Having recently relocated from Sydney to London, we’re looking forward to hearing a lot more from JuliaWhy? Although performing live as a raucous power-trio, JuliaWhy? is ostensibly the brainchild of songwriter Julia Wylie. Julia recently released her second album, Hysteria; Julia wrote, “half the record during the throes of mania, and the other half during the lows of depression”. The resultant record is as eclectic as you’d expect from its origins, taking influences from Riot grrrl through to sun kissed-pop and dreamy shoegaze. Celebrating Julia’s arrival on these shores, today we’re premiering her new video to the record’s standout moment, Starman.
As you could probably guess from the title, Starman is in some ways a tribute to David Bowie. While Bowie’s death seemed to resonate with many of us, it hit Julia particularly hard, as she explains, “it is an homage to David Bowie, whose death in 2016 triggered hallucinations and a manic episode that eventually led to hospitalisation and a bipolar diagnosis”. It was that event that inspired Julia to write a record about her mental health, using David Bowie as a beacon of hope, “Bowie became a transcendental source of strength while I battled and danced with my own demons”.
If Starman is lyrically a tribute to David Bowie, musically it seems to come from a completely different world. Julia’s lush harmonies nod to the Lemonheads or Galaxie 500, while the searing guitars nod to the legendary shoegazers, from My Bloody Valentine to Slowdive. The accompanying video, co-directed by Sydney visual artist Amaya Lang was filmed in a Victorian mansion, and, “draws on the watery fates of Ophelia and Virginia Woolf, reframing feminine emotion as a coherent response to a world gone mad”.
Hysteria is an album that deals with personal struggles, yet seeks to project them onto a wider struggle, to find some meaning in the chaotic world around us. In some ways it is an attempt to reclaim the word itself, to remove Hysteria from the clutches of those who seek to control emotions, and dismiss it as a sign of weakness. Hysteria asks us to reconsider the world’s power dynamic and to stop seeing expressing how you feel as a sign of weakness.
Hysteria is out now. Click HERE for more information on JuliaWhy?