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Angus & Julia Stone

Angus & Julia StoneRick-Rolled

Angus & Julia Stone’s Perth show on Tuesday, September 23, at the Perth Concert Hall has sold out, but don’t despair as another show has been added at the venue on Wednesday, September 24. Ahead of the release of their Rick Rubin-produced self-titled third album on Friday, August 1, Julia Stone speaks with AARON BRYANS about the emotional reformation with her brother Angus and their incredible bond.

Ever since their formation in 2006, Angus & Julia Stone have taken Australia by storm, racking up numerous awards and nominations, taking over airwaves and spreading their beautifully gripping tunes into music devices across the land.

With only two albums released, the potential of the brother-sister duo seemed endless. However, a lack of flexibility and a personal drive left the Stones each craving the pursuit of a solo career.

In a way there was some songs that came out on By The Horns that I would have never put on an Angus and Julia Stone record,” Julia Stone says of her second solo LP, released in 2012. “Angus and I sang By The Horns live together a few times but it wouldn’t have been right for our record; it was quite an angry song for me.

“Making those solo records was a lot more personal. We had been used to collaborating in a way where it was half Angus’ songs, and half my songs, and there was something disconnected about that in terms of being able to fully commit to owning a record, entirely. When making By The Horns, there wasn’t any confusion of ideas or authenticism. It was a very specific feeling record for me and I know that Broken Brights(2012 solo LP) for Angus was the same. I think it was important for us to experience what it felt like top be fully committed to an album in that way.

When Angus and I worked together we sort of had each other, we had someone else to take responsibility with and in a way that made it easier. It’s like when you’re out of a relationship you have to really love yourself without someone else validating that and telling you that you’re good enough.”

With no plans to reunite and both artists solo careers flourishing, it took the determination and vision of US producer, Rick Rubin, to organise a meeting in what was the first step of an incredibly emotional journey.

“Rick’s impact is kind of indelible,” Julia reveals. “Without Rick I don’t think Angus and I would have got back together, or not at least for a long time. He means so much to us; mostly because he found us and brought us back together and it’s so important. I feel so grateful just for that because the record wouldn’t have happened and I wouldn’t have had this time with Angus. I think for both of us to meet each other after the time apart is so valuable and to know that we could write together and we could really make a record that was unified, it was really healing for us and our family and it was a really big part of it that he saw the potential for us to do something together.

“In the studio Rick brings everybody together. When he walks into a room you see how everybody wakes up a bit like, ‘oh we’re going to play the best music we can play’, he has this way of just being there. You know when someone really listens to you when you’re telling them something, and it makes you understand what you’re saying in a way you wouldn’t otherwise understand your own words. When somebody isn’t listening when you’re telling them a story, it feels like a piece of shit that doesn’t have any point; but when someone listens to your story all of a sudden it has life and reason and purpose in being told, and that’s what Rick does, he listens. It feels like what you’re doing is important and worthwhile.”

The end result has been an exciting one for the Stone duet; an upcoming national tour, a spot at Splendour In The Grass and their strongest album to date, the self-titled Angus & Julia Stone.

“This record’s a combination of songs we’ve written separately and songs we’ve written together. I think the biggest difference is the songs we’ve written together. Angus had a lot of input into the way that they sound and I think for me I was a so much more open to listening to Angus’s ideas and feelings about the music and him as well towards me; and that gave us this space to be able to write songs together. He’d sing a line then I’d sing a line, and then we’d try different ideas and jam on songs, and we hadn’t written like that on Down The Way(2010) and A Book Like This (2007).”

Some days the most exciting thing is that I get to hang out with Angus again. He’s so fun to be around and he’s a funny dude. I like that I get to do that again. We play a lot of sports together, so I get to play tennis and squash and that’s really fun on tour. Another thing is the band we have on tour with us; they’re all so good and I really like playing with this band. When Angus and I went solo we both played with different bands and we’ve pulled together this super band. They’re so special and so beautiful at what they do.”

The chance to once again play Splendour In The Grass will be a moving homecoming for the duo, who have a chance to flaunt their rebirth and return to the musical avenue they loved for so long.

Splendour’s very exciting,” Julia chirps. “There’s a lot of friends and family and it’s where we spent a lot of time growing up; it’s an area that means a lot to us. We both had a lot of crazy and amazing times up in Byron and I guess it feels like a big show for us. It’s the first time we’ve played together in Australia in three years… as I’m talking about it my tummy’s feeling funny, I probably will cry on stage. It’s a really intense emotion to come home and be together and I love Australian audiences and people are so great in this country. It’s going to be an emotional show I think.”