With singles seeping slowly and beautifully into our national consciousness, the softly spoken Sydney-born siblings, Angus and Julia Stone’s fourth studio effort is the pair’s most accomplished album yet. With a huge ARIA debut at #2, a feature album on triple j and whose second single, ‘Chateau’, landed the #3 spot on triple j’s 2017 Hottest 100 and has officially gone Gold, the album sees the gentle duo explore new skills and take listeners on another dreamy journey.
“We are really happy with it actually, it just felt like the record that we always wanted to make and it’s nice that we finally got there,” Julia smiles. “I’m proud of all the records we’ve made. They’re all very different and really representative of where we are at in our lives at the time, but this record I guess in the same respect, represents this really good place that Angus and I have got to in our relationship where we can write together, spend a lot of time together and really enjoy the creative process. We’re super stoked that we’re in this part of our lives.”
Sharing a musical connection since they were growing up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, their tunes have always carried that unmistakable sepia glare to them; sending Angus’ smooth alto and Julia’s more wistful soprano into the top 10 of the ARIA charts for all four of their records to date.
With hits like ‘Big Jet Plane’, ‘Heart Beats Slow’, ‘And The Boys’ going from festival favourites to bona fide classics, the duo have made some of the most impactful folk music to come out of this country for more than a decade.
It was this album however that has become a crucial element in the Stone story. Spending their time at Angus’ eight-acre farm in the beautiful coastal climes of Byron Bay, the duo converted a homey old cottage into a recording studio and spent their days with blissfully harmonious recording sessions, walks on the beach and playing tennis, marking the first time in their illustrious career that they’ve worked so closely together after years of contributing separate songs to their albums.
“We were really content being there and we’re very much into the same things, so we had this really nice relaxed approach to working on the music where we would hang out in the day, we’d record and then we’d take a break and take a walk around the farm and then we’d go down to the beach and make up another song – it was just very nice,” Julia explains. “It was all about us having a good time together and letting the songs happen when they happen. At the end, we had to push ourselves to finish because it felt just so nice and easy that we could have just made a record for the rest of our lives.”
Following their successful self-titled (Angus and Julia Stone, 2014) third album, Snow is the sound of the Stone siblings at their most comfortable and their most free-flowing, featuring a collection of wise, wispy, and remarkably intimate guitar-led musings on relationships and genuine connections. Having passed through turbulence and now rebuilding their partnership from a different approach, Julia reflects on their growth and their ability to solidify themselves since their first open mic gig in Sydney 11 years ago.
“In a lot of ways, we’ve grown up and I think we used to take things a lot more seriously than we do now. We’re much more relaxed and we see things for what they are,” she smiles before continuing, “When you’re younger and you’re getting into music, you have a lot of ideas about what you think people want from you and how you think you’re meant to be seen and it can be really consuming and take up a lot of energy. Even though for us, music has always been very straightforward, we write what we write, we record what we record and we put it out. We’ve always just made records the way we want to make them, but in terms of the image of being a musician as a young 20-year old girl, I definitely found overwhelming and difficult at times.
“Now growing up is an amazing thing. You go through a lot of stuff and you see a lot of things. I absolutely love making music, I love performing, I love being on the road with Angus and they’re the most important things. We had to go through a lot of amazing things as a brother and a sister, as friends, as business partners; like any relationship you really have to work at it to make it grow and evolve and we’ve made each other better people because we’ve been patient with each other and really taken the time to go, ‘how can we make this better?’
“I’m super stoked to have had a brother that is like Angus – one that is open-minded and available to work through stuff. We’ve worked hard to keep the music alive because we really do love it,” Julia smiles.
Over the years, the Aussie siblings have honourably amassed a legion of adoring fans along the way, resulting in their 2017 Australian tour dates selling out in record time before Snow was even released; a response that reinforces the influence of the Stones’ musical chemistry.
“It’s kind of amazing,” she says, “We don’t know how people are going to feel about our music and we do it because we love making music and it’s so fun, but when the fans just really respond and react to us being back on tour, it’s really a nice feeling. I’d make music regardless of whether people showed up to shows or not, but I think you can’t underestimate the feeling of people connecting to what you do as an artist and we are so grateful.
“The Australian shows were amazing, such beautiful audiences and just the energy of the whole thing. Every time we get back together and do a tour, it’s very emotional for us; it’s another two years of our life working together and singing, and that Aussie tour was the start of this journey singing the songs from Snow and it couldn’t have been more beautiful; people are so generous with their love and with the way they communicated to us and it makes the shows really fun and so meaningful.”
This album is a clear sign the Stone’s are stronger together – they just realise it now. Currently between the end of the European leg and start of the North American leg of a world tour, the duo are set to treat their fans to a dreamy live rendition of Snow and its unmistakable magic at 17 venues across Australia later this year.
When & Where: Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo – May 17; Costa Hall, Geelong – May 18 & Festival Hall, Melbourne – May 19
For all tour and ticketing information head to www.angusandjuliastone.com
Release: ARIA #2 Album SNOW OUT NOW
Written by Talia Rinaldo