Julia Caesar at Summervale!


By Zaidee Laughlin, Music Intern

For our penultimate Summervale, we’re welcoming a young but powerful band to the stage. On their website, Julia Caesar writes that their music is “fueled by a deep commitment to transformation… a way for us to engage with our own healing and a means to connect deeply with our audiences.” Their debut album, Heavy Flow, released just over a month ago, carries a tremendous transformative and invigorating energy that you can’t help but feel deeply. With vocals falling somewhere between Florence Welch and Courtney Barnett and swells of touching instrumentation, Julia Caesar presents an intimate soundtrack to female and queer self-actualization. Here's an interview with band member Katy Hellman:

How is your work a form of protest and resistance?

I think that most art, music and creativity are inspired by the tensions of the world around. In our culture, where vulnerability and emotionality are seen as weak, we are demonstrating to ourselves and our community that there is power in vulnerability. We actually need to learn to be vulnerable, to break down the walls and barriers that keep us from each other, and learn how to collectively fall apart so that we can begin the process of collective healing, and our hope is that our music can be a part of that process.

How is your work a form of healing?

For me, music is the way that I can most effectively access and communicate the emotional turmoil, the longing, the despair and the hope that I am experiencing in response to our state of global crisis. I find that through writing and performing, I can process these tensions. Our hope is that we can connect with people through our music, invite them into this emotional experience and stir something up for them that might be trying to hide, may it be courage, compassion, honesty or sorrow.

You folks are a young band, what do you think contributes to the success that you've seen blossom in the last year and a half?

We really like each other! I think that has a lot to do with it. We just have so much fun together and I think that that translates to the audiences. I also think that people (including myself) are yearning for different kinds of experiences when going to see music. Burlington, since I have been here for the last 8 years, has been a music scene mainly dominated by men and jam bands. And people (mainly women and non-binary folks) are looking for something different to connect with. Our intentions with this project are around love and community and at shows we have the opportunity to participate in the experience of engaging with the audience.

Tell me about a memorable gig you folks have played in the last few months and why it was so good.

Well, we just released our EP on July 16th and I think that our EP release show on the 19th was one of our favorite shows so far. It was at the Ruach HaMaqom Synagogue on Archibald street in Burlington and it was early in the evening and it was a dry event. For us, this show was a culminating moment of all of the work that we had been putting into our EP, and it was so special because the people who came (approx 200!) really were there to listen. The love in the space was so strong.

Three words to describe your project!

Honest, Vulnerable, Powerful    

Abby Portman