Hungry Lights is an experimental music project founded by singer-songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist, comedian, and actor Justin Bonitz that focuses on telling stories through concept albums.
On November 15, 2016 Justin released the sequel to The Awry Ascent, which he titled, "Heavy Is The Crown." It is album/book two of the From Windfall To Hell series.
Justin is currently working on the third addition to the series, which he has officially announced will be titled, "Three Gods & Me." It is scheduled to be released in the autumn of 2017. So far, he has done two acoustic live stream play-throughs of the album.
Justin has also announced that "Mudoo Ra" will be the official title for the fourth addition. It is scheduled to be released in the autumn of 2018.
The Origin of Hungry Lights Edit
Hungry Lights was originally under the name and concept of a several different projects. The first was called, "Blind Can't Follow." Blind Can't Follow started off as a four-man-band, in 2008 with Justin as the lead vocals, lead guitar, and song-writer. In 2009, they released an eight track, live-performance, non-concept demo titled, "Everything That Exists." Justin claims that a friend of his listened to the demo (specifically a track titled "The Default Ilusion"), and said "I just imagine this man who doesn't know who he is, but is going around injecting people with a death serum, and he doesn't know why." Justin continued to build off that simple idea, and such was the birth of Justin's love for concept albums and using music as a medium to tell stories.
In 2010, Blind Can't Follow changed their band name to "amnÆon," and released a fourteen track revised demo of "Everything That Exists," which contained reworked versions of some of the same songs, as well as several new ones. The main character of the demo's tale was given the name "Kar'tahn," and the characters "Arilayah" and "The Maker" were also introduced as the world and concept began to expand. In 2012, the band tweaked their name to "amnæon," and released another thirteen track demo titled, "Aorta Borealis" which was essentially a third draft of the same demo/concept from 2009.
As other members abandoned Justin's project to pursue other goals, Justin continued growing it as a solo musician. He changed the project name to "amnaeon," and in 2013, he released a fourteen track demo titled, "Aorta Borealis IV." Shockingly this was the fourth revision of the same songs Justin had been working with since 2008, but the story had been overhauled into a series titled, "The Mourn." The character once known as "The Master" was renamed "Fothcrah," and the character "Reflaugh" was added to the lore. The lyrics were extremely literal and straight-forward because Justin realized how hard it was to follow his previous drafts. He really wanted the music to be more than just music. He wanted it to be a story. He wanted it to be an escape, and this was the start of his new life as a solo artist.
Over the next year and a half, Justin released three more fourteen track demos titled, "The Proamates III," "Wolfpit Drive V," and "General Reem II," all of which had prior origins that Justin has since released on a YouTube channel called, "Hungry Demos." Reversing back a few years, The Proamates III was originally an eight track, unreleased/incomplete amnÆon demo from 2011 that was titled, "Evolution At Its Finest Hour." This demo introduced the characters, "Prite" and "Prill," who were the parents of Kar'tahn, the main character of Aorta Borealis IV, and it vaguely explained how Kar'tahn ended up where he was at the beginning of Everything That Exists. Wolfpit Drive V was originally an experimental/industrial solo/side-project titled, "Wolfpit Drive." This was also the first time Justin had started to experiment with rapping instead of singing/screaming. Justin says he started this project in 2009, but never finished it. There is an unreleased/incomplete, eight track demo from 2011 titled, "Emulsion" which features the origin of the characters "Reflaugh," "Artorn," "Bladth'heirtra." The concept took place in the same universe as his amnÆon stuff, but on a different planet. In a nutshell, Reflaugh was a space-captain who crashed his ship on an unknown planet and got caught up in a war between two alien tribes, "The Roof" and "The Spawn," while trying to escape. This is for the most part the same concept that amnaeon's "Wolfpit Drive V" follows, but the 2013 version's world was obviously expanded as Justin added the characters, "Krayle," "Chance," "Arrow," and connected it in sequence to Aorta Borealis IV.
