Last year, Sam Ray (of Ricky Eat Acid and Teen Suicide) released the first and perhaps last full-length under his Julia Brown moniker, An Abundance Of Strawberries. It was the follow-up to 2013’s To Be Close To You, and was distributed at first only by sending him an email and, later, via a Dropbox link. Receiving it felt personal and special in a way that getting most albums nowadays does not, which fit with the intimate nature of the music itself. But the record’s too good to stay a rarity, and I’m happy to see that it’s getting a physical and wide digital release via Joy Void Recordings early next year, which will hopefully draw an even bigger audience. To celebrate, there’s a new Linnea Nugent-directed video for “Snow Day,” which you can watch via Spin below.
Here are some words from Ray about the record’s re-release:
I always wanted to do a physical release of Strawberries (Julia Brown’s final & only LP!). Even before the record was finished it was something I thought hard about and was constantly brainstorming. For a while I wanted to release the record only on tapes with flowers pressed inside them. I have all of the tapes, dubbed and with flowers inside them, and I will mail them at some point to the people I want to have them. Still, I always knew I wanted to do some kind of vinyl release, as it’s really the only record I’ve written so far in my life that I’m this proud of (even over a year removed from the final product, and now nine years removed from the first song I wrote for it). Doing so at the time the album was finished (early 2014) just felt a bit overwhelming and I shied away from it, preferring to send the record around digitally only via email to anyone who asked for it. I did this for a few weeks, responding to hundreds and hundreds of emails a day, until the amount of emails sitting in my inbox unanswered still numbered in the thousands. I wanted to share it this way because almost all of my favorite records have been passed to me through burned mixtapes — often without track listings — or through mysterious thumb-drives, dropbox links, etc. I also wanted to share the music with people who told me they wanted to hear it and get to discuss the record with it — both what they liked and didn’t like — and that was a very, very gratifying experience and reminded me exactly why I first fell in love with writing, recording, and even listening to music years and years ago.
So that all said, I still waited a long time to do a proper physical release of the record — as well as make it widely available digitally — and this was honestly mostly out of apprehension. I’ve never gotten to release a record before that I could say I was very proud of, and I didn’t really want to do that then, with my mental state the way it was and my life always verging on being a total mess. I wanted to write Strawberries both with a wide audience and no audience in mind, which is to say it is a very personal album even though most of it does not directly reflect my own experiences or memories. It’s personal in a different, less documentarian way, and that’s as difficult to try and explain in press releases and interviews as it is to try and perform and relive nightly. I’m very glad to have gotten this record finished, and I couldn’t be happier with it even though I can pick apart its every flaw as clearly now as I could when I first sent it off to be mastered.
When you finish a record, it’s no longer your own. You release it, other people consume it, and they change its meaning to fit their own experiences, emotions, life, etc. That’s a truly wonderful thing, but it’s also very hard when what you’re letting go has such a specific, personal meaning to you. It was much nicer to ease into it the way I got to.
Apprehension aside, it was nice to find a home for the album with a label that would let me keep complete creative control over the packaging & release of the record, and focus more on distribution and making a beautiful physical thing we could be proud of than worrying about selling a ton of records & touring miserably and incessantly, so that has been a Godsend.