Julian Gray is synonymous with hard work: his passion for music is contagious, and his trajectory is inspiring. You can hear all about his journey in LV episode 005. Talking with Julian then it was apparent he was in hot pursuit of his dreams, while bringing his devoted fan base along with him, each step of the way through his successful YouTube channel. After breaking onto Mau5trap with his debut release Resident Try Hard the dream finally come true and yet, had only just begun… Teasing us as 21 September approached, the follow up release Autonomous. was a spectacle to behold, offering us four beautiful tracks that we will explore here.
You can check out Julian’s LV Artist Page for all of his socials, as well as related articles.
Kicking things off is Apathy. Hi-hats take off as the bass kicks down the club door and takes over the dance floor. The track blossoms as subtle plucks invite slightly detuned leads to the room, weaving their way around the pounding kick and accompanying bassline as a warping siren rises, bringing the energy levels with it. A quick riser leaves us floating between wide bass and angelic sounds. Julian’s perfect leads are embraced warmly by cinematic strings as he reignites the energy for the second drop. A powerful way to start this EP off.
Coming in next is my favourite off this EP ,the emotion packed It Is What It Isn’t. Released a week early with a full video, designed and edited in house, this premier stoked the flames of excitement for the full release. Not only is this song musically stunning, but the smooth vocals we hear taking this track to the next level is Julian Gray himself, a pleasant surprise to listeners. Piano rings out as subtle pads swirl in the distance. The kick emerges with spacious plucks setting the stage for the vocals to carry the listener into a state of sonic bliss. A beautiful blend of the early electro and progressive days, while retaining that modern Julian flare.
The title track Autonomous could be considered an anthem for Julian, as parts of this track have been previewed cleverly as the theme music for his Youtube video over the past few months. The full track is a journey in itself, as tight percussions pop and twist with samples, sprinkled with his signature melodies dancing brightly over triumphant leads. A quick vocal sample drops the tempo as the tracks melts into madness. Julian retains order with his tight kick signaling the last moments of this progress-o hit.
Closing out the EP is “Paper Planes” a radiant example of Julians prowess in music production that offers us a brilliant blend of electro, progressive and neo-nostalgic vibes. A chill-inducing lead winds itself around relaxed percussions, as melodies dance lightly throughout the track. A journey from start to finish for the listener, “Paper Planes” soars into our hearts as it caps this EP off as a masterpiece for the collection.
Hanz Ford: How was your summer? any cool shows you went to or gigs played?
Julian Gray: I played Arizona about a month back. That was my favorite show of the summer so far … I’ve been having a great one, but very ready for the seasons to change, haha!
HF: Congratulations on the incredible release! For those who don’t already know, you did your own art work for the EP and were the sole creator behind the music video for “It Is What It Isn’t”. Where did the idea for the art come from?
JG: Thanks so much! I take pride in that I do everything myself. I think it gives my brand a certain real-ness. You can see me and what I love in every aspect of the brand, be it art, film, design, music etc. and I’m proud of that. Lately my Instagram followers will know I’ve been obsessed with geometric design, notably the works of MC Escher, one of my favorite artists, who made art by use of impossible geometry and forced perspective. His work is stunning and his piece ‘waterfall’ inspired the cover art for autonomous. I think the vivid colors and art direction reflect that my love for old platformer video games, so bright and cheerful even in the darkest games. The image depicts a factory running autonomously, as lava and water combine and travel to the top automatically, before being dropped back down in form of waterfall.
HF: How long did it take to edit the video?
JG: the lyric video for the single “It Is What It Isn’t” took me about 3 days to create. It really was a last second creation that I think added a lot to the ‘world’ of the release a lot.
HF: The title track “Autonomous” can be heard as the music to your YouTube videos. It sounds like older versions are used the earlier we go back on your channel — has this been a track in the works for a while?
JG: Yes! The track has been my YouTube intro for close to a year. There have been minor revisions, but the song has been roughly the same. All of “Autonomous EP” was completed in January of 2018.
HF: We hear you on ‘It Is What It Isn’t’, doing a fantastic jobs on the vocals. What was the inspiration behind this song?
JG: It’s essentially a breakup song. There’s no one thing that inspired the song, it was more of myself recalling old feelings I felt during several different old relationships (romantic and otherwise) and the feeling of both betrayal and the need to ‘run away’ from toxic situations. I think that’s a pretty universal language that most people can relate to.
HF: I know you have some surprises up your sleeve, can you offer any hints or clues?
JG: That’s a secret, but I will say that fellow musicians that follow my music and my music teachings will be excited about the announcement.
Some great insight into the process of this EP. Make sure to check out Julian’s LV Artist Page and follow Julian on all his socials … and keep your eye on his YouTube channel for that special announcement he hinted at!