While many college students relaxed on the beach during spring break, Adrian Jusdanis, some 900 miles away from home, roamed the French Quarter with a violin during his week off.
“I see this band of really unique musicians playing this amazing stuff like I’ve never heard before on the street, and I was just captivated and asked if I could play with them and they said sure,” said Jusdanis. “I immediately started devising my life’s plan of how can I get to New Orleans.”
The day Jusdanis graduated from Ohio State University, instead of walking across a stage in a scarlet and gray cap and gown at his commencement ceremony, he boarded a one-way flight for The Big Easy with his violin. No safety-net job lined up, he was just a young, ambitious artist, fresh out of college, pursuing his life’s dream – music.
At the start, however, things were anything but big or easy.
“I was like kind of in like this perpetual state of depression and anxiety,” said Jusdanis. “I just was like racking my brain like who am I going to do this with.”
A veteran musician, Jusdanis understood the significance of band camaraderie and therefore recruited his two best friends from back home in Columbus – keys and synth player Max Jones and electronic percussionist Alex Koltun. As a result, New Thousand was drafted.
Today, the three earn a living doing what they love on the streets of The Crescent City at night during the week and throughout the day on weekends – a gig which, from the sound of it requires a heaping portion of preparation with a side of patience.
“The night before we’ll have like a pow wow about what we want to do the next day,” said Jusdanis. “One of us will go down to the spot early and just sit there to reserve it because if someone else shows up first, then we don’t get the spot.”
Meanwhile, the other two members load up all of their gear on their transportation rigs (child bicycle trailers) and then bike over themselves.
“So instead of like, you know, our children, we have, you know, our amps and our car battery and all of our cords and equipment and speakers,” joked Jusdanis.
Gear like the wah-wah and delay guitar pedals which Jusdanis actually runs his violin through. Interesting effects like these help create New Thousand’s intriguing music, which provides an astonishingly fitting soundtrack for the streets of New Orleans. Koltun’s in time, yet unpredictable beats echo Nola’s strong sentiment for spontaneity. Jones’ chilling keys and synth parts resonate with the city’s haunted history, and Jusdanis’ vast and emotional violin playing reverberates the beauty of what certainly is one of the most unique places in the world.
Still a fairly new band, New Thousand has already developed quite a following and its three members could not seem happier.
“I’m living in a house with my two best friends who are also my two bandmates, and we play only the music we like, and we do it completely on our own schedule, and no one ever tells us anything to do,” said Jusdanis. “It’s a beautiful thing what we have going on.”
On April 14, New Thousand, however, will take a night off from Bourbon, Canal and Frenchmen Street, and instead play on an elevated stage at The Spanish Moon for their first show ever in Baton Rouge.
Photo courtesy of New Thousand.