by / April 19th, 2012 /

Interview: Sea Of Bees

Sacramento’s folk songwriter Julie Ann Bee AKA Sea of Bees just released her second album, Orangefarben. She wrote it after her first serious relationship with a woman ended and for a post-breakup album, it’s a bright and hopeful one. Julie Ann chose to keep the beauty, the good memories that comes with any couple’s life and to leave the bitterness aside. Following her gig at The Academy 2 in Dublin April 14th, she talked to State about her life, her state of mind when writing Orangefarben and the process of coping with the end of a first love.

Your first album talked a lot about loneliness, the need for someone to love and who cares about you, whereas Orangefarben is concentrated more on memories and how to handle life after your first breakup. How did this experience affected you and your songwriting?

It was a very difficult time. Writing this new album, It wasn’t easy as the first. I remember John my friend and producer saying that very same thing before we started. Time was short and I was pushing myself to get up and start a new healthy routine. But facing the memories everyday made me miss, made me hurt. It was my way of getting through the past, with a clear mind and understanding. It would have built up inside if I didn’t go through the dark first, I felt it was the best way to go, honesty and a desire to be well.

Do you feel like you’ve grown a lot between the two releases?

Absolutely, I look back and think how childlike I was; pure, and a bit naive. Two months of touring can double into a whole year or even two years of life experiences… I lived fast. I do live fast. It’s just how it goes. Not many things phase me much anymore. I  am trying to always grow better at responding  and communicating and giving better performances. My friends and family are really important to me. I think making these albums with my best friend John Baccigaluppi really is a huge part of my growth and heart. He’s like the godfather.

Did this first relationship with another woman help you be more confident and express yourself in a more intimate way? 

Yes, of course. In every way, I think love transforms… I learned how to share more of myself. Communicate..

Orangefarben (“Color of Orange” in german) is the nickname you gave to your ex-girlfriend, how did she react when she learned about you making a record about your relationship?

She is real special to me. I showed her the album first… More as a gift. I wasn’t trying to impress her or change anything. I just wanted her to know how much she means to me. I think she held it all close to her heart.. She closed her eyes and listened with care.

When listening to the first single ‘Broke’, it sounds a lot brighter and even positive than what you wrote before, were you aiming for something more accessible and pop? 

No, I wasn’t trying to be anything really, or sound poppy, it just came out that way. Just like a mother having a baby, she doesn’t tell the doctor how she wants her baby to be, the baby just comes into existence. ‘Broke’ was a simple melody and all I did was add instruments and try to layer and experiment with sounds until I really liked it.

On this new album you play most of the instruments, like you did on Songs For The Ravens, even drums this time. Is it because you fear that other musicians wouldn’t be able to understand your vision of the songs and their construction or is it just because you find it easier to do it that way? 

I think I had no fear at all really. I didn’t think about other musicians thoughts, but rather my own. I know I am not a professional drummer or guitarist, but I am good at being natural. I don’t try to make it easy either, I just do what I feel.

Who is accompanying you on stage for the European Tour? 

Robert Wilks from Kent and his friend James Simpson. And of course my lovely friend Amber Padgett.. We’re all having a great time! Thanks.

Listen to Orangefarben streaming on NPR