Julie Ann Bee (a.k.a. Jules a.k.a. Sea of Bees
) is probably the most naturally talented songwriter/musician I have ever met.
I know this is a big statement. Huge. Sounds like I'm exaggerating. But I'd put my right hand on the bible and swear on it.
When I was first introduced to Sea of Bees via her debut LP, Songs for Ravens
, I was impressed—bowled over, even—but remained cynical. I'm not naive: Though the record is beautiful, haunting and moody, I've been around the block long enough to know what effects pedals and production tomfoolery can do. Even knowing that Jules played every instrument on the album, besides the drum kit, wasn't enough to convince me.
It wasn't until I saw her live for the first time that I knew I was witnessing actual greatness. Her junky guitar was plugged into the same bare PA as her vocals and the music was just as stunning as it was on tape. It was like tearing back the wizard's curtain and actually finding a floating green head.
So wash your ears out with soap. This is no time to be cynical. Julie Ann Bee is pure, beautiful and great.
What's the weirdest food you've ever eaten?
Weirdest food? Chicken balls.
How big were they?!
They were hella small! Hella!
Where did you eat chicken balls?
Dude, when I was 12 I went to Taiwan for about two weeks. My parents took me down into this alley where there was this lady that had a big Crock-Pot of just, like, everything from pig intestines to...well, chicken balls. They were all in this soup of grossness and my parents were like, “Jules, you gotta try some of this.” So I took a spoonful. It was so gross.
What did they taste like?
They just kind of tasted chicken. But the texture—oh, it's so gross! I'm so embarrassed!
You shouldn't be embarrassed about eating chicken balls. You were only 12.
It was not my choice, you know. It just happened. I'm drawing you a picture as we're talking, too. I'm going to mail it to you when I'm done here.
You should! What's the picture of?
It's a surprise, 'cause it's kind of funny and it's kind of totally off the subject. It's, well, I'm going to give you an idea. There's a crow and it says, “I am my father's daughter” and then there's just a picture of an odd looking… thing. You'll love it.
I'm very excited about it. Do you have a favorite jacket?
Oh yes I do! It looks like a teddy bear suit. It's fake fur—like a big pea coat. Fluffy and blonde. There are six gold buttons down the front of it. It's so awesome.
Sounds pretty bitchin'. Where'd you find it?
I found it at Bows and Arrows on 'L' Street in Sacramento. So tight.
What's the last album you bought?
Oh goodness! I just
bought, let's see—I have to think for a second. It's super dreamy. I'm going to pick up my iPod. My iPod will tell me. Beach House, that's right.
What album is it?
It's the zebra one.
Do you like it?
It's so bitchin'. It's rad.
It's pretty dreamy.
Yeah, it's dreamy. It inspires me to venture out into a new type of sound, you know? Dreamy pop.
Your pop is already pretty dreamy.
Holmes & Watson or Batman & Robin?
Dude, Batman and Robin. 'Cause some of the mysteries are left for the unknown. Batman and Robin kick ass.
Do you have a favorite depiction of Batman and Robin?
Oh yeah. I think I liked Batman and Robin when Catwoman was involved. Batman Part II
That's a creepy movie.
I know! And the Penguin's involved and Michelle Pfeiffer's in it and she does so well and I love kitties.
What is your favorite season of the year?
Fall. Definitely Fall. You can wear all your favorite sweaters and
still be happy. But I'm starting to like all the seasons now; like appreciate them, you know? Fall's still my favorite, though.
When you pick up a newspaper, do you go for the crosswords or the funnies?
Funnies! I can never sort out the crosswords—they just make me feel stupid!
They have weird tricks to them. You shouldn't feel stupid.
Yeah! It's like you have to know the inside jokes and I just don't, you know?
Do you have a favorite comic from the funnies?
Yes! Get Fuzzy
. 'Cause the kitty's in it and he's always so attitudey to the owner and you're like, dude! If I was his owner, I'd put a muzzle on that beast!
What website do you visit the most?
. It's awesome. It's like an art/music site full of modern day art that's all really fresh and ah! It's cool. You'd love it.
I'll check it out. What's you favorite animation?
I really like Howl's Moving Castle.
Oh! It's magical! It's about a wizard who has a robot castle and it moves all around the town and there's this evil empire trying to take over the whole entire world and Howl meets this beautiful girl who makes hats and he falls in love with her but she doesn't know that he turns into this flying beast in the night and—oh, it's so awesome! All in all, it's about how falling in love with a girl can change you into a beast. You gotta check it out.
Back to the Future, Indiana Jones or Star Wars. Which is your favorite trilogy?
Oh God! That is so hard. If I had to choose, I'd pick Indiana Jones,
'cause romance, adventure and history. But then, Back to the Future
is tight because of the possibilities or the im
possibilities, you know? Plus it'd be super dreamy to have a car that could take you through time. And then Star Wars
is just awesome because, being in outer space, you know that'd be super rad. Then to have those cool guns and those cool ships. Ah! I feel like a little kid! Nerding out!
That's perfect! We're really all just little kids nerding out when you get right down to it, right? What's your favorite record that your dad listens to?
Let me think. Hold on. I'm just writing down what you just said. That “to nerd out” thing. Anyway, let's see. You know, my dad likes to listen to the radio, most of the time. He doesn't really listen to much music. NPR and oldies. That's it. Ha! My dad! I swear, sometime I think he's the original hipster punk dude. He always tries to back out of whatever's cool. He used to have all these records and this sweet ass turntable but then he got rid of it, and I was like, “Why did you do that?” and he was all “Ahhh, I don't have time for that.” And I'm like, “You're just trying to be cool, Dad.” He's so cool, though. He wears his Levis every day with his suspenders and his white Hanes shirt with his hair combed back with the same oil that he's used since he was a young boy. He's ridiculous. And his name's Bob.
So he's pretty much to coolest man in the world.
He is. He's such an old-fashioned man. But I love him. And he drinks whiskey. “We're all little kids that like to nerd out.”
I'm writing what you said and I'm making it all cool. You'll love it.
Last question: Who is the most unforgettable person you've ever met?
Oh, God! Just one person? Can it be two?
It can be two.
Besides my folks, Lisa. And John Baccigaluppi.
Do you want to say anything about them, or do you want to leave them mysterious?
Leave them mysterious so people can be like "Why? Why them?" And I'll know why. Because they're incredible. This picture's going to creep you out a little bit, I think. It's so weird looking!
I am so excited to see it, you have no idea!
BE SO EXCITED TO SEE HER: Sea of Bees is playing two shows in Portland this week. On Aug. 18, she'll be at Music Millennium doing a free in store at 6 pm. The following day she'll be at Backspace as part of the Portland Folk Festival. She goes on at 8 pm. Tickets are $6 at the door. You can also get a four-day pass for the festival for $30 (info right here).
Sea of BeeSpace
Portland Folk Festival
Images courtesy of Sea of Bees and Kat Gardiner.