Jake Justice knew from age 3 that music would always be a big part of his life. That was when he started playing the piano, his everyday practice reinforced by a mother who was a piano and vocal teacher herself.
“It’s kind of in the family,” Justice said.
Justice may be more recognized for his involvement with the funk rock band We Are the Strike, but his initial introduction to music was classical. He has decided to return to his roots by releasing a new solo album made up of one classical piece with eight different movements.
“This new album definitely has kind of a dark and more modern, classical feel,” Justice said. “There’s a lot of tension, and it’s very dramatic and emotional.”
The album is called “Siren Suite,” named after the Greek mythological creatures who lure sailors to shipwreck with hypnotic music. Each one of the eight movements represents a separate struggle Justice experienced throughout his life.
“When I first started writing the music for the album, I was dealing with health issues, a breakup and several other forms of identity crises that we all go through in life,” Justice said. “So I went to the only place where I can always find solace: the practice rooms of the HFAC.”
Last summer Justice spent all day every day in those practice rooms and emerged with something that reflects his childhood. His only intention with recording this album was to create something artistically honest and true to who he is.
“The first time I met Jake he was 6 and sitting at a spinet playing this beautiful classical-sounding music,” said Chris Caswell, a musician from LA and a musical mentor to Justice. “I was floored and asked what the piece was called, and he said, ‘I don’t know, I”m just making it up.'”
Over the past few weeks Justice did a photo shoot, where he sat at a dilapidated, blazing piano on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. The other shoot featured Justice playing on a regular keyboard, but he was underwater this time. These photo shoots represent the contrast of fire and water and were made specifically to advertise Justice’s new album.
“The fire photo shoot was especially meaningful to me because the burning of the piano is symbolic to me of writing music to conquer demons and have a fresh start in life,” Justice said. “Out with the old, in with the new sort of a thing.”
Although “Siren Suite” acts as a cleansing for Justice’s recent past, it is also a return to the past of his childhood, taking him back to the familiar comfort of the classical genre.
Justice featured the album Oct. 9 at his release concert in Brigham Larson Pianos at 7:30 pm.