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Jullian Gomes is hilarious! Yes, that Jullian. Love Song 28 Jullian. He’s an effortless comic.
From his quirky voicemail – “Hey, this is Jullian Gomes. I’m not available at the moment, but please don’t leave me a message…” – to his stories of what he sees in the clubs, had me in stitches through most of our sit-down last week.
“I remember this one time we were at some club and it wasn’t even midnight yet,” he recalls. “Some guy fell face-first and I thought to myself ‘Dude, are you there already? Why are you there’?”
However, when he starts speaking about music and his 10-year journey in the industry, his mood changes. The comical character is replaced by a deep and analytical mind and after listening to him speak it becomes evident that music is his drug.
“I just want to make music,” he professes. The former G-family member fell in love with the genre at a young age, and after fooling around with his brother’s records and frequenting the club scene in his early teens, it’s no surprise he describes himself as “a new school DJ/producer with an old school mentality”.
From his days of hanging out at a record store in Sunnyside after school, to playing for free at friends’ parties and sometimes having guys run off with the money he’d been promised, the pint-sized Gomes has taken it all in his stride.
“I just wanted to play,” Jullian recalls. “I would sacrifice anything for music.”
He says he sometimes sold his lunch at school just so he could save to buy a record.
“At that time it only had one song on it,” he reminisces. “Physically holding that record in my hands was just another feeling.”
His hit debut single, Love Song 28, was originally released on the 2010 Red Bull Music Academy compilation, but Jullian decided to keep it aside. Little did he know he was sitting on a gold mine.
“The response to the song shocked me,” he says. “It crossed over to the commercial market as well, but no one can take away what it is – a deep house track.”
The song also won him a Metro FM award for best video. And although he appreciates the recognition of his industry peers, it’s not about awards for Jullian.
“When I see a person smiling and dancing to my music – that’s when I know I’ve won,” he says.
During our interview I confess I had no idea who Jullian Gomes was prior to Love Song 28. Once I knew the name, I couldn’t put a face to it.
“I like being a mystery,” he smiles. For him it’s all about giving his fans honest music that has substance.
Fame can wait.
It is this mentality he believes that now has him working on an album with legendary composer Martin Atjazz Iveson.
“Although Martin’s so much older than me, we can relate on a lot of things,” says Jullian. “We’re both deep and artistic individuals.”
I ask him how it’s been working with the music maestro and he says he often has to pinch himself.
“I have been really blessed,” he says. “I took a chance and followed my passion and it’s paying off.”
Iveson was impressed with Jullian’s sound when he heard him play at Sonar Festival, one of the most highly regarded music festivals in the world, in 2011 in Barcelona, and offered to fly him to his London studio.
“I went there and we recorded Overshadowed in two days,” he says.
With the creative chemistry and mutual respect for their craft, one song wasn’t enough – they had to do an entire album together. He describes their sound as emotional and moody, but above all honest.
The much-anticipated album, titled The Gift, The Curse, is scheduled to drop mid-September and the duo will embark on a two-week tour from September 19 to October 7. They will travel to Jozi, Pietermaritzburg and Durban to mention a few, with one of the stops being Atjazz’s favourite club in Pretoria, House 22, which also happens to be where the two house heads first met.
Before we part ways, a random guy passes by and mutters “Gomes” before walking off; much to Jullian’s surprise. “Not such a mystery after all, huh?” I tease him. “I need to step up my game,” he jokes.
So in the highly unlikely event that music doesn’t work out for him, I reckon comedy’s his best bet.