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Julia Stone, unedited

Okay, so the lovely Julia just responded, and instead of removing the below post (it's so pretty, isn't it?) I thought I'd just do another one! Easy peasy. Anyhow, the constraints of the day job mean I actually have to work it, so this is totally unedited, as it was sent to me this morning. Please excuse any typos!
Warning: you may develop a bit of a girl crush.

Hi Julia! I’ll start by saying I’m a massive fan, and am sad I couldn’t speak to you because you’re so bloody popular. On the dawn of your new album, how are you reflecting back on the success of Angus & Julia Stone?

sorry we can’t speak also!.. probably a good thing though as my voice is a little scratchy at the moment. it’s crazy after having so much time without touring, and now we have had a week of rehearsing every day and seven shows, my voice is deep and husky.... i sound like a phone sex lady....

sometimes i think about all our travels over the last few has been such a wild trip... so many adventures with it’s highs and lows.... the real success for us is that we are still friends and still want to hang out and make music together!

In the latest CD, your sound seems to have matured (it is STUNNING by the way). How would you say it’s developed in the past few years?

thank you....i think that playing so many shows over the last few years contributed to the way we made this record. i certainly felt more relaxed in the studio... when we made ‘a book like this,’ particularly the songs we recorded in london at fran’s, we didn’t even use head phones... we played acoustically in a room with wooden walls---listening to each other with our bare ears taking in the sounds acoustically and adjusting our levels accordingly.... i felt more comfortable that way back then-- it didn’t feel natural for me to be amplified or to hear my voice through head phones... this time round... after hearing my voice through lots of different P.As and even sometimes using in-ear monitors on stage it felt easier to record in a studio- i think i also felt more comfortable with my instruments--- when we recorded ‘a book like this’ i had only been playing the guitar for a couple of years and very haphazardly...i felt more competent with it after playing so mch... which made the recording more chilled and easy.

I’m guessing that the sound has progressed naturally, rather than as a conscious decision. What influences you to experiment with music?

the songs themselves usually give us inspiration to experiment with different sounds... angus will come to me with a new song he has written and a feeling will come over me to add something to the song... or to not add anything.... usually whatever is lying around will be used to make some sounds... the same happens in the studio... we kind of start with the foundation of the song and then elaborate with whatever is lying about the space... and if we don’t have the instrument that is needed eventually we will find someone who wants to come and jam with us.

Did you introduce any new effects or instruments to this album?

we had the great privilege of working with an amazing pedal steel player called melvin duffy. it was one of those moments where the universe lined up and did a performance of the can can while the sun baked us some cookies- melvin was passing through cornwall when we were down there... angus had just recorded yellow brick road and he said in passing ‘oh, how great if we had some pedal steel on this’- the engineer, tom, picked up the phone to see if by chance melvin was about... he was- he was twenty minutes away.... the tide was high, so we could take the boat out to go and get his gear... it was late by the time he was set up to play... then he added his magic as the morning crept in... such a joyous man. we also used melatron on the album- we were both so excited when we put melatron on ‘old friend’ which is a track that is not listed on the record... it comes in after ‘the devil’s tears’ -- angus wrote old friend for our pa who passed away last year... and we recorded it at the last moment before mixing... the melatron is such a strong sound... kind of like pa coming in to day hello...... once we heard it on that track we added it on ‘hold on’ and ‘and the boys’---

I read that you and Angus recorded the album from various different areas. How did this effect the recording process? Would you do it again?

recording music is recording music... wherever we do it... we have a song, we get microphones, an engineer, people with their instruments and we record... certainly every place we are in we draw different inspiration from but i think that process of recording in a studio is the same wherever you are... little things are different- for instance in new york it was boiling hot----- and we couldn’t use the air conditioning in the building because it was too noisy during recording..... so we were all dripping---- in sawmills we were downstairs in the cave recording where it was freezing so the instruments would always have to be re-tuned---things like that change---- i’d do it again- we will do it again... we’ll record wherever and whenever we get the chance. to combine recording with visiting different friend’s recording dens in wild places is pretty cool.

