Daltonians is the brainchild of LA / Cannes based multi-instrumentalist and singer songwriter, Julie Jay. She opened shows for Sharon Van Etten, Meat Puppets, Magmana, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, Pearl and the Beard.. and officially played SXSW last year.
Musicmuso caught up with Julie and asked her a bunch of questions about life, music and Donald Duck impressions, here's how we got on....
Please introduce yourself and your music in one sentence....
Julie Jay aka Daltonians, making indie Folk Rock music?
You’re called Daltonians how did you come about choosing this name?
I thought it was beautiful word. And sometimes I have the feeling I see things in B&W only.
‘Disappear is the first release from your EP ‘Young & Tragic’ why did you choose this track? What is the inspiration behind this?
I wrote this song about 3 years ago. I had recorded several versions of it, and none were ever quite right and I had given up on it. 2 months ago, I took a break from another song I was working on and decided to mess with this one. I recorded it under an hour. I was happy with the results so I picked it as the 1st single. The song is about how people sometimes slowly vanish into a relationship, losing their own identity, and letting the other person take control over everything. Something like that.
Where did you record your EP ‘Young & Tragic’ and what made you choose that studio?
My home studio. In Brooklyn and the south of France. For financial reasons but also for time freedom.
You were diagnosed with autoimmune disease, which has been removed, but caused severe issues to you. How would you describe yourself before surgery and how did that change you after all the terrible issues that occurred?
I've always been a "seize the day" kind of person, but I guess it made me aware even more of how fragile life is and how we should do things we've always wanted to do as soon as we can, because we never know what can happen tomorrow.
You mentioned you no longer talk about what happened when you flatlined after surgery, why is this?
Maybe because it’s a personal experience and I am pretty sure that the things we see are things we wish to see unconsciously. Whatever you see applies to who you are and what you believe in. I think.
What helped you get through this?
Family and friends. Books, movies, and music, running and yoga as soon as I could get on my feet.
You opened for the awesome Meat Puppets among many other bands & musicians, what were these experiences like?
Its always surreal but also feels kind of natural. Like, when you decide to become a musician, you need to be armed with the sickest and strongest optimism. You need to tell yourself that what you want for yourself as an artist is not to make your dreams come true, but achieve goals. Be a good performer, a good songwriter and so on. Once you start playing with amazing bands, it shows you’re on the right path I think.
What is the first instrument you learnt to play and what song did you play?
The drums. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana)
Whilst listening to ‘Let Go’ there was a powerful sensation arising, are you aware of how emotive your music is to the listener?
I wasn’t aware until I started noticing people cry during certain songs at my shows. It’s very humbling.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
“Be a good person” by my parents. And also “Seize the day” by John Keating.
What do you love about Cannes? What do you love about L.A?
I didn't like LA at first. But it really grew on me and by getting to know it better, I noticed it was a lot like the South of France, and it made me feel like I was home.
Would you rather live with a dog that sings lullabies or a gorilla that can do sign language? Explain your answer
A Gorilla. I like communicating, and signs is just one of the most beautiful languages.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released?
This is a really hard question to answer to. But I guess I'll go with the one that I've been listening ever since I was a kid, and sill listen to a lot. Neil Young's “Harvest”.
Tell me a fascinating fact about yourself?
I can do a pretty good impression of Donald Duck, and Bob Dylan's voice (not simultaneously, although that would be sick!)... How fascinating is that?!
Do you own a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
Bryan Adams’ Unplugged
Is there something you would like to tell each of the band members that you haven’t told them before?
I am the only member for now, but yeah: I’d like you to stop talking out loud, you seem like a crazy person!
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
“Positively 4th street” (Bob Dylan) because I wish I had the guts to write lyrics like that. This song is amazing in every way.
First gig you ever went to?
Leo Férré. (The french Bob Dylan), I went with my parents when I was a kid, just before he died. It was amazing.
What is your favourite venue to play at?
I really love The Bellhouse in Brooklyn.
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as party guests?
Charles Darwin, Patti Smith, Oliver Sacks
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Who would you like to know has your music on their iPod, MP3 or cassette walkman?
David Lynch, Amy Goodman, Marina Abramovich, Sarah Silverman, Diablo Cody, Jeff Daniels, and Salman Rushdie AND Drew Barrymore.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
A mix of Esther Greenwood, Jay Gatsby, Holly Sargis, Ally McBeal, and Harold Crick.
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
The day this will happen will be the day humans have been eradicated. People just need to be more kind and tolerant with each other. Once we’ll achieve that, maybe there will be hope.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
Finishing both EPs (another one is scheduled in the Winter) and tour in the Fall.
We allowed Julie a quick break before steaming back in with another bunch of quick filer questions....
Coffee or Tea? Both.
Coke or Pepsi? Neither.
Drum machine or the real deal? Vintage drum kit.
Mac or PC? Mac.
Taco or Burger? Pizza.
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? Ozzy.
CD or Vinyl? Vinyl.
Car or Motorbike? Bike.
Acoustic or electric? Electric.
Shower or Bath? Shower.
Tattoos or Piercings? Tattoos.
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino? Both. Come on!
God or Google? Amy Poehler.
Musicmuso would like to thank Julie for taking time out on a Sunday afternoon to sit and read through our questions, we know it's not easy and we really do appreciate the time and effort that you spent on it. Please be sure to look out for future gigs on her website and get along to show your support. If you mention that you read about her on musicmuso.com, she may buy you a drink (I'm not making any promises)....
Interview by Mark Wincott