Tracing back a bit more, in 2011, Justin started working on a thirteen track rap demo called, "As The Crow Flies" under the rapper name "General Reem." The project was not finished, but you can hear the incomplete works on Hungry Demos. Just says he just wanted to take a break from metal music for a little while, and he was really enjoying the rapping he was doing on Wolfpit Drive's "Emulsion," so wanted to go further with it. "As The Crow Flies" would eventually evolve into amnaeon's "General Reem II.
In early 2012, Justin had started working on four track, electronica ep titled, "At Rest" under the project name, "Drudgework." It was about a conscious A.I. that fell in love with a girl, but could not pursue the relationship because it was a computer and she was a human. Justin said he dropped the project because he found it far too tedious. Mid 2012, Justin also had started an acoustic/djent demo titled, "Umfrant" under the name, "Mt. Krell." The demo was going to be about a great war that took place on the top of a mountain. This demo is the origin of the characters "Flinter" and "Umfrant." The reason that none of these projects were ever completed was because by the end of 2012, Justin was in a pickle. He had five different projects to work on, and he did not know where to start. He says that this is where things got complicated because he decided to take all five projects (progressive metal, experimental/industrial, rap, electronica, and acoustic/djent), and fuse them into one big project. He merged the sounds, created a blanket concept for everything, tied certain characters/storylines together, and he went to work. Little did Justin know, this merging of projects was the seed for the "From Windfall To Hell" series as well as the beginning of Justin's unique musical sound.
Justin decided to call his entire series, "The Mourn," which was essentially a huge, interconnected sci-fi/fantasy story about these turtle-people that he called the "proamates." The Proamates were the primary species on planet amnaeon, but they shared it with these opossum-people called the "natiffs," insect-people called the "spawn," no-faced mountain trolls called the "roof," bird-people called the "after'ahk," fish-people called the "kirth," and shadow-humans called the "anti-humans." The lyrics to these demos were extremely literal, making it very easy for fans to follow along with the story and understand what was going on. Each demo was its own short story that played a role in a bigger story.
In March 2013, Aorta Borealis IV was released. Aorta's concept stayed true to is ancestor demos, where the now alien-turtle version of Kar'tahn went around killing people with a death serum, capturing their souls in a lantern, and releasing them into a giant entity called, "The Mourning Star." Kar'tahn eventually fell in love with a proamate girl named Arilayah, discovered the truth about his life, was imprisoned, escaped with the help of a mysterious four-eyed crow, crossed a magical river called "Humbra," climbed a enormous staircase called the "Great Stairs," then found out he accidentally started a war with all the death serum stuff from the beginning of the demo. He obtained magical powers from a massive obelisk called, "Umber Tower," then reunites with Reflaugh and Arilayah, and she got magical powers from a massive half-circle called, "The Arc." They learned about a magical door at the top of Mt. Krell that led back to The Mourning Star, so they went there, then the proamate version of Fothcrah showed up, Arilayah got herself killed by him, so Kar'tahn revenge killed Fothcrah, wwas approached by the mysterious four-eyed crow who revealed himself to be an anti-human named, The Maker (he basically ran the whole show from inside this giant, floating planet core called, "The Undergrowth"). The Maker offered Kar'tahn a job, then Kar'tahn got mad, felt betrayed, and sacrificed himself for the greater good by jumping into the Mourning Star.
