|ROCKWiRED iNTERViEWS FiFTH NATiON
CREATiVE SPARKThis could be the beginning of a beautiful musical partnership! Singer/guitarist KING JULIA abandoned her pursuit of a degree in Biology and shifted her priorities toward songwriting Ė a practice she had put on hold due to practicality. The British-born MUSIC READís feel for percussion was first felt when he heard MICHAEL JACKSON. After traveling the world and the seven seas as a military brat, READ settled in Austin, Texas Ė a town famed for its embrace of all kinds of music. At almost the same time, the California-based JULIA felt a pull from the Eastern direction. The City of Austin not only proved to be the ideal nesting ground for their musical ambitions. It also proved to be the ideal backdrop for the burgeoning romance between MUSIC and JULIA. As FIFTH NATION, the sparks Ė both musical and romantic - are captured on their debut CD FLIGHT Ė a wicked brew combining JULIAís stormy delivery and earth conscious observances with MUSICís exhilarating percussion. ďIt was exciting to work with someone who is so talented.Ē says KING JULIA of working with MUSIC READ ďIt put the music on a whole other level and made it grow. The songwriting process between us is very organic and exciting and it continues to evolve.Ē
KiNG JULiA AND MUSiC READ OF FiFTH NATiON
TALK TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT THEiR DEBUT CD FLiGHT
PUTTiNG MUSiC FiRST
AND PROMOTiNG ONENESS WiTH THEiR SOUND
iNTERViEWED BY BRiAN LUSH
ROCKWIRED spoke with KING JULIA and MUSIC READ over the phone. Here is how it went.
This CD is great! Very moody!
JULIA: Itís very moody, yeah.
Now that itís out there for people to hear and the all of the work that has gone into it is behind you, how do you feel about the finished work?
JULIA: I feel wonderful about it. It came at a very cool time in both of our lives. We met, fell in love and just went straight to work on it. Of course we couldíve spent some more time on it and fixed up whatever imperfections that there may be but for me, it captured a moment in my life where I was really in love and really exhilarated by the music that we were making. Iím so happy that we got to make that together and that people are responding so positively to it. Itís allowing our budding career to thrive and take off. Itís a really, really wonderful thing.
In listening to the CD it does sort of have that freshness and immediacy to it. The partnership feels new, the romance is new and the music has a newness to it.
JULIA: Definitely! We didnít struggle too much with it. We just wanted to put it out there. We knew that the spirit of the work would show through in the recording and we knew that it would allow us to connect with an audience. That was our goal.
You guys are based in Austin.
JULIA: Right! I grew up in New York and I went to school in California where I studied Biology at University of California Santa Cruz. I moved here in January. MUSIC isnít from here either but heís been here for a few years.
MUSIC: Iíve been here off and on for a few years and Iíve played in a bunch of different bands.
And where are you from MUSIC?
MUSIC: I was born in England but I spent my life traveling around all over creation. My mom is from Britain but my dad is American and was in the Military so growing up, I traveled a lot.
What drew you to Austin?
MUSIC: I moved here on my eighteenth birthday right after high school. I didnít even walk down the aisle for my high school graduation because I didnít care about the graduation part. I just wanted to play music. For my birthday, my dad bought me some luggage and was like ĎSee you later son!í I had a plane ticket ready and everything after having saved up the money for it.
How bout you JULIA? Why Austin?
JULIA: I was studying Biology at UCSC and in the middle of my third year, I just realized how important music was to me. I had come to realize that music is my identity itís not merely a part of me. Itís who I am and I needed to focus on that instead of dividing my time between that and Biology Ė which I was enjoying but it really wasnít who I was. I dropped out of school with a year to go and I moved to San Francisco and spent a few months there but I wasnít really feeling the vibrations. I was always in my room and practicing writing but the city wasnít for me. It wasnít really the environment that was conducive to what I was trying to do which was to be an independent artist. I felt like I needed something different. As soon as I opened my mind up that idea, Austin popped into my head. I had heard so much about it yet had never been there myself. My Dad told me a lot about it and he is a musician. I was told that it was a great music town and I love the idea of traveling and experiencing new places and new people. I moved four moths later. That was about a year ago now.
