Do you enjoy music that sounds like the sweet serenade of a dozen Icelandic water nymphs? Then you’ll love Julianna Barwick. In the past she’s played in 14th century cathedrals and 20th century museums. On February 18, she’ll play a charmingly dilapidated 19th century industrial complex turned arts center. You know the one.
We had the honor of chatting with Julianna about Bjork, Beyonce, dream venues and even dreamier compositions before her show at the Goat Farm. Read on to see what she had to say!
You recorded the new album Nepenthe in Iceland. Had you ever been there before?
How was it?
It was completely breathtaking, amazing. I’d read a lot about Iceland before I went and I’d always been a big fan of Bjork and everything so I kind of had an idea of what to expect. It was super beautiful and the people are cool… I actually went twice last year and I got to bring my mom with me the first time. That was a fun thing to do with her.
She’s featured on the album, right?
Yeah, that was fun too! It was something I’d always wanted to do, to have her be a part of my music.
When you’re on tour, how much of the show is improvisation?
I would say it’s 90% recreating the recorded material at this point. So there’s still a little wiggle room, especially with the voice parts. Because of the way my music is and the way my shows are, I really couldn’t make two shows the same if I tried. But the main structure is always there.
Aside from your voice and the looping station, what other instruments and tools do you use for your shows?
Well, I have a vocal mic that plugs into the loop station and a sampler. For this tour, I’m also taking a traveling keyboard that I play. I might play a guitar at some point. Possibly.
Oh, that’d be cool. The music is so choral. It seems suited for certain venues. What would be your dream venue?
I think I already played it? I got to play the Guggenheim a while ago which was incredibly, incredibly cool. Let’s see… Once I played in a 14th century cathedral in Krakow that was totally gorgeous. Those two really stand out in my memory as dream venues.
Your music is so unique. What kind of music do you listen to?
A little bit of everything. I’ve been listening to the new Beyoncé album a lot and there’s a band I like called Blue Hawaii. I listen to soundtracks a lot. Soundtracks, pop music and more Pitchfork-friendly stuff.
What kind of soundtracks?
The last one I remember I really had to get was the Moonrise Kingdom soundtrack. I was obsessed with that boys’ choir song from the end of the movie, “Cuckoo.”
If you quit touring, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d be doing dark room photography because I love it. That’s what I went to school for.
Do you think photography ever comes up in your music?
Not really. The two are totally different to me. Music is more emotive and abstract whereas with photography, I’m always trying to get, like, the perfect portrait.
Get tickets to see Julianna Bartwick in Atlanta on Tuesday, February 18 HERE!