In June 2013, The Proamates III was released. This was the prequel to Aorta Borealis, which featured proamate versions of Prill and his wife Prite, fleeing a city named "Eair'tra" because of a war that was taking place. Prite was pregnant with Kar'tahn, and Fothcrah showed up at her doorstep, warning her that she needs to kill her baby. Prill and Prite obviously decided against that, which led to Kar'tahn eventually being kidnapped, then Prill tracked down Fothcrah, went through a that magical door at the top of Mt. Krell that led to an enormous, two-lane highway in space where he met an after'ahk named, "Sek'tra" who escorts him to the Great Stairs and gives him a mysterious necklace. Prill and his wife go down into the Undergrowth where the was swept away by the river, Humbra. Prill is captured by a bunch of natiffs, but before they are going to eat him, their leader, Artorn, finds the necklace and mysteriously lets Prill go. Prill travels through the mine, kills a bunch of stone sentinel guards called, "Drudgework," gets in a fight with an anti-human named, "Flinter" who tells him where to find The Maker. Prill runs into Prite, she dies, he is mad, then he finally reaches The Maker's cottage, only to be utterly decimated by a flick of The Maker's finger right after finding out that Kar'tahn has been brainwashed (thus the memory loss at the beginning of Aorta Borealis IV).
In October 2013, Wolfpit Drive V was released. This was the sequel to Aorta Borealis IV, and he it held true to its origin demo, "Emulsion." To connect the stories, Justin turned the newly proamated Reflaugh into Arilayah's brother, and towards the end of Aorta Borealis IV, Kar'tahn has accidentally started a war between the kirth and the proamates, so he asked Reflaugh (who is still the pilot of a spaceship) to warn the king of the proamates, "Luk'ba" of the approaching danger. Like in Emulsion, Reflaugh crashed his ship into a cavern where there was a mysterious crystal. From there, Reflaugh traveled into the mountains searching for help. He then met Krayle, the after'ahk king of Narthois. Krayle offered to help him if he would deliver a message of war to the leader of the the roof, "King Bladtheir'tra." Reflaugh accepted, fell into a frozen lake, was rescued by the roof, gets escorted to their home, King Bladtheir'tra gets upset and offers to help Reflaugh if he will return the favor, they traveled through a swamp/jungle called, "Mort'mydrea," got into a tussle with the spawn, Reflaugh ran away and eventually met Artorn who offered to take him downstream. Bladth'heirtra reunites with him, they free Reflaugh's space ship, steal the mysterious crystal, and then head to Narthois to offer a peace treat. Krayle goes crazy, steals the crystal, the spawn show up, a war breaks out, the crystal melts, there is an anti-human child inside with an A.I balloon named, "Arrow," Reflaugh rescues them, then he, the kid, the balloon, Artorn, and Bladth'heirta all escape, only to learn that the anti-human kid is the true king of all amnaeon.
In June 2014, General Reem II was released. This was the prequel to The Proamates III, and it was a brand new story about a kid named, "Reem" who was visiting Eair'tra with his father. His father went to a bar, and Reem wandered off and eventually stole this girl named, "Ataxia" from this pompous prince named, "Froth," broke his legs, and ended up getting himself and his unnamed, drunk father sent to prison where the guards beheaded his father in front of him. With the help of a familiar four-eyed crow, Reem escaped into a system of underground tunnels. He found a magic sword, the place collapsed, he escaped, then made friends with a spawn kid named, "Hasnla." They go to Umber Tower, Reem got magical powers, killed a bunch of slave-master called the "Hiloe," freed all the spawn slaves, eventually ran into Froth again, killed him, ran into Ataxia again, they went to The Arc to get her magical powers, then Haslna's Uncle Ruggulus showed up with an army, said they would fight for him, Reem became General Reem, they went back to Eair'tra and burned the entire city to the ground (this was war Prite and Prill were fleeing from in The Proamates III). Reem found out Fothcrah arranged for he and his father to be captured and killed, and Fothcrah was secretly Ataxia's father, so Reem used her as bait to draw him out, then killed her for some weird, twisted revenge. Fothcrah left through the magical door at the top of Mt. Krell, Reem followed him, was about to kill him, then his familiar four-eyed crow companion morphed into The Maker who explained everything, Reem got mad, felt betrayed, and sacrificed himself for the greater good by jumping into the Mourning Star.
