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Auberon Artist Feature - March 2022


Purchase prints of Julia's portrait here. A portion of sales go directly to the featured artist.


"Music is where I can close my eyes and connect to something that exists beyond what we can see." - Julia Mendiolea

Artists like Julia Mendiolea are what make these features so fulfilling for me. Not only is she a talented musician and teacher, she is clearly a powerful storyteller. Her interview below paints beautiful pictures of her childhood, the impact her family and culture has had on her life and her path to becoming a musician. I've found her story to be very inspiring, and I hope you do too.

Julia is currently on tour with Y La Bamba playing a Denver show on March 17! Grab your tickets now and take a moment read more about her.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Where did you grow up?

My name is Julia Mendiolea. I was born to immigrant parents who found each other in a small town nestled in a river valley carved into the high desert of Wyoming. My mother is from Mexico, and my dad is from the Basque Country. Growing up in a small conservative town in Wyoming, I was always existing in a few different realms. I was immersed in my family’s culture at home and in our small Mexican and Basque community, while subconsciously assimilating to what was considered “American” by the majority of the population of my hometown, and perhaps inevitably I created an entire backstory about being an alien from another universe when I was seven. 

What inspires your work? What drew you to being a musician?

I’m inspired by the relational phenomenon that exists between nature, time over familial generations, and our inner landscapes. I believe the magic grows in the spaces that hold these stories together. Music is the one of the spaces where I feel like I can really explore this realm.

Growing up with immigrant parents, I grew up learning about our culture through music and dance. My sister and I learned the steps to Danzas Folkloricas Mexicanas, Basque Jotas, and other traditional Basque dances pretty much as soon as we could walk — we were part of small Mexican and Basque communities in our hometown that would put together dinners, dances, and festivals. My mom was a huge part of creating strong Mexican community, taking the time and care to teach these Danzas Folkloricas to a new generation. Through all of this, I saw how much of a meeting place music is. I’ll always be so grateful for that.

I am also really influenced by my dad. My sister recently recalled a time when we were kids where my dad played The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm” on the stereo in the living room and said something like, “Close your eyes and see where the music takes you.” He loves rock and roll, and he loves geology, and I know that listening to his music and looking at the geological wonders he’d point out on car trips to Utah or Mexico really impacted me.

I started seeking out music on my own as I got older, and started teaching myself guitar when I was 12. I was a like a sponge, I tried to learn and listen to as much as I possibly could. I started to realize that while my cultural influences would always be an irreplaceable part of my life, there were sounds out there that I had yet to discover. At this point in my life, the immense beauty of it all is learning how to incorporate my influences and curiosities together.

 Ever since, music is where I can close my eyes and connect to something that exists beyond what we can see. I love exploring nature by myself, melodies always meet me there.

I love how infinite music is — I’m drawn to creating textures, harmonies, relationships between ideas. 

I’ve also built incredible community through music, and I’ve learned so much about myself. It’s always what calls to me.

What are your goals as an artist? What do you hope to achieve?

These are questions I’ve been turning over in my mind a lot more since the pandemic happened. I think at the root of it is to nurture the sacred space that is music, which will look differently depending on what life asks of us at the time.

Whether it’s through touring, making an album, designing fx pedals, teaching, or simply listening to a beloved album while making dinner with people I hold close, my goal is to create authentic spaces for people to show up as their truest selves and continue exploring the never ending landscape of sound.

Being someone who teaches others music, what do you find most powerful about seeing others learn music and being a part of that journey with them?

I’ve learned that teaching is more about being a guide in the map of possibilities than being the source of knowledge. I let the students steer the boat in terms of interests and curiosity, and offer tools, technique, and support to help them get there. It’s incredible to watch their creativity, humor, curiosity, and empowerment blossom through this, and the trajectory is always something I couldn’t have imagined myself. I hope these are things they can take with them wherever they decide to go in life.

 

Purchase prints here.
A portion of each sale
will go to Julia.

Julia's Links

Modular Synths and Pedals - Made in Denver!


The Auberon Update is presented by Future Garden.

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