Gear Talks: Juice Webster

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Gear Talks: Juice Webster

Juice Webster
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Juice Webster and band launch her debut album JULIA on September 22, 2023.

Juice Webster is an artist who’s music permeates through you as she sings. It’s reflective, emotive, calming and evocative of those fleeting moments of magic in life, whether it be love, loss or calm contemplation. After her initial releases in 2019, appearances at The Forum,  the Town Folk Festival and Brunswick Music Festival, her debut album JULIA comes after a string of highly successful singles.

We had a chance to chat to Juice about how the songs come about, as well as how they make their way through the production process, and the gear used to make the record!

Congrats on the release of your new single! And we’re very excited for the new album JULIA on September 15. How did writing for the album come about?

Thank you! I wrote all of the songs before getting in the studio over the span of about two years. I wrote them on my own with just a guitar, usually somewhere cosy like the couch or bed. During this time I was playing live quite a bit with a beautiful bunch of people; Simon Lam, Theo Carbo, Ollie Cox and Noah Hutchinson. I kept bringing these news songs in to play for the next show and really loved what they were all bringing to the songs. It made a lot of sense to ask if they’d all play on the album because I felt like they were such an integral part to these songs and how they sounded.

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Simon Lam produced the record, and Alex O’Gorman (Gormie) engineered it. We started recording 7 of the songs at Gormie’s studio in Pakenham Upper with the band which took about 5 days. We live tracked all together which felt so nice and energising. Then Simon and I recorded the vocals, some overdubs and the remaining songs at his studio at the Meat Market in North Melbourne. 

How does a normal Juice Webster song come about?

I usually just write on my own with a guitar on the couch or somewhere comfortable. The iPhone voice memo is the ultimate DAW, but if I’m feeling it I sometimes make a proper demo in Ableton and play around with different guitar parts and harmonies. 

Has the production on the album affected how you’ll perform the songs live? More musicians or backing tracks etc.?

A little bit, but not hugely to be honest. We were already playing live as a band prior to recording, and since we recorded as a band it didn’t change the live set up much at all. I’m playing around with including a bit of track, and a drum machine, but I’m not sure these elements will remain as permanent fixtures in the live show. 

We understand you have a pretty impressive collection of Matons – did these make it onto the album?

Haha yes! My dad collects electric Matons, but he’s left-handed so most of his guitars are lefties. But he has a few right-handed ones that he has lent to me and that made their way onto the record. I currently have a JB-6, an Apollo, a Fyrebyrd and a Phil Manning in my possession, but only the JB-6 and Apollo made it onto the record. 

How were the final versions of the songs recorded? Were instruments isolated or did you do it live and add overdubs?

We did it live and then added overdubs. The instrumentals of the full band tracks were recorded live with Alex O’Gorman, and then all the vocals, as well as some overdubs and the more sparse tracks were recorded at the Meat Market with Simon.

Are there any pieces of equipment that made JULIA what it is?

There is this kind of glitchy, intricate, sparkly electronic sound that appears quite a bit throughout the album. That was the result of plugging an acoustic guitar into a [Red Panda] Tensor pedal which emulates tape effects. It was an accident at first but we all really loved the sounds it was making so decided to experiment with it a bit. I think it’s most clearly featured on “Among the Wires”

Gormie set up room mics which we played around with too. I think these mics captured so much energy and joy in the recording that really makes the record what it is. 

Thanks for taking the time and congratulations again! As a final note have you got any funny stories about the making of JULIA?

One of my favourite moments on the record is the guitar solo at the end of “How Can I”. Theo Carbo is absolutely incredible – such a creative and thoughtful player – and he really makes this whole song I think. When Theo was recording this solo, Simon thought it would be fun to plug the cable into his guitar as he was recording, so you hear the buzz and the distortion of him being plugged in right before he starts playing. When the solo was coming to an end, Gormie just yanked the cable out to give it that really abrupt cut off. It wasn’t planned at all but I love it so much. 

Juice Webster and band launch JULIA on September 22, 2023. Keep up with Juice Webster here.