Julia Jacklin has been on our radars for a while, but 2016 was undoubtedly the year she came through. Her debut record Don’t Let The Kids Win landed, a nostalgic gem encapsulating the “what the fuck am I doing?” mantra so many of us twenty-somethings are struggling with today.
The first single from the album landed at #2 in our top 100 songs of 2016, and it became pretty obvious it was Julia’s face we wanted on the cover of Happy Mag Issue #4. We caught up with her to chat, where she handily talked plaid skirts, freak-outs and hitting the road with Whitney.
Coming of age, dressing like a retiree in Vegas and the superiority of the electric guitar: We chat to Julia Jacklin for Happy Mag Issue #4.
HAPPY: Have to say to start Don’t Let The Kids Win was one of our favourite records of the year last year. It was a big one for you. How are you feeling – a bit exhausted yet?
JULIA: Yeah well, I had a break, and now I’m about to kick back in to gear, so I’m kind of a bit stressed right now because I don’t know if I’m ready just yet. After Laneway I’m going to the UK and doing a bit of a Europe tour, then back to the US after that.
HAPPY: It’s an intriguing title for a debut record. Where does it stem from and what does it mean to you?
JULIA: It came from the idea of not…well, the line in the song is king of saying don’t let kids win at games. Because you grow up thinking that the world is an easy place to succeed in then all of the sudden you realise that it’s not and that can be a shock. Being what you actually want to be as a person takes time, more time than you might of thought when you were younger. So that title is just kind of saying, don’t prepare your kids to think that they’re going to get everything.
HAPPY: That’s a pretty mature stance on life. Do you feel like an adult or are you still trying to figure things out?
JULIA: Maybe, it depends. Sometimes I do, then some moments I feel completely unprepared like everybody else.
HAPPY: It’s a weird concept, being a kid and being an adult. I mean, what dictates what either actually means?
JULLIA: That’s it. The other thing is that you think that you’ll feel it and understand it and know exactly what is it when you get there, that you’ll turn 25 and all of a sudden you’ll know how to get your car registered on time, or how to get the job you want, and you don’t have to do anything to prepare yourself for that moment because it will just arrive, and it doesn’t just arrive.
HAPPY: Do you find it important to be honest in that way and talk about things that are that real in your music?
JULIA: I don’t know, I don’t think it’s as well thought-out as people may think. It’s not like I have issues and then feel like I must make music to express myself. I guess I just happen to write songs and they happen to say things and then I get asked about them and then I have to talk about them, you know what I mean? There’s no real process there, at the beginning stages anyway. I just wrote songs when I wasn’t studying at uni, then I made a record and now we are here. I guess you think about and talk about a record way more after you’ve made it than before. And people present you these ideas about it and you’re like ‘oh, maybe that’s what it means’.
HAPPY: But it is art, and people are always going to try to deconstruct art and make sense of it. Does that feel cool, having people enjoy and try to understand your work?
JULIA: Definitely, it makes it feel like it means something and that it was worth doing.
HAPPY: Do you find it important to put yourself in your narratives?
JULIA: I guess. I don’t think I’m very good at poetry so I don’t think I’ve ever been very good at covering up my feelings with metaphors or whatever. But I feel that the worst kind of writing, especially at my age – I think when I’m older I’ll be able to be different kind of writer – is when you try to write about things that you haven’t actually experienced yet, so it comes across as pretty contrived. The best kind of stuff comes from talking about what you know – it’s a good place to start.
Read the full interview with Julia Jacklin in Happy Mag Issue #4 – coming your way very soon! Subscribe to Happy here.