Angus & Julia Stone interview

Angus and Julia Stone

Brother/sister duo, Angus & Julia Stone, are set to unleash their latest longplayer into the world in August, followed by tours of Australia, America and the United Kingdom. We spoke to Julia about reuniting with her brother and working with Rick Rubin: 

Hello Julia. Where are you at this very moment? What can you see from where you are sitting?
I can see a few things. Sherlock Holmes is playing on the computer screen next to me. The British version with Benedict Cumberbatch – who I adore – and to my right is a woman in a bright orange blouse with white flowers all over it. In front of me is a screen that has the flight map – our journey to Lisbon from Milan, being displayed.

Your summer European tour ends today. How was it for you?
We played some epic venues, like a festival in an ancient amphitheater In Lyon. I thought the columns on stage were foam props to fit with the ancient Roman theme. So I went up to touch them and realised they were stone hard 15 BC ruins. Hahaha. It’s hard to believe some of the places we play – stages in the middle of the forest, beside vast lakes, in a safari park… shit’s getting crazy out here.

What are your favourite and least favourite things about being on the road?
Favourite things include:
Sitting in cafes in different cities, watching people and drinking coffee.
Meeting new people.
Learning bits of other languages.
Bus time after the show – everyone is so happy and pumped and we all gather in the lounge. I love these times.
When we have good shows and good sound.
Tea & cookies before bed.
The aeroplane landing.

Least favourite things include:
Sleep deprivation – I get really shaky when I don’t get enough sleep.
Forgetting to eat before a long flight and then picking at the shitty plane food.
The aeroplane taking off.
When sound on stage is no good.

Am I right in thinking that you and Angus had no plans to make another Angus & Julia Stone record before Rick Rubin persuaded you? Was it a tough decision and what made you decide to go for it?
People think we’re mad to say it was a tough decision. It definitely is a no brainer to work with Rick. He’s such a legend. It was difficult though for us because we had spent so much time making the decision to do our own thing. And it was only a year into us doing our solo shows, so the timing was odd. Thankfully everything about this record was not rushed. It all took time…. time to decide, time getting to know Rick, time to record, time to mix, time to master… it was a slow and lengthy affair – just our kind of record.

How does it feel, being back in the studio and back on the road with your brother after a big chunk of time playing separately?
We grew up a lot in our time apart. I don’t know exactly what that means, “growing up”! I suppose just experiencing life without each other. Going through ‘stuff’. The time apart really gave us the space to appreciate the other person as well. When we reunited there was a definite feeling of things being more relaxed between us.

Do you think the experience of working on your own solo projects has brought something new to the Angus & Julia writing/recording dynamic? Have you noticed any differences, compared to how you guys used to work?
Now there is less of a need to define ourselves separately. I feel like I did that in my time without Angus… and that was essential for us to be able to write together and work together with a united feeling.

Do you think these changes have affected how the record sounds? What can people expect from the album?
It’s hard to say because we’ve lived with it for so long. The songs feel so much like who we are. Perhaps a little more electricity – and I mean that literally- there are much more electric guitars, organs and noise on this record than ever before.

It’s been a while since the last Angus & Julia Stone record. What are your feelings as you prepare to send this one out into the world? Are you excited? Nervous?
I was chatting to someone yesterday about this exact thing – and I guess for us, this record has already been such a trip, such a strange and wonderful experience that what happens next is up to the Gods. Whether we play these songs for a long time or a short time is in the hands of something I don’t know about.

What does the future hold for you guys? More collaborative stuff? More solo projects? A mixture of the two? Or have you not thought that far ahead?
I haven’t thought that far ahead. At the moment it really is just a day at a time. Every day is so full and intense that we are really trying to just soak it all up and not lose our shit.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. What are you going to do now?
I’m going to watch another episode of Sherlock Holmes with the boys in the background playing Wii Bowling.

Tickets to Angus & Julia Stone’s worldwide tour are flying out the door. With the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane shows now SOLD OUT, they have announced second shows in all three cities. For tour dates and ticket info, go here before they all sell out. 

Angus & Julia’s new self-titled album is released on August 1. For a taster, check out the video for new song, A Heartbreak, here.

bobby townsend


Interview by Bobby Townsend.