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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Interview with Julian Velard

    Julian Velard is one of those rare artists that come along to bring back a style of music you never knew you missed until you hear it. With influences like Billy Joel and Elton John, his retro vibe tunes will make you dance and sing along. His sarcastic and playful personality makes him all the more likeable.
    Velard was born in New York and had been trying for years to garner attention from a record major label in the U.S without much luck. The only feedback,he was receiving were from fans on Myspace and fans he gained after performing in local small venues in New York City. While trying to make a name for himself in the states Velard didn’t know that people in the U.K. were already tuning into his music.

    Statesman: When did you start writing music?
    Julian Velard: I wrote my first song when I was about 15 or 16. I took voice lessons and then started goofing around on the piano, which is really what got me started. My first song was about Pee Wee Herman. He and Michael Jackson were important to me when I was a kid. They both were eccentric and talented individuals who got a bad rap and didn’t make the best choices, but Pee Wee was important to me.

    SM: Where were you in your life before getting signed?
    JV:I was trying to just make a living, just teaching gym for kindergarteners, doing whatever I could to make ends meat. In the winter of 2007, I was slowly getting emails on my Myspace account and didn’t think anything of it. All of a sudden there was like a Myspace explosion and I don’t know many people that this has happened to, but I was literally offered a record and publishing deal all through Myspace.
    The world still doesn’t know who I am. I’m still looking for that piece of mass exposure; whatever shameless thing I have to do, like a Gap commercial.

    SM: How would you describe the genre of music you play?
    JV: For me it’s like psychology. It has its therapeutic purposes. I don’t really think of it much as music. I listen to my songs and I just hear all my problems. I think it does have that feel good kind of 70s AM Rock sensibility. It sounds like music from Billy Joel, Elton John, and when you get more artsy and obscure Randy Newman falls into that category and Tom Waits’hellip; It’s basically what pop music used to be when it was about great songs and great sentiments.
    For a while I was against having guitar on my albums and everything still is mainly keyboard based, but now I’m not religious about it. Now it’s just whatever works’hellip; selling myself out.

    SM: What song have you recorded so far that you would call your favorite?
    JV:I usually like the most recent thing that I’ve written. Songs usually represent pieces of time or pieces of your life. It’s like asking who is the favorite guy you’ve dated and the answer to that is whoever it is now.

    SM: What artists have influenced your music?
    JV:Guys like Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, and Tom Waits. Those early Billy Joel records are great records. I don’t know if you know him for some of his stuff like Up Town Girls and other cheesy stuff, but he is a big cheese ball.
    As I’m progressing, I’m wearing my influences on my sleeve more whereas before it was more of a singer/songwriter vain. I have a real love of the past music.

    SM: What do you do in your spare time when you’re not writing music?
    JV:I update my Facebook a lot, which is kind of pitiful. I play video games and watch a lot of movies. I’ve probably seen more movies than anybody you know. It’s one of my ways of cooling off, but a huge waste of time. I love horror like John Carpenter movies such as ‘Halloween’.

    SM: Where are you now with touring and coming out with new music?
    JV:It’s kind of a dead time right now so I’m focusing on working on my new stuff. I did just tour for a couple of weeks in the states and just touring sporadically. I was in Philly, Boston, DC, New York, Pittsburg and other places. I played with some great bands including Rosi Golan. I’ll be back on December 10 for a New York show.
    It’s nice when I come back to the states because a lot of the fans get really excited about not just me being there but the music as well. When I’m playing I try to really engage the audience. I make it so that yeah, the audience is going to get their money’s worth, but also to have a real moment. That’s what’s special.

    To listen to Julian Velard you can visit him on his Myspace page: www.myspace.com/julianvelard. You can also catch him on his three-stop tour later this year in December.

    12/10 Bowery Ballroom-New York City, New York
    12/11 Bearsville Theater- Woodstock, New York
    12/12 World Caf’eacute; Live Downstairs- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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