Thursday, 28 February 2013

It's My Kind of Interview - Julia and The Deep Sea Sirens

We recently sat down (via the internet?) for a chat with Canberra's most prominent red-headed Julia... Julia and The Deep Sea Sirens' leading lady, Julia Johnson!  You might remember her... we gave sophomore LP Family Pets a review earlier in the week.

Interview by Matt Bond

You're currently embarking on an east coast tour in support of sophomore album Family Pets. The album's a fascinating collection of alt-folk songs that you can tell you've given a whole lot of loving to. How do you feel about taking the album on the road and introducing it to new listeners?

Julia: Family Pets has felt like a secret we've been sitting on, but we've been desperate to tell. Playing live shows is going to feel really satisfying, like being able to finally tell the secret to anyone who'll listen. Coming from Canberra, it's a small scene, so the other aspect we look forward to is playing to people who haven't heard of us before. I rarely get nervous before playing anymore, but new crowds give me this huge nervous rush and I always give a better show when I'm a little nervous.

If you could pick just one song on Family Pets that you think perfectly sums up Julia and The Deep Sea Sirens and what they bring to the table, which would it be and why?

Julia: Hmmm. Title track, Family Pets, is the best song in my opinion. I think sonically, Eyes So Blue touches on a lot of our sounds though - pop, folk, a little country twang, intensity and harmonies. Eyes So Blue also features my trademark emotion, longing and unluckiness in love.

Q. Do you prefer to write lyrics based on fact or fiction or are you happy to blend the two together?

Julia: I'm definitely in the 'fact' camp. Salt Clay Creek is one of the only fictional songs I've ever written. For me, the more honest and in touch with myself I can be during the songwriting process, the more potential there is for it to be unique. Sometimes if a song is written over a long period, it might become a song based on a few people rather than just one situation. Perhaps that's just a sign that Canberra is so plagued with cute fellas, I can't concentrate on crushing on one at a time!?

Q. I loved the quirky video you released last year for Little Surprises. What do you think makes for an entertaining and engaging music video and what are some of your personal favourites?

Julia: I love quirky videos, especially ones which tell a story. I have a terrible internet connection, so for me to watch a whole video, I need to have a reason to buffer it all the way to the end! I love videos which give new angles to the meaning of songs too. I think our upcoming video for Adeleine will do that - we're about to film it. It can be easy on a low budget to take the easy way out, and basically make a slightly artistic modelling showreel rather than a proper clip. I'm very lucky to have a friend who's a great writer, so even though our budget is $0, we've managed to develop a story that questions the angle from which the song is written. This all sounds very serious, but is quickly off-set by the huge amount of baking involved... I shall say no more!

Q. You hail from the nation's capital; Canberra! What do you think of the local live music scene? What's your favourite venue to perform in, who are you favourite local acts and what separates Canberra from other Australian music scenes (other than the fact it's your hometown!)?

Julia: I love the scene in Canberra, it can be hard to find, but it's bubbling away just under the surface. We play in venues, but we also have to be imaginative to find somewhere to play sometimes. There are bands that play in backyards, verandahs, the burnt out Stromlo Observatory telescope building, we recently did a guerilla gig in the middle of the city park. A fortnight ago some friends of mine discovered a hardcore festival in a garage down the street. 


Q. If you could take part in a songwriting session with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Julia: Gosh! I'm still glowing from my session with Wally de Backer and Adalita last year through TripleJ Unearthed, I can't think of who next! OK. Jonathan Richman from Modern Lovers would definitely be up there. He's a ridiculously versatile writer, and I've always felt that he oozes coolness.

Q. It's cliché to ask, but I'm going to do it anyway... what's next for both Julia Johnson and Julia and The Deep Sea Sirens?

Julia: I'm glad you asked, actually! I've just written a puppet show with live music, about me and my childhood pony called Pearl's Ode, which is showing as part of You Are Here festival in Canberra in March (yes, we are crazy, touring as well as premiering a production.) It sounds like a kid's show but it's really not. It's a show for anyone who has pets, horses or friends of any sort, really.

Julia and The Deep Sea Sirens are on tour in March and April...

03.03.13, 1:30pm @ The Worker's Club - Melbourne 
28.03.13 - 01.04.13 @ National Folk Festival - Canberra
05.03.13 @ Yours and Owls - Woolongong
07.03.13 @ The Lass O'Gowrie - Newcastle
21.03.13 @ Ric's Bar - Brisbane

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