Sunday, 24 October 2010 20:20 | Written by Raymond Kruijen |
THE DIVERSITY OF HYDROGYN'S JULIE WESTLAKE
When we talk about women in rock then there's a list that never stops, but when we talk about women who can "scream their balls off", then the list is relative shorter. Julie Westlake of the band Hydrogyn surely can !! She proved with Hydrogyn she can rock "like hell". Recently she also showed her diversity on her first solo album 'If ever a day'.
LazyRocker.com was lucky to get the chance talking to her, about the upcoming new Hydrogyn album and ofcourse her solo album.
• How did your life as musician start ?
I have always loved singing, but it truly started in 2003 when I began doing acoustic shows throughout the week for extra cash. Then I met and started playing Jeff Westlake and Jeff Boggs. I auditioned for their band, and it worked. So we did cover shows for a while and then decided to do only original material. But that’s where it all really began.
• Which music/artists you’re influenced by ?
Hmmm...that’s tough cause there are so many. I started out in country music and loved artist such as Martina McBride and Faith Hill. I also enjoyed pop artist such as Celine Dion and Mariah Carey . In the rock genre, I love Dio, Halford, Nugent, and many others.
• What inspires you to write songs ?
So many things inspire me. Mainly things that I deal with in every day life or have experienced in past relationships.
• Let’s talk about the band you’re fronting... Hydrogyn. Can you tell us how Hydrogyn started ?
It started in 2004 with Jeff Bloggs and Jeff Westlake. They were auditioning for the band and we had worked together before doing some country stuff and so they asked if I would try and I agreed, and it really worked well together, and so from then on, we were Hydrogyn.
• How do you see Hydrogyn’s first album, ‘Best served with volume’, nowadays ?
Embarrassing… lol. It’s kind of funny to hear us then and then hear us now. I was coming out of a country band and into a hard rock band. That’s a big difference vocally and it took some time to really grow into that voice.
• On Hydrogyn’s second album ‘Bombshell’ the band worked with producer Michael Wagener. How does that cooperation established ?
Well of course coming from a country background, I didn’t have a clue who he was, but of course Boggs and Westlake did. So Westlake called him up one day and we scheduled a meeting with him in Nashville, and so we went. After talking with him, we knew we wanted him to record the next album, and so we did.
• Let’s have a closer look at some songs. What’s the story behind, ‘Vesper’s song’ ( from the ‘Bombshell’ album) ?
Vesper’s was a graphic novel written by Tony Caputo. We were asked to do the soundtrack for it, and so we took a very long script from the novel and chose a portion of it for lyrics to the song. It has really been a big hit with our fans and the graphic novel fans.
• On the ‘Bombshell’ album there are a lot of very strong songs, but ‘Confession’ is a real “killer”. What are your feelings about that song ?
This song was written about a friend of mine that hid behind some personal problems, and it really kept her from enjoying life. Instead of taking control of the cause of her problems, she lives in them every day.
• Why did you cover ‘Back in black’ of AC/DC ?
We always did this song live and got a great response because you don’t hear to many female singers do it. So when Michael heard us do it live, he asked for us to cover it on ‘Bombshell’, and so we did.
• The ‘Deadly passion’ album contains also a lot of strong songs. What’s your opinion about ‘Candles light your face’ ?
I love this song! This is one of my favorites. Ya know ya meet people every day in life, and sometimes never know what they are about. It could be good, or it could be very bad. That’s what this song is about. Many people hide behind a mask, and we never know who they truly are.
• Can you tell us more about Hydrogyn’s “new baby” ‘Judgment’ ? And about the new lineup ?
The new lineup is the same except for the drummer, who is now Joe Migz. We had brought in Jeff Young, former member of Megadeth, to collaborate on the new songs, but it just did not work at all. The songs that he brought in that were recorded for ‘Judgment’, were removed from the album after his dismissal from the band, and we brought Jeff Boggs back in to replay all the parts that he had recorded. James Lomenzo played bass on a majority of the songs, and some were played by our bass player Chris Sammons, who has toured with the band for over three years. Young brought Lomenzo in to play, and we talked about touring with Lomenzo, but knew it may not happen, as he is in such demand, and a great player.
• Is there a chance to see Hydrogyn live in Europe, in the near future ?
I sure hope so. Right now it’s really expensive to fly there, so we really have to have a long tour scheduled for it to be profitable, but I hope to see everyone again soon.
• What do you think of the female fronted Melodic Rock scene nowadays ?
To be honest, I really don’t keep up with it. I think there definitely needs to be more of us out there, and I’m sure there are some very good ones, but they’re just not getting the exposure they need.
• From 2004 ‘till now Hydrogyn released 4 albums, which can be described as very productive years. This year you also released your first solo album. ‘If ever a day’ shows another side of Julie Westlake .What does this album mean to you personally ?
I really enjoyed this album, cause it was different than what I’ve been doing the last few years. It’s a chance to show my diversity, and so it was a lot of fun.
• ‘If ever a day’ contains also some melodic rock orientated songs, like ‘To live for the king’ and ‘Alone’. But most of the songs does have a “Nashville” pop/rock sound. Nevertheless songs like ‘Fields of gold’, ‘If ever a day’ and ‘Hanging on’ deserved to be heard. Can you tell us your feelings about these songs ?
‘Fields of Gold’ is an old Sting tune. I just really love the change in arrangements. It’s one of my favorites on the album.
‘Hanging on’, is a cool song that was written by a friend of mine. It really deserves some exposure, and the ‘If Ever a Day’ was a track I wrote. It’s very personal to me. Being in the music industry you often put things that are important to you aside to fullfil your dreams in music. Sometimes you question if it’s worth it, but the love of music helps you push forward.
• With ‘S.C.O.M.’ you did a different version of Guns ‘n Roses ‘Sweet child o’mine’. Is there a special reason you picked that song?
I have always loved that song but I wanted to do it different than the original, so that’s why we did it acoustic.
• You’ve already heard some reactions of Hydrogyn fans on ‘If ever a day’ ?
We have had some. We haven’t promoted the album much so I’m sure we will get more of a reaction once we really get it out there.
• Are there new musically challenges, besides Hydrogyn, for you ?
Not at this time. Ya never know when something new may pop up...lol.
• What is your ultimate goal as musician ?
Just to do as much as I can with our music. I would love to be able to say I have toured the entire world one day.
• And in life ?
I want a big family some day. It’s hard to even think about it right now because life is so busy, but I hope to have a bunch of little ones in the future.
• What can we expect of you in the near future ?
Hopefully more great albums, and a long tour of Europe. We really miss all of our fans there.