Intersection of Music and Sneaker Culture: An Interview with Justicious

Continue the phrase: Justicious today is...

Innovative and eclectic as a music lover, creator, and DJ, equally eclectic as a sneaker enthusiast. Driven by emotions and spontaneity in both fields.

How did music become a part of your life? What prompted you to choose the path of a DJ and sound producer?

It all probably started with music school, which I began attending at the age of 3. I quit in the sixth grade, thinking I wouldn't achieve much with music, and switched to an art school instead. After all, both of my parents were into art, having graduated from the Vilnius Academy of Arts, so I thought that was my destiny.

Ironically, my interest in music production sparked just a year after I dropped out of music school, but from a completely different angle - I had loved hip-hop since childhood. Thanks to my sister, I was a frequent guest at hip-hop dance events and got acquainted with the work of the legendary American producer DJ Premier. Both the result and the process of music sampling fascinated me so much that it became my obsession from the age of 12. I uploaded my creations to the internet every day, and out of love for a wide range of music genres from the very beginning, I demonstrated diversity - one day I would upload a traditional hip-hop beat, the next day it could be electro, garage, drum & bass, or something else.

Because of this, I learned a lot and met many diverse and amazing people in the music world - probably one of the best things that happened to me when I chose the path of music, and why even now, in tougher times, I dare not say "that's it, I don't want to create music or play anymore".

How did your passion for sneaker collecting start? Do you have a memorable first pair?

Image and style have been important to me since my early days. Even in elementary school, I wore wide pants called "lenarai," oversized shirts, and full-cap style hats. MTV was almost always on at home; I wanted to look like my favorite artists.

Of course, back then, it wasn't just any shoes you wore - skate shoes were in trend, and the first skate shops were located around Konstitucijos Avenue. I persuaded my parents to buy me my first Vision skate shoes from one of those shops. Later on, it was essential to have DC shoes as well. Then, in 2008, in the fourth grade, my journey into obsession began during a trip to France - I bought my first Nike Dunk High with my own money - blue and yellow.

They cost around 90 euros, which seemed like a huge amount for a pair of shoes back then. But it was probably the first time I felt that quick capitalist dopamine hit and realized that shoes were more than just clothing to me; they were a combination of the most interesting technologies, and they could also hold sentimental value.

What makes a pair of sneakers unique or valuable to you?

As I mentioned earlier, memories are what stick to shoes the most - where you got them, where you wore them, what you did with them. Often, it's harder to part with a pair of shoes not because of their value on the secondary market but because of the value they hold for me personally. My aforementioned Nike Dunks were incredibly important to me because I bought them myself on my first trip abroad without my parents. They were my first shoes from overseas and the first ones that made me feel like the "main character" when I put them on as a kid. If I had known back then that I would one day have a collection of sneakers, maybe I would have kept them even as I grew up.

How do your musical interests influence your perspective on fashion and sneakers?

In contemporary culture, especially in pop culture, music and fashion go hand in hand - artists dictate trends, often introduce the world to interesting designers, and more and more musicians are releasing their own shoe collabs. Just as rap shaped my style in childhood, now I draw knowledge and inspiration from the most stylish artists. Currently, some of the artists whose style resonates most closely with mine are Aminé, Lil Yachty, Kendrick Lamar, and ASAP Rocky. The latter, especially, introduced me to names like Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, and Rick Owens through his raps about fashion during my adolescence

What role do sneakers play in your creative process? Do you have any pairs that you prefer to wear for performances or when working in the studio?

Wherever music is playing, consciously or unconsciously, I find myself tapping my foot to the rhythm, probably a professional hazard. As a DJ, I often find myself tapping for not just one or two hours, so comfort is highly valued when performing, and I choose shoes that don't tire my feet. It's important to me that the shoes are both stylish and comfortable, as well as practical; otherwise, they won't stay in my collection for long.

In your opinion, can sneakers reflect personality? How do you personally choose sneakers based on mood and style?

As wrong as it may sound, I used to say that I first look at a person's shoes and then at their eyes. Shoes can say a lot about a person - not just their style, but also their interests, leisure activities, and social circles. While I wouldn't judge someone's character based on whether or not I like their shoes, shoe choice often makes a statement, like the cover of a book, which can give a hint as to whether you'll have something in common with that person.

How do you assess the sneakerhead culture in Lithuania? Is there an active sneaker collecting community here?

Perhaps I'm not acquainted with the entire sneaker community, and I might not be well-informed enough to firmly state the size of such a community, but I know quite a few people with really interesting collections. Moreover, there are quite a few events and initiatives dedicated to sneakerheads happening in Lithuania, often for marketing purposes. I've had the opportunity to participate in discussions about sneakers, and the founders of Sneaker Spot sneaker restoration workshop even used to host sneakerhead parties.

What trends in the sneakerhead world do you notice among Lithuanians?

While more and more interesting and eccentric sneakers can be seen on the streets of Lithuania and even in local footwear stores, Lithuanians still tend to prefer safer choices and are not inclined to experiment much. Many trends reach mass market in Lithuania quite late, so Western trends sometimes arrive here later and stay longer. However, compared to when I first started getting interested in sneakers, the selection of shoes in Lithuania is huge now, and it's becoming more common to see people on the streets with sneakers that catch your eye.

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