Call & Response: Julie Fader

Julie Fader is a talented singer/songwriter, musician, and visual artist. I recently found out that I've seen and heard her more times than I thought. She's a member of Great Lake Swimmers and also supports Sarah Harmer and Chad VanGaalen.

When she finds time, Julie's creates her own beautiful ambient folk-rock. Her debut solo album OUTSIDE IN (Hand-Drawn Dracula) was produced and recorded by her boyfriend Graham Walsh (of Holy Fuck) and features lots of well-known indie musicians - including the big names she supports.

Julie and her band play the Hand-Drawn Dracula TIFF Showcase tonight, alongside Brian Borcherdt, Megasoid and many others. I talked to Julie about her album, her art, and writing backwards.

blogTO: Where are you from originally? Did you play in school bands or any rock bands in high school?

Julie Fader: I grew up in Hamilton, for the most part. I also spent a bunch of time in the country at my grandparents farm in the summers, hanging with the cows, horses and chickens. I did not play in bands; I read books and hung out with my bad-ass friends and listened to music. I did play flute in the school band in 8th grade.

What have been your biggest musical influences re: your guitar playing, singing and songwriting?

My Canadian ones - Neil Young, Joni Mitchell (Blue), early Bruce Cockburn, Sarah, Chad and Tony.

How did you get recruited to play in all the bands you're in now? What made you want to join so many other projects?

I have never sought out or auditioned for a gig or anything. The people I play with at this point in my life are all people I love, and who I am a big fan of already. They asked, and I said yes.

You must be very busy. How many band invitations have you had to turn down?

I have had to turn down a couple of things, yes. It makes me sad if the music makes my heart swell, but you can't say yes to everything.

You've finally got your own album to promote. How does it feel to have "the spotlight" all to yourself now?

I'm not interested in a spotlight being on me, but I am excited for people to hear my music. I'm also excited because now that OUTSIDE IN is out, I can start looking toward my next album and think about painting some more.

I like the cover art. How did you make it? Is there a story or concept behind it?

James Mejia (Hand-Drawn Dracula) did the layout and design of the album artwork. He used a pencil drawing that he did of me, and combined it with one of my dot paintings! The art that I make is just as important as music to me. No story, but the cover is a nice representation I think.

How has presenting a solo album been different/similar to presenting one of your visual art shows? Does one make you more nervous/excited than the other?

I have felt equally nervous I suppose. My CD release party last week felt just like an art opening. I knew a bunch of people that I care about were coming to check out something very personal. You just hope for the best once you put it out there.

How early did you start writing lyrics backwards? Do you think your lyrics for this album would have come out differently had you written them the normal way?

I have always written backwards or mirror image, since i was 3. It's because I am left-handed. I find it to be 100% natural, just like a right handed person would writing forward. Your hand doesn't drag in the ink, you can start at the back of the book and make your way to the front! I think the lyrics have a different flow possibly because they were written that way... I hadn't considered that before.

This decade is almost over, so who were your favourite bands/artists of the 00's?

All the people I play with (Sarah H, Chad VG, Tony D., Brian B., Justin R., Attack In Black, Cuff the Duke, Huron). Also Martin Tielli - who would have thought he was the poppy salesman. Too many to name. I seem to be a fan of my friends.

What do you like best about living in Toronto?

Living with Graham. Being so close to friends when I come home from tour. The different farmers markets. Walking.

What bars/restaurants/etc in TO do you like most?

King's Cafe, Terroni, Noce, The Intersteer, Ronnie's, and the Dakota Tavern.

Is it fun telling people you're dating a guy in a band called "Holy Fuck"?!?

I usually say "Holy F..." but yes, it's nice. I'm a big fan.

Which actor/celebrity would you most like to see in the crowd at your TIFF show Thursday?

Neil Young said that he was making an appearance... : )

How do you handle 4am last calls??

I go home before last call.

Hand Drawn Dracula TIFF Showcase
Brian Borcherdt, By Divine Right, Julie Fader, Off The International Radar, Josh Reichmann
Late night dance party: Megasoid, Graham Walsh (DJ set)
Thursday, September 17
The Drake Underground
1150 Queen Street West
Doors: 8:30pm
Cover: $5 before midnight

Call & Response is a series of Q&A's with bands from or playing in Toronto. Photo: James Mejia.

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