A Chat With: Julia Jacklin
Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin has had a year as incredible as the songs she writes...releasing her debut album, touring nonstop, and being announced on massive festival lineups all over the world, like Glastonbury and Spendour In The Grass. Her music blends her rich and haunting vocals with retro-tinged folk music, and a pinch of twang. In the midst of her current North American tour, Julia took some time to chat with us about her first album and what's in store for her this year. Get to know Julia Jacklin now before she takes summer 2017 by a storm.
Thumbnail Photo Credit: Scarlett Mckee
ANCHR Magazine: Congrats on releasing your debut album last year... it’s a big accomplishment! What have been some highlights for you since you’ve released it?
Julia Jacklin: I’ve kind of been on tour since I released it. So I’ve done a lot of things. Playing music festivals has been cool. We played...it’s a pretty big bill back home, it’s a festival called Laneway Festival. We got to do that, which was like a teenage dream come true. We did Tiny Desk two days ago, which was also on the list of dreams.
AM: Cool! Talking more about your music, you wrote, starred in, and directed the video for “Leadlight." Was that your first experience directing?
JJ: The first one I did was “Pool Party” actually. I released that quite a long time before I released the record. That was my first experience, just kind of coming from having to make it work. I needed a music video and had to make it happen.
AM: Do you have any interest or background with films, or was it really that you just needed someone to direct it and stepped into that role yourself?
JJ: I definitely have an interest...I definitely have a lot to learn in that regards. I’m a person who has grown up watching many things. It’s something that I ended up really enjoying, but honestly it wasn’t like an “Oh, I really want to do this all on my own.” It was like I just had to do it.
AM: Do you have any all-time favorite music videos that you were inspired by when you were planning what you were going to do for your own music videos?
JJ: Probably my favorite is a Grimes clip, called “Oblivion.” Have you seen that one, where she’s in like a football field? It’s really cool. I wish it was my music video.
AM: Cool! So then as far as the live show, what have been some of your favorite songs from the album to play live since you’ve played a bunch of shows since the release? Are there any that have sort of changed and transformed in the live sense?
JJ: Yeah, they’ve all kind of changed over time. They’re quite a lot bigger than on the record now. I’ve kind of had a few---just cause I’m touring a lot in many different places, I’ve had a few line up changes in the band. That’s always changing the songs in a way. I definitely hated a couple of songs a few months ago and now I’m enjoying them. It kind of changes all the time. I’ve been really enjoying playing “Leadlight” lately. Which I was always really scared of for some reason. It was always the one song in the set that I was thinking I was gonna screw up.
AM: So you’ve had a few different line up changes with touring different countries. What’s the current set up on this tour?
JJ: I’ve got Eddie from back home. He’s played with me the whole time. Then I have Ian and Ben from Toronto, who joined a couple of weeks ago. They are fantastic. We’ve been really getting to know each other.
AM: Nice! Any random outings or fun stories from this tour so far?
JJ: It's been a very chill tour so far. The whole first part was driving up the west coast of America, and getting to see the Red Woods. Like staying in really secluded Air BnBs, and just feeling like a real tourist for once. Instead of like a really tired musician just coming in and out of cities and never really seeing anything. I felt like I really got to see some of America this time.
AM: Any cities coming up that you’re excited to go to on this tour?
JJ: We’re going to a few places on this tour we’ve never been to, like Raleigh and Atlanta. So I’m just keen to see what the deal is, what’s going on. I’m pretty excited about playing in New Orleans. I’ve been there a few times as a backpacker, just wandering around, soaking it all in. It’s a nice turn of life events that I’m gonna play there.
AM: That should be great. I hear a lot of musicians say they like playing there because the crowd is really receptive.
JJ: Totally, yeah.
AM: Have there been any culture shocks for you playing in America? It sounds like you’ve been here before even as a backpacker, but anything being a musician that is completely different here than back home?
JJ: It's very different to back home, as there’s so many more cities and venues to play. In Australia it’s like you tour for a week and you’ve pretty much covered it. Really long distances between places as well, and you have to fly. That’s super different- being in a new place every four hours that seems to have a pretty different culture, like food-wise and the music scene seems to change a lot between each state. It’s a completely different experience than back home. It kind of feels like you’re in different countries every couple of days.
AM: What’s been the most surprising show, like where the crowd or city was different to what you thought it would be like?
JJ: We just played in Montreal actually, and that was quite different to what I was expecting. Just a very a vocally appreciative crowd. They were yelling a lot at me, but nice things. Kind of throughout the whole set. They were really into it.
AM: So kind of circling back, do you have anyone who inspired you to start making music? Both musical and nonmusical, what first inspired you to start writing and playing an instrument?
JJ: I guess my friend to be honest. My friend Liz, who I got to know when I was 18. She was a massive fan of like Annie DiFranco and she had a classical guitar. She used to do really cool finger picking, and I was like I really want to be just like you. So I bought a classical guitar and started doing exactly what she was doing. We still play music together. She’s been the biggest thing for me in the beginning. The first band I was in was with her, and she’s just someone I really looked up to.
AM: Very cool. So are there any new albums or bands that you’re listening to a lot?
JJ: I’ve been listening to Mitski’s new record a lot. That’s been a big favorite. I’ve just discovered Cass McCombs. I’m very late to the bandwagon on that, but I’ve been enjoying listening.
AM: So then last thing, you’re on the Splendour in the Grass line up. It’s a big Australian festival and your first time playing it right?
JJ: Yeah the first time, it feels really good.
AM: Awesome, so anyone else on the line up you’re hoping to check out?
JJ: Well we have to fly straight to LA to play FYF Fest. So it’s one of those things where it’s like oh cool there’s all these great people playing, but we have to play and leave straight away to get to the airport. Which is usually the case it seems with music festivals once you start playing them. So I’m choosing not to look at the lineup and when people play so I don’t get disappointed.
AM: Anything else you’re looking forward to this year?
JJ: We’re moving to Spain in a month, doing the European Festival circuit, doing like Green Man, Glastonbury, and Primavera. So I’m really looking forward to that. Summer time festival life.
AM: Very cool. Are you writing new material on tour?
JJ: Yeah I have been. We had quite a lot of down time at the beginning of this tour, so hopefully I’ll have something new soon.