As amnaeon, Justin had amassed a large following on YouTube. Most of his following came from covering songs by other artists, comedic skits, cameos in videos across YouTube, and participating in and winning Jared Dines' first vocal contest with his entry titled, "Ghost Feet." Between 2013 and 2014, Justin managed to release four full length, completed demos and was working on his fifth demo, "Mt. Krell I," which was going to be the prequel to "General Reem II," when he suddenly announced he would be remastering all four demos again. Many fans were concerned that the songs would not be as good as the originals, but Justin disclosed that he had been revising and recreating a lot of his songs since 2006, and that the fans had technically never heard the "originals." Hungry Demos is proof of this, as Justin uploaded demos dating back to 2002 and 2006 where listeners can clearly hear the skeletons of songs that were revised, refined, and featured across his four amnaeon demos.
In April/May 2015, Justin uploaded a very emotional video to his YouTube channel where he disclosed that he hated doing covers, and was extremely upset that his fan-base preferred hearing him sing other people's songs instead of his own songs. He was angry that people were not even giving his originals a chance. He said it was not a matter of whether or not people liked his music, the numbers showed that they were not even bothering to click on the videos at all. His subscribers were completely ignoring his music. To prove it, he mentioned how he went as far as to upload a video of him singing one of his own songs, but with the sarcastic title, "Somathur Baund - For Miles Down (vocal cover)." The video got over twenty thousand views, which was twenty times more than any of his other originals... just because he put "vocal cover" in the title. It made Justin furious. He stated that his subscribers were not even real fans. They did not appreciate his true passion at all. He felt used, betrayed, objectified, and he was done. Soon after, he left all social media, deleting his YouTube channel, Soundcloud, Facebook page/account, Twitter, Instagram, Bandcamp, and taking what he could of his music with him.
Before he vanished, he left one final post where he stated:
"I just cannot handle it anymore. I steered my channel in the wrong direction, and I need to start over. Please understand that I am not quitting music. Think of this as a tactical retreat. I will be back. Just search for 'Hungry Lights.'" -Justin Bonitz
In June 2015, a YouTube video under the account "Hungry Lights" appeared. In the video, Justin apologized for offending anybody with his final video as amnaeon, but that he did not apologize for the things he said. He disclosed that he was finding himself. He was unhappy with who he had become, the image he was portraying, and said that he felt lost. He revealed that he had started working on his new album/project, but did not know when it would be finished, just that it would be a completely new experience with a totally new concept behind it.
In the video, Justin also asked the viewers not to subscribe to his channel unless they were interested in watching his content. There would be no covers, no comedy, just his music. This was the only video on the channel for a long while, then it mysteriously disappeared, and in its place came an acoustic performance of a track titled, "An Outset In The Sea" which seemed to be a revised version of an old song titled, "Everything That Exists."
The Awry Ascent Era Edit
Main Article: The Awry Ascent
In July/August 2015, Justin returned to YouTube and was extremely high-spirited. He had obtained an severe distaste for the ego, which became the root and core of his new story and his songwriting. He constantly and strongly encouraged others to find themselves and to stop being products of society. From his basement, he would often host live streams where he would grab a mic and sing over the instrumentals for his new album, sing covers, get excessively drunk with his friend "Jay," and occasionally would preach about happiness and how to beat depression. He still had no presence on social media, so these "basement streams" were the only way he interacted with his fans, and the regulars in the live streams became the first core fan-base of Hungry Lights.
On these basement streams, Justin would often talk about how much he disliked his old work. It bothered him when people made comparisons, and for a while, even a mention of the word "amnaeon" was enough to send him off on a wild rant. It bothered him that people were supporting a dead project because where were they when the project was alive? Where were they when he actually needed them? They were off listening to him sing covers and not giving his originals a chance. They were partially the reason he left YouTube in the first place, and now Hungry Lights was his new project, and a lot of these fans were doing the exact same thing. They were swooning something he was trying to bury instead of supporting what he was doing in the present. He stressed that the more they listened to his old work, the harder it would be to adjust to his new work because they would form biased, emotional attachments to the old work which would lead to comparing and judging what was "better" instead of just listening to Hungry Lights as its own, new thing. It visibly frustrated him, but he continued onward as he passionately preached about "letting go of the past," "living in the present," "discovering yourself," "dropping the ego," and to "stop living for others," which would leave a lot of his fans feeling empowered as they slowly began to let go and join him in his new era. He seemed to have finally realized that he broke a lot of his fans' trust when he abandoned his old channel, and that it would take some serious TLC to earn it back.
