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INTERVIEW: Julia Holter

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Here Today: You recently released your third album, ‘Loud City Song’. Where did this record begin?

Julia Holter: There was a song that I was going to put on ‘Ekstasis’ that didn’t really work, and I decided that it needed to have a whole new record behind it, and that was what ‘Loud City Song’ became. That song is now called “Maxim’s II” and I made this new record for it.

 

HT: So is “Maxim’s II” the centrepiece of the album?

JH: Not necessarily, but if people are looking for some sort of centrepiece conceptually, which I don’t think you have to, then I guess it could be, but I wanted to make a record that didn’t have to be about the concept, and could just be a record to listen to and experience, and make your own judgements about.

 

HT: Was it difficult to go from writing in your room by yourself to having an ensemble of musicians around you?

JH: No, it was really great. It was way better than doing it alone because I was able to get help doing the things that I don’t know how to do very well, like recording drums for instance. People who have years of experience doing that do it so well. It makes a huge different having players play the parts, instead of just me playing everything on keyboard.

Julia Holter live

HT: When I listened to the record I got a sense that it was about feelings of intimidation in the city. Was that intentional?

JH: Yes, it’s kind of like the individual feeling bombarded by society.

HT: Is the city an intimidating place to be then?

JH: For me it’s not, I love the city, but it was more abstract. The city was a way to physically place society.

HT: Like a metaphor?

JH: Yeah exactly. The record’s more a story than a political commentary. It’s sort of like a coming of age story. There are elements of contemporary celebrity culture, like on “Maxim’s II”. I think that’s a kind of a tangent, but I do think that’s a way to look at it. So it’s not specifically anything about society, it’s not like I made a record about the problems of society, it’s more just a coming of age story about an individual in society making different decisions, like running away from society or staying in it. You can interpret it any way you want. In Gigi’s case, she’s expected to become a courtesan by her family, and she doesn’t want to do that. It could be anything; in the record there are different hints about what it could be, like being chased by paparazzi, or you could be a celebrity that’s always being spied on.

 

HT: There are lots of different emotions, atmospheres and sounds on the record. Why did you choose to put them all on one album?

JH: I don’t think I thought much about it. I basically had a story, and I let myself go free with whatever music fit each song. I wasn’t thinking, “well this song is going to be jazzy, and this one will be a soaring, dream experience song.” I have an idea of what’s going on in the song, and the music emerges out of that. It was all in my demos. Everything you hear atmosphere-wise was present in my demos when I made them at home, in a much cruder form than they are now. So it just sort of comes out of you and you don’t have a way of explaining it. I get people asking me “why is it jazzy?” and I have no explanation. It was like that in the demos; it’s not as if I got jazz players and it suddenly became jazzy, it just was. It wasn’t a conscious decision or style.

 

HT: So the story is what really guides you when you’re writing the music?

JH: Yeah, a lot of times it is, whether it’s for the album, or even on ‘Ekstasis’, which doesn’t have a concept, it’s just a collection of different songs, united by certain general things, each song has something of a story or a situation between characters. I build off that and don’t think about the musical genres.

HT: Do you think you get a better song if it’s naturally crafted?

JH: I think it’s the only way I can write. I don’t think about, “is this the right way?” it’s just the only way for me. I mean, there are always exceptions. I can probably think of a some times when I listened to a piece of music and then wanted to work off some musical ideas. “Maxim’s I” for instance was more complicated. When I wrote it I already had “Maxim’s II” which was then just “Maxim’s”, and then one day I was playing the keyboard and I really liked some chords that I was playing. It just came to me that he lyrics for “Maxim’s” could work for those chords as well. So sometimes it does just start with the music and the music creates the story itself.

 

HT: And do you have a favourite song in particular from the album?

JH: I don’t have one favourite, it changes. Recently it’s been “Maxim’s I”. It’s a really tricky one, and it took a long time to make, to mix and produce because the interaction between the acoustic instruments and the electronic was really tricky to master. Not literally, but figuratively, to get them balanced.

 

HT: Do you always write your music in the same frame of mind?

JH: Generally I just have to be really clear headed. If I’m being very creative I like the mornings, but if I want to get some technical stuff done the nighttime is good because I get kind of obsessive. But I do write in front of the computer sometimes, and I get distracted. I shift back and forth and walk around outside. It’s not like I’m sitting there for hours and hours.  But I can’t be drunk when I write, whereas I like having one drink when I perform.

Julia Holter live

HT: So I hear you used to do tutoring part time.

JH: Yeah, it was a job and I worked in High Schools. So many high school students today are so hip, they’re into all different types of music. It was very inspiring to work with some of them on music, recording etc.

