THE JULIAN PROJECT – #MUSIC INTERVIEW
by Robin Ross
IF YOU’RE A CREATIVE SOUL WHO LIKES A MIX OF SOMETHING DIFFERENT WELL, THEN I SUGGEST YOU LISTEN TO THE JULIAN DAY PROJECT!
JULIAN DAY IS A MAN ON A MISSION. HIS LOVE OF MUSIC AND HIS “NEVER” HOLD BACK ATTITUDE CERTAINLY MAKE HIS MUSIC A HUMOROUS, SERIOUS, PLEASURABLE, AND ECLECTIC BLEND FOR ALL.
I CERTAINLY DID NOT HAVE TO DO MUCH WRITING WITH THIS ARTICLE AS JULIAN (PHILIP WIKEL) IS A PUBLISHED WRITER HIMSELF. PLEASE READ AND ENJOY THIS MAN AS HE POURS OUT HIS STORY AND PERSONALITY. I HAVE CERTAINLY MARVELED OVER HIS MUSIC AND WRITINGS. ENJOY!!
“NY indie rock sound of the future.” - Nikolaos Liolios, IndieFunda Project
“Listening to The Julian Day’s catalog, I discovered that this was not a band that conformed to any traditional playbook. None of their songs are by any means traditional. While their eclecticism may not be everyone, it is part of the charm that makes this band worth listening to. It’s difficult to draw comparisons with any other artist, as The Julian Day has certainly created a sound they can call their own.” – Brad Madison, Soundvaults
“Strong distinctive sound and blend of west/east, old/new, melody/poetry … a real pleasure to listen to. Looking forward to hearing more.” – Greg Charles, A Nice Vibe
THE JULIAN DAY
Julian Day – Vocals, Electronic Composer
Felix August – Guitar, Percussion
Have any of your songs been published? (If so, by whom?)
Not really, we don’t have a publishing deal other than a non-exclusive contract with Tribe of Noise.
What is your music background?
It was on a backpacking trip to Europe that I decided I wanted to do something with the music that seemed to be bubbling up inside of me. When I got back, my Friend Dave and I made some garage recordings of my first 4 songs and soon after Dave decided to move Colorado to live with his mother. We had gone as far as naming ourselves “The Honest” or “Elvis Christ” or something like that. Magic happened when Dave and I collaborated and though I was very excited at the prospect of continuing in that vein, it was not to be. The funny thing is that the night Dave and I went out to toast to his new direction we met a drummer and a keyboardist. Strange the directions and random situations life throws at you. I remember feeling that this was a sign that Dave shouldn’t go but he was deadset on it and music was to take a backseat to college and my pursuit of my other dream; the writer’s dream of being a novelist. Looking back I realize I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of being a communicator through song as I’d yet to put my ego in check and might’ve been inclined to seek the “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” syndrome that steals the souls of so many of our greatest musicians.
I gave my only copy of those garage songs to a band called “Two Left Hands” in Santa Cruz while in college. My hope was that someone could make use of my songs as I couldn’t manage to learn the guitar and thought I’d just pass them along. They were playing in a smoky bar by the beach and I guess things got a little crazy that night cuz the lead singer’s girlfriend misplaced the tape and, with that, I figured music just wasn’t my direction.
With that said, I thank Dave for helping me to bring my songs into the world, however short-lived. Dave was, and I hope still is, a natural with the guitar. I haven’t heard from him in quite a while aside from a brief back and forth on Facebook a few years ago. He did show up for my wedding back in the late 90s but was unable to conjure a best man’s speech, which I’ve since taken as a sign that my marriage was ill-fated.
The music dream went away for a while but came back a couple of years ago after I finished my novel and when I found I could do much of my music composition on my own. While The Julian Day is primarily a one-man operation, it’s people like Dave and my son who’ve shined their light onto my dreams and eventually made them into a reality. It is because of them that I call The Julian Day a band as they, and others, are always with me when I’m in that beautiful zone that I call the creative act.
The Julian Day began recording immediately after the Winter Solstice of 2010 and posted our first song “Policy” on reverbnation during the first week of January, 2011. With the days growing longer, we felt something in the air. And then came the Arab Spring and The Julian Day were in what Shakespeare once called, “a fine frenzy rolling.”
Immersed at a young age in the songs of the great singer/songwriters of the 70s and the experimentation of 80s bands like New Order, U2 and Echo and The Bunnymen, we feel The Julian Day fuses the two to offer a wholly new sound for 2014 that amps it up while stripping it down. With The Julian Day you’ll find good songwriting mixed with just enough instrumentation to drive the songs along. Working with the idea that art is best when nothing can be added and nothing can be taken away, The Julian Day seeks to engage the listener head-on. Spare and spartanized, these songs have just the right amount of color and texture while offering brief lessons in the game of life.
