Organised for Loose Lips
I considered interviewing this nextgen Out Of Body Pop squad myself, but decided it would be a lot more interesting for Suny, Zoee & Julia Star to interview eachother. I also wrote a review of Julia’s most recent EP, which you can find below.
As for introductions… Suny’s press release is decidedly skinny on details and I’ve had little contact with him other than his contributions to the squad’s collaborative EP not2b, but that’s ok, there’s more than enough character in those beats to be going on with. Julia Star is consistently the bomb, whether she’s spitting bars, spilling her heart out on the microphone or organising her amazing Helpline night at Rye Wax (where she’s hosted dons like Don Sinini and Lyle). She also recently contributed a whole bunch of Deep Cuts contributions, including her own theme ‘DEAD INSIDE BUT ITS OK‘, all straight fire. Zoee is introduced well by her press release, top marks to whoever wrote it:
‘The revolution begins with Zoee and ends with every laptop bro on their knees begging for validation and forgiveness. Standing victorious atop a mountain of left-swiped Hyperdub worshippers and ironic non-ironic Balenciaga rip offs, London musician Zoee has cleared a path for more introverted artists and given them a much-needed platform in the form of her night and label Insecure. The platform focuses on creating an inclusive and womxn-positive space for empowered, experimental pop and electronic artists.’
Oh also, their names are in the opposite order to their faces on the artwork (like a film poster!), left to right they’re Julia Star, Zoee and Suny.
Zoee asks Suny: We worked on lots of the demos at your studio at Grow. How has having that space influenced your output/music?
Suny: I think having a space specifically built to make music really encouraged my practice, as it meant I was able to be as loud as I want and kinda made everything feel a bit more legitimate. It also helped the collaborative side of making music as I used to produce everything in my bedroom but I’ve found that could sometimes be a bit too much of an intimate space to share with someone, especially if you didn’t know them too well!! My favourite thing to do in the studio is write music during club nights, because Grow Tottenham is a club space as well as a community garden/cafe/studios. I’ve found you can really feed off the energy of the party, so nice to be able to be on the dance floor one minute, then running to the studio the next when i get a spark of inspiration!
Suny asks Zoee: So what gave you the idea for the three of us to do an ep together, and how do you feel it all fits in with the rest of the content of your label ‘Insecure’ that the ep is released on?
Zoee: I think after we hung out and a did a few demos it became quite evident that we were all able to bring different energy to the table – which I think is the key to any good collaboration, friendship or relationship. I think you can hear the complimentary ideas and energy coming through in the songs. We each take up a different space that clicks well with each other.
Zoee asks Julia Star: Is this the first time you’ve worked on a collaborative music project? How did you find that process?
Julia: I collaborated in the past on different projects but mainly for visuals as I trained as a Fine Artist. This is my first polished music project so I’m really proud of us for putting this together and I feel like I learned so much from it. It can be challenging to compromise but in the end we all need other people around us to fill in each other’s gaps. Nobody was born knowing everything and opening up my process to other people’s ideas is definitely something that helped me to become a better artist and a better person.
Julia asks Suny: Do you ever go outside in the rain to cry, then look out at the city and wish for it all to burn in its own sins? Just kidding what are your plans for the future, production wise? Anything you would like to experiment with, new instruments etc?
Suny: I feel like I’d like to be able to cry more tbh! I often get that feeling I’m about to then can never quite commit lol! But whenever I have fully cried it always feels like a great release though so ye I think we should all cry a bit more! In terms of my producing, on the track abandon with Ben Vince I used very stripped back sample based production with fairly repetitive beat then Ben recorded live saxophone on top. Having the live element kinda brought the track into its own, so looking forward Harri actually gave me some great advice, saying I should kinda follow that same process I did with Ben! Which is writing a fairly sparse beat with a catchy but kinda off melody then record live instrumentation on top. I’m currently working on a track with my friend Gwen Reed who plays upright bass in a contemporary classical orchestra.
Suny asks Julia: How do you think the different vocal and lyrical style of each track compare to one another, and how do you feel the themes and feelings of the ep all come together in the end?
Julia: I think Harry has the more melodic stuff and I do more of the angry bits. We all have very different styles but when we perform all together it’s so fun! The EP is about getting over somebody and I feel like we all needed to do that at that point in our life lol. The name of the EP comes from a meme that Harry posted on the Insecure Instagram page.
Julia asks Zoee: Do you think that exploring your feelings of anger on this ep has changed the way you relate to people who hurt you? We’ve done a lot of girls chat while making the EP, do you think it helped you grow emotionally in any way?
Zoee: Writing songs and lyrics has always been a vehicle for me to channel my emotions – whether that’s feelings of elation, sadness, anger – it all comes out in the songs. I think collaborating with you guys on this EP came at a time when I really needed to release a lot of sadness and hurt feelings. For me, writing and singing songs feels like a really positive way to purge what’s going on inside. I think many women can often worry that if they are angry they are by default going to be labelled hysterical, crazy, bitter or resentful – the list of gendered tropes goes on. When really it’s just as simple as ‘I’m angry and I need to vocalise this in order to release it.’
Julia Star’s In The Ocean I Depart – Review
Julia Star reminds me of tv characters like Fleabag’s Claire and Broad City’s Iliana. She has Claire’s cutting anxiety and Iliana’s rockstar swagger, but what really brings them to mind when listening to In The Ocean I Depart, the new ep written, performed and produced by the Star, is representation. I felt like I recognised these characters when I first met them onscreen. I didn’t recognise them from any similar characters I’d seen on tv, only from people I had met and had actual conversations with, in my own life.
Those characters, those manifestations of a certain kind of human existence, I’d never seen them represented anywhere else. Like sure maybe some singers or actors I knew were anxious, insecure mothers, or bisexual semi-weed addicts with a high sex drive, but you wouldn’t see that directly played out in their work. Like, you wouldn’t see moments wherein they get to fully, creatively express what it’s like to be that person.
When discussing the process of this EP, the Italian Star discussed the double-edged sword of ‘pushing so deep into yourself that it’s not as accessible by others’, and rightly so; this EP is not getting played on the radio. At its intense peak, the EP’s hardcore death-stare into oblivion is Napalm Death for the Tierra Whack generation. The juddering beats sound like an anxiety attack on the dancefloor, the moment when you suddenly realise the men around you are screaming along to misogyny and bass reverberates through your head.
It is accessible though. Star wastes no one’s time, embodying every sense of the word punchy with a set of intense, immersive personality blasts. The lyrics of car and opener journal expose the childhood origins of Star’s anger, the loose tongue that gets her ‘labelled a hoe’, before the tempo leaps up and Star dives into her internalised hatred ‘I don’t deserve companionship / drown to death in my own ship / sinking down just like my heart / in the ocean I depart.’
Discussing the purpose of this EP, Star stated it simply; ‘I have been exploring my roots with no shame in hope to get to hate myself less ha!’ Doing this when your roots aren’t represented in popular culture is hard, explorative work, but the result is music with the capacity to help others transcend their pain.