Friday, April 19 2024

Welcome to an exclusive interview with Monica Sorenson from Sometimes Julie, the dynamic rock duo hailing from the vibrant musical scene of San Diego, United States. Comprising Monica Sorenson and Rick Walker, Sometimes Julie have carved a niche with their compelling sound that seamlessly blends rock with pop, country, and blues influences. Their journey began in 2014, and since then, they’ve captivated audiences with their engaging compositions and raw yet refined performances. Today, we delve into the depths of their latest musical venture, ‘Seven Wishes,’ a testament to desire and yearning in its various forms. Join us as we unravel the layers of inspiration behind this fantastic album.

Congratulations on the new album, ‘Seven Wishes’! What inspired the title, and how does it match the album’s overall theme?

‘Seven Wishes’ is about desire in its many forms. The seven songs on the album are all the different kinds of wishes that call to us each day. Whether the desire is for freedom, joy, overcoming grief and loss, becoming stronger, you will hear the lyrics reveal a compelling sense of yearning. Each wish sends you in unexpected directions – motorcycle rides, running on the beach, and singing everywhere you go.

How did you write these songs to capture those feelings of desire, and were there specific things or experiences that influenced each song’s theme?

Each song has its own story – from beginning to end, there is a movie in my head that plays along with the album. 

Love, the romantic and exciting kind of love, is the story of the first song, ‘Wish on the Wild Side.’ This song is begging the two romantics to hold on to each intimate moment and pursue fantasies! Look past the day to day routine and keep love on the front burner. For me personally, it is a message to myself to take risks and try new things. The way I wrote this song was listening to the music Rick had composed and hearing the feeling of it, the lyrics and melody easily found their way into the mix.

In ‘Fool’s Wish,’ at the end of the collection, the story is a journey to everyday places and an obsessive hope to see a lost loved one. For me, it is the real experience of traveling around San Diego and “seeing” Andrew, my son. We lost him right at the beginning of his adult years, when he was just becoming independent. Since then, I’ve often had the sense, however impossible, that he will somehow magically reappear. I think that is a common feeling for people who are grieving. This song wrote itself in my head in pieces with each snapshot experience; the bus stop, the airport, and so on. It began to feel like a movie, one in which there could be a happy ending. I needed to express this ongoing sense that I will see him again in order to put the feeling in perspective. I am grateful this song presented itself to me.

‘Seven Wishes’ explores rock, pop, country, and blues. How did mixing these genres shape the album’s sound, and how did you make sure it all fits together?

Rick and I come from different sensibilities when it comes to composition, arrangements, style. Rick has been a fan, really a student, of rock music his entire life. Being raised in Chicago, he had a lot of exposure to blues, heartland rock, Motown, and power pop, in addition to the classic rock everyone was exposed to. I share Rick’s love for those genres, but my musical background is more diverse, as I also listened to a lot of country, pop, and even classical. When you mix all of those influences together, that is the basis of Sometimes Julie’s sound. 

But interestingly, we rarely set out to write a song of a particular genre. We don’t approach arrangements with any preconceived notions. Our process is very organic, and once we start fleshing out my lyrical and melodic ideas, the song reveals to us what it wants to be. And the song is always right. 

Is there a specific song from ‘Seven Wishes’ that you are particularly proud of, and if so, what makes it stand out for you?

I’m proud of all of the songs! ‘Burning to be Free’ is the first song we recorded with me playing the piano, so that really stands out for me. ‘Fool’s Wish’ comforts me and has been living with me for the longest time. I am so happy to have it recorded and getting spins on the radio.

Could you walk us through your songwriting process? How does it typically work for Sometimes Julie?

We don’t follow just one songwriting process, but most of the time, I am the one who initiates a song. Lyrics and melodies come to me in the middle of the night, while I’m driving, in the shower, or on a walk; it seems like they are always there waiting for me. 

Sometimes I will work out a song on piano or guitar before playing it for Rick, but other times I will just sing it to Rick and he will come up with a chord progression that fits what I am singing. From there, Rick will take it to his home studio, adding drums, bass, keyboards, etc. and prepare a demo so the song can be introduced to our bandmates. 

On rare occasions, Rick will initiate the song, recording all of the instruments from start to finish, and then ask me to add the lyrics and melody. On the ‘Seven Wishes’ album, ‘Wish on the Wild Side’ started this way. The other six songs on ‘Seven Wishes,’ though, started with me. 

Monica and Rick from Sometimes Julie Band

Has the global situation affected the recording process? Any unexpected good things or challenges?

Our previous album, ‘Where Are You?’ was released mid-pandemic and its production was significantly impacted by that fact. A lot of the overdubbing, and most of the mixing, was done remotely. Fortunately, by the time we started recording ‘Seven Wishes,’ the worst of the pandemic was behind us so it could be produced more traditionally. Overdubs were done in-studio, and we were able to be more hands-on during the mixing process. Both albums turned out great, but ‘Seven Wishes’ was a lot more comfortable – and fun – to do!

As you look to the future, what can fans expect from Sometimes Julie? Are there any exciting plans, collaborations, or new musical ventures on the horizon?

We will livestreaming a performance of ‘Seven Wishes,’ in its entirety, on February 22nd at 8:00pm PST. It will be streamed on Wildcat Guitars’ YouTube channel. We also have some live performances lined up, the next one being on March 22nd at Navajo Live in San Diego. In addition, we are working on music videos, reaching out to new fans, and collaborating with some other artists too. I am also working on a solo album, which I hope to release at the end of 2024.

OK, I’m going to town with this question for you… If ‘Seven Wishes’ magically transformed into a time-traveling machine, taking the band on a musical journey through any era in history, which era would you choose, and what iconic historical event or moment would Sometimes Julie headline?

Don’t all musicians fantasize about playing at one of the big festivals of the past? Like Woodstock, Monterrey, Pop, or LiveAid? I think playing LiveAid, in the slot right before Queen, would have been pretty epic, to say the least!

Thanks so much Monica for taking the time to chat about the new album. ‘Seven Wishes’ stands as a testament to the universal human experience of longing and aspiration, woven intricately into each melody and lyric. Sometimes Julie successfully push boundaries and defy genre limitations, captivating listeners with their evocative sound. Here at TIG, we eagerly anticipate the journey ahead, knowing that their music will continue to touch hearts and souls. Keep an eye out for Sometimes Julie’s upcoming livestream performance of ‘Seven Wishes’ and their exciting future endeavours.

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About Author

Matt Warren

Matt Warren is a Cheshire based musician who studied contemporary music and composition. When not writing for The Indie Grid he enjoys watching 'Breaking Bad' on continuous loop and going to gigs. Since a youngster his fave band have been 'The Beatles' (with 'Cardiacs' in at a close second)... and this still applies to this day.

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