A graduate of the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Julia Jonas pursues a career as a multi-talented singer-songwriter, producer and instrumentalist. The Swedish resident is involved in an array of musical projects and collaborations. Born in Cape Town but raised in Stockholm, that blending of cultures is something that comes across in the music she releases under him own name. To tie in wither her new single, we decided to catch up with Julia Jonas and find out more about here and her music.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s the story behind Julia Jonas, and how would you describe your sound?
This artist project started a couple of years ago when I started sampling my own instruments. It was after finding museums for musical instruments and studios with old instruments from the 17th century that my love for quirky acoustic sounds was born. It all started with me feeling limited by the sounds I had in the music software I was using. I felt they were too polished and hard to play with. So I turned my own recordings into virtual instruments and started producing music with them.
I would describe my sound as nuanced, spacious and dreamy with a touch of Scandinavian melancholy – probably because I live in Sweden! I think the season changes and the dark winters here might be a big part of the Scandinavian sound.
What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
The feeling of freedom and playfulness is probably what gives me the most flow. A couple of years ago I met two musicians, percussionist Davide Rodrigues and cellist Mukryan Abubakr. We soon realised that we shared a similar, ”non-traditional” adventurous and careless approach to making music. We played around making experimental sounds on our instruments for a couple of months and that resulted in my first EP KaraWait.
There’s a strong movement at present of Swedish electronic artists like Ionnalee, Fever Ray and Frida Sundemo blurring the boundaries of pop and art, yet still making accessible music. Do you feel any affinity with them?
I think I do feel affinity with them. We all make electronic music with an organic approach and a melancholic vibe.
As well as your solo work, you’ve been involved in a dazzling array of collaborations with other musicians and artists – what do you feel that brought to your own work, and did any of them really stand out for you?
My collaborations have been focused on writing and producing pop songs, but also on producing instrumental music for fashion shows and short films. The instrumental productions I feel is what currently influences and flavours my songwriting. I don’t often think in terms of song structure, but rather about the holistic construction.
Could you tell us what your latest single Guin Katché is about? It certainly has a unique and enchanting spin on electronica!
When Davide sent me the drum groove for Guin Katché, I imagined someone who is running away from something. Someone who wants to start over and put their dark past behind but finds it hard to leave the people and places that were part of the past. The voices in the chorus is the evil taking over for a brief moment, and then the verse signals a brighter future.
What’s up next for Julia Jonas? Any upcoming gigs, new releases on the horizon, other projects?
In a couple of weeks, I’m releasing an EP with remixes of my single Spilling that was released in November last year. This I feel very excited about! This spring, I’ll also be recording new music to release after the summer!
Guin Katché is out now, you can listen to it as well as the rest of Julia Jonas’ back catalogue on Spotify and all major digital services. You can find out more about Julia Jonas on her social media, including Facebook.
Photo by Samuel Westergren