Hapless Actuality Theater Pop
Julia Holter Bio:
Julia Shammas Holter is a classically-trained keytarist from Echo Park. After infiltrating Human Ear Music headquarters dressed as an intern, she wrote and recorded her own release on the label.
Her music is witty, surreal and optimistic. She plays without sarcasm in the terrains that divide sentimentality, passion, and control. Her songs are written instinctively, and treated with an off-kilter fastidiousness, working orchestral variety from minimal instrumentation. Her singing voice is crystalline either like sugar or jewelry.
Julia has an unusual fascination with thought and art of the middle ages. Arcane poetry and mystical saints adorn her music, as well as her faux-naif take on medieval figurative art.
Julia has performed with Super Creep band, Ariel Pink and Human Ear Music at the American Apparel Mystery House. She also composes and performs for an ensemble of Indian hand-pumped harmoniums.
Hello, how are you?
What are you currently listening to?
Today I think I heard John Dowland, Elvis, Wu-Tang Clan, and Ariel Pink. Everyday is different I suppose, it is whatever the radio brings to me, my students bring to me, anything.
When you began writing music did you have an idea of the sound you were trying to achieve?
Interesting question! Actually yes, I think I did and it took me a long time to figure out how to get that sound. Mainly it had to do with letting myself do whatever I wanted to get there. And also to stop having an idea of the sound I was trying to achieve and have an idea of an IMAGE I was trying to achieve through sound. Or something less direct, so to allow myself freedom to experiment.
I kind of get the sense that early 4AD and Laurie Anderson may have been influences of yours, would you agree?
Actually I don't know what early 4AD is, except I would imagine it might be Cocteau Twins? which I just recently heard for the first time. I really like it! I also don't know much Laurie Anderson, but what I've heard I like.
Are your live shows more about improv or is everything specifically laid out?
It always used to be laid out, because I used to loop things a lot more intricately. These days, I play it like a folk singer--just play the (digital--unless there is an acoustic) piano and sing. I like it because it allows me freedom to be more expressive and I don't feel held down by the pressure of timing issues with digital technology. Nowadays I am not planning my sets as much. I practice for them just as much, but I don't need to plan everything out so intensely. I can perform the song I feel like performing. I think it was a matter of time before I got to that point. But I will always want to be changing it up. I really want to find other performers to play my songs with, ultimately. That is the ideal.
If you could tour with any two bands of your choice whom would it be with?
I don't know! I've never even been on my own tour so I can't tell who I would want to tour with. I've always toured with friends. I always would want to know them personally.
Got any side projects/collabs coming up?
Who was your favorite new artist of 2011?
I don't know!
You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
This really terrifies me. I don't know. I know if I was forced to only be able to listen to one of my favorites for my whole life, I would start to hate it. I would not listen to it. If you're wondering what one of my recent favorites is though, that I listen to all the time, Bryan Ferry's "Boys and Girls".
Are you living your dream?
I am happy and grateful for all that I have. I could do better for myself as a professional musician though, since I barely make any money from my music. I am working on that. Hopefully, that will improve. My jobs right now are gratifying though--I work with youth, in after school programs and arts programs.
Julia Holter is currently (yet another) amazing talent that is going (somewhat) unnoticed, you should do yourself a favor and get her debut album NOW...