Interview: Julie Slick (Adrian Belew Power Trio, solo)


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HIT CHANNEL INTERVIEW: April 2011. We had the luck to talk with one of the greatest new generation musicians, bassist Julie Slick. Julie is known as the bassist in Adrian Belew‘s  (King Crimson, Talking Heads guitarist) band. Julie has her debut albut out. Read below the very interesting things she told us:


julie1Was 2010 a good year for you? Which are your plans for 2011?

2010 was an incredible year – it started with the writing, recording, and release of my first solo album, then in July I played my first ever one-woman shows, then throughout the summer and fall did some touring with Adrian Belew – we went to Vancouver Island, Tokyo, South America, and all over Europe.  In 2011, I hope to write and record another album, maybe set up some more one-woman shows, and of course tour some more with the ABPT (Adrian Belew Power Trio) – who knows, maybe we’ll release another album this year too!


You have your debut album out. Are you happy with the feedback you have already received from fans and press for this release? Was an easy process to record it? Who others play in it?

I am extremely shocked and excited about all of the positive feedback I’ve been getting from all over the world – it’s really quite cool as I wrote and recorded the whole thing on my own, in my home studio here in Philly. I started in late January, and after just a few weeks, I had six songs or so, and realized that I could really put it out by the Spring.  I just knew that I needed to get some real instrumentation added (mainly drums).  I invited my brother over, played him some of the tracks, and I was just about to ask him to jump behind the kit and record some drums for me, when he asked, ‘Ya know who should play drums on this song?’ I thought to myself, ‘Um, you?’ He answered before I could make the suggestion, ‘Marco Minnemann’. I though to myself, ‘Why not ask?’ I sent Marco the song that night, and the next day, I had three different perfect takes. I knew I was on to something, and I just starting asking some of the musicians I’d made friends with over the years – Pat Mastelotto, Michael Bernier, Andre Cholmondeley, and the big fish Robert Fripp. He was too busy to track anything new, but he gave me permission to sample any of his soundscapes… so of course I did that.


You are a member of Adrian Belew Power Trio. How was being in a band with such a legend as Adrian Belew is? Was there any moment on stage you felt terrified by his talent?

Luckily I never truly suffered from stage fright – which is odd, because I’m a very shy person, but I feel totally comfortable and at home when I’m performing.  That said, I’ve been a huge fan of Adrian’s since I was 13, so I was definitely a little nervous for the first couple of shows… it took me almost a year to really come out of my shell.


julie3In your website we can learn your bassist influences (Tony Levin, Entwistle, McCartney, Jack Bruce, Wetton). Honestly, I was surprised that I didn’t see John Paul Jones’ name there. But which are you favourite bands/artists?

Of course JPJ is a major influence! It’s just hard to remember all of them… there’s so many great bassists out there, and I think it’s important for budding musicians to open their ears and diversify your influences, because that will lead to more individual, eclectic styles.  I don’t always listen to bass-driven bands, and as a music lover I really appreciate well-written songs. As an engineer I love certain bands for the quality and uniqueness of their production… I love Badly Drawn Boy, the Flaming Lips, Zoe Keating, Radiohead, Tortoise, Cornelius, Sufjan Stevens, Aphex Twin, Mingus, the Kinks, Beck, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zep, Air, Minus the Bear, Grizzly Bear, Wes Anderson soundtracks…


How happened to play with Alice Cooper? How was he like as a person?       

He was really nice (though admittedly, I barely got to talk to the guy).  It happened back in 2005 – I was in LA with a group of my peers promoting the documentary “Rock School” (which is about the Paul Green School of Rock, which I attended for 6 years – I’m also in a few scenes). We had recorded a soundtrack for the movie earlier that year, which featured us SoR kids playing covers of classic tunes, and guest performances by people like Alice (as well as Stewart Copeland, Jon Anderson, Ann Wilson, Dave Mustaine, Marky Ramone, among others).  There was a screening earlier in the evening, and then we took the stage at the after-party, and I got to play ‘Heart of the Sunrise’ with Jon and ‘School’s Out’ with both Alice AND Stuart. It was freakin’ awesome – an experience a 19-year-old almost doesn’t deserve (ed: Julie, I think you’re extremely humble).


With who musician you’d like to play with and hasn’t happened yet? Maybe with Ry Cooder?

Hm… that’s a very tough one, since I’ve been fortunate enough to have played with some pretty fabulous musicians already.  I suppose it’d be really awesome to play with more of the musicians who have influenced me so much – Cornelius, Aphex Twin, Zoe Keating, and any member of Radiohead, the Flaming Lips, or Tortoise. I also love any project that involves Josh Homme and/or Dave Grohl, so I think that would just be a ton of fun.


julie4What music do you hear this period?

Hm – meaning what have I been listening to? Not much, actually, because I’m trying to write for my new album, and am very easily influenced. When I walk around my hometown of Philadelphia (woohoo – Greek-named city), I put my ipod on shuffle, which has all of the bands I’ve mentioned before on it… Although, now that I think of it, I do love putting on the Kinks or Dr. Dog or Eagles of Death Metal this time of year. So spring-y.


For which music achievement you are most proud of? Your playing in ‘e2’ song?

Aw, thanks – I am indeed happy with my playing on that song! I definitely think my work with the power trio has been my crowning achievement thus far. My absolute favorite moment occurred on stage at a festival in Quebec City, when I had the pleasure of playing “Thela Hun Ginjeet” with Tony Levin, Les Claypool, Pat Mastelotto, Eric, Ade, and the California Guitar Trio.  I could barely move my fingers – and it wasn’t because of the 15,000 fans in the audience.


What scares you more than anything?

Mice and/or rats. I don’t know why, but they absolutely terrify me.  Also, failure – but you can’t let that prevent you from trying –  otherwise you’ll never accomplish anything!


What word do you hate? (Me,the word ‘never’)

Normal – who wants to be ‘normal’ anyway?  That would just be boring.


julie5Why you chose ‘February’ as a song name? Does it have a deeper meaning for you? Maybe your ‘November Rain’?

February was a pretty dark time – it snowed a lot here in Philly, and I had just found out that Eric would likely not be joining the ABPT for any touring that year. I stayed inside, cooked and wrote songs, which was very therapeutic, and helped me get out of the depression. I think the whole month is well captured in that one song – it starts out dark and moody, the harmonics representing the snow flakes falling gently outside my bedroom window, and ends rather triumphantly, with the augmenting accompaniment and phasing pianos.


Would you like to play in the country of the goddess Aphrodite, Greece? Send a message to the people who’ll read this..

Of course, I would love to! If anyone knows any promoters, please have them write me, haha!


Special thanks to Julie for her answers.Check

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