Acclaimed producer and performer Justin Meldal-Johnsen is a sonic chameleon. Whether he’s producing music for M83 and Neon Trees or performing on stage with Nine Inch Nails and Beck, Justin can seamlessly adapt to any situation and leave his own inimitable stamp.

Adaptability is a trait he began honing almost in tandem with his first steps as a musician. Growing up in Los Angeles, he was always surrounded by music. A gamut of artists, spanning from Ray Charles to Pink Floyd, The Band to ELO, piped from his parents’ stereo, influencing him early on. During the 1970’s, a young Justin found himself in the company of various artists, such as The Incredible String Band, who were friends of his parents.

Fresh out of high school and armed with a bass guitar, he began working the night shift as a janitor at the famed Cherokee Studios in Hollywood. A chance encounter at the studio landed him a job with famed string arranger David Campbell, and he struck up a friendship with Campbell’s son Beck.

Quite organically, Justin became a go-to session player and performer in the LA area. He worked with several different local bands and recording projects, culminating in an association with Tori Amos as her recording bassist for several releases.       In 1994 and 1995, Justin joined up with the seminal Los Angeles noise-pop ensemble Medicine for their Her Highness album and tour.  In early 1996, Justin’s old friend Beck tapped him to join his band, and they then embarked on the whirlwind two-year Odelay world tour.  This now classic line-up quickly became renown for their reckless, visceral yet highly musical live shows.

This tour had the band traversing most continents multiple times, along with making many notable live TV, festival, and awards show appearances. From then on, Justin played bass and made other contributions to most all of Beck’s albums: Mutations [1998], Midnite Vultures [2000], Sea Change [2002], Guero [2005], and The Information (2006).  He has also served as the Grammy Award-winning legend’s music director, bringing the albums to life on the road.

Simultaneously, he’s been a studio go-to for a surprisingly diverse array of artists such as The Dixie Chicks, Ladytron, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Garbage, Dido, Nelly Furtado, Courtney Love, They Might Be Giants, Mark Eitzel, Goldfrapp, Emmylou Harris, Pink, Brad Mehldau, Macy Gray, Pete Yorn, Sara Bareilles, Cass McCombs, Turin Brakes, The Mars Volta, Blood Orange, and more.    His talents have also solidified his place in the film world, via contributing bass to the scores of films such as The Muppets, Ocean’s Thirteen, Team America: World Police, Shoot ‘Em Up, The Informers, Starsky and Hutch, The Way, Super, Sucker Punch, Get Carter, Dukes of Hazzard, Charlie’s Angels, and many more.  

In 1998-2000, Justin became involved with the French band Air as their touring bassist and eventually helped with the engineering and creation of the album 10,000Hz Legend.

Between 2003 and 2005, Justin also embarked on his own band project, Ima Robot.   Their self-titled debut earned considerable critical acclaim, and Justin toured with the band extensively worldwide during this time.

By the mid-2000’s, Justin’s associations in the music business ranged far and wide, though he never felt like he was sacrificing any personal identity.   “Anything goes,” Justin says. “Survival dictates diversity for those like me.     But more importantly, specifically as a session or live musician, I take a great amount of pleasure in the opportunity to play anything. I refuse to be limited in terms of style. I savor the privilege to do very different things.”

In 2008-2009, Justin joined Nine Inch Nails on the road for the band’s  “Lights In The Sky” audio-visual masterpiece, as well as the “Wave Goodbye” farewell tour.   At the same time, he began a correspondence with M83’s Anthony Gonzalez. “I told him his music meant a lot to me, and I wanted to produce his next record,” he goes on. “It was a brazen thing to say, but we both felt something…some form of  of direct connection.”

The result was 2011’s unanimously acclaimed Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. With its ethereal exposition of raw emotion and fearless sonic diversity, the album is emblematic of the producer’s style.

“I desire emotion,” he exclaims. “Records are made almost too easily these days, and the main thing that separates good ones from bad ones, in my opinion, is the purity of their emotional intent. How can I cultivate a sense of truth in a recorded form?  My whole purpose centers upon that desire. I want to make sure the artists I work with feel that the core of their expression is actually acknowledged.  If I’m producing, I care about it as much as they do.  The recording experience may be different every time, but the intent is always the same for me.”

He’s effectively brought his perspective behind the board for Neon Trees’ 2012 release, Ken Andrews’ Secrets of the Lost Satellite, as well as releases from Moving Units, Division Day, and others.  He works well in the production chair because he’s got a very particular, subjective understanding of bands and how they work.

Justin adds, “I play in bands, I do recording sessions, and I make records.  It’s simple really:  I come at this from the same emotional space and artist perspective as anyone I work with. I want to help them achieve their vision and do it in a way that gives maximum respect to their process and the art form.”

