Julia Dratel, music curator and visual artist

Julia Dratel, 30, is an events producer, curator, radio DJ, activist, and visual artist. She’s taken photos for album artwork by Circuit des Yeux and Devouring the Guilt and created music videos for Health & Beauty, Mind Over Mirrors, and Spirits Having Fun. She’s also curated night two of the Elastro A/V Fall Festival at Elastic Arts on Saturday, October 9, which includes sound and video performances from Forest Management, Carol Genetti, and Dratel herself.

As told to Leor Galil

My mom is a painter, and she would take me to the studio with her when I was a kid—I would just sort of be there with her all day. I grew up in New York City—New York City apartments are small if you’re not, like, crazy wealthy. My dad is a huge music head. My babyhood bedroom was where he kept all his records; it was my crib and then ten cabinets of records.

When I was in middle school and high school, I started to make lots of mixes for friends. I’ve always been an obsessive completist—I would listen to a record, and then I would want to know everybody who played on it, and then every record that everybody who played on it played on. And then I would make, like, six-disc sets for friends. 

I don’t play music, but I tried when I was younger. I would always want to play an instrument, and people would tell me, “Your hands are too small.” Or, “You can’t do that.” It was really discouraging, but then it pushed me to the other parts of music.

Julia Dratel, music curator and visual artist