Justin Meldal-Johnsen

Last updated
Justin Meldal-Johnsen
Justin-Meldal Johnsen performing 2014 in New York Cirty.jpg
Justin Meldal-Johnsen performing with Beck at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on June 30, 2014.
Background information
Born (1970-03-26) March 26, 1970 (age 49) [1]
Eugene, Oregon, United States
Associated acts
Website www.justinmj.com

Justin Meldal-Johnsen (born March 26, 1970 in Eugene, Oregon) is an American producer, songwriter, bassist, multi-instrumentalist and musical director, best known for his work with Beck, Nine Inch Nails, M83 and Air.

Eugene, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Eugene is a city in the U.S. state of Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest. It is at the southern end of the verdant Willamette Valley, near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers, about 50 miles (80 km) east of the Oregon Coast.

Record producer Individual who oversees and manages the recording of an artists music

A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many, varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements.

Bassist musician who plays a bass instrument

A bassist or bass player, is a musician who plays a bass instrument such as a double bass, bass guitar, keyboard bass or a low brass instrument such as a tuba or sousaphone. Different musical genres tend to be associated with one or more of these instruments. Since the 1960s, the electric bass has been the standard bass instrument for funk, R&B, soul music, rock and roll, reggae, jazz fusion, heavy metal, country and pop music. The double bass is the standard bass instrument for classical music, bluegrass, rockabilly, and most genres of jazz. Low brass instruments such as the tuba or sousaphone are the standard bass instrument in Dixieland and New Orleans-style jazz bands.


Meldal-Johnsen served as the touring bassist for Nine Inch Nails between 2008 and 2009, and was Beck's longtime bassist and musical director, on-and-off, from 1996 until 2016.

He has recorded with many other artists including Garbage, The Mars Volta, Dixie Chicks, Tori Amos, Dido, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Goldfrapp, Blood Orange, Pete Yorn, Turin Brakes, Marianne Faithfull, Ladytron, and more. As a producer, Meldal-Johnsen has worked with M83, Paramore, Metric, Tegan and Sara, Jimmy Eat World, The Naked and Famous, School of Seven Bells, Neon Trees, Young the Giant, Ken Andrews, Division Day, and more.

Garbage (band) rock band from the United States

Garbage is an American rock band formed in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1993. The band consists of Scottish musician and lead singer Shirley Manson and American musicians Duke Erikson, Steve Marker, and Butch Vig. All four members are involved in songwriting and production. Garbage has sold over 17 million albums worldwide.

The Mars Volta American rock band

The Mars Volta is an American progressive rock band from El Paso, Texas, formed in 2001. The band's final live lineup consisted of Omar Rodríguez-López, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Juan Alderete (bass), Marcel Rodríguez-López and Deantoni Parks (drums). The band formed following the break-up of Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala's previous band, At the Drive-In. They were known for their energetic live shows and their concept albums.

Dixie Chicks American country music band

Dixie Chicks are an American music group composed of founding members Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison, and lead singer Natalie Maines. The band formed in 1989 in Dallas, Texas, and was originally composed of four women performing bluegrass and country music, busking and touring the bluegrass festival circuits and small venues for six years without attracting a major label. After the departure of one bandmate, the replacement of their lead singer, and a slight change in their repertoire, the Dixie Chicks soon achieved commercial success, beginning in 1998 with hit songs "There's Your Trouble" and "Wide Open Spaces".

Musician career and history

Meldal-Johnsen grew up in Los Angeles, obsessively listening to his parents' records and received his first bass guitar at the age of fourteen. Like most budding musicians, he spent his time playing along to his favorite bands' records and jamming in garages. His interests were wide, but centered on American post-punk (Hüsker Dü, Fugazi, The Minutemen, Sonic Youth) and UK post-punk, goth, and dream pop (Wire, Cocteau Twins, Gang of Four, Love and Rockets, Bauhaus, New Order, Joy Division). After high school at the age of seventeen, he worked the night shift as a janitor at Cherokee Recording Studios in Hollywood, looking in on late-night sessions, and occasionally invited to witness the proceedings.[ citation needed ]

Hüsker Dü American rock and punk band, active 1979–88

Hüsker Dü was an American rock band formed in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1979. The band's continual members were guitarist/vocalist Bob Mould, bassist/vocalist Greg Norton, and drummer/vocalist Grant Hart. Hüsker Dü first gained notability as a hardcore punk band, later crossing over into alternative rock. Mould and Hart were the principal songwriters for Hüsker Dü, with Hart's higher-pitched vocals and Mould's baritone taking the lead in alternating songs.

