Sea of Bees on “Build A Boat To The Sun” and a more accepting indie music industry


It’s been a few years since we caught up with Sea Of Bees frontwoman Julie Ann “Jules” Baenziger. And a lot has changed. She’s been hard at work with her band on the band’s latest full-length effort Build A Boat To The Sun, which came out earlier this summer, and is preparing for a month long trip out east with a residency at the Ace Hotel in New York.

Jules recently shared some of her music, thoughts on being queer in the industry and what music means to her. 

sea-of-beesphoto by Jeanette Steed What’s changed for you and for Sea Of Bees since your last interview with us in 2012?

Jules Baenziger: Everything. I feel like everyday there is and has been a constant change that has surrounded me. I’m always walking over a line but it’s not a finish line. It’s the opposite. It’s a line stating that I’m starting something new and accepting whatever comes my way—be that going up or going sideways or going down. And I just have to go through it and take whatever good that is in it. Let go of myself, and just fall and get back up and walk forward.

I think I am less depressed since our last talk in 2012. I am really enjoying 2015. There is a lot of clarity and a more fluid mindset. I’ve been hermitting and really nurturing myself with the good people in my life, listening to good new and old music that I never got to know well. Reconnecting with music and just doing it, playing and exploring with sounds and letting it be second nature again. I’ve been finding joy in running and swimming. My imagination and mind goes wild and I just start coming up with words and stories. It’s like words live in me and come out when I am running in the void and they start filling up my mind.

I can write a whole chapter on what has changed in Sea Of Bees. Amber Padgett, my bud (guitarist and singer), is still playing with me. It’s been nearly five years that we’ve been in the band together and that we’ve been friends. I have no idea how she puts up with me, so I am very lucky to have her by my side.


AE: Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired the music on Build A Boat To The Sun?

JB: I guess it’s just a new chapter of getting over a wall. Getting past the past and moving towards the future—embracing and seeing the good that I have around me and the people that are in my life. Not really thinking too much about being something or someone. Just being myself, doing what I want and like to do.

Build a Boat to the Sun is little snippets of memories of me first meeting people and some songs about family.  Family can be weird, and I feel this was my way of understanding some things and seeing from another point of view. We recorded the album near Stinson Beach, at Panoramic Studios, where my buddy and manager, John Baccigaluppi (Tape Op publisher), runs the studio. We’d record all day, he’d go for a surf break, and then we’d come back, record a little, and then make a delicious meal, drink wine all evening and talk about records and life. I think that was most inspiring because John and I work so well together and we have such a great time creating. Being by the ocean on the west coast is medicine for the soul. So I think the important people in my life and the oceanside were my inspiration.

AE: What’s your favorite part of playing music and being in a band?

JB: I think with playing music it’s growing my relationships and seeing Sea Of Bees being supported by sincere fans. You have to be crazy to be a band, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable most of the time. There are times when I am so exhausted, but I think of how the music has connected with so many people and that is really something powerful. When I was younger, I was always trying to reach out but didn’t know how, nor did I understand why. Now I think that no one is meant to be alone. I just want to help people feel good even if it’s just for a little bit of time. Life is gray, at least from my eyes, and when there is some happiness it’s refreshing when music is on and there can be some light wherever you are.

My favorite thing about being in a band is knowing my guitarist and friend, Amber, better. She is a wise woman and she has such a rich life. I’ve learned a lot from her.


AE: Being entrenched in the music world for the last several years how have you found the response to your being an out musician?

JB: Encouraging and accepting, I think. Not just for me, but for fans and friends understanding more about the LGBT community.



AE: Is it any easier now than when you started?

JB: My sexuality, absolutely. I mean some people still find it foreign that a woman can fall in love with another woman, or a man with another man. But things are changing slowly, and it is so wonderful to be free to do what I want, to be myself, and not have it be against the law.

Music, on the other hand, I think I have now come back to the place where I left off on the first record, where it was just fluid and endless of what I could try. It’s never easy, but it’s so satisfying when you do what you want and something really unexpected happens in a cool way.


AE: Do you find that your fanbase is queer leaning, or does it range?

JB: I’d like to think it leans endlessly and spreads all over the map of all humans.


AE:  Are you involved in any other musical projects right now?

JB: KatzJam. It’s a emo band, Sonic Youth’ish. Just kidding. I haven’t really had time for that, but it sounds fun and tempting for the future. Right now I’m fully committed to Sea Of Bees. It’s what found me.


AE: What’s your current jam?

JB: As we speak, Joni Mitchell For the Roses the album. I’ve been listening to Blake Mills‘ Break Mirrors. Holy shit, it’s so good. I’ve also been listening to my friends’ band, Sunmonks. They just released an EP and it’s just lush.


AE: What comes next?

JB: Oh, my. Making more music and being more!


AE: What’s one thing we wouldn’t be able to find out about you through an internet lurk?

JB: I have no idea because I don’t know what’s out there. I never look. Maybe I’ll keep it a mystery.


For more on Jules and the band, visit the Sea of Bees Facebookwebsite and Soundcloud.

More you may like