Could you introduce yourself?
I’m James and I write/release songs as “Julian Jasper.” I’m 22, trying to finish school in LA, and spend time between here and San Diego.
What’s your life philosophy? How do you try to apply that to your work?
In terms of music, I think its important to always remember what inspired you to pick up an instrument or start writing songs in the first place. In the digital age especially I think its super easy to get caught up in fleeting trends, and then consequently start making music to satisfy whatever is cool at the moment. So for me I just try and stay focused on making the music that I want to hear and hope that it resonates with other people.
Could you tell us what you think makes you stand apart in the music industry?
I think a lot of people are in love with the idea of making music but are not as in love with the craft itself—it’s a lot of style over substance. I’ll be playing guitar and coming up with song ideas for the rest of my life, regardless of whether I have a career and can support myself playing music. So hopefully that will show in the long run.
How would you describe your music style? Do you feel like it reflects you?
It’s a pretty fair blend of psychedelic rock with a lot of funk and disco influence. I also like the idea of writing songs that have various layers of interpretation. Musically I see them as songs to relax and have fun to, but I try and incorporate some lyrical depth so that they can be enjoyed on not just a surface level but on a more introspective level too.
What inspired you to create your latest EP? What was the main motivation?
I can’t say that I was inspired by one specific thing or event, but I have had a pretty atypical college experience. I think that that indirectly influenced a lot of these songs as most of them revolve around being a loner and feeling like you don’t belong to any one place or community.
Could you walk us through the creative process behind, 'Wait Until Dawn'? What sparked the inspiration behind the track?
Musically I was inspired by “More than This” by Roxy Music; it has a really strong four-on-the-floor groove but the instrumentation over it really is not disco-y at all. I wanted to do something similar, or create something danceable but that was also very art-rock. I also had Malibu in mind—palm trees, the ocean, the winding freeway, etc. I love to drive up there to escape the chaos of LA whenever I can, and the first verse was directly inspired by those experiences.
If you had to choose any music album that captures the emotion of your work, what would it be and why?
That’s a tough question. The answer could change tomorrow, but right now I’m going to say Magical Mystery Tour. The production on those songs is so crazy and experimental (even by today’s standards), yet the songs themselves are incredible on their own when played with just a guitar or piano. So in some capacity I’d love to be able to do that, write amazing songs and yet try and do things that haven’t been done before in the way that they are produced.
Do you have any rituals you do before you start your creative process for a new project, to get your mind and energy in the right place?
Not really to be honest, as long as I’m in a place where I can get weird and have fun and really let the ideas flow.
What’s a typical day for you?
It depends. At school my days are super mundane, but when I’m in San Diego I can live a little more eccentrically which is really freeing from a creative standpoint. There I usually sleep in until 10 or 11, drive down to the beach and get strung out on caffeine, and then usually spend the rest of the day working on songs—it’s the best.
Coffee or tea?
What are some of your goals for 2017?
Just continue to progress as a songwriter and try to get my songs heard. Hopefully start playing some gigs too once I find a keyboard player.
What makes you happy?
Aside from making music: traveling, family/friends, Mexican food, pho, beer, playing pool, the ocean, art/literature, Ancient Aliens, road trips.
Any closing comments?
Purple Rain is horribly underrated with regard to its cinematic merits. Also, sax is the most sensual instrument.