We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Nace and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, why did you pursue a creative career?
Creativity is everything to me. My first tattoo was the word “Create” on my wrist. I just feel that I have so much inside of me, and I want to be able to try everything I can to be able to express it and get it out. Music was always a passion of mine, and growing up in bands, you always dreamed of being able to make it big. Even with that dream, you always hoped it could happen, but knew that it would be a long shot. Many people look down on creatives or artist in the career field, or when people ask, “so what do you do” and you answer musician, they instantly imply that you’re just playing bars and local gigs. I started working when I was 12, from washing dishes at a farmers market, to working at a baseball card shop, a super market, to retail, I tried all kinds of things. At the end of the day, it just didn’t satisfy my want for something more creative and something I could express what I love. Eventually when I was given the change to go on the road, and tour with a band, I took it. I quit my full time job, cashed in my 401K, and got paid NOTHING, to hop in a van with new friends and tour the country. But in the end I wouldn’t have traded that for anything. It was what I loved and what I longed to do. This lead to being able to travel all over the globe, seeing 30 different countries, playing music to people we never imagined we’d get the chance to play for. It really is surreal. Took a risk to follow my dream and do what I love, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a self taught drummer, that has been working in the professional music business for the past 6 years. I guess one thing that’s always set me apart from most other drummers is that I am left handed, and play a left handed kit. It is not very often at all that you run into a lefty in the drumming world. Made for some headaches in my younger years being that all the other drum kits were always completely backwards for me. I went to take lessons when I was about 8 and sadly they wouldn’t teach me unless I was to do it righty. Which at 8, I wasn’t comfortable doing, so I decided to bail on that, and just used to play along to cd’s as a kid, and learned to play drums on my own. Other than that, I feel like what sets me apart is just my energy and drive behind the kid. I love to get into it, hit hard, and have fun while doing it. I’m proud that I’ve gotten to where I am today. I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world and see places that I never imagined I’d get to visit, all while getting to do what I love and play music. I’ve had the opportunity to check off a lot of bucket list iconic venues over the years that are a dream to play for many. It certainly wasn’t easy to get to where I got. It is definitely a lot of hard work. We put in the time and grind since day one. We used to drive ourselves in a van and trailer, loading in all your heavy gear every night, long overnight drives with little to no sleep, no money, and just enough gas to get us to the next city. Years of traveling from airport to airport, constantly on the go, missing out on a lot of stuff back home whether it was holidays, weddings and gatherings. The list goes on with even crazier things, but will save you the details. I’ve learned that it pays to be a good person. Be kind to others. whether its the fans waiting to see you, the local stage guy helping you load in, or the catering person preparing your meals. Just be nice. It’s so simple and easy to do. If you’re a jerk, or blow people off, or was rude to someone, that kind of thing travels. The music industry is huge, but in reality it’s a small world, and everyone knows everyone. A tech may have worked with one guy, who worked for these 5 bands, who knows these people, who work for THESE people, etc, etc. If you are a pain to be around, people will be less likely to wanna help you the next time you come around. Kindness goes a long way. I’d like the world to know that playing music to me, is everything. I have the bug haha. All I want to do is travel and play music. It’s what I love the most. I put everything I have into my drumming, and I hope that it shows. And sadly this past year, due to the pandemic, it has brought all of that to a crashing halt. I feel lost without it. Myself, along with thousands of others are all without their livelihood because of this pandemic and the improper care and precautions of others. It really is a shame. We just want be to take care and be safe, so we call all get back to doing what means the most to us.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate this to my father. last year, sadly my father had passed away after battling for many years of health issues. I was heartbroken. He was my hero. He taught me everything I knew about music from a young age. My father was a guitar player. Growing up, I’d watch him play, see him rocking out at parties or shows they would play out at bars. He always encouraged music, and it was such a big part of his life. At a younger age, he helped us with our bands as we tried to start them up. Was always there to help us load in gear and set up on stage. He loved it, and I know it brought something out of him when he go the chance to do it. When I got the chance to finally hit the road, he encouraged it. He wasn’t the parent that sat there and said, “get a job” or “that’s not the smart move”. He supported me and wanted to see me succeed. I wanted to make him proud. We put in the hard work and busted our butts, and eventually he was healthy enough to come see my play at Madison Square Garden. Not only was it a massive moment for myself, but I think it was a big moment for him. He got to see his son, who he had to deal with listening to in the basement for hours on end banging away at drums as a kid, hit a milestone in his career, and I think he was very proud of me. As time went on, it became difficult for him health wise to make it out to shows when we’d come around, but I always knew that if he could be there, he wouldn’t skip a beat. He always supported me, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.
Gavin Smith Max Fairclough Carlos Navaro