Meet The Powerful SUSTO

Thursday 06 June 2019

SUSTO is a band that is full of passion, emotional depth and intensity. Their new album Ever Since I Lost My Mind is a powerful journey, with each song being a piece to the intricate puzzle that is SUSTO.

Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, lead singer Justin Osborne started writing songs at the age of 14, using a forbidden family heirloom, his grandfather’s guitar. From then on his passion for music grew leading him to cultivate his talents in high school, military school, and college by performing with bands. He had a clear goal of music stardom for the future and pursed the dream with everything he had. After years of grinding in the industry, Osborne was at the end of his rope. But after a move to Cuba, he got his groove back, creating and releasing music with a new band and brighter outlook.

We got a chance to chat with SUSTO and discuss everything from the new album, music inspiration, and so much more…

Your album Ever Since I Lost My Mind, is amazing! Many of the songs are so intimate, can you go into the creative process of the record?

Thank you! I spent a couple years writing the songs for this album. The process kind of began while we were finishing our second album & I’m Fine Today and continued through the cycle of touring and promoting that album. There were some membership changes at the beginning of that period, then a long tour, followed by more member changes. The uncertainty of who I would be making the third SUSTO album with, along with the highs and lows of being on tour for two years, all became big parts of my headspace during the writing process. I ended up writing a lot more on my own, and through that I developed a really clear vision of what I wanted this album to be. I would make very rough demos of songs and ideas at my house alone during the day while my wife was at work. Then periodically I would take those ideas into the studio, and develop them further with my close creative partner Wolfgang Zimmerman, my bass player and long time collaborator Jordan Hicks, and one or two others from a revolving line up of close musical friends. After spending months working on these demos at our hometown studio Rialto Row, I connected with Ian Fitchuk, a now Grammy award winning producer, who is based in Nashville TN. I had a great vibe with Ian right away, and he agreed to come on board to help with making the album. Ian recruited his friend, and our now favorite engineer and mixer Konrad Snyder, and the two of them met me, Wolfgang, Jordan, and my guitar player Dries in Asheville, NC at Echo Mountain. Echo is an incredible studio inside an old church, and it was a great place to bring the songs to life. That’s where we recorded the majority of the album. Some things were finished up at Konrad’s home studio in Nashville, and back at Rialto Row in Charleston, SC.

What made you want to chose Ever Since I Lost My Mind as the title of the album?

There are a few reasons why I chose Ever Since I Lost My Mind, as the title for the album. 

People have always told me that using psychedelic drugs would make me go crazy, or “lose my mind”. One reason for the title, was to mock this urban legend that stigmatizes drugs like LSD. I agree, Acid is a powerful substance and should be used with caution and care, but I also believe that it can be very useful in dealing with the pains of living, and for understanding the world. I feel that it’s made me a more loving and understanding person. 

Another reason I chose this title is because of the realities of being an American in today’s political climate. My own family hold very different views than I do and trying to find a balance of love and understanding with some people close to me seems sometimes like a lost cause. It makes me feel like I’ve gone crazy, and I guarantee that lots of people who’ve known me since childhood, probably really believe that I have lost my mind. Which is funny in a dark way I guess haha.

A third meaning behind the title, comes from my own inner monologue as I have dealt with intense homesickness and depression while on the road. I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do, and I really do love doing it, but sometimes it feels like a trap I’ve fallen into, because touring keeps me away from my home and the people I love the most, specifically my wife. So I feel sometimes like I was crazy to get into this whole thing. But I’ve always felt a little crazy, and I’m ok with it. Writing songs really helps me deal with these feelings, and the songs on ESILMM are especially personal, even for me as a confessional type of songwriter.

Which track was the most fun to create? Which one was the hardest?

They were honestly all really fun to create. I think “If I Was” would be my favourite, because it’s so fun to play and groove to, so recording that song was joyful. I think the hardest may have been Weather Balloons. Even though I love how the song turned out, it took us a while to figure out what it should be and how it should sound. Even though that was one of the more difficult problems to solve, it was still a lot of fun to get creative and bring the song to life.

Describe the album in 5 words or less

The Sentimental Psychedelic Homesick Blues.

Are there plans of a tour or performances?

Yes! We are currently home for the summer, my wife and I are about to have our first child, which is exciting! But, we will be back on the road later this summer and into fall with several festival and headline dates in the US & Europe. Then, first of the year we’ll be headed to Mexico for some shows, and there is talk of some Australian performances in 2020 too. So we’ll be out there performing, and we’ll be releasing some new music along the way!

If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be and why?

Well, if it was any artist dead or alive I’d say Bob Marley because he’s been probably my biggest influence over the years. But if it’s only regarding artists alive today, I would say Kacey Musgraves. I love her music and her message, and would jump at any opportunity to collaborate!

Growing up which artists influenced you the most?

I’d say Bob Marley is at the top of that list. But there are many, from all across the board. I love Cat Power, Jim Croce, Green Day, Janis Joplin, Third Eye Blind, Grateful Dead, Lauryn Hill, The Cranberries…the list could go on for eternity.

Can you detail the time you fell in love with music?

It’s hard to say. To be honest I don’t think I can say that I remember pivotal moment, but rather a bunch of different memories as a young child, teenager, and even now into young adulthood when music has just been everything for me, when everything I felt seemed wrapped up in a song. The longest love affair of my life has been with music.

For more SUSTO, make sure to check out his new album Ever Since I Lost My Mind.