JULES IS DEAD has exploded onto the scene with their debut single “Red Is My Favorite Color”. The Ontario native has already amassed 300K followers and millions of views on TikTok and hopes to make their voice heard through their music. Being a non-binary artist of color, they are pushing the punk genre forward and using their music to speak on the many pressing issues being faced by their generation. Influenced by riot-grrrl bands like Bikini Kill and indie rock/post-hardcore acts like Citizen, they began singing and playing piano as a child and learned guitar (mostly by ear) at the age of 14. They also did school and community musical theater as a kid and were surrounded by the sounds of jazz, blues, and alternative rock at home. “During lockdown I started playing Rock Band just to have something to do, and it led me to all the music I love now,” says Jules, who started out on acoustic guitar and mostly learned to play by ear. “I loved how punk and emo combined really aggressive music with very personal lyrics.” Posting covers of bands such as Nirvana and My Chemical Romance on TikTok in 2021, they quickly gained a following and polished their songwriting skills. Later that year, they caught the ear of musician Gabe Saporta (frontman for Cobra Starship), co-founder of TAG Music, who reached out and flew them out to LA to record. Newly signed through a joint venture partnership between Atlantic Records and TAG Music, JULES IS DEAD has spent much of the past year working on their debut project—an impossibly catchy batch of songs confronting everything from the paralysis of depression to abuses of power and subordination of women. “I used to hold myself back from posting anything political, but now it’s become a huge part of who I am and what I want to do with my music,” says Jules. “Especially with everything happening in the States right now—all the anti-trans bills, Roe V. Wade being overturned—so many younger people feel like they don’t have a voice and they can’t change anything. I know how devastating it can be to feel like you’re being silenced, and how much it can mean to know that at least one other person sees things the way you do.”
Jules recently released their debut single “Red Is My Favorite Color”, produced by Eli Hurts and co-written by Hurts, Jules, and Curtis Peoples (Pierce the Veil, Grayscale). “That song started with an idea I had about telling someone, ‘I would bleed out for you if you told me red was your favorite color,’ and realizing they’d never do the same for me,” says Jules. “We built the song from there, and it immediately solidified my vision for my music—the sound was exactly what I’d envisioned, and inspired me to write lyrics that fully expressed everything I needed to say.” For Jules, their main goal with their music is to make other people feel heard because for so long they weren’t. “Now that I’ve found a team who genuinely treats me with respect as an artist and a person and supports me to share my voice, I really hope to be the representation for others that I didn’t have. I think a huge issue for people my age is that we’re not taken seriously by older people. We aren’t old enough to vote or feel like we have a say in the laws and bills being issued in our countries that will directly affect us. Other people often make our choices for us without listening to what we have to say. We’re usually brushed off and not acknowledged when it’s our futures being determined by people who won’t be affected by their decisions,” says Jules. With plan to release a new track soon, their main goal is to get a band together and play shows. Make sure to connect with JULES IS DEAD via the links below to stay up-to-date on all upcoming music, news, and shows!
You are a native of Barrie, Ontario, learning how to play the piano as a child and the guitar at the age of 14. What can you tell me about your childhood and growing up in Ontario? Did you grow up in a musical family?
I was around a lot of music from an early age. My mum plays piano and my dad taught himself guitar so I heard them play often and I was singing and playing piano from an early age. I did a lot of school and community musical theatre as a kid as well. My parents listened to jazz, blues, and alternative rock so I heard a lot of that growing up along with Canadian artists like Tegan and Sara, and Marianas Trench that played on the radio.
When did you first start writing songs and what is your songwriting process like? What kinds of things inspire and influence your songs and what can you tell me about developing your sound and artistic style as an artist?
I’ve been writing songs since I was pretty young, although of course they’re those kiddy songs that don’t mean much about anything and are just fun. When I started playing guitar was when I started to actually write and at first it was just me with an acoustic. Now, a lot of my writing is done in sessions. It usually starts by establishing a mood for the day, listening to some of the artists I love and feel inspired by. Then I usually go through my phone and find what ideas are partially there and we expand on that. I really found my sound when I found the genre. I was either super young or not alive when a lot of my favourite bands were huge so it wasn’t music I heard at all growing up. Then quarantine hit when I was in the eighth grade and I got super bored in my house so I decided to play my dad’s Rockband games. That’s when I discovered and fell in love with the genre and knew it was what I wanted to do.
You have said that the main thing you wish to do with your music is to make people feel heard, because for so long you weren’t. In what ways do you feel that music has helped you to make your voice heard and express yourself?
