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Justin Payne Says You Can Be "Anything At All"

Nashville-based grungy garage rock artist and singer-songwriter Justin Payne dips his toes into power-pop with his vibrant and feel-good new single, "Anything At All."

The musician, composer, performer, and self-proclaimed underdog has over 15 years of experience in the music industry, from studying music composition and classical violin at Bowling Green State University to writing music influenced by his degrees in History and Philosophy.

With themes that cover devotion, love, community, social commentary, and angst toward corruption, we're sure any listener will benefit from experiencing a stellar Justin Payne track. And that's just what he and his band serve up in their newest single, "Anything At All." The song features Payne on vocals and guitar, Marshall Fassino on the second guitar, Dave Cerelli on bass guitar, and Eli Simon on drums.

Jumping into "Anything At All," it's clear that Justin Payne & Co. never shy away from pulling from traditional rock sounds as they kick this song into gear with beaming electric guitars and heavy-hitting instrumentals. The band's alternative sound and power-pop edge offer this refreshing and stimulating element that's truly hard to resist.

While the band smashes through our speakers with catchy melodies, huge riffs, and rhythmic drums, Payne encourages us to ignore the trends and societal pressures and be anything we want, "Anything At All." Justin Payne's passionate performance is wildly exciting, and so are the band's punchy and gripping instrumentals that end the track with a bang.

It's songs like these that make you realize how everyone is on their own unique path, and there's no rush to figure out where you're heading. Catch Justin Payne's newest single, "Anything At All," on all digital streaming platforms.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Justin Payne. We so appreciate the feel-good and inspirational concept within your new single, "Anything At All." What inspired you to write a song about being whoever and whatever you want to be?

The initial inspiration came from a dream I had, which I will elaborate upon further. However, the root concept building and being your most authentic and healthy self is a radical act of rebellion these days. It doesn't take long in Music City to realize that conformity and homogeneity will get you a lot further toward "success", i.e. playing covers for indifferent tourists. The idea of being a rocker in Nashville is a good example. All that glitters isn't gold, and literally, all of the most inspiring and talented artists and musicians I know here operate completely outside the commercial music structures of the labels and the Country music establishment and are successful. They work, they earn money, and they survive doing what the hell they want to do. Punk rock ethos, in the face of the Nashville establishment. Sure, we all define our own metric for success, but I am pretty sure we are all shooting for fulfillment on some level, regardless of our artistic aspirations. A feeling of fulfillment that the industry as it stands does not serve or nourish. Nashville is so much more than a Country town. When the industry you work in runs anathema to all of these things, it gets pretty clear that being true to your artistic voice and fighting against the tide is, despite the rule of the labels and the illusion of mainstream success, the most empowering and healthy thing you can do. That's where the real stuff comes from. That's where this tune "anything at all" comes from.

What was it like creating "Anything At All" with your band down in Nashville? How long did it take for this song to come to life?

I had a super vivid dream in November 2021 that inspired the melody and strangely featured Paul McCartney as the bartender. I was just chatting him up while this song played on the radio in the background. I woke up and sang what would become the top line for the verses into my phone. I had the tune finished and demoed within the week. Sometimes, things just click like that, and I stopped asking where the stuff comes from long, long ago. I am just grateful to remember a dream every once in a while that acts to inspire a new tune! How many folks can claim they pluck their toplines from the literal subconscious ether?!

What was the core takeaway you wanted listeners to experience from "Anything At All"? What was your mission with this song?

This song is essentially about rebellion against our society's entertainment industries, socio-economic pressures, and cultural/gender /body norms. When the rules and the game are both created by the owning classes to corral and neuter our potential and value as human beings, the greatest act of rebellion one can make is to simply "say no" and go their own way with consequences and inherent societal punishments be damned. Specifically, the song is inspired by the artificial scarcity and gatekeeping evinced in the unethical and silly business practices of the record companies that strangle life and beauty out of most mainstream avenues for art and cultural exchange. All of this petty hustling in the name of commerce and social media metrics. In this light, to stay true to one's humanity as an artist and keep their soul from the capitalist wolves, I urge the listener to "be what the hell you wanna be, be anything at all, big or small", as an act of subterfuge and sabotage, an act of rebellion, to jam the gears of this broken and unjust society. Can you tell that I love me some post-war existentialism? Could you drop any hints about your band's upcoming Underrated/Overstimulated EP? What should listeners anticipate from that project?

Without giving away too much, the EP (and eventual LP release) are going to be quite different in tone from my last release, "Season of Loss". I am pulling a lot more influence from punk rock, grunge, and garage rock but still keeping with my "dark and deep" lyrical approach. We recorded all of the songs live, to tape, with only a few overdubs for the entire project, with the goal being to convey the realness and electricity of the band rocking out these songs in the moment. No solos, no studio tricks, no artifice. Just a lyrically moving, raw, and rocking record, which I am proud to call my best work to date! More singles and music videos to come, so stay tuned! What's next for you?

We are heading toward the EP release around the end of the year, and I am eager to get out and play these new songs live! Lots of Nashville local and US regional dates coming down the pipeline going into 2023. You've got to spread the gospel of your tunes live. Also, working on a remix / remaster of my last LP while intermittently writing the first couple tunes for the next one! An unsigned Nashville rocker can't rest for too long.


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