Justin concludes, “I want to inspire through the music I work on.  Every artist, inadvertently or otherwise, has this sort of innate responsibility to challenge, inspire, change, illuminate, what have you.   That’s why I’m here.”   — Rick Florino, January 2012

2014 The Raveonettes – Pe’ahi
2014 Young the Giant – Mind over Matter
2013 Crystal Fighters – Cave Rave
2013 Paramore – Paramore
2013 Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
2012 Frankenweenie Unleashed! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
2012 Neon Trees – Picture Show
2011 M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
2009 Division Day – Visitation
2008 The Informers – contributions to the score and Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
2007 Ken Andrews – Secrets of the Lost Satellite
2006 Canon – Wide Awake
2006 Holly Palmer – Songs for Tuesday
2013 Paramore – Paramore
2011 M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
2010 The Switch – movie score
2008 The Informers – contributions to the score and Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
2007 Macy Gray – Big
2003 Macy Gray – The Trouble with Being Myself

2014 Beck – Morning Phase
2013 Crystal Fighters – Cave Rave
2013 Paramore – Paramore
2013 Drake – Nothing Was the Same
2013 Tegan and Sara – Heartthrob
2013 Classixx – Hanging Gardens
2013 Keaton Henson – “Birthdays”
2012 Frankenweenie Unleashed!
2012 Neon Trees – Picture Show
2012 Garbage – Not Your Kind of People
2012 Jason Mraz – Love Is a Four Letter Word
2011 M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
2011 Cass McCombs – Wit’s End
2011 Serge Gainsbourg – Tribute at The Hollywood Bowl
2011 Blood Orange – Coastal Grooves
2011 Various Artists – Sucker Punch Soundtrack
2010 Adam Haworth Stevens – We Live on Cliffs
2010 Macy Gray – The Sellout
2010 Kid Rock – Born Free
2010 Sara Bareilles – Kaleidoscope Heart
2010 Pete Francis – Movie We Are In
2010 Sons of Sylvia – Revelation
2010 Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM
2009 Cory Chisel – Death Won’t Send a Letter
2009 Division Day – Visitation
2009 Pink – P!nk Box
2009 Christopher Young – Informers Soundtrack
2008 Nine Inch Nails – The Slip (live rehearsal footage on the DVD content only; did not record the actual album)
2008 Daniel Martin Moore – Stray Age
2008 Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree
2008 Ladytron – “Velocifero”
2008 Dido – Safe Trip Home
2008 Jacob Abello – Nothing But Gold
2008 Beck – Odelay (Deluxe Edition)
2007 Emmylou Harris – Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems
2007 Ken Andrews – Secrets of the Lost Satellite
2007 Storm Large – Ladylike Side One
2007 They Might Be Giants – The Else
2007 Macy Gray – Big
2006 Ima Robot – Monument to the Masses
2006 Mellisa McClelland – Thumbelinas One Night Stand
2006 Dixie Chicks – Taking the Long Way
2006 Beck – The Information
2006 Pink – I’m Not Dead
2006 Gran Bel Fisher – Full Moon Cigarette
2006 Toby Lightman – Bird on a Wire
2005 Charlotte Martin – Veins (EP)
2005 Judd and Maggie – Subjects
2005 Tom McRae – All Maps Welcome
2005 Gemma Hayes – The Roads Don’t Love You
2005 Beck – Guero
2005 Garbage – Bleed Like Me
2005 The Black Eyed Peas – Monkey Business
2005 Nikka Costa – can’tneverdidnothin’
2004 Peter Walker – Landed
2004 Charlotte Martin – On Your Shore
2005 Rob Thomas – …Something to Be
2004 Courtney Love – America’s Sweetheart
2003 Jessy Moss – Street Knuckles
2003 Lisa Marie Presley – To Whom It May Concern
2003 Charlotte Martin – In Parentheses (EP)
2003 Michelle Branch – Hotel Paper
2003 The Mars Volta – De-loused in the Comatorium
2003 Macy Gray – The Trouble with Being Myself
2003 Ima Robot – Ima Robot
2003 Turin Brakes – Ether Song
2003 Pete Yorn – Day I Forgot
2003 Tori Amos – Tales of a Librarian
2003 Nelly Furtado – Folklore
2002 Linkin Park – “My December”
2002 Scapegoat Wax – SWAX
2002 Mark Eitzel – Music for Courage and Confidence
2002 Brad Mehldau – Largo
2002 Ladytron – Light & Magic
2002 Beck – Sea Change
2002 Mark Eitzel – Music for Courage and Confidence
2002 Marianne Faithfull – Kissin Time
2002 Air (as Rainbow Brothers) – 818.323.01[2]
2002 Tori Amos – Scarlet’s Walk
2001 Érica Garcia – Amorama
2001 Big Sir – Now That’s What I Call Big Sir
2001 Air – 10 000 Hz Legend
2001 Tori Amos – Strange Little Girls
2000 Ike Riley – Salesmen and Racists
2000 On – Shifting Skin
2000 Beck – Midnite Vultures
2000 Beck – Farm Aid: Keep America Growing, Vol. 1
2000 Logan’s Sanctuary – soundtrack album
1999 Jude – No One Is Really Beautiful
1999 Jamiroquai – “Black Capricorn Day”
1999 Beck – More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album
1999 Beck – Sin City – A Tribute to Gram Parsons
1999 Beck – Mixed Bizness
1999 Blinker the Star – August Everywhere
1998 Amnesia – Lingus
1998 Electric Company – Studio City
1998 Beck – Mutations
1998 Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel
1998 Barbie, Christe and Teresa – Beyond Pink
1998 Air – Moon Safari
1997 Moby – That’s When I Reach for My Revolver
1997 Beck – The Little Drum Machine Boy
1997 Beck – Electric Music and the Summer People
1996 The Elastic Purejoy – The Clutter of Pop
1996 Pet – Pet
1996 Manowar – Louder Than Hell
1996 Tori Amos – Hey Jupiter
1996 Billy White Acre – Billy’s Not Bitter
1995 Electric Company – Live in Concert
1995 Medicine – Her Highness
1993 Circle of Power – Circle of Power

The Informers Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (music supervisor, composer)
Californication – bass guitar during musical score during Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 6, as well as bass guitar on the shows musical theme song, “Hank’s Theme”.

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