Fugazi American Hardcore Punk Band

Fugazi is an American punk rock band that formed in Washington, D.C. in 1987. The band consists of guitarists and vocalists Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto, bassist Joe Lally and drummer Brendan Canty.

Minutemen (band) punk rock band from San Pedro, California, USA

Minutemen were an American punk rock band formed in San Pedro, California in 1980. Composed of guitarist/vocalist D. Boon, bassist/vocalist Mike Watt, and drummer George Hurley, Minutemen recorded four albums and eight EPs before Boon's death in an automobile accident in 1985; after Boon's death, the band broke up. They were noted in the California punk community for a philosophy of "jamming econo"—a sense of thriftiness reflected in their touring and presentation—while their eclectic and experimental attitude was instrumental in pioneering alternative rock and post-hardcore.

In 1987 he met Beck, and the two would form a lasting friendship and shared musical interests that would eventually culminate in Justin joining Beck's touring band many years later. From 1988 to 1993, Meldal-Johnsen was in LA alternative rock bands Last Carousel and This Great Religion, with Tony Hoffer. In 1994, he joined the band Pet, which featured singer Lisa Papineau and guitarist Tyler Bates. Also in 1994, Meldal-Johnsen joined LA alt-noise band Medicine with Brad Laner, and recorded and toured with them until their eventual break-up in 1996. Laner and Meldal-Johnsen would continue to record and work together on projects such as Electric Company as well as Laner's various solo albums in years to come.[ citation needed ]

Beck American musician (b. 1970)

Beck Hansen, known mononymously as Beck, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. He rose to fame in the early 1990s with his experimental and lo-fi style, and became known for creating musical collages of wide genre styles. Today, he musically encompasses folk, funk, soul, hip hop, electronic, alternative rock, country, and psychedelia. He has released 13 studio albums, as well as several non-album singles and a book of sheet music.

Tony Hoffer is an American producer, songwriter, and music mixer.

In early 1996, Beck asked Meldal-Johnsen to join his touring and recording band, which he was a member of from 1996 until leaving in May 2016, an announcement which was made during Beck's set at the Beale Street Music Festival during band introductions in an emotional yet thankful manner. He recorded with Beck on albums such as Odelay , Mutations , Midnite Vultures , Sea Change , Guero , and The Information , as well as hitherto unreleased material. He had toured with Beck during all years since 1996 with the exception of 2005 and 2008.[ citation needed ]

<i>Odelay</i> 1996 studio album by Beck

Odelay is the fifth studio album by American musician Beck, released on June 18, 1996 by DGC Records. The album featured several successful singles, including "Where It's At", "Devils Haircut", and "The New Pollution", and peaked at number sixteen on the Billboard 200. As of July 2008, the album had sold 2.3 million copies in the United States, making Odelay the most successful album from Beck to date. Since its release, the album has appeared in numerous publications' lists of the greatest of the 1990s and of all time.

<i>Mutations</i> (Beck album) 1998 studio album by Beck

Mutations is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Beck, released on November 3, 1998 by DGC Records. Though less commercially successful than the preceding Odelay, it won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album.

<i>Midnite Vultures</i> 1999 studio album by Beck

Midnite Vultures is the seventh studio album by American musician Beck, released on November 23, 1999 by DGC Records. While similar to most of Beck's previous albums in its exploration of widely varying styles, it did not achieve the same blockbuster success as his breakthrough album Odelay, but was still critically acclaimed and commercially successful.

In 1998, he joined up with French band Air for their Moon Safari tour, followed by the recording of their 2001 album 10 000 Hz Legend . In 2002, he helped to form the band Ima Robot, and On September 6, 2003, Ima Robot released their first full-length album, the self-titled Ima Robot . The album featured the singles "Dynomite" and "Song #1" (released in the UK only), and the band supported their album by touring worldwide with artists such as Hot Hot Heat, The Von Bondies, Jane's Addiction, The Sounds, and others. In 2006, he briefly joined Gnarls Barkley, acting as the musical director and assembling the touring band. He was involved in just two performances before re-joining with Beck: The Coachella Festival and a secret show at The Roxy in Hollywood.[ citation needed ]

<i>Moon Safari</i> 1998 studio album by Air

Moon Safari is the debut studio album by French electronic music duo Air, released on 16 January 1998. Virgin Records re-released Moon Safari on 14 April 2008 to mark the album's tenth anniversary. The limited edition album came with a bound book, a DVD documentary about the duo, and an extra CD with live performances and remixes.

