It’s the coldest Melbourne morning in two years. Shivering slightly I dig my hands into my jacket pockets, making my way to the cafe. Jules Sheldon is already seated, in a far corner of Me & Julio. He immediately gets up, and greets with me a warm hug.
Born and bred in Melbourne, the singer-songwriter started performing ten years ago. “It’s been a very interesting, somewhat bumpy, but enjoyable ride.” he reflects. At just 15 years of age, his parents accompanied him to many of his first gigs. He recounts how lucky he was to have the support and guidance of more established musicians in the scene “Spencer P. Jones of Beasts of Bourbon really took me under his wing early on. He was the first person to say you’re doing something good. It meant the world to me.”
It’s been seven years since the release of his first album, and two years since the second. I question the importance of change when it comes to his music, “Everything in regards to my music is evolving” he explains, “I’m never content to sit there and do one thing. It’s written into my musical DNA to always change.” He goes on to describe David Bowie’s influence, “Bowie was always reinventing himself which was something I found really admirable. I try to experiment a lot.”
His forthcoming third album Bloodshed & Serenity is “quite electronic, ambient and lush.” The album was recorded at Ed Lloyd’s studio in Thornbury, Jules recalls it being an easy process. “It was so instinctual working with Ed. I enjoyed the spontaneity of it.” His long time collaborator Gemma Helms played bass on a couple of songs, and Liam (Snowy) Halliwell “mixed and mastered the album to absolute perfection.”
The conversation progresses to artwork and branding, “Visual elements are fantastic if you can get them right,” adds Jules. “I’m really happy with how it’s all working out for this record. On stage at the moment, putting make up on kind of pushes me to add an extra layer to my performance. Add a degree of intensity, which I’m all about.”
We talk about finding inspiration outside of music, and the influence of other people. He enjoys seeing how other people work, and how they go about their individual lives. When quizzed about his favourite local acts, he states “It’s hard to name them all. There’s a lot of great bands” a moment later he reels off a handful for my benefit, “Spike Fuck, RVG, The Ocean Party, HEXDEBT.” When asked about venues, his comments echo a need for change, “Anywhere that has enough empathy to have unisex toilets.”
An hour has already passed, and the conversation continues to flow easily. There’s a sense of familiarity, even though this is the first meeting in person. Seven years in Melbourne, and getting to meet like-minded people makes me grateful I moved over here. “What I love about Melbourne is that it’s always changing. If something is big one minute, you know that there’s going to be something else coming through.” says Jules.“The scenes bounce off each other, and they might work in spite of each other, or work inspired by each other. It’s such an amazing melting pot of music.”