Justin Lassen

Justin Lassen has done a little bit of everything in his music career. He's also achieved his success while using Akai Pro's APC40 and MPK61 performance controller.

The consummate creator, Lassen is credited with a number of full-length recordings under various guises since he began his career at the age of 15. As Omnicron, a brooding electronica project with cinematic undertones, Lassen released 11 albums through a fledgling MP3.com, quickly gaining notoriety as a musical prodigy with a penchant for classical composition. Next to break through was the industrial rock outfit Digital Dirt Heads, which featured Lassen in a multi-instrumentalist, Trent Reznor-like role, writing and producing hard edged material with the occasional collaborative element. But it was 2003 that saw Lassen’s star rise to new heights.

And Now We See But Through A Glass Darkly, his dark, symphonic chamber suite, cemented his status as one of the premier players in a budding video game scoring industry thirsty for crossover talent. With over 100 million downloads to date, it also set the tone for what would become a fiercely independent career, unfettered by major label methodology. “When I started, I wanted the traditional record deal and touring scenario,” admits Lassen, who was featured as a subject in Daylle Deanna Schwartz’s 2005 Billboard Press industry guidebook, I Don’t Need A Record Deal. “I ended up having a strong hand of cards to play for not going that route. Now I have toured and I have been offered record deals, but the terms I wanted in the contracts wouldn’t budge, so I decided to take the indie route all the way.”

The success of And Now We See... laid the groundwork for what would become Lassen’s pièce de résistance a few years later in 2006. Using the visionary work of CG legends like John Wallin, Nykolai Aleksander, Linda Bergkvist and Martin Bland as his inspiration, Lassen created a series of instrumental scores entitled Synaesthesia, for which he received rave reviews in industry journals like EQ Magazine, CG Society, RevolutionArt and S&R Magazine. Lassen went on to release four installments of the popular series, culminating in a limited edition, 2CD pressing released in early 2010. Since that watershed release, Lassen’s career has been a nonstop whirlwind of opportunity, including penning the complete 27-track score to Out Of Hell, Long Nguyen’s award-winning mod for Unreal Tournament. “I love to create worlds,” says Lassen of his scoring work. “It’s probably one of my biggest passions. I love to explore mythology and lore and characters in different realities, so a soundtrack becomes more of a way to tell a story outside of the media it was intended for. The world that I'm composing to becomes my world. The walls change color, the dreams come alive.”

An accomplished experimentalist, Lassen’s foray into sound creation culminated in the summer of 2010 with the release of White Rabbit Asylum, a 24-bit sample library for Sony Creative Software’s Premium Collection series. Recorded during trips to London, Budapest, Paris and Los Angeles, the library is a masterwork of maudlin sound design, field recordings and haunted vignettes that illuminates not only his ability to immerse himself in a world of shadow melodies, but his capacity to fully inhabit the mind of the end user to create a workable assemblage of auditory building blocks. Equal parts fashion and function—and having received noteworthy praise in numerous mainstream media publications—White Rabbit Asylum provides a unique window into Lassen’s psyche, and has allowed other like-minded artists to infused their creations with his auditory DNA.

But while sample libraries and scores have endeared him to the darker side of the music masses, his appeal hasn’t gone unnoticed by the mainstream. Lassen was handpicked to produce the soundtrack to horror mastermind Clive Barker’s 2008 cult classic Midnight Meat Train. He’s also a well sought after remix artist, delivering interpretations for a wide range of artists, from Robert Miles (“Tsbol”), The Killers (“Spaceman”), Lady Gaga (“Just Dance”) and Emilie Simon (“Opium”) to Linkin Park (“In The End” and “Faint”), Nine Inch Nails (“The Big Come Down”), Evanescence (“Whisper”) and Apocalyptica (“SOS”).

Within these spaces between darkness and light—where mainstream sensibility bleeds into a deeply personal narrative— Lassen’s vision burns bright. There’s talk of a third symphony, and an EP’s worth of new songs is currently in the works. Indie music’s Dark Prince has left his indelible mark wherever life’s road has taken him, but one thing is for certain. We’ve only seen shades of what’s to come.

Artist's Akai Pro Gear

  • MPK61
    USB/MIDI Keyboard Controller
The APC40 and MPK61 are essential parts of my music arsenal.
-Justin Lassen