Chances are, if you frequent Warped Tour, you’ve heard of Jule Vera. In 2015, the band played shows across the country as part of the famous traveling music festival. Since then, it’s toured with plenty of other artists who are no strangers to Warped, such as Never Shout Never, Waterparks, As It Is, and With Confidence. Its anthemic alt-pop choruses, its engaging live shows, and of course, its members’ awesome hair make the band stand out.
When Warped Tour came to Columbia, Maryland a few days ago, we were lucky enough to catch up with Jule Vera’s Ansley Newman (vocals) and Jake Roland (guitar). We chatted with them about a variety of topics, including their new album, Waiting on the Sun; crawling through dirt; and playing the ukulele.
TYF: You guys have been on Warped Tour for a little while now. What would you say are your favorite memories from the road so far?
Jake Roland: Well, we have some memories for sure. There’s been some really good shows so far.
Ansley Newman: Boston, I think, was our best show. It was raining, and we were in the amphitheater, and everyone came into the amphitheater to get out of the rain, and we ended up with a huge crowd. It was really fun. It was probably the best show of the tour.
Roland: It’s been raining a lot this tour, a lot more than when we did it in 2015, so there’s been a lot of hard days. A few days ago it was flooding. There was a flash flood.
TYF: Yeah, I saw those photos on Twitter. And you guys played through all of that?
Roland: Yeah. (Laughs)
Newman: Well, it stopped. It slowed down throughout the day. It was mainly in the morning. But it was pretty bad. (Laughs)
TYF: You were also on Warped Tour in 2015. How has your experience been similar or different this year?
Newman: Well, that year, there were a lot more bands and a lot more stages, so I think there was a little more to play against, [in terms of] other big bands [performing at the same time]. There’s a lot less bands [this year], but they’re all really good, so I think you don’t clash [with] too many people as much as you did last year. So that’s nice. We’re on a different stage. We don’t have to carry our gear. And we know a lot more of what we’re doing now. The second time around is always easier, so it’s been pretty good.
TYF: Did you guys ever go to Warped Tour as audience members?
Newman: I’ve been one time in 2014 before we played. It was kind of funny because we were actually supposed to play that day as the local band, but our manager at the time didn’t tell us, I think. Or maybe we forgot or something. But we were just walking around and we saw, “Jule Vera plays at this time.” We were like, “What?” It was crazy. (Laughs) And then I went last year. We just go when they come to our town and we’re not on it. (Laughs)
TYF: You just released your new album. Do you have a favorite song on the record?
Newman: I’d say my favorite songs are either “Bad Company” or “Running.” We play both of them live, and I’d say they’re the most fun to play. (To Roland) What’s your favorite?
Roland: I like “Bad Company” a lot. That’s really fun to play live. And then “Something Good” I like playing, too.
Newman: Yeah, that one’s fun, too.
TYF: There’s a music video for your song “Lifeline.” What was it like filming that?
Newman: It was really cool. We did it in New York, and it was a really dirty experience. (Laughs) I was crawling through dirt, and I’m still finding dirt in those shoes that I wore now. (Laughs) But it was a lot of fun. They had this crew doing the setup and everything, and it was really interesting to watch them set it up. I don’t think there was any green screen or anything; it was all just a set. It was really cool watching them do it. It was so real-looking. It was really fun.
TYF: I’m guessing it was a different experience than filming your music video for Scarlet Letter, because in that one, you’re in a mansion and everything.
Newman: Yeah, that one was really different.
Roland: That one was all proper and everything. In this one, we were, like, crawling through dirt. (Laughs)
TYF: You also just did a tour with As It Is and With Confidence. What was that like?
Newman: It was awesome. That was our first time in the U.K., and it was a lot of fun. They’re really good people. They’re really good bands, too. They’re really talented. We had a lot of fun sightseeing and playing shows.
Roland: That was the first time most of us had ever even been out of the country. It was cool to see stuff that’s so much older. In the United States, stuff is, like, 300 years old or whatever. And over there, we went to the oldest bar in the whole U.K., I believe. It’s called Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, and it’s from 1187 AD or something. It was like a cave, basically. It was in Nottingham. Stuff like that, it’s pretty awesome. (Laughs)
TYF: Is there any reason it’s called Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem?
Newman: I have no idea. (Laughs)
Roland: Not sure. It was right outside the Nottingham Castle with Robin Hood and Little John and everything. It was pretty awesome.
Newman: Little John. (Laughs)
TYF: If I ever go to the U.K., I’ll definitely try to make it to Nottingham Castle and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem.
Newman: You should go.
TYF: You guys also have two workshops on Warped Tour this year—Finding Your Confidence through Music and Uke It Out. How did you set those up? Were you approached about the idea, or did you pitch it yourselves?
Newman: For the ukulele one, Lanikai [a ukulele company] came to us saying that if we wanted to [help with it], they would sponsor it. They would provide ukuleles and everything, and I’d just teach [participants] one song. I’d teach them “Bad Company,” and they’d get a bunch of free stuff. It’s a lot of fun. And then the other one…
Roland: We came up with the idea and what to talk about and everything, and that’s been going pretty well, too. It’s really fun.
TYF: What’s that been like so far? Do you have any favorite memories from the workshops?
Newman: I think the ukulele ones are always fun because they get to keep the ukuleles at the end. Telling them they get to keep the ukuleles… They’re always like, “Really?” That’s so fun to do. I guess that’s probably my favorite thing.
