The native Californian may be better known to date for Billboard and Beatport chart success achieved through his progressive house and electronic-based output, but early influences including Nine Inch Nails, Bush and Nirvana refuse to be silenced. It’s this love of hard rock and 90s grunge that is now seeing Justin Michael develop a new sound fusing big room electronica with rock influences, and one that is, for now, all his own.
Signed to Armin Van Buuren’s Armada Music, Justin’s latest single – ‘Eyes Closed’ featuring Saint Motel’s A/J Jackson – is already a top 20 hit on the Beatport progressive house charts, sitting alongside cuts from Avicii, Sander van Doorn and Hardwell, and mirroring the success of his first single on Armada, ‘Too Late Tomorrow’, which reached #12 on its progressive house charts. ‘Eyes Closed’, however, is a different dancefloor beast.
Blending big room synths, progressive house and contemporary electronica with soaring guitar solos and the rock-edge vocal of A/J Jackson may sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before, but that’s because it is. ‘Eyes Closed’ demonstrates Justin’s growth as an artist, and showcases a sound that is, for now, all his own. A reinvention? Justin prefers to call it a progression of his career as an artist.
“I’ve grown up with diverse music influences including The Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters and Coldplay, and now I’m fusing those early rock influences with electronic beats,” he explains.
“I don’t think there will ever come a day where I feel that I have mastered or perfected my craft as a producer or artist. However I do feel confident about one thing: I have finally found my sound and I can’t wait to share it with the world.”
Justin’s foray into rock-influenced electronica — a journey that will continue with the impending launch of his own Rocktronica imprint and monthly podcasts — may signal a change in musical direction, but it’s one that progresses on the back of previous work with some of the music industry’s biggest artists.
As an Ultra Records artist alongside Tiesto, Deadmau5, and Calvin Harris, Justin enjoyed international acclaim on the back of ‘Her World Goes On’, a single produced & co-written alongside friend Bruno Mars, with whom Justin has clocked up serious studio time over the past few years. ‘Trouble’ featuring Heather Bright, meanwhile, hit #24 on the Billboard Dance Charts and, as one of the vocalist and songwriter’s first collaborations in the electronic scene, reinforced Justin’s talent for nurturing emerging artists.
But it’s not just with new artists that Justin has enjoyed success; he’s been commissioned by major labels Warner, Sony and Atlantic Records to remix major pop and rock stars including Linkin Park, Jason Derulo, Ludacris, Ciara, Toni Braxton and American Idol runner up Adam Lambert.
Remixes of global house music star Kaskade’s singles ‘Don’t Stop Dancing’ and “All That You Give”, adventurous remixes for progressive house vocalist Nadia Ali, as well as for Dave Dresden (of Gabriel & Dresden), Ned Shepard (of Sultan & Ned Shepard), and EDX, have all similarly demonstrated Justin’s versatility while further reinforcing the originality of ‘Eyes Closed’.
Indeed, it’s Justin’s studio work that sets him apart from countless other producers around the world. What you hear under the Justin Michael name is all Justin Michael; he’s as comfortable in the studio as he is playing to club or festival crowds. Drawing on Dutch heritage on his Mother’s side, it’s perhaps fitting he’s now signed to Armin’s Armada Music. Working alongside the Dutchman from his base in Los Angeles, Justin is well placed to take advantage of the United States’ insatiable appetite for electronic dance music (EDM) while crafting cutting-edge sounds that fit Armada’s diverse repertoire.
As more and more artists converge on Los Angeles for inspiration, Justin is continuing to link with both new and established talent from both in and outside the EDM scene for exciting collaborations. Regular tours to South America, Asia and across the United States provide further inspiration for the studio; whether he’s at Club Womb in Tokyo, Escape in Amsterdam, exploring the rhythmic confines of Brasil or opening for Kaskade at sold-out nights at Hollywood’s Paladium, Justin’s output continues to transcend genres, geographies and cultures.