I’ll never forget what Dave told me about songs that end with a slow fade out. He said it was a cop out and something like laziness that left musicians wondering how to close a song. It’s because of this, that I’ll never employ the slow fade and always strive to end each song with a bang, or even a whimper, but never, never ever, a slow fade. This also reminds me that Dave was vehemently opposed to using “untitled” to name any work of art. It’s tempting sometimes and I think I know why it’s used; creating mystery and all, but I have to agree with Dave that it feels a little pretentious and disingenuous.
“Name it and claim it” a neighbor once told me. “Name it and claim it.” Does it matter that my neighbor was a black woman and had a way of saying it that was so much cooler than I could ever hope to phrase it myself? At any rate, it’s good advice for a lot of things.
I’m now working diligently on a new EP, set tentatively, for release toward the end of this year. It’s a hell of a challenge to begin recording again after months on hiatus. A craftsman always wants to do himself one better each time he walks up to the canvas. And when you feel like you’ve already done your best work, besting your best is a hell of a test. So there’s a rhyme, maybe I can still put some words together. Aw hell, I’m just gonna have fun with it and see if I can string together a handful of 3 minute ditties.
I’ve not done any vocals yet but I have 3 or 4 nearly complete songs. I have lyrics for 3 and need to cough up lyrics for 1 or 2 more. I’ve written dozens of poems but not all translate into music. Good thing I don’t have a record label breathing down my neck.
I’m hoping to collaborate with some other like-minded folks, maybe for this EP or maybe later. For now I’d just like for everyone who’s supported the music of The Julian Day to know that I deeply appreciate all the love and support you’ve shown me and I look forward to offering you something, hopefully new and hopefully exciting some time in the near future. I, at the very least, hope not to hurt your ears.
What are your songs about?
Religion, Spirituality, Government, Searching for The Truth, Beauty, Humanity, Expression, Longing and sometimes just fun.
Do you write your own songs?
Yeah, I write all the songs. I’d never want to do a cover, maybe a collaboration with another artist but no covers.
Who are your musical influences?
Some I mentioned above but I’m really influenced by everything I see, hear and feel. Early U2, The Beatles and Coldplay have to be my favorites. And I’ve been listening to Lorde’s album quite bit lately. She’s amazing.
How do you describe your music to people?
Here’s an excerpt from the info section of one of our videos on youtube. It sort of gets at many of the things we’re trying to do:
We know we’re walking on eggshells with this one. Telling someone you don’t like their favorite band has become a more emotionally charged statement than telling them their government is corrupt. But strangely enough, many care more about what crazy thing Eminem might say than they do about what’s going on with the environment, education, or the treatment of non-violent protesters by the powers-that-be. For them “Revolutionary words have become entertainment” and it seems the general public has become so doped up on mainstream pop culture that quite a few are not seeing or don’t want to see what’s going terribly wrong in the US.
That said, one of our main concerns with this video is that hip hop/rap listeners will be offended. But the statement is really not that hip hop and rap are, in and of themselves negative, it’s just that the predominantly negative or otherwise shallow message (“Sex, Money, Power”) proliferated by many of it’s musicians and many other mainstream musicians serves only to rot the fabric of our culture and does nothing to edify it’s listeners. Why not harness all of that rage and anger into something constructive?
As Mutabaruka, one of our favorite reggae artists of the 80s, once said: “Revolutionary words have become entertainment.” So our question is: where do we go from here? How might we begin anew and truly create a world where we are equally as concerned with having a good time AND ensuring a bright future for generations to come.
And further, we believe musicians and artists should be about something, either overtly or covertly.
What image do you think your music conveys?
That we’re grumpy about everything (laughs). No really, we’re hoping to get people thinking about what’s going on around them. An awful lot of people have become isolated and withdrawn. You can see it the nearly complete lack of outcry against so many of the injustices in the world.
What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
Well, we need to finish what will be our first full-length album. There’s not much left to that and we’ve already begun a second one that we’re hoping to get out by the end of the year. What we’d really like to do is be full-time musicians. But that depends on our fans really because to do this full-time we need to sell records to eat.
What are your long-term career goals?
We’d like to do some extensive collaboration with other like-minded musicians. I feel like bringing some other perspectives into the mix.
How would you define the word “success”?
Success happens everyday. When a fan “likes” our Facebook page or another person adds themselves to our mailing list that’s a success. Small ones but success nonetheless. Of course we’d ultimate like to make a living at this but that’s sort of dependent on our own perseverance, the fans, and the universe.
What live performance experience have you had? (Any industry showcases?)
Nothing more than for a few friends. We’re not really interested in performing cuz we don’t see ourselves as performers just people who love to make music. I feel like most musicians do their best work in the studio any way.
What type of recording process did you use?
It’s all done in a small home studio. We wear a lot of hats.
Who produced your recording?
If you could spend a day with someone you admire who would it be and what would you do?
I think I’d like to play golf with Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and the Dalai Lama. That would be a good time.
Don’t buy our music and support CIA terrorism! They’re syphoning our profits digitally. Just stream it and enjoy!
The Julian Project Links: