Meet Synth-Pop Artist Julian Lamadrid
22-year-old Julian Lamadrid is the new pick for CreatiVity 03.
22-year-old Julian Lamadrid is the new pick for CreatiVity 03.
Inspired by all that is punk—from music to fashion—Julian Lamadrid is a young creative force to be reckoned with. CreatiVity in partnership with Quadio —a new social streaming platform dedicated to showcasing the best new college music— unearthed the New York City-based filmmaker, musician, and fashion enthusiast. Through his growing repertoire of work, Lamadrid channels some of the '70s and '80s greatest icons. Born in the United Arab Emirates and raised by Mexican-émigré parents, the culturally diverse artist is a flourishing creative that reminds us what is to be young and free. At the end, for Lamadrid “the only thing that matters is that [he’s] having a good time.”
Read what Julian Lamadrid had to share with us, below.
V MAGAZINE What’s your name, age and where do you go to school?
JULIAN LAMADRID My name is Julian Lamadrid, I’m 22 years old and I study at New York University.
V What are you studying there?
JL I’m a film and television major.
V You were born in the United Arab Emirates and raised by Mexican-émigré parents, does your music ever reflect or is inspired by your roots or travels?
JL I think it’s inevitable as an artist to be influenced by your travels and roots, in my case however, the influence or link between my art and my hometown of Dubai stems from disdain and a rebellious desire to go against everything that Dubai represents. Dubai is, for the most part, a city lacking heartbeat and genuine culture, it’s a cold, superficial city built for luxury and excess, essentially a luxurious void. So when writing my music or making artistic decisions I strive to go against that backdrop of my youth and push for culture, grit and hopefully substance. As for the travel portion of my life, my father is an airline pilot so I am privileged to have seen a lot of the world at a young age. Traveling and being exposed to different cultures and ways of life is so important for me, as by glimpsing into unfamiliarity I gain a deeper knowledge of myself, which helps me be honest when writing and composing my songs.
V Can you tell us a little bit about your background in music as a solo artist?
JL I began writing and performing my own songs as a teenager in a punk band I formed with 3 of my school mates. It was strictly a form of catharsis and I really just used music to vent and scream as loud as I could into a microphone. Slowly as I entered my later teenage years I realised music was all I was thinking about and all I ever wanted to talk about. I kept writing music and taught myself how to produce. Gradually I realised that band dynamics are quite difficult to uphold when you are as stubborn as myself, so I knew i had to go it alone. I moved to New York at the age of 18, not knowing anyone in the city, and used my anonymity as an excuse to bury myself in my craft and work on getting better. I still have a long way to go but, I definitely feel that my music is getting more personal and I continue to push myself artistically every day.
V How did you hear about Quadio? Can you tell us about the relationship you have with the platform and your music?
JL I heard about Quadio through your collaboration with Hedi Slimane and his weekly selection. Since I was around 17-years-old I’ve praised and dreamt about Hedi’s collections and designs, everything about the man interests me. His art direction is impeccable, the fonts, the silhouettes, the models, the black and white. In almost everything I do I strive to channel Hedi’s punk rock attitude and art. I directed a whole music video as an homage to him just last month for my song Cigarette. So when I saw he picked my mates band Telescreens a couple of weeks ago I just freaked out and proceeded to upload my music to Quadio for a chance to be recognized by an idol. Since uploading my songs everyone at Quadio has been so wonderful and I’m so excited for that relationship to flourish.
After uploading my first song I immediately realized the power of the platform. It’s a way for me to directly showcase my music in front of peers and musicians in the exact same boat as I am in. It’s an opportunity to present myself as an artist to an entire community of people who genuinely care and are hungry to discover great underground music. It’s brilliant.
V Who are some artists that inspire you, your sound, and your creativity?
JL Aside from Hedi Slimane, of course, my influence varies and spreads across many art-forms and practices. I am incredibly inspired by literature and am constantly reading, so at times the influence can arrive from a brilliant author, such as Murakami or Tao Lin, or other times I may find myself just reading and everything I can find on architects and their process, such as my latest obsession Ricardo Bofill. As a musician, it’s impossible for me to create any sound or song without the shadow of Daft Punk’s helmets hovering above me, or Bowie’s cool english accent whispering ideas into my head. There are artists that have stained me for the better, Ian Curtis for example, the lead singer of Joy Division, is one of those voices that always lingers in my thoughts when composing music and writing lyrics. It’s hard to talk about influences, there's just so many.