<i>10 000 Hz Legend</i> 2001 studio album by Air

10 000 Hz Legend is the second studio album by French music duo Air, released in France on 28 May 2001 by Virgin Records and in the United States on 29 May 2001 by Astralwerks. On this album, tracks are longer and more electronic-oriented than on their previous records. These experimentations find the duo expanding their capacities and working with other artists including Beck and suGar Yoshinaga of Buffalo Daughter.

Ima Robot is a band based in Los Angeles, California that formed in the late 1990s. The band's song, "Greenback Boogie", is the main theme song of the USA Network legal drama series Suits.

In 2008, Meldal-Johnsen met with Trent Reznor and was invited to join the Nine Inch Nails touring band as bassist, guitarist, and keyboard player. JMJ spent the majority of 2008 to 2009 in Nine Inch Nails on their Lights in the Sky (2008), and NIN|JA / Wave Goodbye (2009) tours. In 2010, Beck asked Meldal-Johnsen back into the studio to contribute to a large body of work to be divided amongst multiple eventual releases, a process that continues to this day. During 2010, he resumed performing live with Beck.[ citation needed ]

Producing career

Beginning in about 2005, Meldal-Johnsen thought that he may be able to parlay his extensive studio experience as a musician into the field of producing and engineering, something he had always had interest in. His first forays were exclusively co-productions, but beginning in 2009, he began to move forward as a full-fledged producer/co-writer/collaborator. This is seen most clearly with his production and writing on the acclaimed 2011 M83 album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming . Today, Meldal-Johnsen spends most of his time producing records, working largely from his studio in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California.

In 2013, he produced Paramore's self-titled fourth album, and Young the Giant's album Mind Over Matter . As of Fall 2014, Meldal-Johnsen has worked with The Naked and Famous, School of Seven Bells, and The Raveonettes in between touring with Beck.






Related Research Articles

Tori Amos American singer-songwriter and pianist

Tori Amos is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She is a classically trained musician with a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Having already begun composing instrumental pieces on piano, Amos won a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University at the age of five, the youngest person ever to have been admitted. She was expelled at the age of 11 for what Rolling Stone described as "musical insubordination". Amos was the lead singer of the short-lived 1980s pop group Y Kant Tori Read before achieving her breakthrough as a solo artist in the early 1990s. Her songs focus on a broad range of topics, including sexuality, feminism, politics and religion.

<i>From the Choirgirl Hotel</i> 1998 studio album by Tori Amos

From the Choirgirl Hotel is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Tori Amos, released on May 5, 1998. A departure from her previous albums, it was more a heavily produced project featuring a full rock band sound. The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200 and number 6 in the UK. While falling short of the number 2 debut for her previous album, Boys for Pele (1996), From the Choirgirl Hotel is Amos's strongest debut to date in US sales, selling 153,000 copies in the first week. As of 2008 it has sold 778,000 copies in US. In 1999, Amos received two Grammy nominations: Alternative Music Performance, and Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Raspberry Swirl".

Ladytron band

Ladytron are a British electronic music band formed in Liverpool, England in 1999. The group consists of Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo, Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu (synthesizers).

Eric Avery American musician

Eric Adam Avery is an American musician. He is best known as the former bass guitarist and co-founding member of alternative rock band Jane's Addiction.

Twiggy Ramirez American singer, bassist, guitarist, songwriter and producer

Jeordie Osbourne White, once known professionally as Twiggy Ramirez, shortened to just Twiggy since 2008, and sometimes referred to by his real name, is an American musician, mostly known as the former bassist and guitarist of the band Marilyn Manson. Previously, he was the bassist for A Perfect Circle and a touring member of Nine Inch Nails, and is currently the vocalist for Goon Moon. He left Marilyn Manson in 2002, later rejoined the band in 2008, and was dismissed in 2017. He has been a principal songwriter for the band and has also contributed to some of the Desert Sessions recordings. He also hosts the Hour of Goon podcast with fellow musician Fred Sablan, on the Feral Audio network.

Matthew Chamberlain is an American musician, drummer, producer, songwriter and session player.

