Justin Chadwick From Albumism Interview


From penning record reviews for his Oakland, California high-school’s student newspaper to organizing on-campus hip-hop concerts while studying at UCLA to his time previously spent working within the music and radio industries, Justin Chadwick has always found much gratification—both personally and professionally—in spreading the good word about new music, while also reminding us to revisit the classics of the past from time to time.

Most recently, in January of this year, Justin founded Albumism.com, an editorially independent music website dedicated to honoring the album as vital art form, while connecting with the global community of passionate music fans to celebrate the albums we love. “Late last year, I decided to start Albumism, somewhat on a whim,” Justin confides. “Three months later, I’ve been so inspired by the positive feedback from people who have checked out the site. And though Albumism is still very much in its infancy and our content is still evolving, it’s growing faster than I ever imagined it would this early on.”

Though Justin admits that he has a handful of ideas for how to expand Albumism in the future, for now, he simply enjoys writing, developing the site’s editorial team, and engaging with his fellow music heads worldwide. Follow Albumism at facebook.com/Albumism and twitter.com/Albumism.

This is his music…

What is your favourite song of all time?

A no-brainer for me, really. De La Soul’s “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’” from their 1991 sophomore album De La Soul is Dead. To my ears, it sounds like sunshine on wax. Pure bliss. Its celebration of the respite and escapism we universally indulge in when the weekend arrives at long last has always resonated with me. The quintessential feel-good anthem of summer, or any season for that matter. And fantastic verses from Q-Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest) and vocals by the underrated Vinia Mojica to boot.

Can you remember when you fell in love with it?

The moment I heard it for the first time, which I believe came courtesy of KMEL, my favorite local radio station in my hometown of Oakland, California. I was 13 years old at the time and was already a fan of the whole Native Tongues collective, largely due to De La Soul’s first album 3 Feet High and Rising (1989) and A Tribe Called Quest’s debut People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990). But “Saturdays” absolutely floored me then, and it still does now.

Has a song or album ever changed your life?

Well, absolutely. Too many to name here, actually. Though if forced to select just one, I’ll go with Elbow’s third album Leaders of the Free World. I was visiting London the week it was released back in September of 2005, and I proceeded to play it incessantly during the rest of my time there. About a month after I returned home to Brooklyn, I rather serendipitously met a lovely woman at my neighborhood watering hole, and our first official date soon thereafter was an Elbow concert at Manhattan’s Hiro Ballroom. We had a wonderful time, and the band played a handful of songs from Leaders along with cuts from their excellent first two LPs. The great epilogue to this anecdote is that the lovely woman is now my lovely wife of nearly seven years, and we make a point to catch Elbow whenever their tours come through New York City.

If you could only listen to five albums for the rest of time, what would they be?

The Verve’s Urban Hymns, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, De La Soul’s De La Soul is Dead, and Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life

How much of your day do you spend listening to music?

Not as much as I’d like to, admittedly. If it was solely up to me, I’d listen to music non-stop during my eighteen or so waking hours. But that’s not very pragmatic, is it? On average, I’d say I listen to music about 3 to 4 hours a day, with the bulk of this occurring during the evening hours.

What’s your ideal time and place for listening to music?

I prefer to listen to music at home, where my collection is within arm’s reach and I can crank the volume just high enough so as not to rattle the neighbors. It’s comforting to have my hundreds of records close by, and while I love listening in the late evenings, I also relish the impromptu, weekend morning dance parties with my wife and two daughters.

What’s the best gig/show you’ve ever been to?

Portishead at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, March 28, 1998. Beth Gibbons and her bandmates delivered such an emotionally (and sonically) powerful performance that night. The entire audience was riveted from the moment they took the stage to the final encore. It blew my mind, and I pretty much swore after that evening that I’d love Portishead for life.

Approximately how big is your music collection? And in what format?

My vinyl collection is just shy of 1,000 albums and is steadily overtaking the cozy (translation: small) confines of my family’s Brooklyn apartment. Although my CD collection once numbered in the 5,000 range, I’ve whittled it down to a few hundred of my favorite albums. And my digital library is roughly 40,000 songs strong.

What does music mean to you?

In his superb novel High Fidelity, Nick Hornby writes that “Sentimental music has this great way of taking you back somewhere at the same time that it takes you forward, so you feel nostalgic and hopeful all at the same time.” And I couldn’t agree more. Music has always been a source of great comfort and happiness for me, and a way for me to feel more connected to the past, present, and future. It’s also a way for me to connect more closely with people, from friends to family to fellow music heads. There are few things in life that give me as much pleasure and gratification as sharing music with others.

What song should we all go and listen to right now to make our day better?

“Atomic Number” by case/lang/veirs, the recently formed “supergroup” comprised of Neko Case, k.d. Lang, and Laura Veirs. Each is an amazing singer-songwriter in her own right, but together? Unreal. Can’t wait for their debut album, which arrives in June.

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