These basement streams also provided the opportunity for Justin to further explain his new project/concept to his fans. The lyrics to the new material were much more figurative, heartfelt, ambiguous, and poetic. Justin said that they were his words, thoughts, and feelings instead of forcing a story down his listener's throat. He said he wanted to make the lyrics more relate-able and emotional because he thought his amnaeon lyrics were terrible and that they killed the music. He said the old lyrics were far too literal, and that he did not want to have to hold the listener's hand throughout the album/story. He wanted them to piece everything together on their own because it would "make it much more meaningful in the long run."
Justin soon introduced fans to his new main character "Prill." This new, human version of Prill was a fisherman who was in his mid twenties with gray hair. Justin removed all the crazy, sci-fi, alien turtle stuff because again, he wanted something more relate-able. He wanted people to genuinely associate with his character and form a bond with his thoughts and feelings. Justin expressed that one of the mistakes he made with amnaeon was killing off the protagonist every single album. He said that it did not give fans an adequate amount of time to become attached to and fall in love with the characters, and that he was not going to make that same error with his new project. He seemed to have done a lot of reading and writing in his time away, and was determined to "do it right" this time around. He was unsure of what he wanted to call the entire series of stories, but he said he would stick with "The Mourn" until he figured out something better.
The concept of his new story was that it was about a simple fisherman who thinks his life is alright until his wife, Prite accidentally gets pregnant. Prill then is filled with a courageous verve to better himself and his life, so he goes out to seek a great fortune by deciding to hunt a dangerous sea-creature named Fothcrah. The quest would be the catalyst for Prill's downward spiral into madness that would be expanded and told through five albums/books. Most of the fans who carried over from Justin's amnaeon days recognized some of the similarities in the names and plot points, and Justin said that just because he scrapped his old work did not mean he completely erased everything. He was reworking and refining riffs, melodies, and songs from his old work, so there was no reason he could not re-use certain concepts, plot points, character/location names, and build a whole new world from the old pieces of the previous one. He said that not everything about his old project was bad, mostly just the writing itself, and that was something he intended to fix this time around. He said that the first album was going to be a bit slow since it was the beginning of a brand new tale, but that it would quickly pick up once more content was released. He seemed very focused on having a good story with a strong message and lovable characters. He still wanted the music to be more than just music... but this time, he did not so much want it to be an "escape," but an "awakening."
On October 9, 2015, via a video on YouTube, Justin announced the release date for his debut album "The Awry Ascent" along with a high-quality preview of the album. on October 15, 2015, Justin performed a very emotional, full album release stream that left a lot of fans in tears, and then finally... The Awry Ascent was released on Bandcamp. Soon after, it was also released via stream on YouTube and Soundcloud, then a few months later, it was uploaded to iTunes, Spotify and many other big music distribution sites.
The novelization of The Awry Ascent is slated to be released sometime in 2017. Justin says he is currently editing the fourth draft, that the novel will be 300-500 pages in length, and will give a much more detailed, third-person narrative of Prill's tale.
The Awry Ascent is Book 1 of the Hungry Lights story From Windfall To Hell.
Heavy Is The Crown Era Edit
Main Article: Heavy Is The Crown
On December 28, 2015, Justin announced that the title of his second album would be "Heavy Is The Crown." He also released a track-list of the songs that would be featured on it. Soon after, he slowly began his return back to social media as he made a Facebook account under a fake name which eventually became, "Prill Tel'vallo" (the full of name of his fictional character). Justin released several pictures of himself dressed as Prill, and fans began drawing and creating fan-art of the character.
