EP Walkthrough: Julia Wallace breaks down her brilliant debut EP, Place in Mind
In our latest walkthrough, Perth musician Julia Wallace details the beauty of her debut EP, and shows us the shack in which it was written.
Header image by Ella Grainger.
Late last year, we had the pleasure of introducing the world to Julia Wallace, a 19-year-old Perth musician who after years of playing alongside some incredible West Australian acts - including Mal de Mer and Man Sandal - launched her own solo project that thrived with her own creativity and musicality, as shown on her debut single Warm Light.
Premiered by Pilerats, the single showcased Julia at her most potent to-date. "It's dark and brooding yet warm and comforting simultaneously, balancing between these two sides as she layers melodies on top of one another until they meet a climactic release amongst the most beautiful we've heard all year, taking the richness of her work within the jazz-esque space and moving its highlights into this lo-fi, down-tempo pop world," we said on the single, and to be honest, it's still remarkably striking some five months later, even after having the time to settle.
Now, we welcome the release of Julia Wallace's debut EP Place In Mind, and what a career-blossoming release it is so early into the Julia Wallace story. It's a warm, four-track release that continues to break down the walls around Julia, bringing you into her world with the grace and charm she's contributed to other bands in the past - like those aforementioned - but now, is shown with her full personality and creative vision behind her.
It's a cathartic collection of tracks that are centred around Julia's journey through to adulthood, exploring facets of queerness and self-discovery amongst a backdrop of gentle melodies that emphasise her vocals. The EP-opening title-track, for example, dissects feelings of self-validation amongst a growing ensemble of brass; Song About Lying stays true to its name in a very defining moment for the solo project, while You'll Love Her Again brings everything together, with nods to Julia Wallace's versatile tastes and musicality brimming within.
Much like Warm Light before it, the EP was recorded in a shack-like extension of her parent's home during COVID, with Julia Wallace painstakingly piecing every fragment of the EP together - with the exception of drums, which were recorded remotely by Leigh Fisher - as she weaved her own multi-instrumentalist skills amongst the songwriting that brought it all together.
You can take a dive into the Place in Mind EP below, alongside Julia's track-by-track dissection of the EP, and a few photos of the shack which housed the EP's creation. Then, be sure to scoop up more information on the launch for the EP, which will see Julia Wallace's headline debut take place at the newly-opened Barbes, supported by Smol Fish and Tanaya Harper.
Place in Mind
I wrote this song craving to let myself find an ideal place in my mind far from past memories and guilt, and wanting permission from myself to love again. I was going around lacking direction and wanting validation from everyone around me, but through writing this song I realised I needed to just forgive myself from letting people down and move on. Place In Mind is a short poem that repeats through subtle reharmonisation around the home key, with a bigger, more hectic realisation moment with horns beefing it up in the middle. I really loved recording this song.
The piano room of my family home, where I wrote this song, has a light globe with extremely warm light. I remember coming home, being alone for a few months and pacing between the rooms of the house, changing from spaces with ‘warm light to cool light.’ I was feeling particularly existential and aimless following a breakup and overthinking my questionable decisions at the time. Every couple of lines is written about someone I was thinking about at the time (including my dog with a broken foot).
It’s fundamentally a very simple song inspired by droning repeating piano tracks on LCD Soundsystem's All My Friends, that really builds and expands into a full mesh of all these thoughts swimming around my head. When recording this song at home, I was being stubborn as usual, refusing to ask for help, which resulted in a very precarious mic set up above my piano. I sent the tracks to Jono Steer over east, who mixed the song so beautifully, and with Leigh Fisher adding a crazy amount of drum layers, it sounds like I totally knew what I was doing.
Song About Lying
You guessed it this song is about… lying. It was written through a breakup when I didn’t want to lie to the person and not admit that I was falling out of love. It’s about me tossing up the consequences of blurting out the truth. It also touches on self-identity and hiding things from those I was close to, encouraged by my people pleaser instincts. This was the first song that I wrote and thought ‘yeah! I think people are going to like this, let’s give this solo thing a real go’.
You’ll Love Her Again
This had to be the final song of the EP, it’s a sad little honest conversation with my past self when I felt like I was rid of all feelings. I just wanted to feel something again. (but hey! I ended up feeling things again yay!) It’s a conversation intertwined with stacked flugelhorn melodies and a horn solo inspired by Roy Hargove’s playing on The 1975’s tracks. I think it’s the perfect end to the EP, filled with feelings of lacking direction and overthinking, and just looking to the future to reclaim some sense of self.