City College graduate takes on the music world
Justin Farren discusses music, pets, building a house

J.D. Villanueva | Staff Writer | villanuevaexpress@gmail.com

On a wooden stage at Java Lounge, Justin Farren sits and takes a sip of his hot tea, then takes off his shoes and sets them beside him on stage. He wiggles his toes inside his white cotton socks, puts down the tea cup, tunes his guitar and dedicates his first song to his dog.

Farren classifies his music as folk-pop storytime, which is exactly what he delivers.

Every one of his songs is filled with stories about simple everyday life, sung in a laid-back style that floats from groovy jams to calm and sentimental songs.

“My music has evolved a lot,” Farren says. “At the beginning it was all love songs, like songs about whatever girl I was into at the time. As I got older, things got a little more quirky. I started focusing less on love songs. Now most my songs are based on everyday specific things, like losing a sweater, killing a fly or watching my dog chase the cat.”

Not coming from a very musical family, Farren began playing guitar at 12, influenced by his big brother and using his guitar when it wasn’t being played.

“My brother was given a guitar, and he started to play. I wanted to do everything he was doing, and it developed from there,” Farren says. “I played the snare drum in a grammar school band, but the band leader actually kicked me out because I played the snare way too loud.”

As his love for music and playing the guitar continued to grow, Farren went to City College and enrolled in the audio production program. After finishing the program in 2004, he began recording all his albums at home.

“I remember he was in my class, while he was working on this one song named ‘The Fly’ and I remember him describing so vividly how he recorded that song,” Farren’s audio production teacher John Altman says.

Altman said that Farren didn’t have the money for a studio so he waited until his house was empty and he and a friend recorded in the middle of the night.

“He put his drummer in the living room, mic’d him up and put cameras on him while Justin was in the bedroom playing guitar with another camera,” Altmain said. “They could see each other; with closed doors they isolated the sound. That was brilliant.”

Out of three currently released albums his sophomore album titled ‘Songs From Spare Rooms’ stands out as it was written after a trip to Alaska that inspired Farren to build his
own house.
“Building my house was a really big project, and I didn’t have money for an apartment during that time, so I wrote a whole bunch of weird short songs because I was staying on peoples couches or wherever people would let me stay,” Farren said.

JD Villanueva | nuevaexpress@gmail.com

Not having a space to sit and write his music, Farren got creative with where and when
he wrote his songs.

“I ended up writing really short songs while I was driving, or waiting in line at the
grocery store,” Farren says.

He currently lives in the house he built and is working on his fifth album.

“The hope is to have it ready for a fall tour, for the last eight years or so I have been playing locally, building a small fan base, just playing it small,” Farren said.

According to Farren, he started working with a manager for his new CD and got more tours and promotions.

“I will be focusing all my energy on creating more of a music career for myself,” Farren says.

After his fifth album is released, Farren will begin with local shows and continue to Southern California.

“Justin is one of those people that I will never forget. He is someone that I would expect to see on Letterman because he is just that good,” says Altman.

To listen to his music or see a list of his upcoming shows visit http://www.justinfarren.com/


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