Nach erfolgreichen Jahren als Angus & Julia Stone, hat die Australierin mit „Sixty Summers“ ihr erstes Soloalbum seit neun Jahren veröffentlicht. Im Wortwechsel spricht Julia Stone mit Anna über Stilveränderung, Weiblichkeit und Matt Berninger.
When you’re released „Break“, I was speechless and I think I still am, in some kind of way, because every time I listen to it, I’m like „wow…wow“, so different to your older stuff.
Julia Stone: Yeah, I feel like I wanted to put that out first because it was, I guess, a moment in the recording process that felt really explorative, and it was also a style of writing that I really then embraced. I came to the studio and Thomas was showing me different beats and stuff he was making and Thomas’s studio is like my favorite place to be – when you do meditations and they say „go to that place where you feel like…“, I imagine his tiny little studio in New York,
He was always making these tracks and cutting them for me. This was very early on in the process of writing „Sixty Summers“ and we didn’t know it was going to be a record, but we were really enjoying this new way of hanging out. He paved me this sounds to „Break“, and I just said: „I have things in my head and I just would love to sing them, can I record some ideas?“. So he turns a microphone around, puts the track through my headphones, presses record loops the track for like 10 minutes. I just started speaking and saying these things like „so I left and I started dancing under the streetlight and you saw me and I saw that you saw me“.
All of these memories and feelings were coming out and I felt it was really fun. I wasn’t writing a specific song necessarily, I was doing it because I really wanted to do. 90% of the song was done in that first take. It sounded so different to me or anything I’ve done. I was very reflective of how much fun I was having, and that was something that I really wanted to do in making this record. I felt like everything had to be fun, and it had to be a fun time with the people in the studio When we got down to the final songs, the ones that ended up on the record were the ones that were really fun when we made that.
I suffer like everybody does, I have grief, I’m broken in a lot of ways, but I’m also okay and I wanted to celebrate that part of me.
So this shift in this musical and lyrical transformation came out of this desire to have fun?
Julia Stone: I want to be more free in how I explore my creativity. There was a certain comfort to the style of writing that I was used to which was also fun, but it also had a little bit of pain in it. There’s this feeling of….almost like a record you listen to a lot when you’re a teenager and you put it on and it takes you straight back there.
It’s really nice in a way. But it also can be very painful. It’s really opening the wound over and over again. A lot for Angus and Julia and for my solo records came from that pain, and I wanted to stop scratching. I suffer like everybody does, I have grief, I’m broken in a lot of ways, but I’m also okay and I wanted to celebrate that part of me.
What I was wondering, did you feel like you were stuck, not only in your own way of writing but also certain expectations from others?
Julia Stone: People probably are annoyed at me, I know some people like to write to me. But it doesn’t really doesn’t matter, everything has a time and a place andI’m so happy that the music that I’ve written over the years has added something to people’s lives at different points but it’s also got to make me feel good in the moment to be doing it, otherwise it’s not gonna make anybody else feel good. I feel really proud of the fact that every time I’ve made music with Angus and every time I’ve made music on my own, I’ve made it because that’s the right thing for that moment. And I hope I keep doing that, regardless of whether it’s successful or perceived as successful or not. I think that’s important for self care.
I have the feeling that artists are often not allowed to evolve and change, especially women, as you said, some people are annoyed. We all change all the time, why can’t our favorite artists?
Julia Stone: I think a lot of people are really so supportive and so excited for me, yourself included. And then people sometimes with the loudest voice have the least to say. I don’t understand it, because I’ve never in my life, publicly commented on somebody else’s art in a negative way.
If I had to describe “Sixty Summers“ in three words, how I feel about it, and what it makes me feel I would say it’s: liberation ,boldness and femininity.
Julia Stone: Oh this is great, because I always get asked and I have no idea. They’re all the things that I hope to be getting closer to and myself – his is a step in that direction. Liberation, boldness and femininity are parts of me that I really celebrate, that I’m trying to celebrate through the art, through the videos, with the colors and the stories and telling and. That’s really nice that you said that…you hit the nail on the head.
Femininity is a multi faceted thing: You can be extremely resilient and strong but you can be very soft and nurturing and fragile and those things can coexist almost within the same moment and both things are true.
That’s great to hear. And I think especially the expression of femininity is so strong and present on that album and I can’t really put my finger on it, but I wonder if that is what you felt writing all these songs and how that changed your view on yourself.
Julia Stone: My understanding of femininity within myself is that there’s a lot of variety. Femininity is a multi faceted thing: You can be extremely resilient and strong but you can be very soft and nurturing and fragile and those things can coexist almost within the same moment and both things are true. I really like that. In the record this is real. It’s like every song has its own mood and feeling, but there’s a thread that runs through it, which you could describe as any of those three words you said.
The feeling of something like „Fire In Me“ is thing kind of „I’m strong and i’m not gonna put up with shit and I’m gonna do it the way that I want to do it, I have a fire in my belly to move through the world in this way“. But then it’s something like „I Am No One“. Or „We All Have“ is this really gentle approach to „I don’t know if I’m doing it right. I don’t know if I make the right choices and maybe I’ve really fucked up my choices along the way. But being okay with that and that being part of the story“. Oh, there’s a lot.
Speaking of the song with Matt Berninger, „We All Have“, what made you choose him to be the only feature on the album? It’s probably my favorite combo I could think of.
Julia Stone: I love Matt, I love his voice. „We All Have“ is the first track that was written for the record. And it always felt like it wasn’t finished. We ended up just living with it for four years. When Annie Clarke came on board towards the end of having written probably around 30 demos or songs with Thomas, she listened through and she loved „We All Have“.
It was Thomas actually, when the track was already mixed, he said „I really think this song needs something else on it“. So we thought about Matt. He sent back his vocals and it was like …wow. He’s just such a gentleman, he’s just got this incredible swagger and beauty to him. When he comes in with the lyric: „Love is all we needed to be here for“, I feel like he lives by that. I don’t know Matt so well but what I know about him, I think he was the perfect person to say those words.
Julia Stone: Annie sings on a couple of tracks as well, like „Easy“ and „Sixty Summers“. I should have put her name there as well, but we didn’t do it because she produced it.
With the evolvement of your solo music,I wonder: Will this also affect a next Angus and Julia Stone album? Because of course your brother is doing his solo stuff too which is also quite different to your music together.
Julia Stone: We love writing together. It’s pretty unique to have such different ways of hearing things and to find the sound that works for both of us. I think it’s what makes it special, we’re brother and sister and there’s history there and we care for each other. That experience is always going to be really unique for us.
I don’t know when, we always never know. Angus and I are known for not knowing what happens next. And one of the things we do share in common is that we both always say to people: We don’t know?! How can we possibly know when make another record?“. The fact that we like making the music, that we love this sound we make together.
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