Julian was born in Isfahan, Iran.
At age five he moved to the UK where he was raised.
At the age of seven he started Drama lessons and piano at age ten. Drama and Music would become two of his principal passions. The drama agency in Henley on Thames (the same one in fact which taught drama and dance to a then young Kate Winslet) gave him the opportunity to work from a young age in various professional productions doing acting, modelling, comic book photography work (the ill-fated Billy Jinx in Eagle comics) and theatre which became a great love of his. His first production was in the kiddie choir in “Paddington Bear’s Magical Musical” at the age of nine, followed later by productions like “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat” at the Hexagon, Reading and “James and the Giant Peach” in the Apollo Theatre, Oxford. These were seminal experiences which forged his love of the performing arts. One particular memory would have a huge impact - during the production of Joseph. It so happened that the kids’ choir was too big, they had cast too many kids for that production to fit on the portion of stage allocated to the choir, so the majority would sit on stage during the whole show as usual, but a small group would be allocated to sit in the pit with the band each night and this was fairly worked out in a rota in which groups would take turns to sit in the pit and not on stage. This was a pointless exercise really as they could not be seen nor heard at all above the racket of the live band and their multitude of amplifiers. But oh what a glorious racket! So on the allocated night, he was relegated to the pit of anonymity with his group only to discover that being among the musicians, playing at an incredibly high decibel count for the whole one and a half hours, was a sweet ecstasy of musical delight and that’s where he needed to be (at least some of the time). It mattered not a jot that he couldn’t hear himself or his fellow choir members, as they were lost in this magnificent euphony of rock musical bass, piano, guitar and drums which was so explosively loud and glorious that it literally blew his 13 year old mind. This experience would be seminal and influence his fate to later become a band leader and musical director on similar large productions.
As well as performing arts, his other main passion - visual art, led him to do an Art Foundation Course (Maidenhead), then a BA hons degree (Exeter Art School, University of Plymouth) and then a Masters in Fine Art (Winchester European Fine Art, Winchester/Barcelona). During this time he exhibited in Exeter, Barcelona and Reading, and his main artistic style was dominated by large colour fields which were textured and layered into multiple layers, creating complex relations of colour and texture that one's eye could roam around in and get lost. These works were mainly done in oils on canvas and paper. He also experimented with print work (silkscreen, etching) and photography.
Once he had finished his studies and had settled in his beloved Barcelona he was keen to get back to music and enjoy the social aspect of playing with other people and soon ended up playing in bands and acting and playing music for theatre, a show per year on average as well as children's theatre. This all happened completely by accident while he was living life doing other stuff, and he ultimately realised that destiny is a thing; or at least that he was drawn to the arts and couldn't help getting involved in them by accident or otherwise - whether they be visual, musical or performance arts.
During his travels he worked with Eina d’Escola Theatre production company, Look Out Theatre company, Tremayne Theatre Company, 12x12 and Jocular Theatre Company as well as Escapade Theatre - often doing dramas, comedies and dark comedies as well as full blown musical productions such as “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Mack the Knife” and “Batboy”. See Past Projects and Music.
After playing in various formations of rock, pop, jazz and soul including the bands Hot Buttered Soul, Deeply Blue, Red Eye, Clam and other bands during the late nineties, he formed his own band “GrooveJuice” around the turn of the millennium and played regularly a blend of jazz and funk and acid jazz and anything “groovy” in many of the hot spots of Barcelona’s night life, including a residency in Harlem Jazz club up until the mid 2010s – also with his band of groovy jazz tunes and 70s funk, “RootDown” – the name being a tribute to the late Jimmy Smith, the granddaddy of the Hammond organ.
He still plays in Harlem Jazz Club to this day with "Virginia and the Wolves" and other bands. As well as being a band leader, he collaborated on many projects and released music with Misnoma, Peter Loveday, Kleanshot, Joel K. Feeney and the Band de Bandidos, Andrew Henley, The Macksons, Estonoesjazz, Bacaina, Esteban Matuke and more - see collaborations. Some of these projects would see him gracing big stages such as Razzmatazz Barcelona with Kleanshot, and various festivals with Misnoma – Rocket festival in Granada, Shambala in the UK and the crown jewel of festivals – Glastonbury!
His composing credits include original compositions for theatrical shows “The Marriage of Bette and Boo”, “Little Shop”, “The Snapping Turtle’s Lament”, “6 Characters”, “David Copperfield”, “The Pillowman”, “Diary of a Scoundrel”, “Constellations”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “1984”, “The Visit” and films such as the horror short “A Simple Room” and “Swings” (a short filmed in Barcelona).
As well as playing on all of these projects, he is also in his element as a producer and loves the process of recording, mixing, mastering etc.
He has worked as a producer for all of the theatre recordings above - see Music - but also for other bands such as Los Alérgicos feautirng Stu Young and Chema Seglers.
Having composed, recorded, produced and released much music with various bands and for theatrical and film productions, Julian decided it was time to release his own album and chose tunes for this first record which would be a concept album of funkiness – HiOktane. It is a mix of ten tunes with an emphasis on funky grooves, high energy rhythms and spirited modern jazz tunes. The compositions range from older ideas from 20 years previously (Cheque Mate, Easy Now, The Stuff) and which he would play live with his band GrooveJuice but had never previously been released, to brand new compositions such as “Hi Oktane” composed and recorded as the title track one month prior to release. The album includes older recordings which were remixed and remastered, but conception of the album and production started 2 years previously and most of the tunes were recorded and produced during this time. Julian wanted to include musicians from his previous bands as a homage to that era of great creativity and original music writing (“Easy Now”), but on the other tracks he arranged and played all the instruments himself (except “Cheque mate” which also features guest Ben Jammin’ on sax), as well as doing the mixing, mastering and production himself, which makes “HiOktane” a very personal work and culmination of many musical genres and ideas formed over a twenty-year period. This was a huge undertaking as many of the tunes have 50+ tracks playing simultaneously with multiple layers of basses, beats, vintage keys, organs, guitars and synths as well as sound effects to add a dimension of excitement, and many tunes were remixed and remastered several times before reaching completion. The project is funky, hence the title, but future projects of his will also include more modern classical pieces, jazz trio pieces and a more acoustic sound, as well as more funky music of course, which is very close to his heart, especially when it comes to live performances as it’s so much fun to play music that makes people want to move or get up and dance, or tap their toe, or even wiggle their little finger.
HiOktane is available in all major online stores.
See Music page for Julian's other albums.