JULIA SHAPIRO – ” Zorked “

Posted: September 8, 2021 in MUSIC
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The Chastity Belt and Childbirth multi-instrumentalist discusses her grappling with a pandemic-induced identity crisis in her forthcoming solo album, “Zorked”.

Julia Shapiro, is the multi-faceted musician and frontwoman, who plays in a number of popular bands. She’s part of the funny, acerbic Childbirth, the droning, often-heavy Chastity Belt and the vigorous Who Is She?, all while spearheading her own solo project. As such, she has many outlets for her vast talent. 

Shapiro is set to release her newest offering, her forthcoming solo record, “Zorked”, which is out October 15th. The 10-song album, which was written during the pandemic, is themed on the idea that confusion abounds these days in a time when there is so much public and private upheaval. 

Shapiro talked about the origin of her new zoned-out record, how she used the guitar to create its heavy, layered soundscapes and what her relationship to the instrument has been like throughout her creative life.

I started playing guitar in sixth grade. Around that time I was listening to Blink-182 and Third Eye Blind. Those were some of the first songs I learned on guitar. Before that, I’d taken piano lessons but it was all classical and it was something my parents had chosen for me. 

“So, for me, playing guitar was my own choice and my own interest. One of my friends at the time also took up guitar and we were taking lessons together. I really just stuck with it.” at the beginning I would just try to learn songs that I liked, that were easy enough. I had a guitar teacher in middle school and another one in high school, so I’d ask them to help me learn certain songs. I learned how to read tabs, so I was just figuring that out. And I think it was a lot of practicing over and over again. 

“I honestly don’t know if I would have that kind of discipline now. But, as a kid, I just spent so much time alone in my room. For me, until I joined Chastity Belt, guitar was just a solo endeavour. It was how I liked to pass my time alone in my room. But yeah, I would look up YouTube videos, if whatever tab I was looking at didn’t quite make sense. I did that a lot.

“I liked Elliott Smith a lot – I still do. He has really advanced guitar methods that are pretty unusual. So, just looking at tabs for his songs wasn’t quite enough. Instead, I would look up people covering his songs. I remember watching an interview on YouTube about his song writing style, which I still think about a lot. It was just him talking about how he writes songs. But it’s just, like, the least descriptive thing. 

Shapiro is in a number of bands, including Chastity Belt, Childbirth, Who Is She? She also has some solo work. How do you think about the guitar differently in each of these projects?

“Well, I don’t play guitar at all in Who Is She? That’s the one band that I drum in. But yeah, I feel like between my solo stuff and Chastity Belt, it’s pretty similar guitar-wise. 

“Although, with my solo stuff, I’m doing both lead and rhythm guitar and bass. Whereas, in Chastity Belt, I’ll do rhythm guitar on one song and lead on another when bandmate Lydia [Lund] is playing rhythm guitar.

“For Childbirth, a lot of it is more power chords and dissonant chord progressions and the more straightforward lead lines. For me, writing a Childbirth song, I could write one in, like, two seconds, probably, which is why it’s probably a joy to have that as a fun outlet.”

“Zorked” out October 15th, 2021 on Suicide Squeeze Records.

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