Arriving at the Yen shoot with her hair piled into a giant bun, several suitcases bursting with clothes and a lute, there’s an undeniable warmth and generosity to Julia. And not just of spirit, or of time, or of her talents (even as she effortlessly strums along to Neil Young). When the shoot ends she actually tries to give us her clothes, telling us to take whatever we like from the mountain of dresses and vintage finds.
The remaining items are off to the depths of the closet as she’s not home for long. Just long enough to catch up with friends, have a few swims and see her family, all while touring with Big Day Out. Then it’s off to Coachella followed by a five-week European tour and a whole lot of planes, trains and automobiles. Julia’s remarkably Zen about the whole business. “It used to be a lot more difficult when we started. We always longed to be somewhere else, to be home or at the beach. When you’re always thinking about being somewhere else it makes it difficult to appreciate where you are.” These days, they’ve “mastered the art of waiting. It’s about enjoying each moment as it comes, that includes waiting in airports, for taxis and for sound check. Everything is waiting to get to the gig, then the gig is amazing and it’s building up again for the next show.”
And as for touring with her brother, Julia says they’ve “grown into” it. It wasn’t always easy and they weren’t always as close as they are now.
“Growing up we lived very different lives. He was in to skating and surfing and I was down in the garage wanting to be in a pop band.” But now the love flows. “He’s just a phenomenal human being. He’s so unique and he’s really a kind friend to me.”
As close as they are, Julia insists it’s important for them “to feel separation, creatively, from each other,” which is what led to her haunting solo effort The Memory Machine. “I had all these songs I hadn’t done with Angus but we have so much music together that these songs sort of got pushed away.” The darker mood reflects what Julia was experiencing while recording it in New York. “All of a sudden Angus had gone, we’d broken up in the band and me and my boyfriend had broken up. He was my boyfriend of six years, on and off. I was really sad. I think I was longing to feel connected to something but really I was disconnected from everything. It’s hard when you have such a close relationship with people and you have to let them go. I’ve never been very good at that.”
The record acted as a cathartic project for Julia so there was never a real rush to get it out. “The record just sat on the backburner but it had already done its thing for me, so it’s nice that people get to hear it now.”
Watch the behind-the-scenes video from our exclusive cover shoot with Julia.