Songs For The Ravens is the kind of album that you feel like you’ve been listening to it for years. There’s a familiar note that it tends to hit someone truly, madly, and deeply. Sea Of Bees is the creation of Sacramento resident singer/songwriter Julie Baenziger.
One day Julie, or Jules to those closest to her, was singing in Tape Op Magazine publisher John Baccigaluppi’s studio The Hangar, to which John felt immediately compelled to introduce himself. An EP (Bee Eee Pee) and LP later (both firsts), Jules seems ready to bring her music (the result of much collaboration and dedication) to the limelight.
Songs For The Ravens recently came out, how excited are you?
I’m excited because it’s a new start and I get to share it with my friends. I had fun doing the record and I’m really happy with it.
I was listening to “Skinnybone” and it kind of reminded me of a more stripped down Radiohead. Do you agree with that?
I don’t disagree in listening to it; it just naturally seemed to go that way. I wanted a tribal feel to it.
John: Part of making this record was Jules and I listening to a lot of music, both older and newer, and talking about it. One of our goals for the record was to avoid the typical arrangements that so many records with a primary songwriter/vocalist, particularly female, seem to gravitate to. Jules had already done a pretty straightforward reading of “Skinnybone” on Bee Eee Pee and I felt the intensity of that performance was going to be pretty hard to beat. It was one of harder tracks to finish, but really fun at the same time.
I read that John introduced himself after listening to you at his studio. What kind of an effect has he had on your music?
He had a great amount of effect because we did a lot of experimenting on the sounds and songs on the record so there’s a lot of influence there. We worked together well.
What else has inspired you and your music?
Relationships are a big deal in my music and life lessons. Movies help me out with melodies. Some musicians like Jeremy Enigk from Sunny Day Real Estate and Sigur Ros, and Coco Rosie are a few artists who inspire me.
I saw you perform at Sophia’s in Davis. You told me it was your third time playing there. How different is Davis from Sacramento? And how would you describe the Sacramento music scene?
I enjoy both, they’re two different worlds. When I’m in Davis it feels small and you know everybody and people seem to enjoy good music. In Sacto it’s home and my close friends are here.
This might be a cliché question nowadays, but what’s playing on your iPod?
Coco Rosie, Morning Benders, T Rex, Dirty Projectors, Mum, Bonnie Prince Billy.
I noticed the ukulele is making a huge splash with a lot of artists. Do you see that instrument making its way into your music?
I played one once but probably not a lot.
I noticed you play a few New York in July, but you skip Boston. Can I assume you’re a Yankees fan?
I don’t watch baseball but I have nothing against Boston, it’s just how it worked.
Looking ahead to the next five years, where do you see yourself musically? Have you set any goals for yourself?
I see myself doing an EP soon and have some new songs. I have set my goals. Next five years I want to do Sea of Bees full time and be able to pay my bills.
[photos via Riot Act Media]
Note: Article first published as “An Interview with Julie Baenziger of Sea Of Bees” on Blogcritics.org.