Jullian Gomes, the South African DJ, producer, and musician, has been on an upward trajectory since his first gig in 2003. With a diverse musical background, including influences from soul, Latin, and kwaito, Jullian discovered his passion for house music at a young age. Over the years, his love for production and skill set grew, leading to numerous achievements in his career.
Photo credit: Jullian Gomes – Official
In 2012, Jullian Gomes released his debut single ‘Love Song 28’ featuring Bobby, which received critical acclaim. His debut album, ‘Late Dreamer,’ was released in 2016 and received accolades such as ‘Best Dance Album’ and ‘House Record Of The Year’ for the track ‘1000 Memories’ featuring Sio at the Dance Music Awards South Africa. In 2019, Jullian released his second solo album, ‘Slow Poison,’ showcasing his versatility with a blend of deep house, soulful house, and neo-electronic-disco elements.
With each project, Jullian aims to push his musical boundaries and create captivating compositions that resonate with his audience.
Recently, EG had the opportunity to chat with Jullian Gomes about his latest release, ‘Bruno & The Birds,’ as well as his future projects. In this interview, Jullian discusses the inspiration behind the album, the metaphorical journey it takes listeners on, and the collaborative process with other artists.
EG: Welcome to EG, Jullian! It’s a pleasure to have you here with us. How have you been? Where are you right now?
Jullian Gomes: Thanks for having me. I’m well, thank you. I’m in South Africa at the moment.
EG: ‘Bruno & The Birds’ is an album that promises to be a transformative journey. Can you give us a glimpse into what inspired you to create this unique musical experience?
Jullian Gomes: I’ve always approached making albums with the vision that they should tell stories. Traditionally, house and electronic music haven’t often aligned with this concept. Most house and electronic albums I grew up on seemed to be directed strictly for the dance floors, which makes sense. I wanted to balance that concept with the idea that house music can transcend dance floors and tell a story through the journey of an entire album. I aimed to create an album that sheds light on the fact that harboring your demons will only hold you back and that there is peace in letting go. It’s a work in progress, and hopefully, this album can serve as a reminder for those who connect with it.
EG: The character Bruno is a central figure in the album. Could you share the story behind this character and how it serves as a metaphor for inner struggles and self-discovery?
Jullian Gomes: So, “Bruno” is a metaphor for the demons that reside within. This concept relates to the duality within my character, I like to think of it as the other voice in my head. In essence, we all harbor a “Bruno” in our minds, pushing us into mindsets and situations that are bad for our spirit. We all possess this duality in our character—the voice that says you can’t do something or that you’re not good enough, as well as the complexities arising from the challenging situations encountered in our journey to this point. The self-discovery part of the story revolves around understanding that the voices in your head are a part of you, but they don’t define who you are.
EG: Your music blends electronic soul and jazz, pushing the boundaries of traditional house music. What led you to explore these genres, and how do they contribute to the album’s emotional depth?
Jullian Gomes: I grew up listening to various genres. I was constantly searching for a sense of peace and freedom in each genre I gravitated towards. I eventually discovered house music at a very young age and became hooked. One aspect that draws me to house and electronic music, in general, is its fluidity in incorporating numerous other musical influences into the music, whether it’s jazz, soul, afro, or any other subgenre of electronic music; the possibilities are endless. I believe this is a big reason why numerous subgenres of music have emerged from house music. With ‘Bruno & The Birds,’ I wanted to create an album that pays homage to my influences growing up in South Africa, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of what is traditionally accepted as house music. I wanted each song to have its own identity and tell its own story in the overall theme of the album.
“I aimed to create an album that sheds light on the fact that harboring your demons will only hold you back and that there is peace in letting go”
EG: Collaborating with artists like Jordan Arts, Sio, and, Kuniyuki Takahashi adds a unique dimension to the album. Can you shed some light on the collaborative process and how these artists influenced the album’s direction?
