A new music single released this week by Roberts Creek composer and producer Lin Gardiner represents a soulful swipe by a genre-redefining group at stuffy music industry norms.
I Don’t Wanna Change heralds the launch this spring of a new full-length album by Gardiner and her musical collaborators, collectively known as Julia Sound. Julia Sound’s critically-acclaimed full-length work Heal was released in 2021.
The new track — slow, seductively textured, and anchored by an ardently defiant trip-hop beat — was written by Gardiner and Larissa Tandy. Australian-born Tandy, the newest collaborator to join Gardiner’s Julia Sound collective, penned the lyrics and sings lead vocals. Gardiner handles the instrumental setting and background vocals.
“I’m influenced by a bunch of British bands that were really active through the ‘90s,” said Gardiner, who began her recording career as an audio engineer in London, England. She moved to the Sunshine Coast five years ago.
“Back [in the ‘90s] there was a tendency to draw upon deeper subjects,” Gardiner added. “Whenever I go to a singer and say, hey, I’ve got this song, would you like to collaborate on it? I’ll plant the seed that says I want to discuss all these concepts that humanity is struggling with, and they’ll come back to me with their take on it. I think that’s been really creatively satisfying for all of us.”
The themes of I Don’t Wanna Change point to the broader scope of the upcoming 10-track Nothing Above The Blue Sky album: stories of loss, war, mental health, and hope. Tandy’s lyrics describe a confident self-sufficiency uncommon to pop music: “Everybody could be better, you said / But I’m pretty good, already I know I’m good / I don’t wanna change.”
All songs on the album are written, performed and produced by female and non-binary musicians. Further diversity is reflected through involvement by LGBTQ2S+ artists and contributors who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour.
For Gardiner, who operates the Sound Garden Retreat recording studio, the choice of name for her musical collective had special significance. The so-called Julia sound was an undersea tumult recorded by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1999. Its source is still unknown, although scientists theorize it was the result of Antarctic icebergs scraping the seabed.
The sound’s murky origins — and its feminine moniker — made it the perfect name for a group of artists navigating topics more meaningful than most contemporary commercial music dares to tackle.
“There’s just so much going on that we’re kind of learning about and grappling with and trying to sift through what’s real and what’s bogus,” said Gardiner. “It’s a pretty complex time to be human. While I do really enjoy fun pop music that doesn’t touch on these subjects, this project really hones in on some of the deepest stuff that doesn’t necessarily get sung about.”
Part of that is being a prolific music producer who is also a Generation X woman. Gardiner’s mission is to puncture stereotypes of industry success that venerate under-25 ingenues.
“I think there’s slowly now a bit of a movement towards recognizing that the music industry doesn’t have to be so geared 100 per cent all the time to the new and the hip and the young and the good-looking,” she said. “If you’re a music creator, a writer, a producer, it’s something that you have innately within you and you’re going to be doing it till the day you die.”
I Don’t Wanna Change is released by Boomsmack Records. Julia Sound’s recordings are available from various music services via facebook.com/BoomsmackRecords.