I have also read that you were producers on this album. Has it been liberating to have full control of your sound? Scary, at all? What have been the biggest differences to the music-making?

there wasn’t really any difference in making this record to the last one in terms of production... i mean we were just as involved in making ‘a book like this’ only that there was another person in the room that was called a producer... fran and ian were producers on ‘a book like this’... they had heaps of great ideas... this time round we didn’t have anyone in particular who was called a producer-----so on this record everyone who is in the room while were recording is essentially a producer...

angus and i have the sound in our head of where we want the song to go... we have that there at the beginning--- then once we start recording we are kind of driving down the road to where we think we want to go but if a lovely view comes along, somewhere along the way- we will stop the bus and take a look.... even start driving toward the setting sun.... we are more than happy to take that detour... and if we end up somewhere totally different to where we first wanted to go then that is great too... for us producing is about not being too attached to the outcome and letting the natural process of making music happen...we have been really fortunate to record with great musicians who are really free spirits and really gifted engineers who mic up the instruments in interesting ways--------- we worked with producers on ‘big jet plane’ ‘and the boys’ and ‘hold on’- a wonderful man, brad albetta in new york... and also worked with govinda doyle on ‘big jet plane’--- and from ‘the buddy project’ in queens on ‘hold on’ by the name of kieran kelly--- and they were all great people to collaborate with ... men with big dreams filled with mystical landscapes where the trees are made from the sounds of crickets singing.... have you heard that stuff? a friend of ours played the sounds of crickets slowed right down!--- and it sounds like the beautiful choral collective of wilderbeasts with wings.

Some of the songs are a bit darker than normal… was that intentional? Is it reflective of anything in particular?

i don’t know.. art imitating life? we have had some really dark times over the last couple of years.... so who knows maybe you are hearing some of those times... i don’t know that i would say it is any darker or sadder than the first songs we wrote...i mean chocolates and cigarettes, sadder than you, heart full of wine, what you wanted...... they are all pretty dark songs---- i think i have always been writing in this way... with a few moments of joy in there....usually when i’m bouncing off the walls with joy... i am too busy bouncing off the walls to sit still and write songs.

Travel seems to be a huge inspiration for you. Not that this can be a simplified answer, but, I guess in a few words... why? What does it do to your creative mind – and how does it turn it on?

haha... i like your questions....... travel has a direct relationship to change... when we are traveling, even with the routine of sound check and shows, i never get the feeling that things sit still.... things like days of the week, times of the day- even months can disappear... the only general constant is the that everything will be very different tomorrow... or even in ten minutes... or two......... so with all this changing and escaping of time my mind has had to adapt to the feeling of letting go... the constant letting go.... and that is a huge source of inspiration.... the natural feeling for me is to hold on... to hold onto ideas, to people, to places...... and i somehow strangely or not, have chosen a job where i can’t hold on to anything... . --- i like it... every experience i have is only for that moment.. and every idea i have is challenged by each new experience...... so there is always action-- and action inspires me to make music.

Your little letter that went with the album gave me goosebumps – writing seems to be a pretty natural thing for you, yes? Have you always been writing? Would you ever write anything other than music?

i like writing sometimes--- ..... i wrote a story once called -‘the boy who didn’t believe’- it is about a boy who has a deep dislike for the sun... he only comes out of his home in a tree hollow at night to talk with the moon- the moon is a wise old fellow who through their conversations comes to talk to the boy about the meaning of love... sends him on journeys and the like.

What are you most excited about for touring?

playing the songs... singing... listening to people singing the songs with us... watching angus play his songs.... working with matt johnson and rob calder.... watching ‘boy and bear’ each night... meeting up with friends and family in different places..making the mad little family with the crew that we tour with--- i love when we all start to talk in a strange language over time -- laughing at crazy stuff that happens til my tummy hurts... and maybe kissing someone special somewhere along the road... those are all good things to look forward to.

And finally, what do you love about Sydney that keeps you coming back?

i love the feeling of flying into sydney... there is something lovely about the returning to a familiar place with a new bundle of experiences in my suitcase---- everything looks so different each time we come home and i love to see how places and people that i have known since i was little make me feel... it gives me an interesting indication of where i’m at...

Thank you! Best of luck to both you and Angus!

thank you seema... for the questions.... i enjoyed answering them... hope you are well. might see you at the show in sydney! xx julia

words: Seema Duggal. & Julia Stone.


March 24, 2010 at 3:03 PM kate said...

julia stone liked your questions. how very awesome.

March 24, 2010 at 7:56 PM Kim said...

I can see what you mean by girl crush.

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