Face of Defense: Marine Pursues Love for Music in Off-Duty Time

Marine Corps Cpl. Julien Rodarte’s military occupational specialty is 4531; he is a communication strategy and operations Marine. He works at Defense Media Activity on Fort Meade, Maryland, telling the story of the Corps through video, photos and writing.

Julien isn’t like every other Marine or service member, though. He has a love for music that he displays through working as a DJ and producing music in his off-duty time.

He first fell in love with music when he went on his first trip to Portugal as a teenager to visit family with his grandmother. They lived on a little island there, he said, and random people would come out to play music. He saw how the music made the people feel — happy — and he wanted to do the same thing. He also thought it was cool, he said, because random parties would start, and who doesn’t love a party?

The music he heard there and what he now produces is electronic dance music, a broad range of percussive electronic music genres made largely for nightclubs, raves and festivals.

Creating His Own Music

As soon as he got back to the United States, he started to create his own music and kept going from there.

When Julien first joined the Marine Corps, there wasn’t much he could do with the music because there was no time. But when he got to his primary school to learn how to write and take photos and video, he made time for it. And little by little, he got back into his groove.

From basic training to spending some time in the active military force, Julien applied what he learned in the military to love for music. The discipline, time management, motivation and many other things the Corps has given Julien have helped him become a better person and producer.

“Joining the military, I think, helped me get more organized with other things that I wanted to do outside of my life,” Julien said. “I wasn’t as determined to get things done — I didn’t have that drive before I joined the military — and the military kind of pushed that into me and helped me with my ventures outside of it.”

A couple years ago, he started a group with a friend of his, and they go by the stage name  the Wknd Baes. For his fans out there here’s a little story of how the name came to be.

They both have busy lives. Julien is in the military, and his friend has work and family life. They were both really busy, and they live about two hours away from each other, so they only have time to talk and to make music on the weekends. Because they pretty much spent all of their weekends together, they just ended up calling each other the Wknd Baes.

Julien said the Wknd Baes are pretty popular in the U.S., especially in Texas and California. They also seem to have some fans in Australia.

Julien said he is happy with where he is now. “It’s always a good feeling when you put everything into something and people appreciate it,” he added.

Recently signed to a booking agency that does business all around the world, Julien and his friend are planning for a tour before the end of the year and for bigger and brighter things in the future.

Julien said there’s no stopping for him. He puts his primary duty in the military first, he noted, but he doesn’t let it curb his passion for what he does in his off-duty time. He said he hopes that others do the same.