Angus & Julia Stone Prove You Can’t Beat The Sibling Bond
Aussie brother-sister duo, Angus & Julia Stone, join forces once again – touring with the endearing melodies from their third self-titled album. After spending time apart to explore their individual voices, the siblings’ latest album is smoldering and incredibly powerful (think the sorrow of Mazzy Star and the sweetness of She & Him). We chatted with Julia Stone before their sold-out Bowery Ballroom show and she shared her early memories of playing trumpet in the school band and why Angus is the ying to her yang.
by: Shannon Kurlander
[photo by: Shannon Kurlander]
First a show in Brooklyn and now a sold out show in Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom: What are your favorite parts about playing in New York?
Walking around, going out, eating food, and drinking wine – this is just the city to do all of those things. And I love walking in parks.
Speaking of drinking…you have a song on the new record titled “Little Whiskey”. Is Whiskey still your drink of choice?
It was the drink of choice for a while but we sort of transitioned into sake. It’s a good mix between liquor and wine.
Now you and Angus were both doing your own things, recording solo for a while. Why did it feel like the right time to reunite?
I don’t know that it did feel like the right time when we first started talking about it. It took a while. It was sort of this process from the beginning of an idea to actually getting into the studio; it was a slow transition into finding the right time. By the time we actually met up and started writing together we probably had enough space from each other to really miss each other and appreciate the other person by that point, you know? It was a good two years apart. We moved into a place in the Pacific Palisades, south of Malibu, and at that point I was just genuinely so happy to be around Angus again- his friendship but also with what he brings to the table…he definitely pushes me to think about music in a different way.
What’s your favorite song, off the new record, to play live?
We just played, last night, a song from the record called “From The Stalls” and it instantly makes me feel emotional when to sing it. I don’t know why exactly but I think because the sentiment of the song: singing about not really knowing why you’re here and what your purpose is. I think everybody relates to that but I personally relate to that- sometimes you know you’re on the right track and you’re doing the right thing but you have that sort of question of, “what am I really here for?” I like that feeling, the not knowing, but it definitely brings up emotion for me.
If making music was not your purpose or direction, what would you be doing instead?
I guess music is the path because I’m on it, I couldn’t imagine not doing this, but then I wouldn’t be surprised if five years from now I was doing something totally different. Music will be a part of my life, and it’s always been a part of our lives since we were kids, but there are other things I’m interested in. I like working with kids and I’ve been doing that since I was a teenager. I started teaching trumpet to little kids and that expanded and I went into early stages of learning to conduct small bands. I really enjoyed that, especially with the younger kids. I think there’s a certain level of appreciation for learning that maybe doesn’t exist when you’re older.
What are some of the early childhood memories you have of making music?
I remember really hating having to get up super early because we were in the school band; our dad started the school band. He believed he wanted us to go to a school where there was music as a big part of the program and at our local primary school, Newport Primary; there was no music program. When it first started there were only 10 kids in the band and it sounded awful. For a kid at the age of six, to get up and blow a trumpet that you can’t play is pretty painful. I remember twice a week getting up early but slowly you develop this kind of routine, any kind of routine you become attached to the routine, and later I started to miss the early morning band rehearsals.
Why the trumpet? That seems like an interesting choice.
It was an interesting choice, particularly for a girl. I think back then, and all through school, I was usually the only girl in all the bands I played in. The girls usually chose the flutes, the clarinets and the smaller instruments. The reason I chose the trumpet: Angus, our sister Catherine and me got taken into an orchestra one night and Mom and Dad said, “you guys can pick any instrument in this band and this will be the instrument you play through school.” We were very young and had this big choice to make so of course, at the time, you don’t think this is the next thirteen years of my life. You just think, “what’s the coolest instrument?” I looked up and there was a guy with a spray can and it was oil for the trumpet to keep the tuning slides lubricated. I remember watching him use the spray can on the trumpet and I thought, “I would really like a spray can.”
Do you have a special beauty routine while on the road?
It’s always different with me…just make do. You kind of just get used to making whatever work, work. I don’t love wearing makeup all day everyday. I try to give myself a period of the day where I don’t have makeup on, which is hard sometimes because there are usually photos and things like that. I think the main thing now, which I’m good at, is doing a good cleanse before I go to sleep. It’s so important but so challenging to do. You get so tired sometimes and you think, “eh I’m too tired so I’ll just sleep in my makeup.”
Then the next morning…
It’s not a good scene.