Sunday, September 13, 2009

Julie Peel and her new album Near The Sun

*Near The Sun officially releases on Sept 22, 2009*

In November/December of 2008 - YES 2008! - I interviewed Julie Peel. And again in May, 2009, when she came on our show.
What I can tell you from a personal standpoint is that she is fun....funny....down-to-earth....and, while I don't know if it's because she's European (born and raised in France), she's direct and will tell you exactly how she's feeling about something. And, she may have a relationship....some might even say "an obsession" with Buffy the Vampire Slayer that borders on....well, I'll let Julie discuss that with you directly if you ask her. :)

So, because I've just put this off too long already, I'll share some pieces of that interview with you over the course of a few blog postings:
IU: So Julie - How did you get started with music?

JP: When I was 13-14, some punk guy was selling his drum kit. I had 2 friends who wanted to start a band. Kurt Cobain had just died and suddenly, everyone wanted to start having a band.

We were rehearsing in my house’s basement. I wasn’t a good drummer. I didn’t want to take drumming lessons - that’s a thing with me, I don’t like to be taught, I wanna learn by myself, that’s probably why I didn’t go to university after graduation.

One day, the guitarist had left his guitar in the basement, and I gave it a go.

It became suddenly clear to me, I thought “with this, I can make music, I can create” - with drums it’s a little bit harder, unless you’re a good drummer, which wasn’t the case.

We split up, and I borrowed a guitar from my best friend. The first songs I learned were “let it be” by the beatles, “the happening” by the pixies and “Needle and the damage done” by Neil Young.

My friend had shown me the chords, but I wasn’t good enough. So I started watching MTV Unplugged all day, trying to figure out the chords. That’s how I learned to play the guitar.

I could basically say that Kurt Cobain and Neil Young were my guitar teachers.

I didn’t know the name of the chords ‘till like, 4 years later. I had to know the names of the chords I was playing 'cause I had been asked to play the guitar in an Irish band signed on mercury records. They sent me tapes and chords sheets. (though I preferred to learn the songs by ear, I knew it would come in handy to know the chord’s names, if someone in the band would say “it’s D,E..” whatever..)

IU: Tell me about your evolution with music and some bands you've been with

JP: After graduation I moved to Ireland, that’s where I bought my second electric guitar, a fender tele.....if you’ve seen the movie “Once” there’s this incredible scene in a music shop where they jam and do a song together, that scene gives me the gooseflesh! Anyway, that shop “Waltons” is where I bought it....Then I joined a band.

IU: How did you meet and join the band?

JP: They’ve got a music paper called "hot press" there, it's the equivalent of the NME for Ireland. I looked at the ads…..I didn't wanted to be in a rock band anymore. I wanted something Interesting, Challenging. And the ad said ‘looking for a guitarist, for electro-rock project.' I don't remember the influences they quoted, but it was definitely electro and the mix of music was really nice…The band was called ‘Petrol.’ The guy who formed the band was kinda famous there, so it was nice. We never actually played a gig - only did studio work and rehearsed.”…though the band never made it. And then I headed back to France.
IU: And then what happened?

JP: I was contacted by a manager for Mercury Records to join another band - The Fixed Stars.....they paid for the flights, the hotels and everything. It was great. I just had to learn songs and play the guitar. It was awesome. We toured throughout Ireland. But, the label wanted me to stop playing guitar - so the singer could play it - and play the piano - which i was not made for. So, that part of my life was short, but one of the best ever. Being paid to play the guitar. That’s the good life!

IU: What happened then?

JP: I moved back to France....Paris....and kept writing songs. You know, in France, Paris is where everything happens. i had made a demo cd, where i played all the instruments, drums, bass guitar, guitar etc.
Moving ahead to Near The Sun

Each musician has their own style of how they write and record their songs. So, what comes first? The music, the lyrics?
JP: “It's always the music first, and then the lyrics. Unfold was really spontaneous. It's a bit like Innocence. They both came naturally, I almost sang the final lyrics on the demos when I was composing them……they both happened in 15 minutes. I can compose really, really fast, like 4 songs in an hour. But then, if the lyrics aren't good enough, the song dies. You wouldn't imagine how many songs I have on my computer!!”

Random Questions:

IU: Need to ask a question about Buffy and how everything goes back to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And, how Buffy is mentioned at least once per day.
JP: Ahhhh… the way they use the English language is amazing, really inspiring, and besides that, it talks about how it feels to become an adult, the monsters they fight are just a metaphor to tell how it’s like to grow up and struggle through life, with all the responsibilities and the decisions you have to take to make things right.. I re watch episodes constantly..some great bands have performed at the Bronze (the club buffy and her friends hang out at) Aimee Mann, The Breeders..

Joss Whedon continued the show through comic books and it’s amazing!
IU: ASIDE from Right Said Fred - because I know he's number 1 - what other great bands are in France?

JP: Ahhaha! Well, I have to say I never really listened to french bands except old artists like Edith Piaf. But i like Phoenix a lot. And Air and Daft punk are nice too. And French singing bands…..Noir Desir definitely is the only one i like. They write great lyrics and their music is really good as well.
More of the Julie Peel Interview to come.........
Julie appeared on Independents Uncovered on May 18, 2009.

Info on Julie Peel at:

American Laundromat Records (Julie's Label):
You Can Still PRE-ORDER Julie's CD through American Laundromat Records at the below URL:

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