Transcript of interview conducted by the Australian Rock Show podcast (interview conducted 18 May 2017)
Since uploading her first video to YouTube, Juliette Jade (formerly Valduriez) has attracted a huge supporter base online – with 100’000 subscribers and millions of fans viewing her clips. Her covers of Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Metallica, Jimi Hendrix and Ozzy have been widely acclaimed, helping to launch the career of this gifted French guitarist. After an extended break, Juliette re-appeared late last year with the release of her debut album ‘Terrarium’. Her unique style has generated much excitement amongst guitar players and rock fans the world over – and on show #71, in her first ever interview, Juliette talks exclusively to The Australian Rock Show about her new album, her amazing musical journey and much more.
Australian Rock Show: Juliette, it’s wonderful to talk with you – welcome to the Australian Rock Show….
Juliette Jade: Thankyou for inviting me
ARS: Firstly, I know that there are many many people who are interested in learning more about you, so thankyou very much for taking time to chat with me…..
JJ: You’re welcome
ARS: Now I must start this interview by congratulating you on the release of ‘Terrarium’ – your debut album which was released late last year. It’s a very impressive debut. How do you feel to have finally released an album’s worth of your original songs ?
JJ: I feel relieved. It was a very ambitious project since from composition to production I did it all by myself in a Do It Yourself kind of way. I also feel relieved because people seem to like my work.
ARS: They do, many people like your work so from start to finish, how long did it take you to write and record the album ?
JJ: Over two years
ARS: We’ll look over the album later – but I do want to start by asking you about your amazing journey which began seven years ago…. you uploaded your first video onto YouTube in 2010, which attracted a huge response online – you now currently have over 100’000 YouTube subscribers – your videos have been viewed by millions – I can only imagine you were astonished by the response you received after uploading those first couple of videos ?
JJ: Yes it’s been quite amazing I didn’t expect that. To me, uploading videos on YouTube was the best way to present my work as a guitarist and as a composer (with ‘Lost Paradise’ and the solo’s I wrote)
ARS:and then there was a long four year period commencing in 2012 – where you seemingly vanished from the world of YouTube and social media. Many of your fans would like to know why you took such a long break ?
JJ: Well I didn’t feel like doing more covers and I needed to start working on my own material – not only guitar solo’s on to well known songs. Plus I didn’t want to be known as a YouTube phenomenon, but as a good musician, that’s all.
ARS: Okay let’s go back a bit – an obvious question is how did your love affair with the guitar begin and how old were you ?
JJ: As a child the music I listened to was centred on the guitar. I always loved the instrument itself and I loved the fact that you can take it everywhere with you. I got my first acoustic guitar when I was about 12, but in the beginning I only played a few chords by myself. I started learning seriously how to play when I was about 14 I guess…
ARS: So 12 years old was when you got your first guitar – I have read comments describing you as a musical prodigy – did you take guitar lessons as a child or are you self-taught ?
JJ: Well that’s a nice comment but I consider myself very far from being a guitar prodigy. I’ve had a few teachers but honestly I mostly learned alone by playing over my CD’s, with my books, videos and with my metronome.
ARS: Are you from a musical family ?
JJ: There are no musicians, although there was always music around. My mother listened to a lot of very cool stuff I must say.
ARS: What kind of artists was she playing ? What French artists ?
JJ: French ? Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy – stuff like that
ARS: Were you in any bands growing up ?
JJ: No unfortunately.
ARS: If you had to choose one or two of your guitar heroes, who would they be and why ?
JJ: Can I choose three ? That would be Randy Rhoads, Zakk Wylde and James Williamson because I love their sound and their energy, I love them.
ARS: What do you like about Randy Rhoads’ style ?
JJ: Everything, everything. I’m very moved by his playing.
ARS: Are there any French guitar players who influenced you ?
JJ: No, not yet.
ARS: I note that there is a keyboard and also a bass guitar in a couple of your videos – I am assuming you can play those instruments too – besides the guitar ?
JJ: I play the keyboard – mostly in my own compositions, but rarely. In my music I prefer working with the synthesizer and I do play the bass and also the drums. It’s actually my favourite instrument to play besides the guitar.
ARS: Wow, okay the drums.
JJ: Yeah I wish I could practice more, it’s one of my favourite instruments.
ARS: Now in your videos you are playing mostly Gibson guitars (an SG, a Melody Maker) yet also a stunning looking Parker Fly (Deluxe) – do you have a personal favourite ?
JJ: Well, I sold them all along the way, so my favorite guitar is the one I have left and it’s the 1962 Gibson Melody Maker. It’s the one I play on my recent YouTube videos. It’s also the only guitar I used for the recording of ‘Terrarium’ – I really love it. I recently got a Fender that I really like.
ARS: Those Parker Fly’s are very light aren’t they – what do you look for in a guitar when you are buying one ?
JJ: The lightness is definitely something I look for in a guitar, I need to feel comfortable playing it y’know ? and about the Fender, it’s one I really like because it has a short scale with twenty two frets, so it’s really comfortable and I don’t make my fingers bleed anymore so that’s definitely a plus.
ARS: With regards to your YouTube clips – why did you select those particular tracks to cover on guitar – ? (for example Pink Floyd, Stones, Beatles, Hendrix, Ozzy etc)
JJ: They inspire me – they gave me the opportunity to present my guitar work in different ways.
