June Swoon is a band fronted by Juli Lydell, who grew up in Citrus Heights. She's lived all over the country and currently resides in L.A. where she's preparing to release the band's second album, "A House With Windows Open."
She spoke with CapRadio’s Modern Music Director Nick Brunner about how her struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder and letting go of control influenced her latest work.
Tell me about how you transitioned from June Swoon’s first record to this new one.
It was almost like this postpartum depression for the first record. It was a big project and then it was done and then it was out. And I felt this vacuum inside open up. And then I felt that vacuum sort of swallow me up.
I have OCD — or I struggle with saying I have or I had because it really comes in episodes. But I had an OCD episode and this record was really sort of this diary. And then when the pandemic hit and the lockdowns happened, I was in a two bedroom apartment with a garage with three other people, and there was nowhere to write.
So I ended up going down into the garage, which nobody used, and putting up these string lights and creating this little oasis. The lights were framing this door, which I would leave open, so I would watch the sun sort of like going up and going down as I was writing. And it really felt like I was realigning myself with the rhythms of what was going on outside the earth; you know, the seasons, the solar cycle. I really felt regulated by that.
That reminds me of when people go camping and they fall asleep at like 7:45 p.m. because the sun's down, they're away from every electronic buzz, and then they're up, refreshed at like six in the morning.
Absolutely. It reminds me of that, too. I mean, listen, I love my I love electronics, but I do think that you get this illusion that you should be able to control everything like, 'I control when I have light, I control when I have dark, I control when I have food. I should be in control.' So when things come up in your life that are out of your control, you haven't had a lot of practice sort of surrendering to bigger things outside of yourself. Like we are still at the whim of nature and that can actually be a blessing mentally to be like I'm a small part of this big thing.
Having mentioned OCD earlier, how did that mesh with letting nature take control as you're putting this album together?
That's a really good question. So I come from a religious background. And for better or for worse, there's a real sense that you can influence the outcome of events by praying. And I'm not saying whether or not you can. You know, I don't know, but I just know that for me, I have been exploring my relationship to any sort of divine or the spiritual aspect of life since my teens.
And I do know that my first OCD episode did flare up right when I sort of formally left the church. And there was again, this vacuum of like, how do I influence outcomes without prayer? For me, it's pure OCD. So it's not like external rituals, you know, but there is still this sense of like, I feel like I should be able to control, you know, ways of keeping my family safe or how can I keep horrible things from happening? And so in that sense, what I found with OCD is you can't actually seek reassurance. It is, a relinquishing of, like, I should be able to control this. And when you love people so much, you really want to try to ensure their safety in the world and then realizing that you're not god, you can't really ensure that.
I thought about releasing a few of these songs and calling it OCD E.P. I don't know if I'm going to do that anymore, but I still definitely want to be open about the fact that so much of these songs are like how can I be like a responsible loved one and a responsible citizen in the midst of so much outside of my control?
June Swoon has yet to announce a release date for the album A House With Window’s Open. Keep your ears open to CapRadio’s Hey, Listen! for more music from the band.