Meet Juice Webster, one-half of Hemm, who debuts a solo project with Lover, I Swear
Her folk-infused project is more Angel Olsen or Sufjan Stevens-esque than the electronica of her other project.
Melbourne-based electronic duo Hemm is a two-piece we've talked about a couple of times over the years, with their subtle electronica standing amongst Australia's most beautiful. Most recently, it was for their second EP Make Me Stay A While So I Can Catch My Breath, a tender collection of singles including Why Do I Unwind?, the video of which we premiered just before their slot at CHANGES Festival in Melbourne. While the pairing's soft productions and shimmering synth have captured us time and time again, we've always come out feeling more and more in love with Juice Webster, the vocals of the pairing who now has launched her own project of the same name, debuting this week with Lover, I Swear.
Lover, I Swear isn't a huge jump from her work with Hemm, with that thick emotion her voice crackles with once again shining through with her own project. However, this time around, it hovers around an instrumental more indie-folk-based, drawing closer comparisons to names like Angel Olsen and Sufjan Stevens as she unites personal and honest lyricism rich with vulnerability hand-in-hand with soft aural textures and shimmering guitar. "This song was written some years ago in an attempt to take ownership of my emotions after a break-up, unsurprisingly," she says on the song. "I remember feeling like I didn't have control over the situation, and all I wanted was to feel in charge of myself again. I'm sure many people can relate to that feeling. This song was my final dance with the whole experience; my way of ultimately deciding to make the choice to move through everything and regain control. It's very dramatic... it makes me laugh now."
There's a few dates and a larger EP incoming, but in the meantime, dive into Lover, I Swear below, and better introduce yourself to Juice Webster while you're at it:
Tell us about yourself?
Hello, I’m Juice. I write folk songs and I also make up 1/2 of an electronic pop duo, Hemm.
What’s the vibe music-wise?
The EP is a folk record that deals with common themes of heart-break, anxiety, loneliness and very deep love for the people around me. I wrote all the songs except one a very long time ago, so I feel a bit of a disconnect between the person who wrote it and the person I am now. But there’s something freeing about that.
I was listening to a lot of artists in the realm of Sufjan Stevens, Adrianne Lenker, Grouper and Angel Olsen at the time of recording and producing it.
What are your production and writing processes like?
Generally speaking, my writing process is very isolated. I write with just a guitar and record into my phone, usually somewhere comfy and private. I write a lot of thoughts down in a little notebook, and sometimes these musings will become lyrics, but sometimes I just start strumming away and humming or singing nonsense until something sticks. There’s a lot of trial and error.
My friend Joe Buchan helped me produce the whole EP which was so nice. Joe really took the time to understand the songs and where they came from before we delved into things. I found the production phase super challenging. I changed my mind a lot and felt very tender and unsure of myself, but it was comforting to have someone to bounce ideas off and to validate decisions. It kind of just came down to us trying a bunch of things and seeing what stuck.
Can you tell us about your new single, Lover, I Swear?
Lover, I Swear is, unsurprisingly, a break-up song. I wrote it quite a long time ago, so the drama of it makes me laugh now. It was written in an attempt to regain control over my thoughts and emotions during a time when I felt quite powerless. It can be really hard when you feel like things are just happening to you and you have no choice but to endure them. So, I guess this was my way of deciding to make the choice to move through it.
Any tour dates coming up?
No tour dates, but if you’re in Melbourne I’m playing at The Retreat Hotel in Brunswick on August 11th with Imogen Cygler, and at Longplay in Fitzroy North on August 13th with Leah Edmond.
What does 2019 have in store for you?
I’m releasing the whole EP later in the year, and I plan to start recording the next lot of work soon. The songs are mostly finished, so I’m excited to start laying them down.
Where can we find more of your music?
This is the only song I have out so far, but you can find some Hemm stuff here, and if you like what you hear from plain old me, you can follow along here and here so you’ll be the first to know when there is more.
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