Julian Eloduy can be described as willowy. He has a strong core presence coupled with bits of softness. His guitar chimes happily through poppy, full-bodied tunes. Julian's brooding voice gives you a peek at the pain of his inspiration which casts a haunting shadow, but there's always a beautiful hopefulness that shines through. No matter how tough you think you are, we all have a weakness for love.
AH: Julian, I've seen you play in a few bands; Mayyors, Vichy Water, and The Standard Tribemen. All of them sound quite different from one another. How did Fine Steps come about?
JE: I have been slowly increasing my control over the bands that I have been a part of since I started doing this at 16. Each project has become more my own culminating in Fine Steps. Around 2007, I had been toying around with a guitar, churning out these love songs when I lived in Davis (at the DAM Haus, actually, R.I.P.). At the time, I only listened to really aggressive no-wave-type bands and didn't take it very seriously. I was too self-conscious to put myself out there with such a fay project, too concerned with it being soft and cheese ball.
AH: Why did you name the band Fine Steps?
JE: The name came out of a self-consciousness at singing these love songs. Half kidding, I always imagined myself presenting the project with a sarcastic tone, but then I realized that bands with hardened schticks kind of disgust me. So that idea never really played itself out and when I needed something to call myself I went ahead with Fine Steps. It's trite and meaningless and a little silly, and somehow works for me.
AH: I've seen Fine Steps play as a full band and I've also seen just you playing guitar, and a keyboard (Les Fine Steps). Who is in the band now? Did you have difficulty finding the right "fit"?
JE: I will always be doing what I do with whatever resources I have available and it fits however it will. Les Fine Steps wasn't ever a change in the band name really, just me having fun with the name. It's always Fine Steps. As for the band, it has been changing a lot. The perfect fit was our starting lineup. It's been really hard to top that. Boy's Co. in full effect is Dylan Craver, Kyle Hoover, Antonio Gualco and Alex Sowles. We were a short lived family that got along so well and loved what we were doing so damn much. Alas, bands can't and shouldn't take precedence over people's lives. We have had some solid folks fill-in, however, and the band is still happening and recording more soon.
AH: Are you the only one that writes the songs?
JE: So far, yes. Though, everyone has their input and leaves their mark.
AH: What comes first, the music or the lyrics?
JE: It’s not a set process. Sometimes I'll have a song written with vocal melodies and progressions. In that case, the lyrics will come from my notebooks and journals. Other times a chorus will pop into my head and I'll work a song out of that. It's these songs that end up sounding the most like pop songs.
AH: What inspires you?
JE: The question of all questions. There isn't much else I care to do more than write songs and be sweet to the people who are close to me. The songwriting comes natural. It's other things in life that give me trouble. I find inspiration from all sorts of things-- sometimes it’s from Sartre, sometimes its a person walking down the street, other times its Rashida Jones. I love classic love songs, so often my songs take on that tone, but are about something completely unrelated to romance, especially now as my personal life is more settled than it was when I was younger.
AH: You have a new record out called Boy's Co. How long has it been in the works?
JE: It's funny to call it new. I didn't know how long it would take to do an album "right." It started late in 2010. I learned a lot from it and am happy it is here.
AH: Your music has a very poppy, jangly, but also has a haunting quality (which is very apparent with Les Fine Steps). Your deep-voiced singing style reminds me a bit of Echo and the Bunnymen. How would you explain your sound?
JE: I want to bring people together on the tunes, which relies heavily on the poppy, jangly sounds. But, I also can't help touching on darker themes. I'm a brooder and a lover by nature. I think it comes from being a zodiac cuspian.
AH: What are your musical influences?
JE: I love soul and r&b. I go crazy over Brenton Woods, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Stax Records, Sam and Dave and all that stuff. Whenever I hear something amazing that I haven't heard from that era, I get goosebumps. It makes me the happiest man alive for that moment. So that stuff is center to it. Also, other song craftsmen such as Arthur Russell, Skip Spence, Dwight Twilley, Syd Barrett and 80s guitar janglers deserve recognition as far as my influences are concerned.
AH: How do you think your move from Sacramento to the Bay area will impact your music?
JE: I don't think it will impact it too much other than logistically. It is beautiful here, though, and the people are beautiful too. I love Sacramento, but I am devouring the change. There's definitely a lot going on here, so it may take awhile for me to play the spectator and jump in when it feels right. Right now, all I want to do its record new material, get better at what I do and live my life the best way I know how. I feel like I am in a good place and I want to enjoy it for what it's worth while it's here. My boyish days are behind me (for the most part) and I'm ok with that. I'm feeling good about what can be done with a good song, even with every imaginable progression appearing before our eye in all the music scenes across the world. It's still songs that matter to me and I am gonna work at that for a good number of days still. I owe a lot to key people in Sacramento, Davis and especially KDVS for introducing me to the pleasures of a good show, thousands of great records and bands and for being so damn supportive.
- Boy's Co. is out now. You can purchase it on vinyl (limited to 250 copies) at http://mtstmtn.com or buy the MP3's on their bandcamp page.