JULIAN LENNON (JL): Robert!
TCG: Hey Julian!
JL: How are you?
TCG: Thanks so much for calling.
JL: No problem what so ever.
TCG: I've been a huge fan of yours since Valotte.
JL: Thank you.
TCG: I guess I'Iljust start.
JL: OK. Yeah, sure.
TCG: I was reading in your bio for the new album Photograph Smile, and you say that asking you to do something more in the Beatles style. I want to ask you what the term Beatte-esque or Beatles-inspired music still means to you?
JL: Well, I mean in many respects, especially these days, it very much means great songwriting, y'know. But obviously there are a few things they're noted for, which are mainly anywhere between the harmonies and the arrangements of what they did and the orchestrations of what they did, which I think had a lot to do with George Martin as well because he was the man in that respect. But, I guess I would settle for that.
TCG: It's a real tribute to your father's legacy that bands are still looking to reinvent a style of music that he pioneered almost 40 years ago.
JL: Right, right. Yeah, well absolutely, I guess so, yes ... you're not kidding!
TCG: I wanted to tell you that in one way, one could say that you are your father's greatest production!
JL: Well thank you! (laughter). That's very kind!
TCG: I think your new album is your best yet.
JL: I would have to agree with you on that one.
TCG: When I first heard the opening track, "Day Atler Day" I was amazed at how much the string arrangements add to the fullness of the sound.
JL: Yeah, I mean I wish I'd have done something like that a long time ago. I was always interested in classical arrangements, y'know, and it was primarily working with (album producer) Bob Rose that brought that to fruition, because before I'd always used samples and keyboards, and didn't truly understand really what the effect of strings or an orchestra could be until I actually found myself in the studio with the orchestra. It was just such a mind-blowing experience to work with real strings. There's no turning back for me! (laughter). It's opened my mind and my eyes to so much potential of so much written material that I have that I haven't recorded yet. Even to a degree of going back to some of the previous work that I did ... with songs like "Mother Mary" and a couple of other ones ... of redoing them, because I felt a lot of the older stuff got left on the shelf because of the lack of support and broken promises from the label. Not as a, per se hit CD, but just my sort of .. my favorites from the past that didn't really get to see the light of day. What I would truly like to do as a project is pull some of those things ... and redo them in the same way I did them with this album. Which was all very natural ambience, natural miking techniques instead of samples and digital effects, etc., etc. That's definitely on my list.
TCG: In that respect, Photograph Smile reminds me of your father's album Imagine.
TCG: Could you explain why you contend that you've reached another level in your song-writing?
JL: I just feel that I've found a key which totally makes sense to me as a writer. For instance, if I'm writing a ballad, I feel that there are four elements to the ballad. I feel that there is the music, there is the melody, there are the lyrics and then there's the performance of the other three elements. Now, if it's a sad song, each of those elements have to stand up in their own right and express that emotion of sadness, so that when you listen to just the music it evokes that painful sad or lonely feeling. Same too with the melody. It has to stand up on it's own and evoke that also. Same with the lyrics. If you just read the lyrics it has to make you feel that emotion, and the performance aspect is understanding the other three of those elements and conveying the whole thing really. Once you get those four elements on exactly the same path of understanding and emotion, that's when the song becomes, in my eyes, magical. That's when I get goose bumps. When every single aspect of it works, because I find, there's so much music out there these days, that y'know ... the lyrics and the person who's singing them are saying one thing and the music is another song all together. It bears no relationship to each other, and I think if a song truly hits you and really affects you, all of those four elements are in place. And that's what really touches you and that's what really gets down to your bones.
© 1999 20th Century Guitar
Background/Flowers from the 'Photograph Smile'
CD inlet by Angelika Letsch.
'Hey Jules' © 1998 - 2002 CJ Burianek