David Julien: the voice of The Voice

David Julien: the voice of The Voice

David Julien is a singer-songwriter who’s shared the stage with the likes of Dionne Warwick, Leona Lewis and Rick Parfitt. He’s perhaps best known as the frontman of the Kitsch Lounge Riot band - but he also writes and records vocal lines for producers across many different genres. We caught up with David to ask him what drives his work both creatively and technologically...

MPS
You are a songwriter and producer as well as a vocalist, what kind of work do you get the most satisfaction out of?

DJ
I think for me, and I would say most musicians, it’s the performing! Definitely. There is nothing quite like the instant feedback you get from your audience, and the energy and electricity that there is when you’re performing live.

Don’t get me wrong everything else has its moments, coming up with a great melody line, or a really interesting chord sequence can be magic, but nothing compares to that performance high. It could get addictive.

MPS
Who are you working with at the moment?

DJ
Currently working on lots of different projects from around the world. I’m working more in the EDM side of music at the moment as its just so much fun writing these topline melodies, and can be interesting to hear what kind of tracks other people create first. I haven’t a clue what the track is going to sound like until I press play. That’s always a cool moment of discovery.

MPS
You have played alongside some huge acts but can you tell us a little bit about your solo work?

DJ
Concentrating mainly on the corporate market, I perform covers and a couple of my originals. But my show is of the intimate kind. I use wooden stomp box to create the rhythm, and a harmony pedal to create the 3rd above, or three part harmonies. This is why I need such a good live microphone as the enCORE300 because the notes need to be really crisp so the software can replicate my voice perfectly at a different frequency.  

MPS
Can you pick out a favourite gig?

DJ
Wow, well there’s been so many amazing gigs. I would have to say Kew the Music at Kew Gardens with Leona Lewis was immense, I even had the huge crowd do a Mexican wave and filmed it on my phone. But then I love the Kitsch Lounge Riot shows at the Café De Paris in that there London. That’s where I met and became friends with Bobby Davro, of all people. I tell you what he’s got some pipes on him, his Elton John impression is spot on! I could talk all day about the gigs I’ve played, there’re just too many to settle on just one.

MPS
Who do you count among your most important musical influences?

DJ
All sorts of people. But my main influence, and reason I even got in to music, are the band Del Amirti. I know they aren’t cool, or the usual sort of answer you get to these questions. But I remember it clearly. I was young, about 13ish. Watching an episode of Scrubs, when at this really poignant moment a song came on that just complemented that moment perfectly. At that moment in time, everything made sense. I had this overwhelming flood of emotion, from the visual and audio, and I just knew that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to let other people share that feeling. I wanted to create that magic.

It was the Del Amitri – Tell her This, so I listened to that song over and over again, and became obsessed with the pictures they created with the lyrics. I bought all the albums, and pretty much memorized the words and melodies and how they wove together to just create these vibrant images and emotions.

That’s what got me into music. I listened to as diverse a music collection as I possibly could, but all the music I adored had that similar “folk-rock-pop-indie” sound.

MPS
If you could go back to any musical era what would it be?

DJ
60s!
Definitely the 60s, to be there when the Beatles changed the game forever. There isn’t that option now. Music is so diverse, no one is ever really going to change the game THAT much. I do envy that era!

MPS
Tell us about your Blue EnCore microphone, what made you choose it?

DJ
I’ve already been able to use it at my shows, and I must say it surpasses my expectations of it!

I have a Blue, Bluebird studio microphone for home recording my demos and some radio ready recordings, and I just love the frequency range and clarity of the microphones. Its perfect for my vocal range as it keeps the clarity and thickness in the top end; I have such a high voice that it can sometimes sound a little harsh. But with the blue mics, I don’t have to EQ it as much to get it sounding just right.

MPS
As a performer and an engineer, Can you think of anything that really changed things for you?

DJ
I’m not technically an engineer, I just work from home in my studio writing demo’s to send out to people who need songs or top line melodies for the EDM scene.

But the one thing changed things for my live shows was my Vocalist Live 3 harmony pedal; that is one amazing bit of kit! It listens to my guitar and what chords I’m playing then transposes my voice into 2 or 3 part harmony, but cleverly, chooses the right harmony part, one chord could be a 3rd above, the next change would mean it fits better as a 2nd or 4th harmony. That coupled with the clarity of the enCore 300 means that I can create such a full sound from just me, and my guitar. I also use a LogJam Prolog stomp box too. So there’s only me on stage, but you hear a kick drum, harmonies and me and my guitar.

MPS
Is there anything you have parted with that you really miss?

DJ
I used to have a Valve Vox Amp for my band days, and I miss that. I used to play through that with my Hofner Contemporary series, its not quite a 60s classic but it just sounds epic through the amp, with LOADS of reverb… But once I finish my solo project and get a tour sorted etc, I’ll definitely be picking one of them up again!

MPS
Is there any advice you can offer to people starting out on their musical journeys?

DJ
One piece of advice I would give would be, to never give up! It’s a hard and long, long process. But the rewards are second to none. In the end its all worth it.

 

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