- Mon, 2008-06-23 15:40
Brooklyn born Julian Velard's classic songwriting has already seen the twenty-something compared to legends Andrew Gold, Van Morrison and Harry Nilsson by media and tastemakers last year. After receiving rave reviews for his limited EP The Movies Without You on indie Lucky Number last autumn, Julian's first official single Jimmy Dean and Steve McQueen has recently been released. We caught up with the man himself to chat about everything from writing lyrics, his favourite summer songs and his earliest musical memories.
"I Like Music because… it makes me feel funny inside. Like hugging the radiator after a cold, wet day of playing in the snow.” Julian Velard
ILM: Your new single Jimmy Dean and Steve McQueen is out now. Can you give us your own personal description of the tracks whole vibe?
Julian: The song is about nostalgia. I wrote it around a pretty dark time in America, in the dead of one of NYC's hottest summers. I found myself in cool, dark theaters, trying to escape the heat and world. Films offer me a reprieve. For some reason I only completely let go with a bucket of popcorn in my lap. When I'm watching a movie, I'm always thinking, 'Why am I here and now and not there and then? Why am I not Steve McQueen in Cincinnati Kid? Why can't my life be like that?' It's from that feeling that the song was born.
ILM: You have recently played a number of UK live dates. How have they been?
Julian: Great! UK audiences are all about the music. In the States, people want you to be their friend on stage. Here people make up their mind whether they like you during the first song. And if you wander too much with yer banter, they tell you to shut up and play. Sets are short and sweet. Give em the hits!
ILM: Can you describe the Julian Velard process of writing and recording such good music?
Julian: I sit down with the best milk and cereal money can buy, eat the whole box, then put my thumb in the air and see which way the wind blows. It's not quite as glamorous, but that's pretty much the writing process. Completely random from one moment to the next, looking for an opening. Recording is hell. 5 minutes of fun, then 2 hours trying to make it work. Going in the studio is deep psychological diving and I look to do it as seldom as possible.
ILM: You have been championed for your writing and your lyrics. What are some of your key sources of inspiration?
Julian: I like to write in a conversational tone. I try not to say something in a song that I wouldn't say in real life. What makes a conversation great is the context, and I think it's the same in a song. Putting two lines together that have nothing to do with each other can make for something interesting.
ILM: Loads of people are using the Internet these days and getting their music out there before even getting a record deal. How has the Internet affected you?
Julian: I got my deal off myspace, so I would say it's helped me a lot. I'm a big geek so I've always been into cool websites, networking platforms, yada yada. I put a lot of time and energy into my presence on the web. I always think about what I wanna see, and try to do that. Check my website out as proof.
ILM: You are still fairly early in your career but you must have learnt a lot so far. Have you got any advice for others looking to come into music industry?
Julian: Become a doctor. Or a banker. And if you really must be a musician, develop a thick skin. Take in what everybody says to you, keep the relevant bits and ignore the rest. 95% of people's opinions are nonsense. It's a fact.
ILM: What are the future plans for Julian Velard?
Julian: Become extremely wealthy, buy my own personal Island, quit society and breed a race of roadies.
ILM: Can you describe your favourite place on Earth?
Julian: My bed with lots of movies, video games, and a cool girl.
ILM: What is your earliest musical memory?
Julian: The theme song to Reading Rainbow. It's a kid's program hosted by Levar Burton (the guy from Roots and Star Trek: Next Generation). That and the theme song from the TV show Benson. If I could point to what made me want to do music, it's those two things. And of course Michael Jackson Thriller. I love that record.
ILM: If you could create your ultimate summer time playlist, which tracks would you include?
Julian: If You Want Me To Say by Sly and The Family Stone, everything of Songs In The Key of Life, Talking Book, Innervisions, and Fullfullingness' First Finale by Stevie Wonder. I Can't Go For That by Hall and Oates, Sweet Thing by Van Morrison, Got Me Workin' Day and Night by Michael Jackson, Jimmy Dean & Steve McQueen by Julian Velard (wink wink!), Trains To Brazil by Guillemots, Joanna by Kool and The Gang, Les Fleurs by Minnie Riperton... I could go on for hours. Seriously.
ILM: What’s in your CD player right now? (What are you listening to for pleasure?)
Julian: Tangled Up by Girls Aloud. I'm a cheeseball, I know.