Neu Get To Know… Julien Chang

With his debut album out today (11th October), we meet the Baltimore newcomer.

Hello and welcome to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… getting you a little bit closer to the buzziest new acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.

Recently we’ve brought youLondon-via-Bologna trio Husky Loops, and LA indie dreamboats Wallows, Irish newbies The Wha, London experimental duo San Scout, and now we’re introducing you to Baltimore’s Julien Chang.

With his debut album ‘Jules’ out today (11th October), the 19-year-old specialises in mesmerisingly blending influences from pop to psych rock to jazz to create his own unique soundscapes, and we grabbed him for five mins to find out more.

Describe your music to us in the form of a Tinder bio.

A little something for everyone. Average height.

What’s your earliest musical memory?

My memory’s not all that great so it’s hard to say. Between the ages of six and eight or so, my mom would sit me down at the piano and really try to get me to learn. I was a pretty disagreeable student, but I remember learning and really loving a tune called ‘Marching in the Snow.’ It was one of the more melancholy tunes from my beginner’s piano book.

Who were some artists that inspired you when you were just starting out (and why)?

My parents had a bunch of CD’s that we’d cycle in and out of the car’s player but the two that always stayed in the car were Blood on the Tracks and that second Rufus Wainwright album, Poses. My friends and I listened to a lot of Pink Floyd and Talking Heads, and in school I was studying classical and jazz theory. I think I’m very lucky that my musical upbringing covered so much ground.

You’re from Baltimore! What do you think of the music scene there at the moment?

I love Baltimore. The music scene is pretty diverse I think. You’ve got everybody coming out of Peabody, which has just totally revamped it’s jazz program. They brought in Sean Jones from Berklee to direct it. There are some really good jazz clubs and jam session spots. There’s always been a pretty killing punk scene of course at venues like Sidebar and stuff. There’s the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra which plays right in the middle of the city. Very inspiring. And I think Baltimore rap deserves more credit than it is given. All my friends play in bands or rap or go to local shows frequently. It’s encouraging.

Are there any other artists breaking through at the same time that you take inspiration from?

My good friend from Baltimore, John Tyler, is one of the most prolific artists I know right now. He raps and plays guitar and composes really moving arrangements. Really nice person too. Check him out. My brother’s in a band called Deja Vu with his high school friends right now. They’re killing. I take the most inspiration from the people closest to me.

Who would be your dream collaborator?

I guess Jay Electronica. And Quincy Jones working with George Martin risen from the dead behind the glass.

Musically or otherwise, what are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?

Spring time. I’m going on tour for the first time this Fall too. Equally excited and nervous.

If people could take away one thing from your music, what would it be?

That it might be the kind of music that they would want to continue listening to.

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