M83 (band) French electronic music band

M83 is a French electronic music project formed in Antibes, Alpes-Maritimes in 2001 and currently based in Los Angeles. The band's primary member is vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer Anthony Gonzalez. The band was initially formed as a duo also with Nicolas Fromageau; it has released seven albums and two soundtracks, including the Grammy Award-nominated Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.

Ken Andrews American musician

Ken Andrews is an American musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer. Andrews was born in Seattle, Washington, and attended film school in Los Angeles before his band Failure received a record deal from Slash Records.


Queenadreena were an English alternative rock band that formed in London, England in 1999 by vocalist KatieJane Garside and guitarist Crispin Gray, who had previously collaborated in the celebrated but short-lived band Daisy Chainsaw. Garside and Gray, who had earned a reputation for their abrasive songwriting with Daisy Chainsaw, incorporated elements of blues rock and other genres with Queenadreena, in addition to their predominant noise rock influences.

Manu Katché French musician

Manu Katché is a French drummer and songwriter.

Alessandro Cortini Italian musician

Alessandro Cortini is an Italian musician best known for being the keyboard player in the American band Nine Inch Nails, Cortini is also the frontman for the Los Angeles-based electronic-alternative band SONOIO.

Paramore American pop punk band

Paramore is an American rock band from Franklin, Tennessee, formed in 2004. The band currently consists of lead vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro. Williams and Farro are founding members of the group, while York, a high school friend of the original lineup, joined in 2007. Williams is the only member listed on the band's recording contract with Warner Music Group's Fueled by Ramen sublabel and the only member to appear on all five of Paramore's studio albums.

Tori Amos discography discography

Tori Amos is an American pianist and singer-songwriter whose musical career began in 1980, at the age of seventeen, when she and her brother co-wrote the song "Baltimore". The song was selected as the winning song in a contest for the Baltimore Orioles and was recorded and pressed locally as a 7" single. From 1984–89, Amos fronted the synth-pop band Y Kant Tori Read, which released one self-titled album with Atlantic Records in 1988 before breaking up. Shortly thereafter, Amos began writing and recording material that would serve as the debut of her solo career. Still signed with Atlantic, and its UK counterpart East West, Amos' initial solo material was rejected by the label in 1990. Under the guidance of co-producers Eric Rosse, Davitt Sigerson and Ian Stanley, a second version of the album was created and accepted by the label the following year.

<i>Hey Jupiter</i> 1996 EP by Tori Amos

"Hey Jupiter" is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Tori Amos. It was the fourth single from her album Boys for Pele and was her first EP since Crucify in 1992. Hey Jupiter features a remixed version of "Hey Jupiter" followed by four live tracks recorded during her Dew Drop Inn Tour of 1996. The song is also featured on the double-A CD singles released in the UK and Australia.

Scott Devours American musician

Scott Devours is an American drummer and songwriter based in New York City. Devours has played drums for the post-grunge bands Oleander, IMA Robot and Long Beach bands like Speaker and Shave, worked on over thirty albums and toured with a number of well-known artists, including The Who.

Mike Schuppan Mixer/Producer

Mike Schuppan is an American producer, mixing engineer and recording engineer. He is known for his work with Paramore, M83, Jimmy Eat World and others. He has been the long time engineer for Justin Meldal-Johnsen and served as his bass tech while touring with Nine Inch Nails and Beck. Mike has a private studio, Bronson Island in Hollywood, California.

<i>Paramore</i> (album) 2013 studio album by Paramore

Paramore is the self-titled fourth studio album by American rock band Paramore. It was released on April 5, 2013, through Fueled by Ramen as a follow-up to Brand New Eyes (2009). It is their first full-length album released after the departure of co-founders Josh and Zac Farro in 2010. Recorded between April and November 1, 2012, the album was described by the band as being a "statement" and a reintroduction of the band to the world and to themselves. It is the only album without Zac Farro on drums, and the final album recorded with bassist Jeremy Davis before he left the band in 2015.

"Grow Up" is a song by American rock band Paramore, and is the third track from their self-titled fourth studio album Paramore. Despite not being released as a single, the song charted at #36 on the UK Rock chart. It garnered acclaim from music critics, who called the song one of the standout tracks on Paramore, and praised its production and lyricism.


  1. J. Meldal-Johnsen [@justinmj] (26 March 2009). "39...how surreal. Remember how old your parents seemed at 39? I feel anything but old! Perception = reality (or insert similar cliche)" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  2. "Rainbow Brothers – 818.323.01". Discogs . Retrieved 2013-10-30.