When winter rolls around, many people just want to find a warm place to escape from the weather. For Mike Justman, cold weather isn't forbidding or unpleasant, but rather the muse that inspired a great song.
The Los Angeles musician is the man behind Oldboy Records. Beginning his artistic career as a poet, Justman formed the band Oldboy with two friends in 2008. The band gradually evolved into a solo project, Oldboy Records, as Justman became increasingly obsessed with songwriting and more ambitious about the band's direction. He released a self-titled debut EP earlier this year, and is currently working on a full-length album.
From the EP, "Cold And Bright" is as cool and crisp as the winter day that inspired it. With soft vocals, twinkling glockenspiel and a funky, thumping beat, it's a song that unfolds over several listens. Instruments pop in and out, mirroring the disappearance and reappearance of the lover about whom Justman sings.
- from Oldboy Records EP
- by Oldboy Records
Mike Justman recently explained the strange way "Cold and Bright" came about, and described what the song means to him:
"Cold and Bright" came about as a song in a pretty strange way. I woke up one morning, and it was really beautiful outside. There were huge, ultra-white clouds in the sky, and it was really crisp and chilly. It was one of those days with a lot of electricity in the air. I was experiencing a very heavy feeling/vibe that carried over from my dream. The feeling was definitely overwhelming, but in a good way. I've learned from experience that those are the best times for me to write — not necessarily when I'm feeling really good, but when I'm feeling strong about something and when my emotions are running high. I didn't particularly set out to write a song at that point. It was more like I started singing phrases that were naturally coming into my head, in a sort of half-trance zoned-out state that I get into sometimes, and I let myself go with it. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was taking notes, trying to remember what I was doing. Once I got a couple phrases and melodies out onto the table, the song started to reveal itself to me. I kind of caught on to what my subconscious was doing.
On a literal level, the song is about being involved with a love or a lover that continually comes and goes, and how dealing with those intense highs and lows can be really bittersweet. In a more unidentifiable way, the song carries with it a piece of that intense energy that I was feeling the day I wrote it. I don't know exactly what that energy is, but it's definitely in the song. I try not to define it too much, because a song or a piece of artwork can mean a lot of different things to different people, and I like that. Sometimes, someone can actually teach you something about a song that you wrote. Either way, this song came together in a very disorderly fashion, but I think it's beautiful in its own way. Hopefully, the listeners will enjoy it.