20 year old singer / songwriter Julius Black has a gift for channelling complex emotions into deceptively simple alt pop songs. After just two independently released tracks - ‘Mirrors’ and ‘Summer’ - the rising talent has been tipped by a range of new music champions, and a Hottest Track accolade from the Sunday Times. Initial playlist support has already resulted in over 250,000 streams.
Julius is now set to cement his reputation with the release of his debut five-track EP 'Dopamine', featuring brand new single 'Electric Blue'. Raised in Shanghai before relocating to New Zealand, he’d always been fascinated by music spanning hip-hop, gospel and punk, but developed his own sound with the help of local musician Ezra Vine (‘Celeste’) before finessing it further with Struan Finlay. Their experimental production gives Julius’s material a refreshing edge but the essence of his talents is time-honoured exemplary songwriting, influenced by visionary musicians such as Frank Ocean, The 1975 and The Beach Boys.
We spoke with Julius to find out more on the EP as part of our Get To Know series...
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about you!
"I’m Julius Black, I’m a 20 year old singer-songwriter. I grew up in China and now living in New Zealand. I started music when I was around 11, and now I’ve just put out my first EP called ‘Dopamine’."
Do you feel your surroundings have inspired you in any way? "My surroundings inspire me in so many ways for sure! I think you’re definitely a product of your environment and I found that my upbringing definitely inspired me because I think the initial music you discover and fall in love with end up bleeding into the music you make forever."
Who are your biggest inspirations? "My biggest inspirations currently are The 1975, Moses Sumney, Kevin Abstract, but growing up I loved The Beatles because of Dad and I think they play a part in my music now."
How would you describe your sound in the form of a hashtag? "#existentialartpop"
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with? "Japanese House! I think Amber is so cool and I’ve been a huge fan for so long."
What’s been your stand out moment so far? "Getting an article from Complex was super cool for me!"
You’ve just released your debut EP ‘Dopamine’! Tell us a little about it! "My EP ‘Dopamine’ consists of 5 songs that I’ve been working on for the last year and a half. I’m super proud of it and I made it with one of my closest friends Struan. One of the themes of the EP is the anxiety/anticipation that I feel and how that affects my relationships and life. The idea behind the cover art is based around that concept, we burnt a door on this beach and I guess that symbolises how I feel before I take the first step about something that scares me."
How has the reaction been so far?
"It’s been great! I’m lucky that I’ve been given support on Spotify from editorial playlists and also some of my favourite blogs and media have written about me. I feel super lucky because it’s a project I put my heart into and I’m glad people like it!"
Do you have a favourite track or lyric from the EP and why? "My favourite track is ‘A form of Self Defence' but I think it might be because it’s the most recent out of all of the songs that I wrote before the EP came out."
Do you have any more plans for this year? "I’m currently making another EP! Hopefully after this I’d love to work on an album depending on the circumstances and I’d also love to put on a live show!"
'Dopamine' is out now.
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