ARS: One thing I learned from your YouTube video’s is that you have a wide taste and good knowledge of music – stuff like Hendrix and the Stones are obvious covers – but taking on songs by The Exploited, Motorhead and The Stooges – that to me shows you have good taste in rock n roll….
ARS: The one video of yours which has attracted the most attention is the cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ – and I believe it is because in only two short minutes – you manage to play with so much feel – putting your own touch to a very famous solo – and in some way, you make it your own. I am sure even David Gilmour would appreciate it…
JJ: Thankyou very much. I play this solo with respect but definitely my own way – so I understand why some hardcore David Gilmour fans hate it but that’s okay
ARS: Juliette, let’s look over the album if we may – where was ‘Terrarium’ recorded ? A home studio ?
JJ: Yes, it was recorded at home.
ARS: All of the music – eleven songs – was composed and performed by yourself – which is an amazing achievement – and the reviews and comments online have mostly all been positive. A big endorsement right there, that your hard work and effort in cutting (recording) an album has paid off….
JJ: Thankyou. I’m very grateful for the support of the people who bought my album. If some of them are listening I want to thank them again – and I want to thank you as well for the review of ‘Terrarium’ I really appreciated it.
ARS: I want to touch on the lyrics if I can… they’re wonderful, thought provoking lyrics on Terrarium – some dark and brooding (displayed on the song ‘Killer) – yet the lyrical content overall is very poetic. And these are lyrics that weave themselves around your guitar work so well. Now all lyrics were written by ‘Cati’ – is that your song-writing partner ?
JJ: Yes Cati is my lyricist. She wrote all the lyrics on the album. Except for the lyrics of the song ‘Room 7’ which I wrote myself.
ARS: OK I do want to highlight a couple of these lyrics if I may…..firstly from the song ‘Room 7’: “My limbs are attached, Somehow they do not match. My heart is racing in the chest of another being”. Amazing – can you please explain what the song Room 7 is about ?
JJ: There are several readings I guess, I would rather prefer to let everyone free to find the meaning that the lyrics suggest to them
ARS: ‘Ashes Of Light’ is another stunning tune with some cutting and powerful lyrics – “Night arises In your eyes, Ashes of light Spread over My life, As my heart Falls apart Endlessly” – Wow, that’s impressive stuff, can you tell me the meaning of that particular song ?
JJ: It’s about the dawn of a tremendous sorrow. Everybody can relate to this song because sooner or later we will be confronted by the death of those we love. I think her lyrics are beautiful.
ARS: They are, they’re very very beautiful – Juliette being a rock n roll guy – one of my favourite tracks on the album is the straight forward and infectious song Hellicoptre – one which contains some of your most potent guitar work by the way – it’s sung in french, so I am hoping you can give me the background to that song Hellicoptre please….
JJ: It’s the story of some serialistic and apocalyptic journey on earth and around. it’s a play on rhymes – a play on words
ARS: I love it, one of my favourite tracks on the album – so, having a record contract in today’s modern age is not as crucial as in past years, but I would like to know if any record label have shown interest in you ?
JJ: Not yet.
ARS: Your vocals on Hellicoptre – actually the whole album are easy on the ear and very pleasant – at times a little haunting – but they suit the material on the album so well….. Is singing something you’ve always done or is it new to you ?
JJ: Yeah it’s pretty new – it’s pretty new
ARS: How would you judge your own voice ? You have a good rock voice ?
JJ: Well, I think it’s a good contrast with my guitar playing
ARS: Agreed they work very well together. Now the song that initially got me interested in you online is one called ‘Lost Paradise’ – it clocks in at under two minutes, but displays so much of your style and natural flair so well. Were there any plans to include ‘Lost Paradise’ on the album ?
JJ: Well not really, but maybe in the future I will turn it into a real song I don’t know.
ARS: Please do, I think a lot of people would like to hear that in recorded form
ARS: Are you currently working on new material ?
JJ: Yes, yes I am, I have lots of ideas.
ARS: Personally one aspect I really enjoyed about Terrarium, is that it is not just 11 songs of loud, guitar-shred rock n roll. Yes – the shredding and stunning guitar work – that signature sound of yours is indeed all throughout the album, but that is only one component. And to be honest, I think many people who also bought this album would’ve discovered that fact as well, and if you’ve read the many positive comments online – are enjoying it as much as I am – so again, congratulations.
JJ: Thankyou so much
ARS: Juliette, we should wind this interview up – what are your plans for the remainder of 2017 ? are there any live shows planned ?
JJ: Well not yet, I will do my best to find a record label to work with – unfortunately it’s the only way to produce a decently recorded album – to promote it and then to go on tour – to give live shows..
ARS: If people wish to buy your album and also contact you – juliettejade.bandcamp.com is that the best place they should visit ?
ARS: Before you go I want to say congratulations once again on releasing your album and I sincerely hope that your career in music continues to grow – your unique style of guitar playing – the flair, feel and emotion you have – creates a sound which is truly all your own…you’ve managed to captivate and generate much excitement among guitar players and music fans the world over. So please continue to do what you do – because it provides many of us with much enjoyment….
JJ: Thankyou for your kind words, for your support and for inviting me to do this interview.
Purchase Terrarium by Juliette Jade at: https://juliettejade.bandcamp.com