Just recently, I was able to sit down with Justin Ferraro, frontman, backman, and sideman of New Japanese Technology. NJT has just released a promising debut album, California Blue, and Ferraro, it seems, cannot be stopped:
Pablo Bunny: When did you start writing music?
Justin Ferraro: I believe the first song that I wrote was in 6th grade. However, it could hardly have been called a song, and I'd prefer if we all just forgot about it.
PB: If NJT were an animal, which would it be?
JF: It would probably be a leopard. A sexy leopard. But then it would be poached and made into sexy illegal leopard seat covers for pimped-out Cadillacs. But if it wasn't a beautiful animal which would be immediately snuffed for it's coat it would probably be a baby horse: young, fragile, and awkward.
PB: Why "New Japanese Technology?"
JF:Last September I was walking in West Hartford, making my way down to a music store to find a saxophone book that my band teacher said I needed for the next year. Unfortunately, they didn't have it but luckily I didn't need it. Anyway, walking back from the music store to my car I pasted by a camera store and there was a sign in the window that said "New Japanese Technology". And that just sorta stuck with me. I was kinda puzzled by it because I wondered if anyone would see that sign and say "Wow! They have Japanese Technology? And it's new? Wow I gotta get me some of that!" And I decided soon after that one day I would start a band called New Japanese Technology. Or you know, just do a solo thing...
PB: What are your major musical influences?
JF: Well the real principle influence would be my guitar teacher, Andrew Decker, who taught me things (e.g. chords and soloing techniques) that would directly impact the kind of songs I wrote. Other influences come from all corners of the pop music spectrum from rap to folk. The most major groups/artists that have influenced my music would probably be Radiohead, Wilco, Aesop Rock, Neutral Milk Hotel, Rage Against the Machine, Jimi Hendrix, Sigur Rós, The Strokes, Tom Waits, Gorillaz, and The Fratellis. Oh, and Chris Baker.
PB: Would you say that any particular non-musical source (e.g. Man Ray, flowers, Eric Morrissey) has made a significant impact on your music?
JF: Well, besides Eric Morrissey, the greatest non-musical source is life, of course. But I am also often inspired by movies. In fact, the song "Say I Love You" was inspired by the movie Juno.
PB: What instruments do you play?
JF: I play guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, and saxophone. I used to play cello but I fell out of the practice. I also play a little piano but it's so small you can't hear it. I create all the keyboard and drums sounds through a computer program called Reason. I can draw-in and program different sequences and patterns and export them from Reason. Once they're exported I import them into my sequencing program as samples and put them where I please.
PB: Do you have any side projects?
JF: Eh sort of. I had something planned with my good friend Joe but that's but nothing but an idea for 3 years. My acoustic-metal duo with Mr. Morrissey dubbed Turn Your Head and Cough fell through as well. I am, however, looking forward to two possible prospects. The first is a funk project with my friend Collin, the lead guitarist from the last band I was in. And the second is a Beets cover band dubbed Taco Friday.
PB: What's next for NJT?
JF: Well right now I am working on another album which should be completed by the end of August. It's going to be called Strobe Lights and Hurricanes and it will be heavier than the last album. I haven't decided if any singles will be released before the album's debut.
Tempted? You can stream/download all of California Blue here.