I’m super lucky to have my platform and ways to reach people and spread awareness about things I feel passionately about. My music has always been my place to vent and scream about everything I’m mad or upset about and now I’m able to share that with thousands of people.
What is some of the best advice you have received, when it comes to writing/releasing your music and navigating the music industry, that has helped you in the pursuit of your dream?
It’s always cliche but find what you want to do and stick by it. Don’t let other people dictate what you can and can’t do. When I first started posting music a lot of people online and people I was working with told me this isn’t the genre I should be in and I should either be making pop or rap music. A lot of what helped me stay true to the person I am and what I want to accomplish was finding TAG; the group of people who stood by me and my vision and who were there to help amplify it.
Being deeply informed by your perspective as a non-binary artist of color, what has that experience been like for you? In pushing the punk genre forward while also providing an outlet for the endless turmoil faced by your generation, what do you feel are some of the most pressing issues for your generation? In what ways do you feel that your generation is using their music or other forms of art to fight back and highlight these issues?
Being in an industry and a subculture where almost everyone looks nothing like you is honestly really daunting at times. Now that I’ve found a team who genuinely treats me with respect as an artist and a person and supports me to share my voice, I really hope to be the representation for others that I didn’t have. I think a huge issue for people my age is that we’re not taken seriously by older people. We aren’t old enough to vote or feel like we have a say in the laws and bills being issued in our countries that will directly affect us. Other people often make our choices for us without listening to what we have to say. We’re usually brushed off and not acknowledged when it’s our futures being determined by people who won’t be affected by their decisions. Our generation is really using music and social media to bring attention to this. So often on my Tiktok and Instagram I see people my age organizing protests, sending letters to their governments and standing up against people who don’t care about the damage they’re doing. Our generation is doing our best to be as loud as we can.
What can you tell me about signing with Atlantic Records/TAG Music and how the opportunity came about?
I used to be in a Riot Grrrl band and we had gained a tiktok following before Gabe Saporta found us. I remember it so clearly when he followed us on Instagram too. I was on a livestream on tiktok and I got the notification and I started freaking out and was like “Oh my god can someone please check if that’s actually him”. I was and still am a huge Cobra Starship fan so it was just insane to me honestly. After that he messaged us and we set up a Zoom call with him and the team from TAG. The band fell apart quickly after that meeting but Gabe still wanted to pursue the conversation. Then they flew me and my parents out to Los Angeles for 4 days of writing sessions and the fifth day would be showing the songs to Atlantic. The sessions went amazingly and everything went from there!
You recently released your debut single “Red Is My Favorite Color”! What can you tell me about the track? Do you have any plans to release a music video?
The track is about a guy who wasn’t great to me to put it lightly. I was taking our relationship a lot more seriously than he was and I realized how unhealthy it was that I was relying on him for my own happiness. The song is about realizing you’re putting in 100% and they’re not even thinking about you and how to let go of that. Any potential music video is still up in the air, I do have a storyboard drawn out if it ever happens though!
Having spent much of the past year working on your debut project, what can you tell me about the songs you are working on and what people can look forward to with your upcoming music?
The songs range from slow grunge to metalcore and riot grrrl with topics like the endless cycle of depression, wanting to scream, and toxic relationships. The songs mean so much to me and writing about everything I’m going through has made all the difference in terms of my mental health; I can’t wait for other people to hear it and hopefully connect with it.
Do you have any fun collaborations with other artists you hope to do in the future? Who are some artists you would love to collaborate with?
I do have some sessions and collaborations coming up over the summer with people I am seriously stoked to work with so I’m really looking forward to those. I’d love to work with all of the artists who’ve shaped who I am. Hayley Williams, Jade Puget, Courtney LaPlante, and Pierce the Veil are all artists who mean a lot to me and I think I’d pass out on the spot if I had the pleasure of working with them.
What do you like to do outside of music for fun and to unwind? What does self-care look like for you and how do you look after your mental health?
Baking is one of my favourite things in the world to do. I’ve been making my own (and everyone else’s) birthday cakes since I was 10. I find it super relaxing and it’s a bit of a pause on everything else going on. Instead of worrying about my music or school or my friends, I can focus on the recipe. And there’s always a great snack when I’m done.
What’s next for you? What are your goals for JULES IS DEAD going forward?
A new track will be out fairly soon which I’m really looking forward to. A big goal for me and probably what I’m most excited for is getting a band together and playing shows.