The Magical Mixtapes of a Wandering Screenwriter

How a tiny nostalgia playlist project is helping Julia Scrive-Loyer stay creative…

Meet Julia Scrive-Loyer, 26-year-old screenwriter and music enthusiast.

Though she was born in Bordeaux, where she also lived during the first eight years of her life, Scrive-Loyer doesn’t think of it as her true hometown, an honor she instead dedicates to her film school in Cuba, where she spent her formative years as a student.

Also a talented writer, Scrive-Loyer is busy juggling many creative projects, from songwriting and writing for her film magazine, SIMULACRO Mag, to working on her first feature film.

“It’s loosely inspired by Phil Spector’s mind,” she shares. “I don’t talk about murder, but about self-destruction. I think they can often be the same.”

“I’m obsessed with creating things that feel human, broken, fragmented, problematic,” she adds.

Lately, however, she’s also become consumed by a far more casual, yet still very fun project: Creating random mixtapes by shuffling her entire library, iPod style, and sharing them with her friends.

A self-described “chaotic” and “imperfectionist,” she says the project allows her to look back on all the songs she’s “collected” over the years and the memories that they carry. This search for comfort in her projects stems from a certain modern despair most of us are faced with every day.

“I don’t want to blame everything on capitalism, but what can I say? Capitalism has always given us many more options than the ones we need. Freedom of choice is as overwhelming as the lack of it,” she says. 

“I’ve never been comfortable with that overwhelming feeling, which is why I often stick to what I already know,” she adds. “I’ve always been a comfort zone kind of gal.”

Her mixtapes play like postcards from another time, each carrying a personal touch so palpable, you’ll be transported someplace beautiful with just the tap of your finger. 

“When I was little, my mom gave me an iPod shuffle. Her music slowly started cohabiting with all the pop, pop punk, punk, and rock n’ roll I was downloading back in the days. The beauty of the shuffle lied in the fact of being constantly surprised by what was playing, having to wait for ages for the song you were craving to come up, often discovering another song that also spoke to your needs.”

Julia Scrive-Loyer

Longing to reacquaint herself with her old iTunes library, she began to shuffle away to make all the songs in it “feel like brothers and sisters again.”

A lover of singer-songwriters, big band jazz, and “cheesy 50s and 60s pop”, as she puts it, she’s also a fan of French vocal giants and Spanish and Brazilian folk legends, opening up the possibilities from what may show up on her mixtapes. 

Some days you’ll hear Elvis and The Jackson 5 and others The Killers, Caetano Veloso, Shaggy, and Ringo Starr. No matter what is playing, the effect is the same: you’re transported somewhere far beyond yet strangely familiar like you’re dancing in the living room of an aunt you never knew.

“I try to spice the game up,” she says. “I particularly enjoy seeing the ‘sublime’ next to some cheesy pop anthem.” 

Her default favorite mood is nostalgia, which she aims to fulfill with every one of her mixtapes. 

“Sometimes it’s a very tiny and personal nostalgia, the tiny ache of a place I can never return to, both emotionally and physically. But sometimes it’s that classic feeling of “I miss something I never actually experienced” we all have felt. It’s beautiful and strange and kind of heartbreaking all at once,” she says.

A serious artist.

It’s often strange making mixtapes. We don’t know if they’ll strike the same chord within us for everyone else. But with Scrive-Loyer’s, that theory is proven. Each mixtape feels like a heart-to-heart, or like a day of lounging with your best friend while on a dreamy summer vacation.

Currently at her 83rd mixtape published within this series on Spotify, Scrive-Loyer says they are best enjoyed with some kind of movement, be it dancing, driving, or just racing in your own mind.  Some of her personal favorites are numbers 4, 15, 21, 39, 45, and 55.

Speaking as someone who has enjoyed a handful of her mixtapes, I can say that my personal favorite way to enjoy them is by picking one at random, and absorbing whatever mood she’s poured into it. It’s like getting to experience a different new shade of your favorite color every single time. 

For those of us yearning for nostalgia in the digital age, an online playlist may not carry the same weight of a burned CD or cassette, which Scrive-Loyer too recognizes, admitting: “I definitely miss those CD-burned mixtapes, telling my mom what Hilary Duff song I needed to download from Limewire.”

To fellow creatives looking for an outlet with which to channel their energy, Scrive-Loyer suggests putting sincerity above everything else.

“There are tons of ways to be creative nowadays, it’s overwhelming … You get thrice the amount of inspiration, but you also get the feeling you’re not “unique”. And of course, no one is “unique” in the way a teenager might think they are. It’s the way you say it, the way you see it, the way you feel it love it hate it need it, that bestows you with a unique perspective.”

Personally, Scrive-Loyer “stays creative” by creating rituals for herself, like these mixtapes, and establishing a sense of artistic discipline and perseverance.

“Admitting to myself I’m lazy is a tragedy I don’t want to face yet, so I’m running away from it as slowly and steadily as I can,” she jokes. 

With the passion she puts into these tiny mixtapes, Scrive-Loyer shows us that we don’t have to submit to this fast-paced world of endless discovery. Sometimes, all we need is to be cozy, with a mug of tea at hand, and a lovely playlist playing in the background.

“We’re never perfect, nor unique, nor indivisible. We’re all complex and problematic, and in a way, these mixtapes reflect that,” says Scrive-Loyer.  

“I appreciate Spotify and what it has given us, but I was tired of letting algorithms do all the work. It’s too easy that way. I’d rather be human.”

Check out all of Julia’s playlists here.

Visit SIMULACRO Mag

Author: Pat

Patricia Cárdenas is a writer, wannabe garden mom, and '80s pop enthusiast living in Los Angeles. She dreams of eventually moving somewhere colder where she can wear lots of sweaters, adopt a fluffy pet, and just drink lots of rooibos tea.

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