Justin, originally from Casper, Wyoming, moved to Chicago in 2003 and attended Columbia College where he studied film. After graduating in 2007, Justin began working as a full time editor for Rotary International in Evanston, Illinois. Outside of work, Justin is perhaps better known as "Nordic Thunder", the 2012 World Air Guitar Champion. Since becoming a world champion, Justin has traveled the world both playing air guitar and preaching the message that exists at the core of competitive air guitar. That message of course is a message of peace!  After all, you can't hold a gun if you're holding an air guitar.


What do you wake up thinking about?

It depends on what day of the week it is, but my first thought in the morning usually is "I wish I had gone to bed earlier last night".

What's your morning ritual?

This again depends on the day of the week, but my Monday-Friday routine is pretty much the same.  I wake up at 8:00am and begin to rush to get ready.  I've got it timed out so that I can receive the maximum amount of sleep in the morning and still get out of my house in time to catch the Metra to Evanston.  I must get out of bed at 8:00am though and hope that there aren't any hiccups in the morning that would slow me down. Like, not being able to find my keys. Or my wallet. Or my phone. Or my brush. Stupid stuff like that. ANYWAY! I jump out of bed at 8:00am and hit the shower. I usually finish up in the shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, grab my bike and hustle out the door by 8:25 so I can make the 8:43 Metra train.

Now, if it's a Saturday/Sunday or a day where I have no real world adult responsibilities I must attend to, I'll very likely wake up wide-eyed at 8:00am and force myself to go back to sleep for another hour or two. Then I'll get up and throw on some pants and dig through the hamper for a shirt that doesn't smell too bad and throw it on.  I'll then make a pot of coffee, feed the dog, and wind up sitting on my back porch area and have a smoke with my coffee and cruise through the facebooks and the instagrams.

How does social media play into your daily life?

Unfortunately it plays a bit of a parasitic role in my life. My phone is always with me so it's easy to just check out of any situation and get a "fix" of the fake world that lives inside of my telephone. However, aside from providing a short, unsatisfying "escape", social media does serve some useful roles in my life. The biggest example of this is it allows me to plug shows I'm performing in. I'm lucky enough that I get to do a lot of traveling around playing an invisible guitar and having fun with people, so as a means of shameless self-promotion, I use the social medias to help promote events I am partaking in.

Are we more connected or disconnected than before?

This question really makes me feel old. I feel like this question in some form or fashion has been asked by fellow man for many generations and will continue to be asked for future generations to come. Personally, I do feel we are more disconnected than before. I can remember a time before there was internet or even cell phones for that matter. The phone at my house growing up had a cord attached to the wall! If you made a phone call to someone, it felt like something special. Especially if it was just to share something "big" that has happened in your life. Nowadays, people seem to know everyone's business through the computer screen. You hear about so and so having a baby or so and so buying a house or so and so getting married. It's a false sense of being connected, in my opinion. It's just a blanketed toss of information and events out into the digital world. Anyway, as I said, this question makes me feel old. It also makes me feel a bit hypocritical if I'm completely honest.

What is most important to you in life?

What's most important to me in my life, right here and now, is not being a shitty person. I want to be a person who makes people happy and inspires them to do the same to others. I've found that nothing feels as good as seeing other people at their happiest. It's like a drug. A really really good drug.

Follow Justin: IG @nordicthunder