Jullian Gomes: I approach each collaboration without any ego; if you vibe with me, I vibe with you. I find that when you approach collaboration in this way, you achieve the best results. The music industry is currently feature-heavy, with many strategic collaborations aimed at reaching new audiences through algorithmic placements and streams. However, I believe the priority should always be the music. Each of the artists I collaborate with brings something unique and special that they can contribute to the music in their own way. As a producer, it’s my job to creatively shape their contributions to align with what I’m trying to convey through the music.
EG: ‘Bruno & The Birds’ encourages listeners to confront their inner demons and step outside their comfort zones. What message do you hope listeners take away from this introspective journey?
Jullian Gomes: It’s important to me for people to truly embark on the journey down the less-traveled path of their minds and souls. It can feel like we live with our demons for years, and they weigh us down throughout our journey. By engaging in a self-dialogue about the voices that plague our minds, we can find some sort of peace. My hope is that the story of ‘Bruno & The Birds’ and the music triggers the initial start of that self-dialogue.
EG: The album is thought-provoking and emotive. Can you share any personal anecdotes or experiences that influenced the album’s emotional depth and lyrical themes?
Jullian Gomes: I feel that all my life experiences are reflected in the music I make, whether it’s dealing with all the demons or pursuing personal growth. It all finds its way into the music with the hope that it’s relatable and ultimately received in a way that people can take something away from listening to it.
EG: Your success has taken you to renowned festivals and venues worldwide. Can you share a memorable performance or moment in your career that stands out to you?
Jullian Gomes: Wow! I’ve been DJing for 20 years now, so there have been quite a few events. I would say I’m grateful for each one. Any opportunity to connect with good people and play some cool music is fine with me.
“I approach each collaboration without any ego; if you vibe with me, I vibe with you”
EG: As a musician in the digital age, how have social media and online platforms shaped your relationship with your fans and your creative process?
Jullian Gomes: It’s complex. On one side, I feel extremely fortunate to live in an era where we can all connect and share our thoughts, creativity, and inspiration at the click of a button. On the other side, I don’t even know what’s real anymore. I believe that the sooner people realize that social media is not real life and learn to use it as a tool for connection, the better off we’ll all be. I’m still learning and working on it day by day. In the end, I just hope this music can reach as many people as possible and evoke some kind of feeling.
EG: The music industry has evolved significantly. How do you see the current state of the industry, and what trends or changes do you find most exciting for artists and listeners?
Jullian Gomes: Broken, LOL. I’m optimistic and believe that technology and evolution are natural, especially in the “creation” aspect of the industry. However, when I take a step back and analyze things from the inside out, I see how many business models centered around the entertainment industry are deeply flawed and unsustainable for creatives and the entire ecosystem that collaborates within the industry. I could talk for hours about everything I feel is wrong, and I believe we all have our own opinions. Ultimately, I do see exciting developments in the future, both for artists and listeners, with music becoming more immersive in both sonic and visual experiences. I’m also optimistic that future generations will discover a business model that works for the creatives within the industry. Let’s hope…”
EG: While we’re primarily discussing your music, it’s a tumultuous time in the world with ongoing events like the latest events between Israel & Palestine. How, if at all, do these events affect your creative process and the themes in your music?
Jullian Gomes: We are all connected in the grand scheme of things, so it’s heart-wrenching to see people suffer. I believe most humans don’t want to witness suffering, but unfortunately, the world has had its share of suffering long before we arrived, and it may persist after we’re gone. The best we can do is play our part in leaving it a little better than we found it. We all have a role to play, and the decision lies with us. I’ve always used music as an escape from this world, and that’s a part of my creative process. My hope is for others to join me on this journey. The themes of my music are directly influenced by my own journey and the journeys of others.
EG: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Jullian. We’re eagerly anticipating the release of “Bruno & The Birds” and exploring these various facets of your creative journey.
Jullian Gomes: Thank you. Look forward to sharing the music. Bless.
Jullian Gomes ‘Bruno & The Birds’ is out now via World Without End. Stream and download here.