Justin Meldal-Johnsen

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Justin Meldal-Johnsen
Justin Meldal-Johnsen Santa Barbara, California, 2009.jpg
Justin Meldal-Johnsen performing with Nine Inch Nails in 2009
Background information
Born (1970-03-26) March 26, 1970 (age 45)[1]
Eugene, Oregon, United States
Genres Alternative rock, industrial rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Bass, upright bass, guitar, keyboards, synthesizer, glockenspiel, clarinet, piano, mandolin, percussion, cello, vocals
Associated acts Beck, Ima Robot, Nine Inch Nails, The Mars Volta, Macy Gray, Dixie Chicks, Garbage, Tori Amos, Medicine, M83
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 as a musician with Grammy Award-winning artists Beck and Nine Inch Nails, as well as Air and M83. He served as the touring bassist for Nine Inch Nails in 2008 and 2009. He has been Beck's longtime bassist and musical director, on and off since 1996 to present day. He has recorded with many other artists including Garbage, The Mars Volta, Dixie Chicks, Tori Amos, Dido, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Goldfrapp, Pete Yorn, Turin Brakes, Marianne Faithfull, Ladytron, and more. As a producer, Meldal-Johnsen has worked with M83, Paramore, Tegan and Sara, The Naked and Famous, School of Seven Bells, Neon Trees, Crystal Fighters, Young the Giant, Ken Andrews, Division Day, and more.

Musician career and history[edit]

Meldal-Johnsen, aka JMJ, grew up in Los Angeles, obsessively listening to his parents' records and gratefully receiving his first barely playable bass guitar at the age of fourteen. Like most budding musicians, he spent his time playing along to his favorite band's 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. 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, with whom he connected via an ad in the Recycler. In 1994, he joined the band Pet which also 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.

In early 1996, Beck asked Meldal-Johnsen to join his touring and recording band, which he has been a member of from 1996 to present day. He recorded with Beck on albums such as "Odelay", "Mutations", "Midnite Vultures", "Sea Change", "Guero", and "The Information", as well as copious of amounts of hitherto unreleased material. He has toured with Beck during all years since 1996 with the exception of 2005 and 2008.

In 1998, he joined up with French band Air for their "Moon Safari" tour, followed by the recording of 2001's "10,000Hz Legend" album.

In 2002, Meldal-Johnsen 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 Addiciton, 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.

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 in to 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 also resumed performing live with Beck.

Producing career[edit]

Beginning in about 2005, Meldal-Johnsen had the inkling 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 Silverlake, California.

Justin Meldal-Johnsen recently produced Paramore's 4th, self-titled album. Crystal Fighters new album "Cave Rave", and Young The Giant's album "Mind Over Matter". As of Fall 2014, Meldal-Johnsen recently worked with The Naked and Famous, School of Seven Bells, and The Raveonettes in between touring with Beck.






  • The Informers Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (music supervisor, composer)
  • Californication – bass guitar during musical score during Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 6, as well as bass guitar on the shows musical theme song, "Hank's Theme".


  1. ^ "Twitter / J. Meldal-Johnsen: 39...how surreal. Remembe". Twitter.com. 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  2. ^ "Rainbow Brothers – 818.323.01". Discogs. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 

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