How did music begin for each of you?
JULIA: For me, it started when I took piano lessons at five and then my dad taught me guitar when I was eight. I learned my first few chords and it just took off from there. I was pretty much self-taught from that moment on and started writing my own music. I wrote and produced my own album when I was sixteen. Music was always a really big part of my life until it turned into a hobby when I was in school instead of a profession. Now it takes up all of my time.
MUSIC: I became a fan of MICHAEL JACKSON when I was three years old and living in England. From then on, I was really into dance music and I really started to identify with drumming. I would listen to a song on the radio and start doing beats to it. I would also do human beat boxing for all of the kids who were in to rapping. When I was fourteen or thirteen I was playing my first drum set. Seeing a friend of mine with his own drum set motivated me to get a job and save up the money to buy my own drum set. I started playing there and I never stopped.
Talk about the genesis of this project.
JULIA: Me and a few of my friends had spent the day painting and hanging out and one of my friends had gotten a call to go down to this house party. There was going to be a band there so we went down there. I saw MUSIC for the very first time and I didnít want to talk to him at first. I was a little intimidated. There was some great food and there was a great band on stage. The woman who lived there got on stage and said that she was going to open up the stage for anyone that wanted to play. I just went straight over and borrowed a guitar. As soon as I started to play, MUSIC came up onto the stage and started playing on the drum set. That was how we met. It was an instant musical connection. We played a couple more songs and afterwards, we agreed that we would play the next day. Everything was so instantaneous. Everything progressed musically and romantically. A couple of months later, we were already living together and recording in a studio.
How does songwriting happen between the two of you?
MUSIC: A lot of the songs are songs that JULIA has written. Sheíll play it for me and both of us will work on it until it becomes what it becomes. With the new material, Iím taking more of an active role in songwriting with lyrics. The newer stuff is really balanced because both of us are writing together. With the older songs, I tended to just come up with the best drumming for what she already had written.
JULIA: That was an exciting thing for me too because I had always been a singer-songwriter and had never really played in any serious bands at all. It was exciting to work with someone who is so talented. It put the music on a whole other level and made it grow. The songwriting process between us is very organic and exciting and it continues to evolve.
What songs off of the album stand out for each of you the most and why?
JULIA: I think ĎCOULD YOU EVER?í has got to be one of my favorites because of the dynamics of it. It starts very light and then it just builds and gets heavier and then there is this beautifully moody chorus and the bridge is really rocking. Itís a very fun song to play so to listen to it is like ĎYeah, I love playing this song!í Iím always reminded of how fun this song is to perform when Iím listening to it. ĎFAR AS SKY CAN TELLí is another favorite of mine. MUSIC and I had met two weeks before I had written that song and he was roadie-ing A-KON and MERLE HAGGARD and a bunch of other big acts down in Laredo, Texas. He was gone for about two weeks. And it gave me enough time write that song which is about us. Itís the first song I had ever written about the two of us.
What kind of place are you guys coming from as songwriters?
MUSIC: Weíre coming from a place of love and a place of oneness.
JULIA: The music crosses themes and genres but ultimately everything is coming from a place of love and that is what we are trying to do. That is what we freely express in our music and that is what we are constantly trying to bring to the audience. The most important thing about this career for us is to bring the love and get a lot of people to feel the oneness. In any moment you can feel it but in the moment of a musical performance, the music and the audience is all one. Itís a beautiful thing. What we are trying to promote is unity and love and progress and all of those strong, powerful things about life.
What would you like someone to come away with after theyíve heard this CD?
MUSIC: That they are motivated to be creative and a consciousness that they are all a part of a world community.
JULIA: A feeling of inspiration and a sense that they have been uplifted.