I Am Snow Angel first came to attention with the release of a self-titled, four-track EP at the beginning of 2014. The debut release for Julie Kathryn’s laid-back electronic project sleekly combined pulsing electronics with dreamy vocals. Comparisons between singers are always unfair, but on first hearing we were put in mind of Naomi Yang (Galaxie 500) and Brenley MacEachern (Zoebliss). “Not the Same” was a quirky track with roots in the Americana style which Kathryn has been known for, but “Let Me Go” and “Grey White December” showed an approach which was more European. Favourable reviews started to come in from the poptronica press: The Electricity Club said, “the music evokes images of icy landscapes and crystalline hydro basins.”
A full album followed in November. Crocodile developed the IASA sound further, warming up with more sophisticated rhythms and defrosting the synth sound to add a more organic feel to proceedings. Kathryn has explained that she is interested to explore the interaction between the instinctive and the intellectual, and the songs on Crocodile are playful and accessible.
The most recent release is an EP of remixes for “Walking on Wires,” a track from Crocodile, with Jared Jordan, G8 and Cold Youth at the controls. “You think I’m crazy,” sings Kathryn, but no, we don’t. We borrowed some time between solo IASA shows to ask Kathryn about the project.
Julie, your previous output (for example, 2013’s Black Trees album) has been based on more traditional pop-folk instrumentation. What inspired the move to a more electronic style for I Am Snow Angel?
It happened organically. I started playing around with engineering my own tracks, and the result was much more electronic than anything I had done in the past. It felt natural for me – really exciting actually – so I kept going with it. My musical tastes have shifted in that direction in general. For a while, I was mostly drawn to folk and Americana music. Now my tastes are more varied, and that’s coming through in the music I create.
Although your previous work has been described as “Americana Noir,” there is a more European feel to I Am Snow Angel. Are there particular influences on your songwriting that have moved you in that direction?
Yes I agree with this. My songwriting is still traditional, especially compared to other electronic artists. But I’ve definitely been inspired by producers and artists who blend both sensibilities – conventional songwriting with electronic production. Chet Faker, The Postal Service, Grimes and the xx are some that come to mind. I’ve also been listening to Brandon Flowers’ new solo album, which feels like synth-pop but has a slight Americana twang to it.
I Am Snow Angel performances appear to be solo affairs. Do you have any interest in expanding the line-up for stage shows?
Right now I’m working on making my solo set really strong. Once I start playing bigger venues, I’ll probably be adding to my lineup. Live drums and maybe bass.
Any chance of seeing you perform in Europe soon?
I hope so! Thanks for asking and I’ll keep you posted.