Photo by: Frank Lin
We caught up with 17-year-old singer-songwriter-instrumentalist Jules is Dead who recently signed with Atlantic Records in partnership with Gabe Saporta’s (Cobra Starship, Midtown) TAG Music. The alt rocker’s label debut single, “Red is my Favorite Color, dropped last month on Friday, April 21. From Barrie, Ontario, Canada, Jules’ online presence has already amassed over 300k followers and millions of views on TikTok.
We asked Jules about their sound, recording new music, posting covers on TikTok, and more. Check out our conversation below.
What was the recording process like for your single, “Red Is My Favorite Color”?
Jules: Eli Hirsch who produced the track, and wrote it with me and Curtis Peoples’ last summer, flew out to Toronto and we rented out a studio for a couple days. Mike McKerracher from Bearings recorded drums (and absolutely killed it) and Eli and I recorded bass and guitar. The recording of the vocals took the longest just because I’m super picky and self-critical with my takes. We’ll record a take that is technically good and is good enough to use in the song and then I’ll say “nope” and we’ll record it again and again until it’s exactly how I imagine the song sounding in my mind.
How would you describe the overall sound of your music?
Jules: I’d describe my overall sound to be pop punk with a little bit of goth and riot grrrl aspects mixed in, and some metalcore on a few unreleased tracks.
Your covers of songs from bands like Nirvana and My Chemical Romance have garnered a big following on TikTok. What made you initially start to post those songs?
Jules: Before I started making full posts of them, I did a lot of live streams where I’d cover a lot of songs and a lot of people began to join them and comment positive things so I decided to start posting some of them.
You first picked up the guitar at age 14; what kind of music did you grow up listening to? Did this influence your current musical journey?
Jules: My parents played a lot of jazz and blues around our house as I grew up and my dad played a lot of U2 and Radiohead whenever I was in the car with him. On my own until my freshman year, I listened to whatever was on the radio and because I’m Canadian, those were bands like Marianas Trench and Metric. When I started playing guitar and getting more into the rock genre, I rediscovered a lot of the music I had grown up listening to with my dad.
What is your creative process like when working on new tunes?
Jules: Usually if I’m writing by myself, I get out my acoustic guitar and play around with chords and tunings until I find something I like and then I shape words around it. When I write in sessions, we usually start by putting together the instrumentals and then take some partial lyrics I have and fit them with the song.
What are you hoping listeners get out of listening to your music?
Jules: I hope people who hear my music feel heard. A lot of my unreleased songs have themes of feeling like others are silencing you and you’re powerless, and I know how impactful it can be to have a song that fits exactly how you’re feeling. When Red is My Favorite Color was being written, I thought about what I needed to hear when I was going through the situation the song is about and what would have helped me. I hope I can bring that feeling to all of my listeners.