Orange County Band Julie Combines Art Rock and Grunge

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By Simone Goldstone | NB Indy Soundcheck Columnist

Three dark-haired heads peak out at the glowing screen. The humble Orange County kids, barely out of their teens, make up the burgeoning band called Julie.

Over Zoom, Keyan Zand, Dillon Lee, and Alex Brady chat about their success with a signature sardonic humor and a melancholic conviction to carry out their ambitious projects.

Julie is an artistic mix of shoegaze, art rock, and grunge. The group uses complex song structures and layered guitars for a full sound that builds and ebbs.

Shrouded in the mystery of an Instagram account that contains art collages and experimental songs, their elusive image fuels their ambiguous, intriguing music that defies genres and the confines of typical musical structure.

Shockingly adept at their instruments and unafraid to toy with timing and rhythm, Alex (20, bass, vocals), Keyan (19, guitar, vocals), and Dillon (20, drums) create a space of unexplored music and visuals into an aesthetic and inventive art collective.

 

Their enigmatic image and alluring DIY tunes makes this Orange County band a treat to discover. True to their cryptic image, though a joy to talk to, you’ll have to listen to their music yourself to find out more.

NB Indy: How did each of you get your start in music?

Alex: I’ve sung my whole life and my dad taught me guitar. I got a bass for fun, but I never played it seriously until I joined Julie.

Keyan: I didn’t start playing guitar until midway through high school as a stress release thing. I did it to feel better, and then started writing riffs.

Dillon: In high school, I picked up bass and learned songs, then out of nowhere I taught myself drums. We’re all pretty new at our instruments.

NB Indy: What’s your song-writing process?

Alex: We all write the songs. One person will bring a melody or a riff, and we collectively structure it together.

Keyan: We’re very nit-picky, like, let’s sit in a circle and work on the bass line, kind of thing. We all do it together, in a way.

NB Indy: I love the aesthetics in your band’s Instagram posts. Who puts those art collages together?

Dillon: I came up with the visual collages and somewhat poetic, random, and obscure aesthetics. I’ll take a line from a book that I found, or something from Tumblr and cherry pick those things, then put them together.

NB Indy: What are your songs “Flutter” and “Kit” about? And the theme on your Pushing Daisies EP?

Keyan: For “Flutter,” we started with a little riff then thought ‘what if we turn it into a three-part song?’ It was kind of a study of measures and was made to be a musical study. It doesn’t have a specific meaning. Sometimes the vocals don’t have specific lyrics, just kind of cool words. It’s all subjective so it doesn’t always have a clear meaning. With “Kit,” the song just started out as experiments. They’re pretty much musical explorations. When we listen to a new music influence, like (the band) Mad Planet, then it influences our sound. With the new EP, we took the best songs and kind of found a new direction. We’re now more experienced, where as before, our songs reflected our youth and inexperience. The songs go together, though we didn’t write them in order. They were kind of like our adolescent beginnings. So, with our new EP, the first two songs sound angry, then the next two are more lonely, and the EP has two transitional tracks that are more meaningful than we intended them to. Our new work focuses more on specifically what makes our sound satisfying to us, like complicated structures. The little things we do in our song structures is what makes it niche and our thing. I want to master more complex song structures, as we move forward.

NB Indy: What’s been your experience with the Orange County music scene?

Dillon: When I was in high school, I was into the music scene and would go to all the punk shows, like the band Make Out Reef. We went to shows at the Locker Room, the Constellation Room, Malone’s, Max Bloom’s, those places.

Alex: In high school, my friends were in Make Out Reef

Keyan: I didn’t know about the scene until I met Dillon, I went to maybe one or two shows. It was crazy and inspiring to see so many people moshing to bands that weren’t big.

NB Indy: What are your future plans?

Dillon: We’re going to go on tour or two. And work on developing the brand on its own, not just music, but a design, art collective. If we can’t do music, we’ll do art and design. Of course, we’ll continue writing new music, but the design thing can be with the music as a whole art piece and hopefully with our merch, it builds a community.

Learn more about Julie at:

Linktree: https://linktr.ee/julieband

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