SYDNEY ALT FOLK VOICE JULIA JACKLIN FINDS HER SPACE, TRANSMITS ESSENTIAL EMOTIONS
“I was exhausted and woozy… then all selfconsciousness melts away.” JULIA JACKLIN
“IT’S REALLY interesting being interviewed about this record,” notes indie-Americana talent Julia Jacklin. “It’s been five per cent talking about music, and 95 per cent therapy session.” She’s laid herself open on her new album, Crushing, tapping the end of a long-term relationship and two years touring LP debut Don’t Let The Kids Win, which joined Angel Olsen and Aldous Harding at the top table of transformative alt folk. Some ride, she says, but it’s not just journalists who’ve compromised her personal space. “A lot of Crushing is about asking for space, physical and mental,” she explains. “The world I’m in, it’s crazy-busy, I’m always with people, everyone’s working hard and stressed, and behaviour can slip under the carpet. You constantly question how you’re treated – are they crazy, are you? Should I protect myself, or just get the job done? Women often go through it, as we can be the only one in the room or in the band.” From the Blue Mountains region outside Sydney, Jacklin started singing, aged six, after gorging on Doris Day movies. Six years later, Fiona Apple “barged through everything. I loved how she communicated basic human emotion – love, heartbreak, loss – with playful, sly humour.” Rather than follow Apple’s lead, Jacklin leant toward folk music. “Voice and words are the frontrunner for me, and folk is an immediate way to make music,” she says. “You don’t need heaps of stuff or technical skill.” The Appalachian overtones to her voice and melodies have encouraged too many Angel Olsen comparisons for Jacklin’s liking (“it’s when influences are used as a weapon against you”), but Crushing, she hopes, will move the conversation on. “Bill Callahan and Nick Cave were my references for this one, in terms of storytelling and production,” she says. “You can hear every instrument and when the voice comes in, it splits you down the middle.” To this end, the album was made, “from 5pm to 4am, and then we’d play cards for two hours, and sleep all day. I recorded all my vocals after 2am, under low lamplight. I was exhausted and woozy, which was very important because self-consciousness melts away. It’s important you feel what I’m saying. “Part of my job is creating intrigue and mystery,” she concludes. “Otherwise, you have nothing left.” Crushing is out on February 22 on Transgressive.
“It’s important you feel what I’m saying”: Julia Jacklin moves the conversation on.