V Can you tell us about your affinity with fashion? Does it ever intersect with your music?
JL As I’ve mentioned, there is always an intersection and convergence of art forms when I make music. Fashion and clothes and textures are always on my mind. Martin Margiela was one of the first designers that I really fell in love with, designs and persona alike. The idea of using anonymity as a superpower, letting his art speak for him, he is a true genius. And then, of course, the clothes! I don’t think there will ever be a shoe more practical and stylish as the classic Margiela GATS. I have 3 and I just want more and more. Fashion has to be in the music as style is universal in art. If you can make a song that feels like putting on a YSL leather jacket and walking out the door, then you’re onto something.
V If you could work with anyone musically (past or present), who would that be?
JL Daft Punk
V How do you want listeners to feel (or what do you want them to do) when they listen to your music?
JL I think they should feel whatever they are naturally feeling and do what they would naturally do.
V What’s been the most exciting moment or experience of your music career thus far?
JL Last year I went for drinks with Mick Rock, one of the greatest photographers alive. He shot and was good friends with all of my heroes in the ’70s, Bowie, Iggy, Lou. The guy is just a total legend. We met up and hung out for a couple of hours just chatting and he told me some stories, it was a dream. We text often now and it just feels so surreal.
V Can you tell us about the creative process and inspiration for “Die Young”?
JL Die Young is a stylistic homage to the great '80s synth-pop songs that formed my early musical taste. A nod to the works of legendary bands like Suicide and Soft Cell, but with a slightly modern twist. It’s all one great big crescendo. It’s all about the climax. Alan Vega (lead singer of Suicide) is one of my all-time heroes and the song kind of came out of a longing to be like him or feel like him on stage. I wanted to let loose and channel my hero. He passed a couple of months before I finished the song but, I have a feeling he would have appreciated it. The song itself is an ode to modern youth; I know you want to live fast and die young, but just hold on for one more night, ‘cause I need you baby.
V You also had some new music come out, your single “MY TIME.” Is there a new album on the way?
JL I’m working towards a record, just trying to make sense of my life and my work right now and having fun with the nonchalant nature of dropping singles, just testing the waters. But yes, an album will come soon.
V How has adjusting to the current climate of COVID-19 impacted your schooling and your life?
JL It just puts everything in perspective. School loses its gravity and importance when faced with the looming threat of an apocalyptic pandemic. As for my life, it’s slowed things down in a way that was needed. I am breathing a little more, still losing my sanity, but I’m reading a lot and watching great films, so that's great.
V Where are you in the world? How have you been coping during this time? Is there anything that’s keeping you grounded?
JL Just as everything took off, my girlfriend and I flew to Tampa Florida to visit her stepmom. It was meant to be a 6-day trip but we’ve now been here for 2 months. I’ve been cooking and drinking a lot with my girlfriend, trying new recipes, building a puzzle, swimming in the pool every day, reading and watching films. It’s been interesting being young and in a relationship during this time, the quarantine has really meant that she’s the only person I can talk to and be with, and I love it. If there is anything or anyone keeping me grounded, it’s her.
V Do you believe music is important especially during a time where the world is in crisis?
JL Music is always important, I think it’s the most immediate escape any art form can offer. We may feel alone and scared, but we always have a record to bring us back to life, a tune that reminds us that this storm shall pass.
V Where do you see yourself and your music career 5 years from now?
JL Hopefully just doing the same thing, swimming and getting better at what I do, writing more personal records that push sonic boundaries and shine a light on who I am and why I am here.
V What are some of your goals musically and personally this year?
JL Musically, I would like to really cultivate a real and caring fan base, one that will stick with me during this period of self-realization and exploration. Personally, I’d like to reflect on what it is that got me here, connect with that young teenager who would scream into microphones, and remember that the only thing that matters is that I am having a good time.