As up and coming electro rock band, Julien-K is about to release their long awaited debut album, Death to Analog, I thought I’d sit down and catch up with co-founder Amir Derakh to talk more about the band and what’s in store for the future.

Amir Derakh of Julien-K

Amir Derakh of Julien-K

FFM: Can you tell us the differences in sound between Julien-K and Orgy?
Amir: Well, we’re a bit more electronic than Orgy is because the way that we write and the way that we play.. Orgy was definitely more of an rock electronic band whereas this is more of an electronic rock band.

FFM: How did you guys come up with the name Julien-K?
Amir: It’s kind of an interesting thing. Mainly the idea was wanting to sort of create a branding image. Sort of like a Calvin Klien sort of thing that we could use and label things and just sort of create our own little style. Where the name came from, we don’t typically talk about. Not because of any legal ramifications I know of but I just don’t really say. It’s not that hard to figure out actually.

FFM: Are there any tours planed for 2009 and what would the bands on that lineup include?
Amir: We’re actually working on that right now. I think what we’re going to be doing at first is probably just regional touring closer to us and as far as what bands might be on it, I still don’t know yet. We’re still kind of working on that. But you know some of the bands we like to play with would be Mindless Self Indulgence, Shiny Toy Guns.. I don’t know at this point who we’ll be touring with. I think we’ll probably just be doing some of our own stuff and we may even take out this band, The Delta Fiasco with us.

FFM: Sounds cool. Can you tell us more about the upcoming Transformers 2 video game? What’s the process writing music for video games rather than an album?
Amir: I think basically what they do is they give you a little bit of an outline and show you themes from the game and when you kind of see and hear what they’re looking for you tend to kinda write a way that will fit the game. It’s not really so much about creating a song like we would do typically. It’s more about creating an energy or a style that fits the theme. Like when you write for a movie or something like that. When you’re doing scoring for a movie, they give you kind of an idea what they’re looking for and you have to create it.

FFM: I see you guys are often doing DJ sets. Can you tell us what a night of dancing to one of your mixes would be like?
Amir: Haha. Umm, well you probably get really drunk or really sweaty.. Are you looking for something more specific as for the style?

FFM: Yeah, both I guess. Like are you mixing certain bands that we’d recognize?
Amir: Um, we play a lot of stuff that would probably mostly fall into the electro house category. We play a little bit of techno, a little bit of break, little bits of stuff like that but it’s really mostly heavy house music. I try to comprise it of some material that’s basically original and to remix Julien-K material or some of our friends. We have a pretty close circle of other DJ’s and electronic artists that we’re friends with so we will fill up our set with a lot of that kind of stuff as well. So it’s not necessarily stuff you’ve heard but if it is something you’ve heard, it’ll be a remix or a mashup in a way that you’ve probably never heard it before.

FFM: I like it when DJ’s make it their own.
Amir: Yeah, we play other people’s music, at least half of it but then the other half is comprised of people that, like I said, we’re either friends with or it’s some of our own material..

FFM: I notice your video for “Kick The Bass” will be premiering on playboy.com. How did that come about. Did they contact you?
Amir: It was basically, obviously we’re releasing our record and our video and all that kind of stuff. In the process of doing that you reach out to a lot of people and you kind of see who’s interested. They were very excited about the video. So we were like “That makes sense.”

FFM: Do you see electronic music growing and becoming more mainstream or kind of staying underground?
Amir: It actually has become more mainstream. I know when we were in Orgy it was relatively underground compared to how it is now. I think a lot of bands just kind of helped bring it more into the mainstream and even some pop artists infused a lot of electro into their stuff. It seems like people are a lot more open to it now than they used to be.

FFM: Since you are more of an electronic rock band, how have the audiences received you so far on rock tours like Projekt Revolution?
Amir: One of the things that, knowing obviously that we’re going to be playing with all kinds of different bands like that… Ryan and I are both guitar players so no matter how electronic this project gets, we still play guitar. Haha. So there’s definitely a rock element still and it’s more than enough. I mean we’ve obviously played with all these people, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance and a lot of these bands. No one has ever heard of us so we had to win people over every night and they’ve never seen or heard anything that we’ve done before. It’s not easy. It went really well. Somehow we just bridged the gap.

FFM: What would you say was your worst show? Like was the venue just bad, did something go wrong or anything like that?
Amir: Worst show.. Our shows are pretty damn good. Haha. In the beginning of Orgy we had a really tough time because we were trying to do some things technically that were very difficult to do. When we first went out on Family Values the first couple of weeks were bad and I think because of that when we started this situation we were much more prepared and technology had caught up that when we went out I’d say probably the first show we ever did was probably one of the worst shows we did and it wasn’t that bad. So we learned a lot from being in Orgy and doing all the touring that we did and how to avoid those kinds of things, if possible.

FFM: For someone wanting to start making their own music influenced by you guys, what kind of gear would you recommend for them?
Amir: Good question. I would say that actually Julien-K when we started, although I do have quite a lot of gear that I’ve collected over the years, but it was actually very inexpensive core synth that I bought that inspired a lot of the early Julien-K songs and it was only a few hundred dollars. And stuff like that, I mean just a simple little cheap little keyboard like that, I was able to write a lot of songs because of that. So if you’re into electronic music I think just try to find a cool synth or something that you like the sounds of and that typically will inspire you to do creative things.

FFM: In closing do you have anything to say for your fans and our readers.
Amir: I’d say for our fans, thanks for being so patient because obviously this has taken a while. Haha! We’ve had to cut through an awful lot of red tape to finally get this out and we obviously really appreciate their patience and support through all this. I don’t think we will let them down. We’ve got a pretty impressive package coming out so hopefully they’ll be stoked on it.

Julien-K’s album will be available March 10th. Right now you can see their new music video for “Kick The Bass” courtesy of playboy.com. The incredibly sexy video includes a cameo by Chester Bennington from Linkin Park.

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  1. I admire the persistence you put into your blog. I wish I had the same drive :)

  2. I dont disagree with this writing!!

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