TYF: That’s awesome. Have you guys played the ukulele for a while?
Newman: Yeah. I started when I was in high school, just for, like, a talent show, and then we kind of incorporated it into the band.
TYF: That’s cool. I just started a few years ago; it’s a lot of fun. What are your favorite songs to play?
Newman: Our songs?
TYF: Any songs. If you’re just, like, jamming out…
Newman: I kind of learned “Blackbird” by The Beatles. I learned the whole thing, but I don’t really remember it. But I think it’s really fun to play.
TYF: You just added a new member [guitarist Chase Haws] to the band. How has that affected how you write songs or perform onstage?
Roland: Chase, he’s a great guitar player. Me and him have very different styles of playing, so I think it complements each other pretty well. We did a lot of writing parts together on the new album. We try not to do rhythm and lead guitar. It’s more like incorporating stuff together and doing more intricate things like that. I think it turned out really well, and I’m really excited for him. He’s been with us since the first Warped tour anyway, just as a touring guitar player, so we’ve known him for a while now. And he’s really funny too, so he really adds to the group when we’re traveling and stuff. He’s a cool guy.
TYF: What made you come to the decision to add a new member?
Roland: Well, on our first tour, when we did Warped Tour in 2015, we knew we needed another guitar player because I had kind of written the first album for two guitars, anyway. So we really needed a guy who could do that. And we started writing other parts for different parts of the set—not necessarily the songs, but in between parts of the set—and we really liked the things that he was coming up with, and he just added a lot, so we decided to make him a member.
TYF: That’s cool. Speaking of your earlier music, on the album that came before Waiting on the Sun [Friendly Enemies], you have an intro called “1896,” and I’ve always wondered why it was called that. Would you guys like to elaborate?
Newman: (To Roland) I’m gonna mess up, so you do this one.
Roland: 1896 was the year that radioactivity was discovered.
Newman: I always want to say “invented.” (Laughs)
Roland: Well, mainstream discovered, you know? And the lyrics from “Chemical Machine” obviously relate to radioactivity, and since the songs go into each other, we decided to use that use the title.
TYF: That’s really clever. (To Newman) You collaborated on a song with The Ready Set recently [“No Love”]. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Newman: Yeah. I don’t even know how that came about. They sent over the tracks and I recorded it in our basement studio. We kind of did it over the Internet. I sent it to him, he was like, “Tweak this” or whatever, and we did it like that. It was a lot of fun. I think that song’s really cool.
TYF: That’s pretty cool. Have you met him since the song came out?
Newman: I haven’t met him, no. (Laughs) It’s kind of funny. But I think that’s how it is a lot of the time when there’s collaborations like that. You don’t really meet in person.
Roland: I’m sure we’ll meet him eventually, but we just haven’t run across him yet.
TYF: Do you guys have any advice for people who have a band that might want to play Warped Tour someday, but aren’t really sure how to go about that?
Newman: Just write songs and play shows. You don’t know who could be in the crowd, and it’ll help you get better with your stage presence and everything, just playing shows whenever you can. I’d say that’s the big thing.
Roland: And just getting the music out there. If you can, get it recorded and put it on your Soundcloud or whatever, because that’s how we were discovered, through Soundcloud. It was just a couple of songs that we had recorded, and somebody really liked it and did a blog post about it, and that’s how the label found out. So just put it out there and promote yourself, and just keep trying to get better.
TYF: I actually saw you guys when you were touring with Never Shout Never a few years ago. How do you think you’ve changed or developed as a band since then? Have you learned any important lessons along the way?
Newman: You learn something on every tour, I think, just because it’s different people. I guess you learn things about people and tour etiquette. Just being around people that are better than you makes you better, and I think Never Shout Never is really talented, and so it helped us onstage. You learn stuff along the way, always.
TYF: What was it like being on that tour? That was a pretty cool lineup.
Newman: It was really fun. It was Waterparks…
Roland: …Metro Station, and Never Shout Never. It was a really cool lineup. All the bands were really nice. Everybody was really cool and talkative. We talked to everybody. Nobody thought they were too cool to talk to us or something. That was a great tour, that’s pretty sure. Their fans liked us a lot, too. It was a good vibe.
TYF: What are Jule Vera’s plans for the rest of the year?
Newman: We’ve got a fall tour and a music video, so make sure you keep an eye out for both of those. (Laughs)
TYF: That’s exciting. Finally, we’re going to end with a lighthearted question: What are your favorite movies?
Newman: That’s so hard! I feel like mine are all cartoon movies. (To Roland) What’s your favorite movie?
Roland: I don’t know. I just saw Shawshank Redemption and it was really good. (Laughs) I had never seen it before, but we just watched it in the bandwagon. It has a really good ending. But of all time? I don’t know. The Iron Giant’s a really good movie.
TYF: I love that movie.
Newman: I like Finding Nemo. I don’t know my very favorite one. It’s hard to choose. I like a lot of Disney cartoons.
TYF: Yeah, Disney is great. What’d you think of Finding Dory?
Newman: I thought it was good, [but] I thought she got lost a little few too many times. (Laughs) Like, she got found, and then she’s lost. She got found, and then she’s lost.
TYF: Yup, it kept happening. (Laughs) Is there anything else you’d like to say to the fans and the readers?
Newman: Come see us on Warped Tour. We’re on it all summer long on Journeys Left Foot. And follow us on all our social media. It’s just @juleveramusic.