On the Road with Julia Jacklin

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If there’s something that fits right in with the current global mood, it’s Australian musician Julia Jacklin singing a cover of The Strokes’ “Someday.” Raw, thoughtful, mournful, patient. Fem folk meets rock ‘n’ roll. Her rendition, performed recently on local radio station Triple J, smoothed out the original’s jagged edges, its early-aughts jangliness, heralding a new era. The boys had their garage rock moment; now the girls are creating something else of their own.

With the release of her 2016 debut album, Don’t Let the Kids Win, Jacklin joined the ranks of her more established contemporaries: Angel Olsen, Mitski, Sharon Van Etten, Courtney Barnett, Jessica Pratt–female singer-songwriters known for their strengths as lyricists, as storytellers. Their collective work is a weighty counterpoint to the hyper-shiny, over-polished brand of pop music of the last decade, with all its Millennial Whoop and one-word choruses. Jacklin, for her part, brings her own particular sentiment to the genre. Her songs mull over themes about getting older, the passing of time, the lesser explored moments in life. Her visual references feel like ‘90s takes on ‘70s living rooms, all plaid skirts and busted up Reeboks, wood paneling and vinyl recliners.

Jacklin, a relatively new presence, continues to drum up attention from notable outlets, garnering praise from everyone from NPR to Interview magazine. As she continues her world tour, she stands to draw more and more fans of her work–and deservingly so. While in the midst of some late-2016 European shows, we got to talk to Jacklin about Leonard Cohen, sweet and sour pork, and many experiences with many small spaces.


State your name, age, and instrument:

Julia, 26, Guitar/Vocals

Place of residence:

Sydney, Australia

Current city:


Where did you record Don’t Let the Kids Win?

Lyttelton, New Zealand

Favorite songwriter/lyricist:

Leonard Cohen

Favorite line of his in a song:

Right now it’s from “Paper Thin Hotel“:

I stood there with my ear against the wall,
I was not seized by jealousy at all
In fact a burden lifted from my soul
I heard that love was out of my control

First song you remember liking as a kid:

Strange Kind of Woman” Deep Purple

Growing up in Australia’s Blue Mountains in three words:

House parties, boredom

High school job:

Dishwasher at Springwood Chinese Restaurant. Sweet and sour pork was the enemy.


Least favorite part of being on tour:

No time alone. Just a lot of time in small spaces with the same group of people. Small cars, small plane seats, small green rooms, small cafes, small bars, small hotel dorm rooms. Makes you just want to run into a quiet field alone when the tour is finished.

Most favorite part:

Playing the music! But seriously, that is the best part, because it makes all the other parts make more sense. Also getting to watch the other bands play each night. It’s hard to go to gigs when you’re always touring so that’s sometimes the only other bands you get to see.

Fast food of choice when you’re on the road:

I’m in England right now so it’s Marks & Spencer service station prepackaged salads.

Song you’re currently listening to:

I listen to “Artangels” by Grimes most days.

Art/film/book that recently inspired you and why:

I read The Girls by Emma Cline recently. She just said so many things about being a teenage girl that I was like, “Oh man! That is exactly how I felt!” I just love it when that happens.

Ambition is ___________.

Playing another gig after you fucked the last one, and then playing another gig after you fucked that one and so on and so forth.

Getting older ___________.

Is definitely going to happen.

Favorite album of 2016:

Masterpiece by Big Thief

First thing you’ll do when you finish touring:

Sit on the couch and sigh.

Photos by Nick McKinlay. Julia Jacklin comes to New York City May 17. Get tickets here.

Jenny Bahn

Jenny Bahn

Jenny Bahn is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, specializing in music, fashion, the arts, and culture, both high and low. Her work has been featured in Cereal, Lenny Letter, and more.