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TJ Minor: The Dystopian Studios Interview

TJ Minor: The Dystopian Studios Interview

TJ Minor: The Dystopian Studios Interview

TJ Minor is a singer / songwriter from Los Angeles ready to launch a brilliant music career above and beyond the City of Angels.  With brilliantly solid pop songs such as Waste My Time and Narcissist, TJ Minor is sure to leave quite an impression on all music fans who give a listen.  TJ recently presented a standout performance at The Bourbon Room in the heart of Hollywood and had a very attentive audience singing along to each and every song.  A few days after show, Highwire Daze caught up with TJ Minor at Dystopian Studios right before a photo shoot with Vivian Ortega of So Finch Photography to find out more about this amazing artist on the rise…

We’re here with TJ Minor. First of all, where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
So, I’m based in Los Angeles and my local music scene is awesome. There’s so many talented people around me. It’s never competition because they’re all just so awesome and you want to learn from them. The L.A. llive music scene is really fun.

Prior to going solo, what music projects or bands were you involved in?
I grew up actually playing guitar and singing with my dad on stage. My dad (Tim Miner) is a very talented producer, songwriter. My dad’s worked with a lot of cool people and I kind of got a base through him for the love of music. And he’s an incredible singer, so I always had a good teacher with me. I really would say it’s my dad who got me fully into music.

How old are you?
I’m 19.

Let’s talk about the new song Narcissist. Is there any story behind the lyrics? And what does that song mean to you?
So, that song means a lot to me. I recently just got introduced to a new kind of situation. Before, like most of my past prior relationships have been very, you know… Like it’s all good, like let’s see each other soon. This one had a different outcome which I still absolutely wish the best for her. I love her so much, but it’s like a story, it’s like a whole different kind of way I got to learn of a person, and I got to put my experience in it. And I wanted to share if anyone else had that same experience and needed a song to scream in the shower too.  Like they needed some free therapy but… That’s what that means. It was never to drag anybody or to make someone look bad. It was just like that was the situation and that’s what came out of that and into that song. So, that’s all.

The best songs come out of crappy relationships. Isn’t that terrible?
Yeah. Even better songs come from good and bad relationships when they happen at the same time. Like when it was just one relationship that was amazing and bad, and then great, and then sad, and then like even if you’re mad at each other, you still miss each other. There’s just so much combative emotions that I’m glad I was able to, like, sum up in a song in two minutes and thirty seconds.

Tell me about Fine Without Me and how that came about.
I’ve been so excited to tell this story to somebody. So, Fine Without Me originally started with me, jordn day and Noah Cunane. Noah Pepper was in the room and a lot of our friends. Like it was a lot of people in the studio, a lot of cooks in the kitchen, right? So, we had a song that we were making, we didn’t know who was going to be on it, had no idea. We were just trying to make something. It was some like Jonas Brothers weird song. Nobody was vibing with it. We spent like two hours on nothing and came up with nothing. So, then Noah Cunane is like, “I’m going to get some food. I’m going to go to Chipotle“. Jordn’s like, “All right. I’m going to call my girlfriend“. And then, now, everyone just left the room for a second. And then me and Redd, the producer, were like, “Fuck, dude. No one’s vibing right now. This shit is blowing it“. So, he’s like, “Should we scratch it?” And I’m like, “I don’t think they’re going to be mad if we hit scratch it. I think everyone wants to do it. No one’s saying it“. So, he kind of scratches it and then just starts fucking around with some chords. And that’s when he came up with like, “Dun dun dun, dun dun, dun dun dun, dun dun“. And then he was strumming that and I out of nowhere just go, “I think you’re fine, da da“. I didn’t have the full sentence out but that was the thing for it. So, then me and him kind of locked in. We came up with the words “I hate thinking you’re fine without me” tracked to just that phrase. Everyone comes back into the room and goes, “Is this an unreleased song, TJ?” I’m like, “No, this is what we’re doing today“. It all just like it sparked. Everyone just got creative. Everyone was like, “We just needed a break from that song“and we did it. And everyone came in, everyone put their own two cents in the full chorus, and it was awesome. It was cool. But it started from shit. It started from a bad day and then it came into that.

