Swing Your Lanterns is the latest solo offering from Ivan Julian who’s had a long and distinguished career as a provocative songwriter and one of New York City’s most distinctive guitar stylists. As a founder member of Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Julian was an essential part of the original Punk scene while sowing the seeds for Post-Punk with the pointedly lopsided rhythms structures and scorched, askew guitar lines that comprised the Voidoids’ oeuvre. Swing Your Lanterns is being released by Pravda Records mid-February 2023 as download, CD, 12” vinyl LP and on streaming platforms.
The album was produced by Ivan, recorded to 2” tape at his own SuperGiraffeSound studio in Brooklyn, New York as well as Raxtrax Studio in Chicago, Illinois. Julian himself performed on a multiude of instruments including guitars, organ and even electric Bulbul Tarang (an instrument found in India and Japan). He was joined in the studio by drummer Florent Barbier (Elliot Murphy), Keith Streng (The Fleshtones) on percussion and backing vocals, Nick Tremulis on guitar and backing vocals, bassist Derek Brandt, as well as James Burke and Jared Michael Nickerson (Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber) also on bass, to name just a few.
The songs on Swing Your Lanterns reflect Ivan’s experiences over the last five years and beyond set against the contemporary sociopolitical stage, asking the question: where do you stand during troubled times, and will you remain vigilant? The album plays like a series of novelettes depicting the underlying human condition, our aspirations, loves, and losses.
The son of a Navy officer, Ivan Julian grew up in a string of exotic locales including Guantanamo Bay, nurturing a sensitive, creativity that eventually manifested itself musically. At the age of 13, while living in Washington, D.C., he began singing in a Led Zeppelin cover band, picking up the guitar the following year, he began playing guitar. After studying music theory in high school Ivan headed to London after graduation and joined U.K. R&B hitmakers The Foundations, (“Build Me Up Buttercup”). While touring he decided to settle in Macedonia and study its traditional music, which had a major influence on his playing thereafter.
When Julian returned to the U.S., he settled in New York and soon became a founding guitarist and composer for seminal Art-Punks Richard Hell and the Voidoids, teaming up with iconic Punk poet Hell (who’s visual style was the direct inspiration for the Sex Pistols’), extraordinary guitarist Robert Quine (Lou Reed) and drummer Marc Bell (later Marky Ramone).
After the Voidoids, Ivan fronted the rock / funk / African beat combo the Outsets before forming the Lovelies with Bush Tetras’ singer Cynthia Sley. He also reunited with Hell for an extensive tour of Japan. Julian would go on to collaborate with a wide array of acts. The Clash invited him to play on “The Call Up” and “Ivan Meets GI Joe” Sandinista album. He joined England’s Shriekback for two tours of North America and Europe. He also worked with Afrika Bambaataa and Bernie Worrell of Parliament/Funkadelic. Ivan spent much of the 1990s touring and recording with Matthew Sweet.
In recent years, Ivan has concentrated mainly on studio work, establishing his SuperGiraffeSound recording studio as one of New York’s hottest facilities, as well as producing and recording artists including Sean Lennon and The Fleshtones. In addition, he released his solo debut, The Naked Flame followed by Below the Pink Pony EP, by The Fauntleroys, featuring Alejandro Escovedo, Nick Tremulis and Linda Pittman.