main featured in Remix Magazine, 2DArtist Magazine, Intel Visual Adrenaline Magazine (twice!), Dave Graveline Radio Show, Intel.com and more than I can list here. Hits and eyeballs numbering in the dozens of millions (~36M in 2009), globally! Insane amounts of fan mail and business mail to boot. I also got to write articles, reviews and tutorials for respected magazines like Studio Monthly and Remix Magazine!
- After getting my massive Core i7 studio workstation and decking out my studio with new gear, I was able to stay quite productive on my musical work in new ways. I re-mastered my 2003 Symphony, as well as the famous Synaesthesia compositions. "Justin Lassen Presents Synaesthesia" was released finally after 5 years of work, world-travel and a princely life of jet-setting. It's a culmination of my love for art, in a beautiful 2-CD set. I'm very proud of it!
Other releases that happened this year besides the usual, "Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train" came out earlier in the year on DVD and Blu-Ray, which created new interest in my cult-classic soundtrack that I created for Lakeshore Records for the film last year. Lakeshore posted up a ton of great reviews and highlights I got on that release! (14 exclusive Justin Lassen Remixes, with my favorite bands like Apocalyptica, ALU, Iconcrash, etc.)
While this I see as more of an accomplishment for my dear friend Long Nguyen, I am also very proud of it... the Total-Conversion MOD for Ut2k4 called "Out of Hell", finally came out on Halloween of this year, after 7 years of development. The trailer did very well too. The game, In it's first week had over 10,000+ downloads, and by the end of the year, it has topped over 30,000+ downloads, and is up for mod of the year, and has garnered much industry support, review and attention by game press and respected developers around the world. My music has been compared in kind ways to legendary horror games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. It's 27-tracks of hellish soundscapes that brought the Out of Hell universe to life. Long said it gave the game it's "soul". The Out of Hell fans are extremely wonderful people whom have said countless amazing things about the game and my soundtrack. Thank you all!
- Produced a lot of rap and hip-hop tracks this summer with my little brother 5mm as well as for a few other friends into that sort of music. Though tons of my hip-hip/rap community friends say my "beats" are dope and should be in the Top 40... I like that. :) I won't drop any names. :) I also mixed and mastered 11-tracks for another friends debut "Reggae Massive" CD release (Synrgy – Live and Love Album coming out next year!) These are 2 genres I am not normally interested in, but this year was a great year of exploring outside my comfort zone, and taking on a more active role than just remixing or orchestrating. Much fun.
I scored a short film in India earlier this year called “First Rain”! That was a lot of fun, I have worked with The Kapoor Brothers before on an international commercial campaign for Shuttle PC a few years back, so to be asked to work with them again, this time on a heart-felt film, was a great humbling honor.
I also wrote tons of lyrics, poetry and recorded an arsenal of new vocal demos, collaborations, soundtracks, concepts, oddities, classical stuff, unreleased stuff, sound designs, for myself and others. I also released more free music this year than I have in any previous year, on a plethora of social sites and music hubs, gaining tons of new fans in so many different genres of music. I'm really proud of all the collaborations I've done this year, and happy to have got to meet so many people in so many different countries. Tons of listens, tons of new fans.
- In previous years, my usual cup of tea each year, has been to travel around the globe, to far off lands. This time, and this year, I stayed in the United States for most of the year. I got to go to the east coast (NC, SC, GA etc.) for a bit, to Vegas, Colorado, etc. Everything from famous haunted dungeons below historical revolutionary buildings in Charleston, SC to great heights off-roading in Colorado above 13k feet. Fishing, camping, road trips, etc. The big geographical change for me was getting out of California though. I'm glad I did that.
* These are career and specific notable highlights, and do not go into detail of Justin’s personal life. Justin would like to thank everyone who has believed in him and his work this year.
“To everyone who continues to bring me opportunities, listens to my music and want to see me and help succeed. Thank you all so much! While this might not seem like a big list, for me, it was huge. I hope the new year brings many more successes for everyone.” – J. Lassen