Retox’s Justin Pearson walks it like he talks it. In addition to being a founder member of The Locust, he’s been in more bands than most bands have recorded albums. He runs a record label. He’s written a book. He could keep Santa Claus and his entire retinue of elves busy all year round if he ordered them to distribute the sheer number of f*cks he choose not to give. We caught up with him for a chat before Retox take on east London at CAMP Basement tonight.
What makes Retox different from your other bands?
I suppose the style for one. Given the players, things come out as they should be based on what the components are comprised of. Also, the mental and emotional attitude of the members as well as the times we are living in, as the world changes and effects art.
What is the appeal of working on so many different bands rather than doing different things with the same band?
I’m actually only working with two functioning bands right now – Retox and All Leather. The Locust is on hiatus for a bit longer, so there is not really that many projects that are active for me right now. The reason for two bands was just based off of the amount of time I have, as well as the members in each act and what comes out of the collective project.
Watch the video to ‘Thirty Cents Shy of a Quarter’ by Retox:
You work hard. You run your own label yet Ugly Animals was released on Ipecac. Why is that?
Ugly Animals was released on both Three One G and Ipecac. The reason for this was to get to a broader audience. Where I see how the two labels could and do function in similar circles, they do tend to cover a broader spectrum when working in conjunction with each other.
You’ve written an autobiography at a young age. Why did you decide to do that?
I don’t consider the book to be an autobiography per se. It was just meant to be a bunch of short stories. But for publishing purposes, Soft Skull [the publishers] called it that. I decided to write due to me using my free time in the van on tour, where I started working on short stories. Eventually it turned into a book.
How did you find writing things down for a book as opposed to for music?
With the book, it was me telling a story and over time, I learned to fine tune the language and ability to tell the story. Where with lyrics, it’s more of a message, usually littered with metaphors and some sort of social message(s). Also, the lyrics try to embody a style with the limited space pertaining to riffs and how the words fit with considering syllables and phrasing. Maybe considering melody if the music warrants it.
Retox’s debut album, Ugly Animals, is out now on Three One G / Ipecac, and Justin’s first book, From the Graveyard of the Arousal Industry, is out now on Soft Skull Press. As we pointed out yesterday, Retox are also headlining a show at CAMP Basement tonight, with Tropics and Pettybone in support. If you’re in town, don’t miss this show.