L.A. Singer/Songwriter Julie Mintz Releases The Thin Veil, Produced by Moby

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – Texas-born songstress and current Los Angeles-resident Julie Mintz, a talented singer/songwriter/actress who joined Moby’s band in 2011 as a keyboard player and backing vocalist, has released her first solo project titled The Thin Veil, also produced by Moby. Of course, there are many reasons to be drawn to this blonde beauty; her music creates a deep, alternative-Americana sound drenched in some unique, elegant-goth vibe.

Article by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Julie Mintz

Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, Mintz studied classical piano from a very young age, graduated from high school as valedictorian and studied neuroscience and behavioral biology at Emory University in Atlanta. Although she claims to be from a non-musical family, this writer might tend to differ.

“I did not grow up in a particularly musical family,” Mintz said in an exclusive, Standing Room Only interview. “My dad played clarinet and my brother played trumpet, so I can’t say we would have made the most amazing trio... but I loved playing piano as a little girl - I had an obsession with the blues - and I also sang in choir. My main childhood musical influences came from the Patsy Cline Greatest Hits record that my Dad played on repeat, as well as the classic country that I heard on the radio growing up in Corpus Christi.”

While on summer break from college, Julie landed her first professional acting role in the Toby Hooper film Crocodile, before finishing her degree early and moving to Los Angeles. She has also appeared in several national television ads as well. “I moved to Los Angeles after finishing college early, however, I began suffering from severe anxiety while working in a hospital oncology ward and made the decision to forego a medical degree... I reconsidered pursuing music, my childhood love.”

After moving to L.A. Mintz began writing songs, dozens and dozens of them and before hooking up with Moby, her song “Over” appeared in an episode of the TV series What About Brian and another original song called “Fight the Good Fight” and her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” appeared in the independent film The Putt Putt Syndrome. So, how exactly did Julie come about meeting the platinum-selling Moby? Well, as fate would have it, he moved into a house across the street from her in Beachwood Canyon, California.

“One Sunday afternoon, I came outside to find a stranger moving my trash cans to park in my driveway,” Julie said. “He seemed caught red-handed and was super apologetic about needing to find parking to attend my new neighbor’s housewarming party... I thought the whole incident was very funny. Out of remorse, I think, he insisted that I go to the party with him. I’m really shy and not into party crashing, but I clearly have bad boundaries, so I went. Moby was so friendly and after that, he would often invite me over for tea and to hear new songs I was working on.”

Moby eventually invited Julie to sing backup and play in his band for various gigs, television appearances and recording projects, including an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, contributing lead vocals to a Moby bonus track called “I Tried” and appearing with Moby on the Conan show for his single “The Perfect Life.”

Mintz also recorded a duet lead vocal with Moby for his beat-driven “The Only Thing,” which he wrote for the Paul Haggis film Third Person. The video for the song also features Mila Kunis, Liam Neeson, Maria Bello, James Franco, Adrian Brody and Olivia Wilde.

Julie has also performed live with Camp Freddy, a rock group of established musicians who perform covers at various shows. The band currently features Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction), Billy Morrison (Billy Idol, The Cult), Matt Sorum (Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver), Donovan Leitch, Jr. (Nancy Boy) and Chris Chaney (Alanis Morissette). Mintz was also the opening act for Moby and sang in his set during a series of ambient shows at the Masonic Lodge at The Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

In the spring in 2013 and choosing from some 60 songs she had written over several years time, Mintz began recording her debut release, a 5-song EP titled The Thin Veil. Released on Manival Vinyl Records, the EP was produced by Moby and engineered by Darrell Thorp, a seven-time Grammy Award winner who has worked with the likes of Radiohead and Beck.

“The title was inspired, since it says a lot about me and from where the art emerged. It refers to my longtime struggle with insomnia and the idea that in certain spiritual traditions, there’s a theory that the veil between the living and the dead becomes thinner at night,” Mintz said.

“It’s thought that artists and creative people often have insomnia because this thin veil gives them easier access to the spirit realm and thus, heightens their creativity. The veil image, for me, also evokes the fragility of the marriage veil and the funeral shroud, as well the concept of disguising oneself. So ultimately, the record encompasses love and death and all kinds of hidden feelings.”

These dark, alt-country songs are self-described as Gothic Americana and the multi-instrumentalist brought several musician friends in to contribute including Moby and pedal-steel guitarist Michael Rozen. “For years, well before I met Moby and joined his band, I was writing songs alone in my apartment in the middle of the night,” Julie said.

In fact, it was Moby who encouraged Mintz to release her own music, as they got together in his backyard to listen to her songs and choose what to include on the record. “I trusted him on the song selection process. Since he was lending his name as producer, I wanted him to love the songs we would be working on. We only required one studio day for live tracking of the five songs we chose and I was also very lucky to have Darrell Thorp as the engineer that day... who has engineered amazing albums for Radiohead and Beck.”

After the initial tracks were recorded, Julie and Moby got together at his home studio and worked on the tracks, with him adding string arrangements and other of his signature sounds. “It took a bit of time because Moby is an artist first and always working on his own new material, as he puts out a new record just about every year. But it was perfect that we have developed such a close friendship because making the record almost gave us an excuse to pencil-in time together.

“The common themes in my writing were always the darker stories of my inner-world,” Julie continued. “That, mixed with my childhood influence and love for classic country, resulted in a dark alt-country sound to my songs. While we were finishing the record, Moby commented that my songs had a very gothic tone and once I played the record for people, everyone began referring to the music as Americana... and so the Gothic Americana description stuck... it came very naturally.”

Although Moby produced The Thin Veil, he also encouraged Mintz to get her hands dirty and learn as much as possible about the recording process. “Moby was the first person to really believe in me as a songwriter and encourage me to release a record, but he also wanted me to learn every aspect of the process and do as much of it myself as possible.

“While he played so many of the instruments and brought so much to the final sound of the songs, he was tough on me and had me learn ProTools and do as much work as possible in my own home studio. He was sure to never help with something that he believed I could learn to do on my own. But, you know, he was always waiting in the wings like a supportive big brother the moment I really needed his musical expertise."

The Thin Veil was released in early May, with a CD release party held in Los Angeles at a show called School Night and hosted by WCRW-radio DJ Chris Douridas. Julie is planning to do more solo shows to promote the disc, as well as continuing to perform with Moby when time allows. “It’s always a thrill to perform with him, from The Tonight Show to sold-out greatest hits sets... and he’s also helped me promote The Thin Veil by having me open a series of ambient shows.”

Stay tuned, for it feels like this is only the beginning of what this talented artist will have to offer the world moving forward. To learn more about Julie Mintz and The Thin Veil, visit her website at www.juliemintz.com