FM4 Soundpark Act of the Month: Lil Julez

Lil Julez (c) Tim Cavadini
Lil Julez (c) Tim Cavadini

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FM4 Soundpark is a web-platform, community, and radio show for Austrian musicians. Every month, one act is selected to be highlighted both online and on air. Lil Julez is the FM4 Soundpark Act in March – embodying a boomer core with GenZ influences.

Lil Julez landed a small surprise hit last year with “Saw Someone Like You.” His hazy lo-fi pop with blurry lyrics will be released as a debut album at the end of the month. That makes Lil Julez the Soundpark act for March.

“it was a hoax” will be the name of the first full-length album by Viennese Julian Jungmair, who has been putting out music under the name Lil Julez for about a year now. The artist’s name is the first hoax, as it suggests that there’s a rapper behind it. On the contrary, Lil Julez is a lovechild of the musical landscape of the 60s and 90s. Sprinkle a good portion of dominant synthesizers on top and decorate the whole thing with chilled beats of the hip-hop inspo brand, and you get Lil Julez’s self-titled “boomer-core with GenZ influences”.

Video: Lil Julez – Saw Someone Like You

What may sound complex in the first moment, sounds feather-light in the actual listening experience, in the most positive sense. That Lil Julez could be a brainy person, who goes deep into songwriting to get the best out of his ideas, doesn’t come to mind. But that’s exactly how it is, Lil Julez explains in the FM4 interview.

Beautifully absurd pop music

“For me, the music always comes first. If it sounds happy, I write a sad lyric and vice versa.” An idea that is not new per se but nevertheless has its effect: “I often only think about which meanings are hidden in the lines when the song is finished,” says Lil Julez. “I try very hard to make everything sound a bit absurd subliminally.”

For example, song lyrics about inheriting dying parents, about how you’d like to write a better song, or the one about flying penguins: “I look for them everywhere and I hear about them in the media, but unfortunately they don’t exist and the world is terrible. It was all a lie, all a hoax.”

Lil Julez "it was a hoax" album cover
(c) Lil Julez “it was a hoax” album cover

An album that can be heard on shuffle

“Flying Penguins,” the first song on Lil Julez’s forthcoming debut record due out in late March, also features the namesake line, “it was a hoax.” The absurd stories Lil Julez tells in his lyrics rarely have a beginning or a clear end. “It’s an album you can listen to on shuffle.” Much like the music, the lyrics drift along in a reclined, hazy fashion, but never become boring or arbitrary.

“I like art that almost seems like a collage of lines of lyrics.”

Current influences are especially evident here. For example, Lil Julez is a big fan of PinkPantheress and likes to see himself with the “classic indie boys” like Mac DeMarco or boy pablo. The sound, which sounds more modern and electronic than the pioneering music decades of the 60s and 90s due to the slightly 2-step, partly driving, partly leaned back synths, was developed mainly because Lil Julez is not a pure solo project.

Video: Lil Julez – All About The Leader

Bedroom pop from another room

It all started in a room in a shared flat. Lil Julez likes to see himself as a small part of the bedroom pop community: “Although bedroom pop for me is not defined by the fact that the songs were actually created in the bedroom. I think it’s more about a sound that’s being described. Sort of a new indie.”

This is still recorded and produced in a shared room, but no longer in Lil Julez’s Bedroom: “We record at Patrick’s place. He’s a real synth god to me,” Lil Julez tells us enthusiastically about the collaboration. Patrick Vanek, known to us from the electro duo Club Apollo, not only plays in Lil Julez’s live band, but also produces and mixes his songs.

“He definitely influences the music, especially with his knowledge of synthesizer art. I don’t have any and he opened up a new world for me and took the music to a new level,” Lil Julez says about his producer and bandmate.

“I also think that the last song on the album ‘A Better Song’ represents me and my music the best because it sounds a bit self-deprecating and funny. And because that song has everyone from the band singing along.” And when the (very spring-like, almost summer-sounding) album is released at the end of March, where and how should you listen to it?

Video: Lil Julez – Humanless Dogs

Cool lo-fi pop for the summer

“Personally, I always have the most fun listening to music when I’m out for a walk,” is the answer, which is super appropriate especially as it starts to get warmer. “You can listen to it alone, or with friends. And of course there will be a TikTok speed up version, so you can dance to it.”

This cool indie pop with a lo-fi edge, made by Lil Julez with a wink exclusively for people in Berlin and Los Angeles, is a soundtrack for the end of winter. With sunglasses, lowered car window and open arms, the best way to welcome the summer – especially when the radio is simultaneously playing Lil Julez’s songs now on full blast.

“it was a hoax” will be released on March 24 by Fabrique Records.

Lil Julez at FM4 2023 (c) FM4
Lil Julez at FM4 2023 (c) FM4

Alica Ouschan

Lil Julez live: March 30 at Rhiz, Vienna (Album Release Show)

Translated from the German original by Itta Francesca Ivellio-Vellin.