Every Friday, Merry-Go-Round Magazine hosts Dime in the JQBX, a fun event where artists from across the musical spectrum come and hang out! During these events, Editor-in-Chief CJ Simonson attempts to navigate a short and often spontaneous interview in the chat with the artists! We figured why not save those and publish some of them, along with the songs that the artist played that night. This edited transcript is from March 26th with photographer and indie rocker Julia Leiby! You can find a playlist of all Leiby’s picks from that night below! Join us on JQBX.fm every Friday at 6 p.m. PST!
You just dropped a fun little EP called LONGING back in February. Walk me through that? Self-released it appears?
Julia Leiby: Oh yeah! we put it out February 26th. Its songs we recorded in April of 2019 though
And yes self released!
Yeah your Bandcamp Bio reads “Julia Leiby and other friends,” so is Julian largely you and then whoever is around?
JL: Yeah pretty much! I write the basic song structures/ vocals/lyrics/melody ‘n guitar! But I will say my friends Brendan and Drew have been playing in the band on and off since 2016, our drummer and stuff has changed among other lineups.
Yeah I was gonna say you’ve been kinda slowly just throwing stuff up there since like, 2015 it looks like.
JL: Yes its my first band and we’ve been active since summer of 2015!
And Julian has kinda been everywhere. There was a release on Fire Talk, I think I saw one on Babe City?
JL: Yep we did our 2018 release with Fire Talk, we never officially put out one with Babe City but those people were some of the earliest supporters and we played our first show at their house venue.
Yeah Babe City are great. For sure a face of DC music that I know people from the larger DMV area are very proud of.
So the new EP is called LONGING. I feel like without knowing it most of the musical cuts you’ve played tonight (see below) are good sonic indicators of what the EP sounds like, really tried and true Philly indie rock
JL: Yeah I could see that! I love Philly’s scene.
I feel like that scene ended up being the defining indie rock sound of the 2010s, by and large, like, it was the scene with the most bands and hit home that sonic energy really well over and over again and LONGING feels like it’s totally in that lineage.
JL: Thank you! that’s really nice of you to say.
Elaborate on your love of the Philly scene if you can?
JL: Well, I booked house shows extensively in college (in Ohio) and started to book a lot of Philly bands and just made a lot of friends and got to know more people there. Then I started visiting there every couple months or so and after I finished school in 2016 I decided to move there in 2018. And pre-COVID I went to and took photos of lots of Philly shows and I recently put out my first photo book of photos from everybody hits
Yeah you can find that here. That’s very cool. Talk to me about being a scene photographer. I mean, documenting an entire era of shows is quite an undertaking even if the book was maybe more done in retrospect. What did you learn assembling those photos for a book?
JL: I only went to shows there from 2017-2019! So I didn’t actually have like a huge number of photos to go through, but it made me like realize just how important it was that I pushed myself to go to so many shows and made myself shoot even if I was having a bad day or something
Whenever someone will do a thread of like, great photos taken at 285 Kent or whatever, it always makes me so glad there were people there documenting it because especially during the Pandemic it’s like, oh right, this could actually go away overnight and it’s good people were there as a part of it documenting it.
JL: Yeah, the whole pandemic wiping out shows just made me value them more
Okay last question, that’s not really a question, which is a silly one but: Your band is incredibly hard to find on streaming. More an observation since I think about SEO and bands all the time.
JL: Yeah it’s super hard to find it just because there’s a lot of Julians out there I guess! Namely Julian Casablancas.
Yeah you gotta get through like, not just Casablancas or Lennon or Juliana Barwick but then like, Julian Lloyd Webber who I HAVE to assume is Andrew’s son right? I assume like most bands that aspect of becoming a musical group was far from your mind when you named the act.
JL: Yeah no, I definitely wasn’t thinking of that I didn’t even get Spotify until our first tour a couple months later ha.
SEO and streaming services be damned, you can check out LONGING over on Bandcamp, and check out all the tunes Julia played during Dime in the JQBX below!