A QUARTER-LIFE CRISIS NEVER SOUNDED SO DREAMY
AN INTERVIEW WITH JULIA JACKLIN
Julia Jacklin has garnered a lot of attention these days, and for good reason. The Australian singer-songwriter has charmed listeners with her Americana-infused Indie sound and evocative lyrics. I sat down with Julia to discuss her striking debut album, Don’t Let The Kids Win, releasing this October with Polyvinyl Records. The album is an escapist jaunt that takes on existential anxieties with playful exploration and dreamy vocals.
When I meet up with Julia, she says she’s spent the morning meandering around Kensington, enjoying the neighbourhood in the sunny Toronto heat. It seems fitting; I see the eclectic vibrancy of the market aligning with the quirky and bold textures of the album.
Don’t Let The Kids Win was written while Julia worked a monotonous job at an essential oils factory. I asked how the work influenced her writing experience.
“I wrote a lot at work because it was very boring. It was just a great way to work on phrases and work on melodies and stuff because you’re just sitting there in your own head. It’s like socially acceptable to sing and work if you work in a factory.”
These contemplative hours come through in her songs. The lyrics speak to the confusions and uncertainties of modern life through glimpses into seemingly mundane events. Her opener, “Pool Party,” explores substance abuse by the pool with a cool melancholy and cinematic precision, while “LA Dream” studies the sad, trivial realities that crop up during a breakup, the ones we can’t help but ruminate over. “[It’s] just small moments. Really small moments that I can then use to represent bigger feelings.” Her acute vocal control and effortless release help these moments linger upon delivery.
Since her music videos use compelling staging and spaces, like the retro ’70’s house in “Pool Party” and the high school gym in “Leadlight,” I wonder if she is conscious of how her songs will be visually represented as she writes.
“I feel like that’s always been what I think about when I’m writing songs – is what the music video’s going to be. It’s a really nice way to write music because when you can picture it, you can picture what kind of moods and colours and settings best represent the song.”
Along with these details, a preoccupation with aging permeates the album. On Julia’s website, she mentions a collective concern among her friends. Their fears of getting older and not accomplishing enough. I ask if, as a woman, she finds these pressures amplified, given society’s association with female youth and value.
“Yeah, totally. I mean when I say my friends fear aging, It’s more my female friends than my male friends. I definitely don’t hear the same kinds of concerns about becoming irrelevant from my male friends.”
Julia looks up to female artists like Fiona Apple and Kathleen Hanna who have had lasting careers by continuing to commit themselves to new projects and produce work that captivates their audiences.
Her title track speaks to the experience of growing up in stark and relatable honesty: “I’ve got a feeling that this won’t ever change/We’re gonna keep on getting older/It’s going to keep on feeling strange.”
Check out Don’t Let The Kids Win on October 7.