Julia Holter Talks Ekstasis and Recording Stuff Like Chatter and Fireworks
Budding indie pop artist Julia Holter spent nearly three years making her forthcoming album Ekstasis, and it seems to have paid off as it's positioned her among other L.A. indie-pop notables and scored her favorable notices from outlets like Pitchfork and NPR.
Elano Pizzicarola Holter at Sage Organic Vegan Bistro in Echo Park
Of course the 27-year-old Cal Arts grad welcomes the publicity, but her artistic freedom remains paramount. "I just always make honest music. I just always kinda do what I wanna do," says the Echo Park resident over the phone on a recent Saturday morning after playing First Fridays at the Natural History Museum. Holter's music is lush and melodic, and the song "In The Same Room" on her latest album may remind listeners of Beach House or Blonde Redhead.
The process of making Ekstasis took three years for various reasons, one being side jobs that help pay the bills. Holter tutors kids after school and teaches them piano as well as works with students in continuation schools. "I like working with students a lot and watching some of the amazing stuff they put together," she says.
Secondly, Tragedy was made in conjunction with Ekstasis. In fact, Holter recorded some of Tragedy's and Ekstasis' songs in one day. She wanted to make the songs sound as good as possible even though she had no professional recording equipment. That meant it took her longer to put together Ekstasis, which was a challenge.
She named Ekstasis after the album's last song "This is Ekstasis." The song draws its inspiration from an essay called "Decreation: How Women Like Sappho, Marguerite Porete, and Simone Weil Tell God" by Anne Carson, who taught Holter at University of Michigan. "It's casual, they way she writes," Holter says, "but it's also very eloquent." The word ecstasy comes from the Ancient Greek word "ekstasis." Tellingly, in philosophy, it means "outside of oneself."