On January 12, 2016, Justin began to release the "vocal videos" for The Awry Ascent which were composed of him dressed as Prill doing real-time vocal performances over the instrumentals of each song. These videos, tutorials on how to play his songs on guitar, and the full albums are the only videos that Justin has chosen to leave up on his Hungry Lights channel.
On February 1, 2016, it was revealed that Justin had won the "most creative entry" for another Jared Dines contest with his song titled, "Trespasser." It featured Justin singing in Jamaican patois, doing an acoustic guitar solo, and drumming, all while wearing a french maid dress and a wig. The video was uploaded to Jared's channel, and it allowed old fans who did not know Justin had returned, to once again reunite with him and enjoy his new material.
In Justin's absence from social media, two different Hungry Lights fan-groups had emerged, and Justin claimed that they did not seem to like each other, and that it made him sad to have a divided fan-base. He then created a new fan-group that he was in control of, and in attempt to merge the divided groups into one, he proposed a bribe that if the members of both fan-groups would join his new one, he would make two new channels where he would re-release his old covers and originals. The main administrators of the fan-groups eventually agreed, joined, and on February 15, 2016, Justin created the new YouTube channels, "Hungry Covers" and "Hungry Demos." On Hungry Covers, he uploaded some of his old, full-band covers and began releasing new ones. He expressed that he did not mind doing vocal covers as long as they were on a separate channel, that way his originals would not get buried under mountains of covers like last time. On Hungry Demos, he began to upload demo after demo of unreleased material dating back to 2002.
After a few months, some drama took place in the fan-group. This drama led to one of the administrators from the old going back on his word, and in return, Justin again removed the amnaeon demos from YouTube. He said he would release them once all of his Hungry Lights music had been completed, that way fans could not obsess over his old work and continue to ignore his new work. There was still an obvious frustration with his fans not letting go of the past, but he continued to leak bits and pieces of Heavy Is The Crown through streams and Facebook. Soon he announced that he would be changing the name of the entire series from "The Mourn," to "From Windfall To Hell."
During this era, instead of the typical basement stream, Justin would often stream from his room while he worked on his second album. He let the fans see how much effort went into each song as he showed himself programming the drums, the orchestra, various guitar parts, and eventually vocals. He however did not leave the streams uploaded, and if he did, he would remove them after a couple weeks. He said that the reason he did this was because he wanted the streams to be more special. He wanted to encourage people to be involved during the streams instead of just saying, "I can watch this later." If they missed it, they missed it, and that annoyed a lot of the fans because Justin would rarely announce when he was going to stream. It was often at random, during untimely hours of the night, but his fans showed up regardless, and his motivational speeches became much less preachy, less aggressive, and overall more subtle.
Eventually, the big day came where Justin began streaming a live, basement performance of "The Awry Ascent," but in his full Prill attire. Much suspense took place at the end of the stream as everything went black, the last song faded out, silence took over, and then the intro to the much anticipated Heavy Is The Crown began to play. His fans went wild for the intro, and seemed absolutely thrilled with the sequel. Just said that it would probably be released around the same time of year as The Awry Ascent, and over the next couple months he continued to hype up the album through various streams.
At the end of October 2016, Justin announced that the first draft of the novelization of "The Awry Ascent" was completed, and he asked for serious volunteers who would be interested in reading it, helping with typos, plot-holes, and tying loose-ends. He did not give out much more information about it.
On November 15, 2016, Justin again started off a basement stream with The Awry Ascent, then went immediately into Heavy Is The Crown. He looked exhausted, and then towards the end of Heavy Is The Crown, one of his fans ungratefully insulted his performance by saying, "I can't wait for this shitty stream to be over so I can buy the album." While it was more of a backhanded compliment, Justin became very angry. He stopped the music and disappeared upstairs for quite a few minutes, leaving the fans to wonder what was going on. Eventually, he came back down and continued the performance, but with the lights off and with his back to the audience. He sounded extremely distraught, and during the final song, he destroyed the railing of the staircase with a baseball bat, finished the song, left without saying a word, then released the album on Bandcamp and YouTube. A few weeks later it was released on iTunes, Spotify, and all the other music distribution sites.
