133 – Gintas Janusonis: Playing and Producing in New York, from Jazz to Hip Hop to “America’s Got Talent”
Gintas Janusonis is the son of Lithuanian immigrants and grew up in Milwaukee. Berklee brought him to the East Coast and he soon made the jump to New York, where he has been active as a drummer and producer for most of his professional life. His list of credits ranges from jazz greats Branford Marsalis and Kurt Rosenwinkel, to hip hop royalty Wu Tang Clan and Kool G Rap, to singer/songwriter and America’s Got Talent semi-finalist Jonah Smith. At the top of his list of current projects is Bandit 65, a trio with Rosenwinkel and Tim Motzer, in which he gets to flex his producer chops, incorporating various types of electronics and sound manipulation. On the more analogue end of the musical spectrum, he has been part of countless acoustic jazz projects and leads The Revelations, a funk/soul band and production collective.
In this podcast, Gintas talks about:
Rockwood Music Hall, which has become a hub for live music in New York
The ways he incorporates electronics and effects with Bandit 65, and that group’s improvisational dynamic
The differences between “Free Jazz” and other types of improvised music, and how he and his bandmates craft improvised music with producers’ ears.
Managing his time so that none of the roles he plays suffer, and using “mental practicing.”
The aspect of the New York scene that has improved the most over the years
Getting exposed to high art at an early age
Playing on America’s Got Talent
His interest in Hip Hop, which dates back as far as his interest in jazz
Leading The Revelations
Gintas endorses Pearl Drums, Sabian Cymbals, and Vater Sticks