Posts Tagged ‘HaSkaLa’

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After an extended holiday break SKOM is back with a new interview. This week we are joined by Julie Gibbs. Julie is a multi-talented multi-instrumentalist who is multi-awesome!

JulieBlonde2You took piano at a very young age. What prompted that?

Julie Gibbs: That was my mom’s idea.  She started my lessons in kindergarten, but they only lasted through first grade, then again in fourth.  Now I realize how valuable those lessons were.  They helped me learn how to read both bass and treble clef at a young age, which saved some trouble later in life when picking up the saxophone and bass!

How did you get interested in sax? 

JG: In 3rd grade, we had the option of learning a string instrument.  I learned the cello, but wanted to try something new.  When we had the option to play a woodwind or brass instrument in 4th grade, I tried the saxophone, and it felt right.  To this day I go into mini depressions if I go long periods of time without playing it.

Was learning klezmer music influenced by your family background?

JG: Yes, definitely.  I actually never heard of the genre prior to the klezmer ensemble at Berklee College of Music (my alum).  Once I found out that it was music of the Eastern European Jews, I had to give it a listen.  The sound was instantly appealing.

Tell me about Cats on Mars. How did that start?

JG: The singer and songwriter of the band, Tommy Pedrini, is a friend of mine from Berklee.  We were both in the Film Scoring major, so we had many classes together.  When I moved to L.A. (from N.Y.), he asked me if I wanted to play with him.  He is a very talented songwriter and downright awesome person, so I couldn’t say no.  We are in the process of finishing up a few tracks for an EP.

You also play bass in Haskala. How did you get hooked up with that and what has that been like? 

JG: Believe it or not, half of Haskala responded to a craigslist ad.  When I moved to L.A., I wanted to find a klezmer band to play with.  I typed the word “klezmer” into a search, and the ad for Haskala popped right up. I met the singer Steve at his place, played a few songs, and it was Haskamagic from then on!

It’s been a blast playing with HaSkaLa.  What I love most about playing with them is that we’re all talented musicians without the ego.  They’re just a great group of people to play with and I’m thankful to be part of the whole experience.

You also have an interesting double album you have been working on for sometime. What inspired that? 

JG: Oh goodness, haha.  Well, it started over 3 years ago when I was still in New York.  I had spent a lot of time listening to The Barry Sisters Greatest Hits CD, and thought that some of their tracks, specifically “Chiribim Chiribom”, could be updated into a really cool, funky tune.  I lack the computer and editing skills but have a forte in arranging, so it all started from there.  At the time, I recorded a few Barry Sisters remakes.  After moving to Los Angeles, I had this burst of creativity, and started writing lyrics.  The songs collected over time, and it eventually got to the point when I realized that they all needed to be recorded.  Since the recording process has been dragged out for so long, I currently have 24 tracks to record.

How is that coming along? Is there an end in sight? 

JG: I’m happy to report that as of now, the drums and bass are completely finished!  I’m taking it step by step, layering the guitar, keys, horns, and vocals one after the other.   Hopefully the album will be in its final stages by June.  Stay tuned!

What do you hope to accomplish/get out of that project?

JG: At this point, I just want to get my music into the world.  One of the greatest feelings in the world is hearing people say that they enjoy my originals.  Therefore, I release music, and people are happy.  It’s a win-win! 🙂

What has been your favorite live show you have played so far?

JG: Well, I was very fortunate to share the stage with Denis Leary and some friends for a show at the Nokia Theater in Times Square back in 2006, playing sax.  I got to hang out backstage with Breckin Meyer, Tom Morello, and Slash.  It was a trip.  This gig occurred one month after I got laid off from a job, so it was a fantastic pick-me-up, to say the least.  And what a rush playing in front of thousands of people!

Where can people see you next?

JG: Cats On Mars is MIA at the moment due to recording, and Haskala has a gig at Molly Malone’s on Wednesday February 13th, 9:30pm sharp. Also, be on the lookout for Felix Goldstein (my stage name) at an open mic night near you in Los Angeles!

What is your favorite dessert and why? 

JG: This may be a bit predictable, but most certainly cupcakes.  Since I’m lactose intolerant, I have to search for vegan or dairy-free versions, or make my own.  Thankfully vegan cupcakes are prevalent in Los Angeles, and thankfully the vegan versions are moist and delicious!  Thank you for asking.


I can’t thank Julie enough for the interview. You can keep up with her at all these fine locations:

Demos at Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/julie-gibbs-1

Cats On Mars https://www.facebook.com/catsonmarsmusic?fref=ts

HaSkaLa https://www.facebook.com/HaSkaLA?fref=ts

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