23 C
Byron Shire
October 19, 2021

Queer, Christian and Southern: Mullum Music Festival welcomes Julien Baker

Latest News

Big Rob: ‘no comment’

The 2021 NSW Local Government elections will be held on Saturday, 04 December, 2021. Candidates have until noon on...

Other News

Final Tallowood stage up before Byron Council

The world may be in a state of immense turmoil and uncertainty, but at least we can rely on the inexorable forward march of the Tallowood housing development in Mullumbimby.

Cultural heritage report goes public

A redacted copy of the 2013 Ainsworth Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment document has been made publicly available on the Rous County Council website, clarifying the extensive Widjabul-Wiabul connections with the land which would have been inundated by the Dunoon Dam.

Border bubble to Queensland reopens for local shires

Local Government Areas (LGAs) that have recently come out of lockdown, including Lismore, Kyogle and Richmond Valley Council (RVC) have now been brought back into the border bubble zone with the Queensland border.

Police raid ‘unauthorised events’ in national parks

Police say that eleven people have been charged following unauthorised gatherings held at national parks on the weekend.

French hypocrisy

The French are understandably upset about being stabbed in the back by Australia’s sinking of the submarine contract. They...

Stranded local artist shares stories from India

Vrinda Gleeson prepared for her new exhibition in a small London bedsit where she is living until she can return to her Northern Rivers home.


At just 20 years old singer/songwriter Julien Baker is a talent on the rise. Queer, Christian and native to Memphis, this is a girl with a voice who is prepared to use it. She is one of the featured performers at Mullum Music Festival this year.

What are the five albums that changed your life?

Catch for Us The Foxes by mewithoutYou, Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie, Mean Everything to Nothing by Manchester Orchestra, Define the Great Line by Underoath, and Control by Pedro the Lion.

What is the song that you have written that most surprised you? Were you surprised by the reaction Sprained Ankle got?

Yes, I think I was most surprised because the songs weren’t written with a large commercial audience in mind so the reaction has been pretty unexpected. I think the most surprising song to me was Vessels. That was a little more delicate and the lyrics are not in any particular order, and it’s in a weird time signature/chord phrasing, so I imagined it would be hard for people to respond to but it ended up being one of my favourites to do live.

Is it hard to be brave songwriting? How do you push yourself past your comfort zones?

I think it’s difficult but necessary to push past ‘comfort zones’. I guess here meaning the desire to discuss only what is comfortable, non-threatening, that doesn’t require an admission of something overtly personal. When I write, though, it never occurs to me as a choice to be brave necessarily, more as a choice to be honest. It’s not truly cowardly to hide parts of oneself, though it does require courage to be vulnerable. I think it’s a matter of cost-reward, so it is painful to be open about the deepest parts of oneself, but the reward is healing and establishing meaningful connections, which is well worth the discomfort or fear.

How good are you at critiquing your own work? Is it hard to decide what should go or stay on an album or in a live set? How do you decide?

Often I find myself overly critical of my work. I have a tendency to be really analytical of the art I produce and second-guess myself. When writing songs I have to restrain myself a little bit from overcomplicating or getting frustrated, and learn when to just leave something, or else I’ll end up endlessly tweaking and refining and developing. It’s the same with sets; I try to make songs fit together in an order that seems logical or sequential, but that’s subjective, so I end up shifting parts around. Like at the last show I played in New York City, I made probably four different written sets because I kept scratching songs out and re-ordering them.

Here in Australia the queer community have been fighting for the right to marry. Why do you think the broader community feel they have the right to make decisions about other people’s lives? As a young woman, and someone who is proudly out, do you think this will ever change?

When approaching topics such as this one, where a (theoretically) representative government attempts to legislate behaviour in regard to specific, subjective moral issues, I think we have to keep in mind the sort of values that are ingrained in the social consciousness. Obviously I do not think a government should have the right to tell an individual whom they may or may not marry, and reject any legislation which is discriminatory against the queer community. However, I think the way to change this is to understand that the antiquated, judgmental ideologies and social biases of generations past were legitimised by being woven into the fabric of culture as legislation, and now we have to address the deeply ingrained traditionalist mentality as much as the literal, tangible legislative representations of that mentality. I think that every generation has the tendency to feel that it is being ‘held back’ by the previous one because younger generations are nearly always more progressive, but I would maintain that the way to work toward a more inclusive social climate is by working to undo prejudices through understanding and communication, attacking the motivation for division and oppression as well as the systems of that oppression.  

Mullum Music Festival, 17–20 November. For program and ticket information go to mullummusicfestival.com.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 19 October, 2021

Check out what's on at the cinema this week in Ballina and Byron

Iona Herbs

Pam Morrow from Iona Herbs is a one-woman-show. She has spent her whole life growing herbs and produce on the Tyagarah property where she...

The Great Reopening

S Haslam What a time to go out in Byron – easy to park and, for the shy retiring types like myself, a less frantic...

Bring your people together!

It’s time to bring people together! Wherever you might like to party, Event Byron Bay has you covered. From dining table set-ups to the...