Interview with Julia Frodahl
December 21, 2003

ZONA: In what genre do you put your music:  Hip hop. Hard rock, R&B, or electronic music?

JF: Oh dear, this question.  Usually I stumble around a description that involves calling us a dark and tender cinematic mini-orchestra of sorts.  But I find it difficult to pinpoint, if that isn’t obvious...

ZONA: Do you think a musician must talk about the social problems, and the reality like a judge with common sense? Or do you believe in poetry like a key to open new free spaces?

JF: I think a society benefits from both approaches in simultaneity, that both are necessary.  So I suppose it depends on a musician’s disposition which of these posts they might tend to.  But this applies to anyone, no? Not just artists and musicians.  I don’t think a microphone is a credential for solving societies problems.  Offering something valuable and positive is the license, and that can come from a 4th grade teacher, a computer engineer, or someone who makes wearable things out of zippers and safety pins. There is the opportunity for reaching many people with positive messages if you are a celebrity of some kind who has earned the attention of many and the benefit of their belief in you.  It’s wonderful when people, such as Bono these days, make use of their position in that way.  But poetic or outspoken, everyone can benefit society by living a life that brings you pleasure, one that makes you excited about living it because this contagiously teaches us all to value life in general.  Eventually, something as simple as this can recalibrate entire social systems based on what is being stated as valuable at the foundation.

ZONA: If you weren’t musicians (and we suppose you earn money working as musicians) what kind of job do you like working as?

JF: I think I would study botany, water lilies in particular.

ZONA: Choose a place in the world to spend the rest of your life and explain us why?

JF: This is just very impossible for me to imagine doing.

ZONA: When I heard “rio abajo rio”, I wondered why did you title the piece with a Spanish expression?

JF: Our violinist Britta Steiner wrote that piece. The title is a phrase borrowed from the book Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, which Britta was reading at the time. The phrase is used as a symbol for the unconscious, or the tide of emotions that flow below whatever face we tend to project to the world.

ZONA: Could you recommend us a book, a movie and a record?

JF: I would be happy to:
Book: Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels
Movie: Nostalghia by Tarkovsky
Record: new release by ROTHKO + BLACK w/ BEAR called “Wish For A World Without Hurt”. It’s gorgeous, and easy to find online if you try a little.

ZONA: I collect recipes could you write us your favorite dish and how to cook it?

JF: On top of a dark chocolate covered tea biscuit, spread a bit of goat cheese and then add the small shaving of an orange peel.

ZONA: What’s your opinion about the Black market and the multinational label fusion?

JF: Well, life is about exchange, no? So if one is taking music without paying for it, I think it’s an imbalance, an incomplete exchange.  The black market and the idea of free music directly hurts the artists.  In fact, it directly hurts the very artists one appreciates.  It is interesting to me to see how even when small choices are out of balance, larger systems fall out of balance.  Like when we don’t vote.  When you buy music, you are voting for it, you are saying you want it to exist.  If you don’t, the opposite is true.

ZONA: And Musical Press and their journalist?

JF: I seem to prefer the kind of journalist whose approach is do be descriptive more than opinionated.  And I think what you are doing is wonderful, Simon, exploring the context and thought of an artist to better understand the work.  Thank you for the interesting questions.