What was it like performing it live at The Bourbon Room with everybody?
Oh my gosh. Every time I go on stage with those dudes, I’m just so thankful. It’s so much fun. It’s even more fun to do it live than it was in the studio because it was like we get to tell people now. We get to hear people sing it back to us. This is just like… It’s a dream come true to like to have even one person sing my song back to me, let alone have The Bourbon Room screaming to us. It was awesome stuff.

Waste My Time. Tell me about that song.
Waste My Time, that was my second song I brought to L.A. So, I flew from Nashville, on the plane, and at the airport, I wrote like a bunch of shit that I was going to take. Because I didn’t have songs produced yet. I was like just acoustic and good vibes – that’s all I had. So, then in the airport from there I wrote it.  So I came to L.A., and it took me forever to find a producer to do it, but I found this talented producer named Jared Gaines (formerly known as Vaines and now known as Rat Park). He helped me bring that song to life. I love that song so much like the bottom of my heart because that’s like the one I wrote on the way to L.A.  It was cool. So, that’s my baby right there. That’s like my little baby of a song. I love the gang vocal in that one where I get to get the whole crowd clapping with it and it’s fun.

The video is so cool.
I had so much fun making that. Christiaan really killed that. Christiaan Mikey freaking destroyed that video and I wanted to give him his credits because he destroyed it. I love it.

You have a song called Funeral. Tell me about that song. That song is grim. 
It’s hilarious because the meaning behind that song is super grim, but the beat is like very chill and happy. It’s loud. It’s fun. So, that song, I wrote about… it wasn’t even like a specific person. It was like a story, like a vibe I was feeling. Like something had just happened to my friend, I was like, “Damn. If that were to happen to me, it’s how I would feel“. And the song is about me telling that person who hurt you, “I’ll make sure even if I die, that you don’t show up to my funeral.” So, even though it’s a really grim topic, you listen to the beat, and you know, it’s like the same thing as any other song with sad lyrics, happy beat. It’s just like you can’t tell it’s that sad until you digest the lyrics from it.

What can one expect from a live TJ Minor show for those who haven’t seen you yet?
I feel like when I’m on stage with everyone there, it’s like I’ve known everybody for ten years. It’s like I’ve known everybody for my whole life. If you come to a TJ Minor show, you’re going to leave feeling like we’ve been friends for years, because I’m going to do my best to come out on stage and talk to everybody. If anybody took time out of the day to come vibe with me and everyone in my crowd, then I’m going to take the time to give that back to you, because I love and appreciate everyone who wants that. So, if you want to meet some new friends and feel like it’s not awkward to yell or voice crack to any of my songs, come to TJ Minor shows. I have voice crack on stage sometimes. It’s awesome!

If you could open for any band or artist either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Okay, so current day, I’m going to do The Kid Laroi. That kid, especially in his music currently, has really spoken to me… I think he’s gone through a similar situation. His is a little bit more fucked than mine, but his whole album was really like – it’s the thoughts in the back of my head that I couldn’t find and he said them, and it’s like, I connect so good with his music. That’s a huge inspo for me. That’s a dream tour. Kid Laroi. And then, when I go older, I’m going to have to say, either Queen or Michael Jackson.  I would love to go on a Queen tour, just because of the crowds that they brought. And then MJ because I especially learned a lot of his runs earlier on in my life, so like it would be a dream to sing with the guy who created swagger, you know?

Yeah, definitely. Now, if your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
That’s a crazy question, Ken. I’m going to say chocolate sprinkles on the standard because I feel like I have a pop rock sound that could make people… I mean like if you love hard rock and you hate pop music, you could like it, or if you really hate rock music and only love pop, you could like it. And everybody loves a chocolate sprinkle.

And what’s up next for you?
Next is just those shows. I’m announcing them hopefully soon here, and I would love to, after those, to get my own show going on. I’d love to get a live L.A. show, possibly at The Bourbon Room or at The Troubadour. So, my own little headliner. It wouldn’t even be a headliner. I just bring my friends. I probably might ask a couple of special favors from Noah Cunane or jordn day or a couple other of my homies and get a good show going on.

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Vivian Ortega of So Finch Photography)

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