Rarebit at Red Hill: Genius Gathering

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In partnership with record store and label, Origami Vinyl, Citizens Of Culture will feature musicians,and bands from the local area and discuss with them any thing their hearts desire in a setting that is in the local neighborhood of the shop. The culture we are a part of is not just the people, but the places, and the sounds all together that we experience and live through. Enjoy…

Justin Hopkins is like a kid who told someone he wanted to be a painter, and like most people he would have been handed a brush, easel, and palette of colors.

Justin Hopkins is the kid whole knocks over the easel, and paints on the walls using a combination of household condiments, smeared play-doh, and charcoal.

The resulting image might resemble  the album cover for his newest record release Daizo.

Justin Hopkins is Rarebit.
(“Aggro Crag” ft Sandra Wallace)

If the name looks familiar it is because you might have seen Justin before, we did a story on Justin over a year ago and he has since joined the roster of L.A. label, Non Projects and released 2 recordings and has recently launched a new visual art website. What makes Justin an interesting character though isn’t what he does, but who he is. We sat down with Justin at chef, Jason Michaud’s newest Echo Park eatery Red Hill and over fine food we discuss finance, art, and how one creates an album that sounds as mystical and intimate as Diazo does.

I asked him very few questions, Justin is articulate and seems to be very clear about what he wants to say, not as if he has rehearsed it but as if he is guided by something, or driven towards it. Rarebit tells me the creative process for this album is more like writing and directing a film. With the actors editing the film as they perform.He is attempting to step out of himself and the only way to do that is to illicit contribution from others. So here we have an album that some have credited as more a curatorial project than a composition. Justin believes in the idea of building art form a community perspective. Gathering the collective genius from within the culture creating something beyond what is capable by a singular visionary.

The project itself travels a journey through interaction. From Me and You, early on the speaker is more focused on themselves. The rest of the songs like Emergence and Convergence, begin and articulate a change of focus finally settling with You and Me where the focus is no longer on the speaker but the audience, whomever that may be.

It is about family and relationships, introspection and what the value of  those relationships is to a person. This is something that Justin had to face when working on the projects. What better way to analyze and document relationships than by creating musical relationships with other artists. During the creation of the project there seems to be no border from his actual life and what he was putting on record.

With such a strong sense of community it is no wonder the title of the album is Diazo once you know its origins. The name is his grandfathers Japanese name, one his grandfather stopped using, a name that was abandoned while he worked in American internment camps during WWII.  Justin has a concern for history and honor, he values the legacy of the generations before us and wonders wisdom what we might loose as the generation of his grandparents fade. I get the sense that he is doing more than just collaborating but extending the reach of his own work, but with this album leaving a legacy that can be claimed by his whole generation.

Let’s not forget the food. Justin had this to say about  their  Blood Orange Carmelized Fennel Risoto.

” It complimented the philosophical conversation. It had a pale fire that is still lingering after a few glasses of water. Not overly expensive for a chef with a vision and the ambiance is great.”

Rarebit’s LP is available now at Origami Vinyl and digital download is also available on iTunes.

For a selection of his visual art  visit: http://cargocollective.com/justindraws

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