By Vanessa B
Main photo : Ramtin Zanjani
With influences including Damien Rice, Bright Eyes, Herman Düne and Devendra Banhart, Who Are You Lutra Lutra?? is a musical act that quietly demands the listener’s full attention as they are transported to a windswept coastal landscape, or perhaps a “cloudscape” as Julien Thomas writes about in a track of the same name.
WAYLL’s fourth album,”Remember The Lines” features 6 meticulously crafted, sublimely thoughtful pieces of auditory art. The release comes on the back of almost three years of creative development and marks a milestone for the French duo, in collaboration with a number of high calibre fellow artists from acros the globe, such as Maciej Sadowski (double bass, Poland), Ditte Barild (vocals, Denmark) and Norlene Olmedo (cello, Venezuela).
Julien joined us for some QuickFire Questions, discussing creating, performing and touring together with band-mate Fabien Thomas, as they promote the album, out today. Check out both below.
How does life on the windy French coast of Brest influence your music, if at all?
In Brest, life is not so simple. The weather is often bad, the architecture is gray, and the city is quite isolated from the rest of France. It’s at the end of Brittany, totally west of France and Europe. You don’t “stop by” in Brest. Except maybe for sailors, on their way to other important harbors. But there is this surprising and special creative atmosphere, that I didn’t find in any other city. Ideas are always welcome, and therefore the culture is flourishing.
A few minutes away from the melancholic gray walls of this city which was devastated by WW2, you’ll find the most breathtaking oceanic landscapes. Both are a big source of inspiration for the many artists that live or use to live in this city.
In the song “cloudscapes”, I tried to describe the feelings I go through when walking along the coastline near Brest.
What is your creative process like? Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
I have a very very slow creative process. Some songs took up to 10 years to complete. I like to start with a few chords or just a very tiny guitar melody, and from this, plant a seed. I never decide to sit at my desk and write songs. I just let the seed grow in my head, some lyrics come and go, and some more guitar ideas slowly develop. Once I have something that I’m happy with, I usually present it to my friend Fabien, who plays guitars, mandolin, ukulele, and any other instrument he finds on his way. Thanks to him, the songs very often take a very different shape.
What do you like to do outside of music?
I’m a big nature enthusiast. I was born by the sea, but I love the mountains. I just feel super good there. We are working on the idea of bringing these 2 passions together, by organising a “Refuge Tour” in the Alps, probably in 2023. Like a regular track, but with our guitar on our backs, and performing in the evening in the cabins.
Where have you performed? What are your favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
With Fabien, it all started in Brest, where we played very nice venues, like Cabaret Vauban, and la Carène (opening for Tunng, Cocoon, Hugh Coltman). But quickly after that, we realised that we wanted to bring our songs as far as possible from where we met. So, we organised one DIY tour in Australia. Followed by 2 more. We loved so much organising small concerts, sometimes living-room concerts, it allowed us to meet some incredible people. We really appreciate sharing our music in intimate places. Where people have time to sit, relax, and join us in our world.
On May 7th, we’ll play our release show in Berlin. We’ll play more shows in Germany and Denmark at the end of June. Our highlight will be the Thy Lejren Festival in Denmark.
What’s next for you?
We’re already working on a new album! We have really exciting material to share. 3 songs are already finished. This next album will definitely have more jazzy vibes. But we’ll take it slow. As usual 🙂