 

HT: Did they ever ask you for advice?

JH: Yeah definitely. It takes a long time to get their trust, but when my music first started to get attention, it was really inspiring to them. They actually respected me more after that, which was funny. I think I was more of a mentor than a teacher. A tutor is always in that awkward, in-between place. College applications or life questions, homework, I helped them with that. Or even showing them cool music to listen to, and writing music.

 

HT: Did they ever inspire your writing?

JH: Well I didn’t write songs about them, but like everything in my life, it comes through somehow, indirectly. You have emotions and interactions in life, and that’s the only way you can be a writer. To draw on those experiences.

 

Loud City Song is out now on Domino Records. (Photos by Tom Spray)

Roskilde Festival 2013 | Bands to catch

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With the weekend fast approaching Roskilde Festival is just around the corner and we’ve compiled a final list of “must see” bands to catch during the festival. Our Roskilde Festival mini series continues tomorrow with the release of The Woken Trees adding to our current releases of Ice Cream Cathedral and Schultz and Forever.


Ice Cream Cathedral (Pavilion Junior // 14:30 // 30.06.2013)


Broke (Pavilion Junior // 17:30 // 30.06.2013)


Schultz and Forever (Pavilion Junior // 14:30 // 01.07.2013)


 (Pavilion Junior // 22:00 // 01.07.2013)


The Woken Trees (Pavilion Junior // 17:30 // 03.07.2013)


Ghost Venue (Apollo // 19:30 // 03.07.2013)


Baby In Vain (Pavilion Junior // 22:00 // 03.07.2013)


Savages (Pavilion // 20:00 // 04.07.2013)


Animal Collective (Arena // 22:30 // 04.07.2013)


Metz (Pavilion // 18:00 // 05.07.2013)


EL-P (Cosmopol // 20:00 // 05.07.2013)


Crystal Castles (Arena // 01:30 // 05.07.2013)


Parquet Courts (Pavilion // 15:00 // 06.07.2013)


The National (Orange // 19:30 // 06.07.2013)


Sigur Ros (Arena // 00:00 // 06.07.2013)


James Blake (Orange // 14:30 // 07.07.2013)


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Orange // 16:45 // 07.07.2013)


Queens Of The Stone Age (Orange // 19:00 // 07.07.2013)

 

Øresundsfestival 2013 | Bands to catch

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Last weekends SPOT Festival kick started the festival season and this coming weekend Here Today’s team will be at Øresundsfestival in Malmö, Sweden to give extensive photo coverage of sights, sounds and Swede’s. We’ve put together of some must see acts of the weekend……

Friday 10th May

The Eclectic Moniker – 19:00 @ Debaser Inne
Fallulah – 19:15 @ Kulturbolaget (KB)
Kashmir – 21:45 @ Kulturbolaget (KB)
Folkeklubben – 21:45 @ Far I Hatten
When Saints Go Machine – 23:20 @ Debaser (Inne)

Saturday 11th May

Broke – 19:00 @ Debaser (Inne)
Agnes Obel – 21:30 @ Johanneskyrkan
– 21:45 @ Debaser (Inne)
Iceage – 22:30 @ Babel

VIEW THE FULL LINE UP HERE

SPOT Festival | Bands to catch

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SPOT Festival is taking place in Aarhus, DK this weekend (starting today!), at Here Today we’ve compiled a list of 5 must see bands for each day, have a great weekend folks!

Friday 3rd May

Broke – 19:30 Radar
Broken Twin – 21:00 Lille Sal
 – 22:30 SCC This
Schultz And Forever – 23:00 Lille Sal
When Saints Go Machine – 23:30 SCC That

Saturday 4th May

Kites and Komets – 16:15 SCC This
DEATH VALLEY SLEEPERS – 16:30 Atlas
Ice Cream Cathedral – 17:15 SCC That
Cody – 18:15 SCC This
Complicated Universal Cum – 00:30 Voxhall

 


Schultz and Forever – Sociopathic Youth

Roskilde Festival 2013 | The full line up

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A few weeks ago we wrote up an article ‘The Line Up So Far….’, listing must see/recommended bands that had already been announced for Roskilde Festival 2013:

Sigur Ros
King Krule
Animal Collective
Savages
Crystal Castles
The National
Danny Brown
Highasakite

Unfortunately our “wildcard” Daft Punk wasn’t booked after all, not that it came as a shock given the headliners were already picked. No doubt they’ll bring ‘Random Access Memory’ to Roskilde (and the rest of the world) next year.

