August last year marked the release of the second album from The Juliana Theory. This album featured 'a perfect mixture of probing lyrics, exceptional, melodic vorcals, and intelligent composing and playing', so the bio says. To find out what founder, vocalist and guitarist Brett Detar (formerly of Zao) personally thinks of the album, you can read this interview.
You have a new album out called Emotion Is Dead. Listening to it I hear a lot of diversity. From the heavy sounds to breakbeat music. The mainpart is rock music but even then there's a variety in styles, sounds. What do you think of your new album yourself and what led to this diverse album?
I am fairly pleased with Emotion is Dead, but at the same time, the band is ready to move on to newer things. We tried to write songs that had different feels to them. I think we accomplished that at least in some ways.
You've accomplished that in some ways, you say. That doesn't sound like you're entirely convinced. What do you set out to achieve when you make an album?
Well, I am never 100% satisfied with anything we do as a band. I think there are always new plateaus to reach, new heights to shoot for. When we make a new recording, we set out to try things we have not tried yet. We want to write the best songs that we possibly can.
Putting out music, people and critics will give you feedback. Either good or bad. Does that influence you on a musical level? Or do you rather follow a concept you have or ...? So, my question is, what does feedback to you as an artist?
Honestly, listening to critics and people too much is a bad thing. Musicians are born with the instinct to create what is in their hearts. I believe that musicians have a driving need to write and perform what it is they see in their minds and feel. Sure, sometimes someone else's opinion is valuable or at least interesting, but we cannot rely too heavily on those factors. Feedback can be important at times, but at the most, it is just an opinion.
Listening to critics can be a bad thing. Is that something you've seen happening? What are some of the bad things that negative or positive feedback might do to an artist?
I just think that a musician's music should come from inside them, not as a result of what a critic has to say.
There's a song on the album called Don't Push Love Away. Now this may sound as a stupid question, but I hear a girl singing in it who makes me think of Sporty Spice. I'm not sure if the booklet mentions who sang in that song. So, who is she?
You're joking! Listening to the album I do hear that you can do a lot with your voice. Is this the result of hard practice or how do you explore the possibilities of your voice?
I attempt to try and do different things with my voice. I guess it worked if you thought I was Sporty Spice.
Considering the music you write for The Juliana Theory it almost seems incomprehensible that you were once part of metalcore band Zao. Leaving Zao seemed to me a logical step at that time as I perceived TJT is where your heart's at. But I'm wondering, how did join Zao?
I joined Zao at the same time that the Theory started practicing together. When I joined Zao, they were one of my favorite bands. I honestly don't find it that unbelievable that I could have participated in both bands. To me, they seem intertwined and related in quite a few ways.
To me, Zao is that brutal sounding band while the Theory is more a catchy hard guitar band with a lot of refined sounds. So, how are both bands intertwined then?
I think both bands are heavily centered on guitar rock. I also think that the music of both bands is passionate in a certain way that I cannot really explain. To me they are very intertwined, but I guess that is because I was in both bands at the same time...
There's even more Zao as I was told that TJT is recording a split-CD with Zao. There are plans of doing two new songs each, and each band covering a song of the other band. What Zao song would you like to restyle?
This still hangs in the balance. We are really looking forward to the project though.
This split-CD is not the first split the band has done. You've also done some other recordings besides the albums. You could also have saved those songs for an album. So, what's the idea of doing recordings with only a few songs from the band on it instead of a full album?
The idea of doing EP's and split CD's and things of that nature are different each time around. With the split CD with Dawson High, we only had the money to record 4 songs. This was our very first release, and honestly, we did not have many other songs. Plus, anytime we do a split release it is because we want to work with the other artists on the split. We also like to work with other labels when we get a chance. And, the wait between full length records is often a long one. Smaller releases can help us and our fans by tiding us over.
What's the thing you like best about being an artist? Maybe the creative process where you can put something of your own into a song. Or the jamming with others in the rehearsal room, or the touring, meeting fans? What made you excited about doing music in 2000 and what will keep you on the move in 2001?
I love music. I would be unhappy if I was not doing music. I love all of the guys in the band too. They are my best friends. We have a great working relationship and there is enough chemistry to continually fuel our creative fires.
In my last question I want to go back to your answer to my first question. You said that the band's ready to move on to new things. What can we expect from The Juliana Theory?
We hope to continue doing what we do: writing, recording, touring, and having fun.