Hite Is The New Project from Julia Easterlin
“Lovely and unsettling. Brightly arranged and shot through with darkness. Rooted in folk yet still using the language of art rock and electronica. The artist Hite revels in these contradictions in her striking debut album Light Of A Strange Day.” – John Schaefer, WNYC
“Watching Hite perform feels like a religious experience — she’s both totally in control and completely surrendering to the music. Her soothing voice soars, her body sways, and the audience is under her spell.” – Amory Sivetson, WBUR
January 12th- New York, NY: The debut album from Hite entitled ‘Light Of A Strange Day’ is set for release March 24th via Six Degrees Records. Hite is the new project from Julia Easterlin and the follow up to her collaboration with Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure on their #1 iTunes world charting album, ‘Touristes.’
Julia Easterlin’s earlier work combined looping and layering her voice to create her music. On Touristes, she began to move away from what she calls “the looping artist pigeonhole” and the current incarnation of her work, Hite is more of a vehicle for lyrical expression. This record, Light Of A Strange Day, she says, “is a natural progression, away from loops and into more flexible, expressive forms of storytelling. In the making of the album, i left behind all my familiar tools (loops, computer, effects pedals, rhyming lyrics) and played only acoustic instruments, one take, one mic, open ended, stream-of-consciousness. it was a completely different approach to music making, and releasing it under the Julia Easterlin name (which is so attached to loops and upbeat, poppy vocal music) felt somehow… dishonest. it’s been a decade since I wrote my first piece of looped vocal music, and i needed a fresh new home for my new music, so different from previous work.”
The songwriting process further explained “In all my other work, I’ve recorded the music after having performed it at a number of shows. I know how it lands with a live audience, I know if it’s something people enjoy hearing. For Light Of A Strange Day, the songs were barely formed when I brought them in for recording.” The record was produced by Shahzad Ismaily (Lou Reed, Carla Kihlstedt, Marc Ribot, Sam Amidon, etc) over the course of five days, during a snowstorm. “Most of the basic tracks (the meat of every song – vocals and uke or piano) were recorded in a single pass the week of the blizzard. Shahzad encouraged me to be exactly as fragile and exhausted in those recordings as I was really feeling at the time, and the resulting imperfection is now what i like most about the album.”
Growing up in Georgia and moving around to Boston and ultimately settling in NYC, Julia cites references for her own songwriting from the southern Appalachian folk music she grew up listening to as well as alternative pioneer Bjork. The decision to change her performing name to Hite was a simple one, “Hite is my middle name and my great-grandmother’s maiden name. she was a tiny woman my mother loved very much, and she passed away right before i was born. mom passed the hite torch on to me. …she said she always thought i might go by ‘Hite’ someday, if I ever wanted to shed the weight of girlishness. So here i am. Hite. Woman. Music-maker.”
Hite is looking forward to playing the songs out live with dates to be announced soon including WBUR/The New York Times ‘Modern Love Live’ at The Wilbur in Boston on Valentine’s Day: A live recording of the hit podcast based on the popular New York Times column. Hosted by Meghna Chakrabarti (host of Modern Love: The Podcast) with Daniel Jones (editor of the “Modern Love” column), this event will include a live recording of the hit podcast with Modern Love essay readings by Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”), Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”), and Alysia Reiner (“Orange Is the New Black”) and a performance by Hite.