Julia Lucille will be releasing her album Chthonic on Punctum Records in early 2016. The album is being recorded and produced by Dan Duszynski and Emily Cross (of Cross Record) at Dandy Sounds in Dripping Springs, TX. Lucille met the couple through the Austin music scene a year and a half ago. “My boyfriend at the time came home from a show with their record. We put it on and I fell in love with Emily’s voice and the spacey production. I looked them up and saw all these photos of Emily and Dan homesteading on their ranch and thought, I have to meet these people.”
Following a breakup Lucille moved out to Moon Phase Ranch, the property where Dandy Sounds is located and where Duszynski and Cross live, and lived in an airstream trailer in the woods for the summer. “I was struggling at the time to feel inspired. Emotionally I was feeling cynical and war-torn. But my physical surroundings were gorgeous. The roosters woke me up in the morning, I went on long, hot walks, and wrote lots of music because there’s not much else to do out there.” Dan Duszynski is playing drums and bass on the album. “My music tends to be ethereal and meandering, and kind of painfully personal, and Dan is bringing this cleanness to it, almost a Beatles-esque framework to the songs. It’s been a really fruitful collision of aesthetics.”
While living on the ranch Lucille began making home recordings every new moon. “I just felt such a void at that time. When you’re in a relationship, it can bring so much magic and meaning to your life. I felt like I was going through meaning-withdrawal. I wanted to honor nature, honor cycles, honor the magic I knew existed though I felt I couldn’t access it at that time. Of course I didn’t actually sit down and say, I’m doing this because of x, y, z, but looking back I think that’s what it was about. It also became a practice in seeing if I could free myself up even more creatively through practicing radical non-judgment during the writing process.”
Julia Lucille was born Julia Lucille Crager in Evanston, Illinois and grew up in Menlo Park, California. She studied music at Lewis and Clark in Portland, Oregon, with a focus on ethnomusicology. She recorded her first two albums Portland and Flower and Bones while living in Oregon but later scrapped them, feeling they did not represent her sound. “I felt I was approaching music from a place of lack, that I was trying to prove my abilities, and I realized this was causing me to be artistically stunted. I felt I needed to completely leave the state of Oregon to release myself from this mentality.”
She moved home to California to strip her life down and took a yearlong break from performing. In 2012 Lucille moved to Austin, Texas, where she released her third and only public album Homing, which The Deli Magazine reviewed favorably. “Washed-out vocals rise and fall around dizzying suspended chords fingerpicked on a hollow-body electric, producing a wistful tone reminiscent of Elliott Smith” (Kevin Allen). “I recorded Homing at home because the last time I had recorded in a studio I was unable to channel into my intuition and I feel like the end product came out cold because of it. I was scared that would happen again.”
When asked if she worried about that happening at Dandy Sounds, she paused. “I had a mild fear about that but I went ahead anyway because I trusted Dan's and Emily’s individual aesthetics. I knew I was getting myself into a situation where other people's opinions were going to be on the table but that excited me because I knew that the music was going to richly benefit from their input. And that definitely has been true." Julia Lucille lives in Austin, Texas.