Name: Julie Marghilano
Occupation: Producer, Label Owner
Labels: Little HelpersesSol Asylum
Current Release: Let It Go
Musical Recommendations: Matthew Herbert. Horror Inc
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I started composing simple songs when I was a kid on the piano when I was about 7 just for fun. I guess my earliest influences were my jazz musician father and vocalist mother. I did not get into producing electronic music until 2002 a long time after my first experience with writing music.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
I guess my development is a bit different than most electronic producers because I've been playing and studying the violin since I was 10. I always loved electronic music and used to go to under-age-dances in Las Vegas when I was 13. I can still remember vividly when I heard the violin jam by Jean Luc Ponty in Mahavishnu Orchestra with FX for the first time. I was totally freaking out and had to know what this alien music was ... it was a big inspiration for me and I knew at that moment I wanted to do something that would combine these two very different genres. But of course I never heard anyone do it, so it took me quite some time to put it all together.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
I started to produce electronic music on my own 6 years ago really (before that, I was always collaborating) and it was a big challenge because I did not go to school for it. I just spent thousands of hours trying different things, and putting in the time to learn how to use different programs, vsts and drum machines. I am definitely a learn as you do kind of person, unfortunately not very manual-friendly. But I'm trying to change that around now.
Tell us about your studio, please. What were criteria when setting it up and how does this environment influence the creative process? How important, relatively speaking, are factors like mood, ergonomics, haptics and technology for you?
My studio is in my roof top apartment in Kreuzberg. It overlooks a beautiful park and the moon shines directly in my studio when it is full. I am very fortunate to be able to work in this castle in the clouds. All of the factors that you have listed above are very important to my creative process, including technology. Although I feel that music is really an extension of our emotions. You can own a spaceship studio but if you don't have ideas or can't channel your emotions, the technology will not make the process better or easier.
What are currently some of the most important tools and instruments you're using?
Violin, Bld Cwejman, Reaktor, MFB Tanzbar, Prophet-5.
Many contemporary production tools already take over significant parts of what would formerly have constituted compositional work. In which way do certain production tools suggest certain approaches, in which way do they limit and/or expand your own creativity? Are there any promising solutions or set-ups capable of triggering new ideas inside of you as a composer?
Funny that you ask, because I just created a new jam-session set-up in my studio that I also hope to use for doing a live performance in the future. For me, staring at the computer sometimes limits my compositional creativity, so that is why I am trying a new way of producing. I set up all my gear and can just jam and record, then I go back and can do the adjustments I need to finish the track. I prefer this type of writing, because I love to actually play the machines or instruments and the layout is the least entertaining part for me.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where do ideas come from, what do you start with and how do you go about shaping these ideas?
I guess my latest EP, Let it go, is very dear to me because I got to work with a very talented friend and jazz singer - Ilhem - and it was also to a degree a therapy for me. This was my first EP on my label Sol Asylum, so I was putting myself under a lot of pressure and the music was not coming out. The minute I decided to just jam with strings and piano with no plan or stress, the whole EP fell into place. The big lesson here was that I just have to let the pressure go and enjoy making the music and everything else will fall into place naturally.
With more and more musicians creating than ever and more and more of these creations being released, what does this mean for you as an artist in terms of originality? What are some of the areas where you currently see the greatest potential for originality and who are some of the artists and communities that you find inspiring in this regard?
I think that there will always be artists that push the boundaries of originality in every genre and art. I guess the most important thing for me is to not become stagnant and to always try to learn something new and try to live up to my full potential. It does not happen all the time, but when it does, the originality always shines through.