Interview: Julia Holter

"Tragedy" and "Ekstasis". And you've studied the Classics with Anne Carson. Is it safe to say that her teaching affected and/or guided you? Has she given you her opinion on your music?
I never studied the classics! That would be great though. I took a great class with Anne Carson (who actually taught in the Comparative Literature department at University of Michigan) called "Attention", and we looked at so much incredible artwork and writing--Simone Weil, Agnes Martin, a bunch other stuff. It was really inspiring to me at a time when I was also first discovering John Cage for the first time, and finding things outside of the sort of confining classical music conservatory world I had been surrounded by.

"Tragedy" is based on Hippolytus. Now this is not so common these days, releasing an album based on a greek drama. How did this happen?
haha I dont know, I think I just was reading it out of interest and decided that the plot and the characters would be fun to set to music. I don't really enjoy making up plots--like Shakespeare right? I like to use other plots to build dynamics in music.

Ekstasis is your 2nd album in (more or less) 6 months. How come you're releasing two albums in such a short time?
I wrote them at the same time

There's the obvious connection between music and ekstasis, the coming out of one world and entering another via music and ekstasis. What does "Ekstasis" mean to you?
Moving out of oneself

Your music is like daydreaming, being in a different reality. What is reality, then?
Don't know

Echo and reverb are your favorite weapons of choise. What do these elements bring to your music that you use them so much?
I use them if a song needs them. Every song is different

Tragedy made a lot of 2011 Best albums lists. Did you see that coming? How has this changed your every day life?
It is great! I'm happy about that. It didn't change my everyday life at all. Except more emails.

Your music is obviously very personal. How do you feel when people judge it? Do you mind what people think of your music?
When people judge my music I accept that that is what people are going to do. I do mind what people think of my music, but my feelings and my practical side are different. SO of course I feel bad if someone says "This is a piece of shit", but I never let if affect what I'm doing. You can't or it's over.

I've heard of a story about you and a guru singing in India. Details, please.
I went to India with some other music students at Michigan a long time ago for about a month, led by my professor Stephen Rush. It was very short but great experience. I learned some ragas. I was totally new to it and still am but it was so great to experience that.

How do you feel about playing in Greece, after having released two "greek" albums?

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