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Who Are They: Justin Gartry

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Tileyard Education is a space to create, collaborate and connect with other creatives, that’s why our tagline, #BeInspired, is at the core of everything we do.

We’re inspired by our spaces, we’re inspired by our peers but, we’re also inspired by our colleagues, our day-to-day touchpoints and we’re proud to be a part of a bigger, musical, family.

Tileyard Education’s staff are employed for their passion and the rest is a bonus. No one exudes passion more than Justin Gartry, our studio and technical manager, who carved his own role at Tileyard two and a half years ago. 

Justin is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, artist, producer and engineer and has always been passionate about music. He started playing the piano in primary school, where he was later introduced to the trombone and played in the school band – that was until Justin picked up his first guitar. He was inspired by the likes of Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin, and declared himself as ‘obsessed’.

In secondary school, Justin was in multiple bands. Soon after, Justin formed his first “serious band”, The Joker & The Thief – who had notable success, with support from The Joe Strummer Foundation who offered them a wealth of platforms and opportunities. They were one of the first bands to play a Sofar Sounds back in 2011, they supported Mumford & Sons at Glastonbury in the same year, as well as supporting Bastille, Frank Turner, Beans On Toast and Public Service Broadcasting. They recorded at Metropolis Studios and performed live on BBC London. Through The Joe Strummer Foundation, Justin also met his other bandmates, Dark Moon – a psychedelic rock band, with Justin on bass, who recorded their first album at Rockfield Studios in 2015 and are currently working on their second release.

As The Joker And The Thief drew to a natural close, Justin was seeking his next project, so decided to take up a BA in Music Production to enhance his technical skills. It was there that he met the Managing Director of Tileyard Education, Harry, and also there that he formed his next band, Bella Figura. Bella Figura had a wealth of success playing the main stages of some of the UK’s biggest festivals including Wilderness, Standon Calling and Bushstock. They enjoyed the success of having a song signed and featured on a US TV show, had a Radio X live session on air with John Kennedy, signed to A&G Sync, and of this was achieved under a truly DIY ethos. 

Justin said:

“If you’re working hard and was as proactive as we were, people support you, we had a lot of support”

After 3 EPs and a lot of life experience, Bella Figura naturally took a back seat, whilst Justin looked onwards, to his next project. 

After hearing about Tileyard through a friend, Justin came down to several networking events to plug his band, until he eventually reached out to Harry to arrange a catch-up, where he was introduced to more of the team. Keen to learn new skills, Justin was recruited as an intern one week later and placed in the office to support with administration and marketing tasks.

Justin said:

“Harry taught me music business (at university) and did whatever he could to support me, so it was great to come back”

He added:

“For the first time in my life, not making a plan for myself was the best decision I ever made”

Six months into Justin’s internship, he was promoted to Studio and Technical Manager of Tileyard Education. Justin’s enthusiasm was unmatchable, he said:

“I really cared about the work that we were doing, the vision of Tileyard Education. Whatever it was, making a flyer, a poster, sticking a poster up, I’d do it with pride, one thing I’d tell you is, those posters were f*****g straight!”

Justin was recruited into his role through getting to know and working with producer Sean Hargreaves who manages Tileyard Education’s commercial studio and they still work closely today. Justin added:

“I was lucky to join Tileyard Education when I did, I didn’t know I was joining two weeks before the first-ever intake of students started and what that meant was, I could become a core team member and build my role up from nothing”.

He added:

“Everything is so transitional, I always see things as chapters”

Justin’s final musical chapter is J. Nicholas. Justin most recently found a new, acoustic, soulful outlet for his songwriting and says he’s “matured naturally” and it’s “all connected to my growth at Tileyard”.

He said Tileyard has helped him to think about “all the things you think you need as a musician”. He added: “The stability of this community is really nice”.

Justin has become an integral part of the Tileyard community and is part of the beating heart of the student experience, offering expertise, technically and creatively.

He concluded with:

“At university, I was taught by Ciaran, Steve, Johan and Harry, our academic team, and now I’m working alongside them, and supporting them, I just think that makes for an amazing story.”

You can check out Justin’s latest studio session performing as J.Nicholas, here.

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