Lava Dreams is the new musical project for Julia Hamilton, former member of the much-beloved KC band Miry Wild. Hamilton describes Lava Dreams as her way to "create something out of the way I feel when I hear the sounds that inspire me most." While her new project cultivates a different direction musically, fans of Miry Wild will still recognize the solid songwriting and vocals in new songs like "The Bottom" and "Wrong Place." Hamilton was kind enough to talk about her new music, the challenges with going it alone and what's ahead for 2018.
Talk about the origins of Lava Dreams. What influenced this new musical direction?
Lava Dreams is me harvesting the intentions I've been cultivating since birth. I'm creating exactly what I want to be creating, freely, and loving it. Organic textures, rhythm, groove, smooth voices, slow jam beats... I've always longed to create something out of the way I feel when I hear the sounds that inspire me most. That's Lava Dreams. It's me taking a leap of faith in myself, and digging deep to pull out music that I would enjoy listening to most, if I were separate from it. It's me finally speaking my truth and enjoying it, for myself.
What have been the challenges you faced with starting a new musical project after Miry Wild?
The biggest hurdle I've had to clear (I'm still working on it) is not having a band behind me. I've never been completely comfortable performing alone onstage. The stage excites me a lot- performing is my favorite part about making music. Being with Miry Wild for several years though, I became really accustomed to the energy that came with 3 other girls jamming along to my songs. This is a whole new chapter. I think it will take a bit of getting used to, but it also adds to the thrill of a new creative adventure. I'm looking forward to harnessing all of my nervous energy into performances that will hopefully captivate an audience in a whole new way.
Describe the recording process for “The Bottom” and “Wrong Place.” What did you learn that you’ll take to future recordings?
So, this entire project has been a huge DIY experiment. I'm doing everything myself and I'm certainly not qualified, haha. But I've enjoyed the challenge so far and I'm proud of myself for the steps I've taken towards progression. I've been creating the instrumentals for my songs in GarageBand, then tracking in guitar and vocals with an ordinary usb mic. I don't have any fancy equipment and I'm doing my best to educate myself on the basics of what I should know. Basically I'm winging it. For instance, "Wrong Place" was my first single release, and now that my recordings have improved slightly with the release of "The Bottom" and my latest, "PWR WMN," I know I'll most likely re-record vocals for it and re-release the new version on my EP when it comes out. It's a big learning process but it's also been really cool and fun trying to figure it all out on my own. I know the recordings will only get better and better.
What’s ahead for you in 2018?
I'm so very hyped about what's coming next. My next release will be a big one- my self-titled EP. As soon as I finish it (look for it this spring) I'm planning on playing as many local shows as I can, for as long as I can. I'm feeling a wave of inspiration and creativity spurring inside me and I'm so excited to finally get back out and perform again. Of course, there will always be new music on the horizon for me. As soon as I finish one thing, I've already started something else. There will be a lot of activity for me in 2018. It's been awhile coming and I am so ready. Hopefully the world is ready as well.
What inspires you about music in Kansas City?
Music in Kansas City inspires me because it is incessant and GROWING and uniting. I see other new artists popping up all the time and I continue to be blown away with not only the talent but the positive vibes and willingness to connect. I love getting out and playing shows for the same reasons I love going to shows. The atmosphere and thirst for this powerful art here is contagious and heart-warming. Music really does bring people together and what I love about our local scene is seeing loads of people uniting and supporting each other despite how hard the evils in charge are trying to divide us. We need more of that. It inspires me to see people using music to create positive and loving spaces. That's what I'm setting out to do as well.
Julia's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes: A very powerful book that reminded me of my own strength during a time I desperately needed it.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: A super important read that offers crucial perspective on race dynamics in this country.
Ego Death by The Internet : One of my favorite RnB bands, headed by one of my favorite RnB vocalists.
Masseduction by St. Vincent: One of the best albums of 2017.
Semper Femina by Laura Marling: Beautifully sensual, lyrically intimate, and so thoughtful in every way. Laura Marling is a genius songwriter and this is my favorite album of hers so far.