Anyway, now that we’ve seen the full line up heres an update on a few additional names we’ve added to our list of must see acts at this years festival………

 

Metz

 

EL-P

 

Schultz and Forever

 

Bobby Womack

 

Simian Mobile Disco

 

Iceage

 

Queens Of  The Stone Age

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

 

Check out the rest of the line up HERE

 

Roskilde Festival 2013 | The Line Up So Far….

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In light of Roskilde Festival’s announcement this morning, at Here Today we thought we’d go to the trouble of compiling a list of the “must see” acts that’ll be performing at this years festival. The full line up is set to be released on the 18th April 2013 but until then heres a list of some of the bands we highly recommend seeing.

Sigur Ros – One of the most highly anticipated acts to play Roskilde this year and an early announcement for the festival organisers. After the release of their 6th studio album ‘Valtari’ the band went on a world wide tour playing most major cities across Europe only to miss out Copenhagen (the highest populated city of Icelander’s outside of Iceland), meaning they had something special up their sleeve and after just announcing they’ll be releasing ‘Kveikur’ in June 2013, their set on the Orange Stage is set up to be an extremely special concert.

Stage prediction: Orange

 

King Krule – Playing under the moniker of King Krule, 18 year old, Archy Marshall paints a picture in his songs of what its like to grow up in this generation in London, UK. He’s been labeled as the Joe Strummer of the 21st century and was recently nominated in the prestigious BBC Sound Of 2013.

Stage prediction: Odeon

 

Animal Collective – Trippy projections, inflatable caves, giant fluorescent teeth….all feature in the world Animal Collective have created themselves on their latest tour. The experimental psychedelic outfit will bring a similar visual set to Roskilde health permitting, they’ve recently had to cancel their US tour due to illness. Fingers crossed!

Stage prediction: Arena

 

Savages – London based all female post-punk/rock band Savages formed in 2011 and quickly rised from the underground scene having gained a reputation with their intense raw live shows. They’re set to release their debut album late 2013.

Stage prediction: Pavilion

 

Crystal Castles – Over the past 5 years electro duo Crystal Castles have been creating festival dance anthems but are better known for their live shows, you’ll generally find Ethan Kath hunched over his synths while Alice Glass is either found reclusively curled up onstage sipping on a bottle of vodka between performing epileptic dance moves or stage diving.

Stage prediction: Arena

 

The National – Last time the band played Roskilde Festival in 2010 to an over flowing tent at Arena, 2013 will surely see them play to the masses at the Orange stage. They’re a band that have seen an increase in popularity since releasing a string of critically acclaimed albums including ‘Alligator’, ‘Boxer’, ‘High Violet’ and are due to release ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ in late May, featuring guest appearances from Sufjan Stevens, St Vincent, Sharon Van Etten and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. Perhaps we’ll see a collaboration at Roskilde Festival?

Stage prediction: Orange

 

Danny Brown – Exuberant Detroit rapper Danny Brown released his debut album ‘The Hybrid’ in 2010 launching him into the lime light of the US rap scene, his follow up ‘XXX’ was voted #1 hip-hop album of the year by Spin. He’s collaborated with several rap artists including A$AP Rocky and Das Racist. On his next album ‘Old’ (scheduled for release late summer) A$AP Rocky has returned the favour collaborating on said album along with Schoolboy Q, Ab-soul, Kitty and Purity Ring.

Stage prediction: Cosmopolitan

 

Highasakite – After already breaking out of their native Norway, the early part of 2013 has seen the band playing world wide showcases taking them to Eurosonic, By: Larm, SXSW etc. They’re debut EP ‘In And Out Of Weeks’ was release at the start of March, lead single from the EP “Indian Summer” and received praise from both Pitchfork and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.

Stage prediction: Pavilion

 

THE WILDCARD! 

Daft Punk – There was a lot of speculation in January 2013 as to whether Daft Punk will be playing live shows in 2013, several fake announcements were made tipping them to play at Primavera, Wireless and Roskilde to name a few. They appear to remain at the top of most festival goers wish list. Since then theres been a lot of static, until last week when they announced the release of a new album ‘Random Access Memories’ which is set to be released 21st May 2013. If they manage to book the French electronic duo this is what to expect………….

Stage prediction: Orange

 

INTERVIEW: Schultz and Forever

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Schultz and Forever have been nominated in the ‘Politiken IBYEN Awards 2013’ in the category ‘The Year’s Upcoming’ which shines light on 5 Danish acts that have gained hype over the past year and are about to break. Below is Schultz and Forever’s interview video made by the Here Today team for said award which also features two tracks from his recent session with us both ‘Half A Man’ and ‘Sociopathic Youth’.

Also nominated in the same category Jetsi Kain, you can view the session we recorded with them last summer HERE

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