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A Note for Press: Angus & Julia Stone

Every so often, an album comes around whose songs are threaded with magic – one where every track feels like spring sunrays escaping through lace curtains and nostalgia mixes with daydreams to create an almost elevated sense of present. Angus & Julia Stone’s latest offering, Down the Way, is the grown up version of their typical allegiance to this sentiment. They have created the kind of music that boys and girls fall in love to, sets the soundtrack for long road trips up the coast and soothes the ends to dramatic days. If, like yours truly, you have been a fan of the duo for some time, you will notice a more mature sound in this album, which was recorded from various areas of the world – at times when Angus and Julia weren’t even in the same one themselves. As producers of the album, they had full control of each song on the record, making it more refined and in some cases, a twinge darker.

Features fall through all the time when you have daily deadlines, and we usually try to fill these gaps with other interviews or full-scale reviews if we’re really desperate. The lack of cooperation from timing in this instance meant that Miss Julia was not able to answer the questions I sent her (between touring and shooting stories for Vogue, her schedule got a little tied up), and the last thing I would ever do is send the press release as is, but in this case an exception had to be made. You see, Julia writes. This is obvious if you like lyrics with your music. And so she had written a few longer entries while she was on the road, which reflect the spirit of travel and creativity in a way that is simply better left untainted by any level of journalistic interpretation. So, here it is. The “press release” that I got along with the album – the only one ever to give me goosebumps.


hello...

we were asked to write some notes about the new record to tell you what we have been doing...or at least a little bit about how this record came to be made. I like writing letters when we are away so as I was writing notes they somehow became this letter.

the songs have been written all over the place... in stormy corners of backstage rooms and rusty windows of old hotels in sleepy towns...they have been written in the back yard at our dad’s place in avalon---and in the heart of lands where we are truly strangers...and places where we have felt like visitors... drifting through without more than a few words to a local farmer....or just a few chords to a sleepy highland cow.....i could be more specific, but you know how specifics take up space- and do you really want to know about the waxed table tops and dolly parton fan clubs?

the recording of the record happened also over two years in different places between tours.....the place where my heart skipped beats, and i think angus feels the same, is the little town of golant, where we found the studio ‘sawmills’-- a converted old sawmill that you had to access by boat on the high tide...we had been living in east london and had been playing festivals here and there... we had a couple of weeks off, a few hundred songs in our hearts.... we wanted to see the ocean and record music at the same time.....so we drove down past stonehenge on our regular south bound route to the ocean and settled in by the river foye...... we cooked, we drank tea...and we made music... we recorded ‘the devil’s tears’, ‘walk it off’, ‘black crow’, ‘yellow brick road’, ‘for you’ and ‘on the road’--- plus other tracks that didn’t make the record like ‘the wedding song’ and ‘take you away’--- ---we had with us clay and mitch- laying down the drums and bass for these tracks...a great engineer who lived onsite, tom...so our gang was a joyous one... when we ran out of food we jumped in the green canoe and paddled twenty minutes into the beautiful town of foye at the river mouth..... it is just too much to put into words the feeling of looking out across the cornish countryside and over the sparkling ocean, whilst castles lingered on the edge of it all, tempted to swim with the seals....

we then went on tour with martha wainwright in europe... it was a great tour for many reasons... she is something extraordinary- a strong woman, a beautiful woman... - she also toured with a great band--- which was where we met matt johnson and brad albetta who we ended up recording with us down the track in new york...eeek... how can i squeeze this all into one letter... now that i’ve started i want to tell you about it all.... the garden with the ducks... the roof tops of barcelona.......

after europe we went on tour in the states and canada......at the end of a couple of months in a bus with 12 boys... we ended up at brad’s studio in brooklyn, where we recorded ‘hush,’ ‘i’m not yours’, ‘draw your swords’ and ‘and the boys’-- with matt on drums and kimon on bass (a great bass player, who we had a random jam with at a friend’s house when we were visiting los angeles)... then to queens with another rowdy gang at the buddy project where we recorded ‘hold on’, then to battery park at rob and janie’s home where we played ‘santa monica dream’ and ‘old friend’ in the home studio in angus’ room late at night when the city was kind of quiet......---and then back in the water tank with finny up in coolangatta for ‘big jet plane’ .....

i am going to stop now... not because i don’t want to tell you everything-- more perhaps because i am starting to feel the strange sensation of trying to squeeze elephants into size six ballet slippers and teach them to tango.....all these places and people need books written about them... they have all taken such good care of us... we both hope you enjoy this record---as much as we have enjoyed making it...

with love from, julia (and angus)



Angus & Julia Stone are touring right now and will be in Sydney this weekend. This would obviously be a big deal if the shows weren’t already sold out. Anyway. If you’re on the road, too, you should check them out somewhere along the journey – they’re heading to WA and SA next, and will most likely be back at some point in the near future, so keep your eyes open for dates on their website. In the meantime, buy their CD. It is gorgeous.


words: Julia Stone (and some by Seema Duggal)

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