With the release of our debut album swiftly approaching, we’re giving you a deeper look into its creation. Meet Julian Stacey, our amazing producer! When we met Jules last year, we instantly knew we wanted to work with him. He’s got an incredible ear and is so affirming of other artists’ impulses. Plus, he’s really fun to hang out with.
Julian records, mixes, and produces at Gravity Studios. A multi-instrumentalist from a musical family in Chicago, Jules developed his craft in LA for a while, but returned to Chi after hitting it off with Doug McBride, Gravity’s founder. Since coming back home, Jules says he’s truly learned the hallmarks of a Chicago Artist. So we asked him about that!
What makes a Chicagoan a Chicagoan?
Chicago people are very grounded...they have a high BS radar. One of the main things about the Chicago music scene is how very authentic the artists are.. Artists like Jeff Tweedy and Chance the Rapper -- they’re honest. Part of their art is sharing their entire life with their fans. They’re just decent people...and they’re willing to tackle big subjects with a sense of knowing who they are, and truly being a part of a community. That’s a Chicago artist.
How do The Winchesters tie into that for you?
I see that sense of groundedness in The Winchesters, which comes from knowing what kind of art you want to make: you write very real stories that are...relatable and beautiful. There is a genuineness and honesty that’s really charming. There’s so much camaraderie and joy and fun with everyone involved.
One of the jobs of someone who works in the technical realm is boiling down the essential “what about this band is a magnet?” For The Winchesters, that’s the songwriting, the energy, and that little bit of escapism.
What was it like being in the studio with the band?
It was hilarious to see the band being themselves and taking their space in the studio: Emily just laying on the floor, or Andy busting out the whiskey in the back room.
I tried not to do too much so I could really capture the band as they are. I feel like we have a whole second album’s worth of off-the-cuff material. I could have just left the mics rolling and we would have gotten a ton of extra goodies, like Em’s riffs in Get Down the River.
Talk to us about making that song!
Get Down the River really got me to try some things I don’t normally do. We took a lot of chances; a lot of risks...that’s one of the best parts of making music.
The original version we recorded wasn’t clicking. One day I accidentally played it half-speed in the studio and the band was like ‘What is this?!’ It sounded like [the song] had just been hit with a tranquilizer and they really liked how it sounded. The willingness and open-mindedness of the band to try different things was one of their strengths in this process. So we played everything at 1.5 times the speed of the regular song and then slowed down the sample rate to give it an eerie, rusty, gritty sound. Then we recorded the vocals on top of that.
What’s next for you?
I have my own little space above Gravity with a ton of gear. I’ll probably be doing a lot more sample-based work, diving into older synth-based music, exploring a little bit.
I spend so much time figuring out how a particular genre of music works, or emulating it, getting a specific sound for an artist. Now I’m more interested in exploring what I want to make personally. I was just listening to some Cyndi Lauper and I was like “God, this is the music of my soul.”
You can find Julian at gravitystudios.com/julianstacey or on insta @grandpajules.