Stones on a Roll
“We’ve got a thing for the industrial old building vibe.”
Down a long dusty road in the far distance, blurred by the heat, two bare-footed siblings gradually traipse into focus. The sister slinks casually in her sundress and wide-brimmed hat, gazing at the sky; the brother hides shyly behind a beard, bearing the masculine, weather-worn skin of a beach bum. This is how one might visualise ANGUS & JULIA STONE; world weary, laden with burdens and emotional baggage but tempered by their uplifting globetrotting experiences.
In his travels, Angus Stone seems to have adopted a local town’s quirks for his solo project, Lady of the Sunshine, evidenced by the recording of the album, Smoking Gun, in a concrete silo. Once again, with Julia this time for their new album Down the Way, it seems that recording in a less than conventional space is par for the course. “We’ve got a thing for the industrial old building vibe,” he admits. “There’s a place called Golant; it’s on a river fort and the only way to get to the [sawmill] studio is by boat on mid-tide, or you walk along the railway track. You walk in a line and it’s a bit like Stand By Me. That studio had a lot of moments and you could feel its presence.”
Angus displays a chameleon-like approach to touring, which may stem from his willingness to engage in cultural and musical events, sharing, “I think it’s important for you, as someone that’s playing the songs and doing the shows, to voice that you want some time after or before [performing] to chill and get to know the place or the music that’s being played.”
This approach seems to have given the duo enough focus and experience to naturally produce a second ethereal work of art. Angus explains, “sometimes you’re so close [to the album’s songs] it’s blurred. I think when you’re that close it’s because you’re focussing on the songs individually. That’s good because you’re really looking hard at the songs and asking how they make you feel… when you go in and you haven’t focussed on how you’re going to work the song, it’s naïve and raw and there’s a lot of honesty that comes through from that.”
Following last year’s quiet release of Smoking Gun it’s rewarding to see that true to his chameleon form, the dynamic with Julia has only strengthened. As Angus puts it, “we write so much, Julia and I, that with Lady of the Sunshine I had a couple of bags of songs that suited certain styles… I was keeping them stored for myself. But I think with Julia and I, anything we do with writing is only going to help.”
Angus and Julia have certainly proven their worth in musical weight with a beautiful follow up release. While the recording of the video clip for Big Jet Plane commences and triple j frequently rotates Black Crow, it’s easy to see that the coming year will be another goodie for the Stones.
Angus & Julia Stone perform at the ANU Bar on Tuesday March 16. Tickets through Ticketek.
Author: Peter Rosewarne