Heavy Is The Crown is Book 2 of the Hungry Lights story From Windfall To Hell.
Three Gods & Me Era Edit
Main Article: Three Gods & Me
So far, this era has been very different. Justin has only done two full acoustic streams of his third album, but they were both very "quiet." He announced the album will be titled, "Three Gods & Me," revealed the track-list, but has talked very little about it. Towards the end of 2016, Justin fully returned to social media with a new Facebook account using his real name, made a Twitter, and an Instagram account. Despite being more open and available on social media, he has chosen to work in the shadows this time around. Every once in a while, he will drop an update on his progress with the album and the novel for "The Awry Ascent," but he is not letting the fans hear or see much.
In January 2017, Justin moved to a new apartment. He was very distraught about it at first because this meant the end of the basement streams, but it also meant he would not be able to sing/scream until he built a sound-proof vocal booth. He tried to stream from his computer on one or two occasions, but he was visible bummed out that he could not use his full potential for fear of getting noise complaints. After many months, his vocal booth was finally completed, and with a window on one side so that he could put his webcam on the other and allow the fans to watch him stream from inside the booth. Because of this new method, he was able to sing directly into his condenser mic while playing the music from his computer which allowed a much higher-quality experience that the past two years's basement streams.
On May 11, 2017, Justin began releasing the vocal videos for "Heavy Is The Crown". He chose a new angle, new lighting, and made several additions/revisions to Prill's wardrobe to make the character more interactive. As usual, fans showed a bit of hesitation at first, then eventually grew accustomed to the changes. Since then, Justin seems to have made a conscious effort to be nicer and more welcoming to fans while still being as blunt and passionate as ever.
Three Gods & Me will be Book 3 of the Hungry Lights story From Windfall To Hell, and is slated to be released in the autumn of 2017.
Musical Style & Influences Edit
Justin Bonitz is known for blending multiple styles of music, and bringing in influence ranging from various types of progressive metal all the way to styles of hip-hop, alternative rock, folk music and more. Because of this, Justin does not believe in genre labels. While he understands the usefulness, he finds them limiting, and thinks that music should just be listened to and appreciated, rather than categorized and fought over.
"Putting a label on yourself is like creating walls of limitation, and as artists, we should not have any limitation whatsoever. When you label your sound, people expect that certain sound from you, and when people expect a certain sound, and you (the artist) does not deliver, they may be let down, and that is harmful to your growth as a struggling musician. Music should not be placed inside of a folder and categorized. It should be free." -Justin Bonitz
In an attempt to break free from the archaic barriers, and rebel against the human nature of labeling, Justin calls his Hungry Lights material "other," as he likes to experiment with a vast plethora of sounds from numerous cultures. This has become the Hungry Lights Sound.
On different occasions Justin has named several bands that have highly influenced his musical sound. Here are some of the bands/artists who continuously are brought up:
- Small The Joy/Fuel
- 3 Doors Down
- "Disney Villain Music"
- Days Of The New
- Fair To Midland
- The Mayan Factor
- Rise Against
- Tommy Lee Sparta
- Lamb Of God
- Edwin Mccain
- Breed 77
- Iron Maiden
- Tyler, The Creator
- Avenged Sevenfold
- All That Remains
He says that all of these bands/artists have songs that have struck a certain "sound" that he has spent years trying to replicate and refine. While his musical taste spans a very broad spectrum of genres, he is very picky about which specific songs he enjoys. It just has to have that "sound" which often his ideal mix of rock, metal, grunge, acoustic, and rap, that is often (but not always) backed by a powerful orchestrated soundtrack.