An Interview with Artist and PC Worship Frontman, Justin Frye


Artwork by Justin Frye

PC Worship is a Bushwick-based band with an ever-rotating cast of members, led by a dude named Justin Frye.

Besides creating sometimes droned-out, sometimes punk, sometimes kinda jazzy, most times completely un-pigeonhole-able experimental music, PC Worship/Justin also makes art. Amazing art. Check the cover of this magazine and if it doesn’t feature a photo of Dane sitting on the beach, it’ll be a big stonkin’ ART by ol’ PC Worship.

Dane and his faithful sidekick, Warren Smith, jumped on a three-way call with Justin, and talked about music and stuff. Read the interview, and then check out PC Worship, if you haven’t already. They’re one of Dane’s all-time favourite bands.

Dane: Coming from Virginia Beach, how did you become exposed to music and art? Was there much of a scene there?

Justin: My mom is an art teacher and my dad’s a construction worker, and they both played in bar bands my whole childhood. They played classic Top 40’s stuff in the bars down at the beach. Then by the time I was in high school, there was a pretty thriving hardcore and punk scene. There were some cool record stores where you could get weird records and find some off-kilter stuff. I went to a public high school for half the day and then an arts high school for the other half so all my friends were split between the beach and then a more art-focused crew. They all blended together.

Dane: Man, that’s so different to my experience there. I’ve been to Virginia Beach for surf contests and signings and…

Justin: It definitely is a weird place. The strip is like a whole different world, but growing up there was some house shows and stuff… and we’d go to a lot of shows in Norfolk.

Warren: How long did you stick around Virginia before you moved to New York?

Justin: I graduated high school in 2003 and moved straight to New York. I didn’t have any contempt for Virginia Beach or anything, it was a nice place to be, and we had a bunch of bands in high school, so it was a pretty solid music experience. I just moved up to New York to study music at the New School.

Warren: When did you start PC Worship?

Justin: It evolved over a few years around 2009. I was playing in a few other bands at the time, but my dad had reel-to-reels and tape machines, so I’d always been recording stuff. Then one of my friends started a record label and wanted to put out an LP of the recordings I was working on.

Dane: I’m curious about the recording process. Do you ever have a concept in mind or do you start from scratch?

Justin: No, it’s definitely more linear. There’s never any overarching concept at all. It all starts off pretty unrelated. There’ll be songs that are recorded with ten people, and then songs that are just me, or weird fragments of recordings, and then production and mixing is where I pull everything together.

Dane: During that process, are you ever aware of how the listener will perceive it? Does that ever influence your sound?

Justin: No, I mean, it’s a pretty selfish process in a lot of ways. It’s sort of meditative and strange. I’ll just hunker down and work on stuff, sort of relentlessly recording for long periods of time. It’s always been pretty cathartic.

Warren: And, do you approach your visual art with the same process?

Justin: No, the visual art is just a byproduct of growing up playing shows and making fliers. My mom’s a painter, but I was never drawn to painting or drawing. When I was a kid, I didn’t have a computer, so we would go to Kinkos and take over a copy machine and spend five hours chopping up old magazines or a roll of film that we got developed and just make weird shit. Up until two or three years ago, all the art that I made was done surrounded by people in a store with a bunch of shit cut up and laid out.

Warren: And you grew up surfing, right?

Justin: Yeah, since I was a kid.

Dane: It must be strange seeing your music set to surfing?

Justin: I do a lot of film-scoring stuff, so it’s not all that different. Surfing has always been pretty expressive and weird. It gets put in a more athletic category, but I think it’s more akin to modern or improvised dance at times. It’s definitely cool to see.

Warren: That’s a cool interpretation of surfing and music.

 

Justin: It’s full circle in a way. Putting out records has become strangely convoluted these days. There’s not a fucking cut and dry answer to how you’re supposed to release music now, so it’s kinda cool to just have these different mediums and have it in different places.

Dane: It seems like surf movies would be a good format for getting your music heard by kids that wouldn’t normally be out searching for different sounding stuff.

Justin: Yeah, I mean when I was in middle school, a lot of my favourite songs were directly out of surf videos because you just watched them on repeat. They’re ingrained in your brain. I remember the first few Volcom videos that were all 16mm and had weird music, and also the Taylor Steele videos with all the Southern California punk. And then when The Seedling came out and learning about weird music like Tortoise and shit…

Warren: When I interviewed Parquet Courts I was trying to explain to the jock element of surfing ’cause it seemed to make a lot of sense with that first song that they just released, ‘Total Football’, it’s sort of like dismantling the football quarterback-like male narrative, and I was trying to explain to him like that’s actually pretty prevalent in surfing.

Dane: That’s interesting because Quiksilver used one of their new tracks in an ad with like Kanoa Igarashi and Zeke Lau, it seemed kinda odd…

Justin: They have people around them that deal with licensing and…

Dane: You can’t control everything.

Justin: Yeah, I just got lucky that a bunch of fucking weirdos that like the same shit as me wanted to use my music.

Want more from the Dane Reynolds guest editor issue? Get your hands on the mag here, or treat yourself with the Dane Reynolds limited-edition #60 box set here.

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