Trick Gum’s Justin Raisen On The New “Hurts To Be A Head” Single, Writing For Other Artists, Long Island, Future Plans & More


Published on July 5th, 2021 | by Darren Paltrowitz

Last month, Trick Gum shared its second single “Hurts To Be A Head,” as premiered via Brooklyn Vegan. The brand new project of songwriter/producer Justin Raisen and Sweaters member Jordan Benik, Trick Gum’s roots actually go many years back into the past. The two decided to be a band while clocked in at their no-show jobs for Long Island, New York’s Town of Oyster Bay Parks Department, ultimately recording over 80 songs within the town of Bay Shore in their early days as musicians.

If Justin Raisen’s name sounds familiar, it may be because his credits include Yves Tumor, David Bowie, Kim Gordon, Ariel Pink, Angel Olsen, Sky Ferreira, Sharon Van Etten, Charli XCX, Santigold, Lizzo, Joji, Lawrence Rothman, Marissa Nadler, Kylie Minogue, Michael Stipe, Theophilus Bean, Health, Rain Phoenix and Billy Corgan. The rare sort of creative force who also writes, produces and plays on songs for other artists, Raisen has been an in-demand collaborator for over a decade. Yet as I learned from speaking to Raisen via Zoom on July 1, 2021, his success has generally been the product of saying no to conventional industry advice and following both his own intuition and family-based wisdom.

Embedded below are both my recent Zoom-based conversation with Justin Raisen and the striking music video for “Hurts To Be A Head.” Within our conversation. Raisen generously opened up about the following topics, in addition to plenty of other interesting subjects:

– Being one of Long Island’s more successful exports yet not being considered a “Long Island artist”
– Other Long Island artists he grew up alongside who have experience notable success after leaving Long Island (e.g. Dan Nigro, Dan Deacon, Jeff Rosenstock)
– When he first felt successful as a songwriter/producer
– How he views success in the bigger scheme of things
– How he stays inspired as a musician, even when times seem dire
– The importance of family for him both in and out of music
– Future plans and aspirations as a musician

More on Justin Raisen and Trick Gum can be found here, here, here and here.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren’s writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being “Editor At Large” for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly “Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz” series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018’s “Pocket Change: Your Happy Money” (Book Web Publishing) and 2019’s “Good Advice From Professional Wrestling” (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world’s only known podcast about David Lee Roth, “The DLR Cast.”

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