It’s not often that musical outfits can claim to have been together since birth, but as brother and sister, Angus and Julia Stone can. Having created blissful folk music with tracks such as “Big Jet Plane”, the Australian duo have sound-tracked tender moments on TV shows like One Tree Hill to movie drama Twilight. Having released music together since 2006, Julia has now taken the bold step to go it alone to release her debut solo album “By The Horns” in May. Wonderland talks to the singer/songwriter as she releases her second single, “It’s All Ok” today.
Describe your music in five words
Fuck that’s hard. Love songs.
What happened to Angus?
Last time I spoke to him he had just moved into a place out the back of Byron. He was merry in his new place and said it was beautiful there and the surf was good. We both wanted to venture into the world of music, and the world itself, without each other. Our friendship and time touring finished at the best place it had ever been and yet we were both ready to have some time creating separately. We had already been working on a new record together but it didn’t feel right.
What do you hope to achieve as a solo artist?
I have always wanted the same thing from working with angus and now working in this way. To be open enough to enjoy whatever feelings and opportunities come along. I like to think of it as being able to adapt to working with different people. How each person will generate sound in a different way and to work with people who are making different creative choices. I’m inspired by different voices and the million different ways one idea can turn out. You put together a few people in a room and start jamming and something magical happens… put the same group in a room on a different day and something dark happens… someone wants to kill someone, someone wants to fuck someone. It’s all so unique and strange how life plays out.
What is your personal favourite track from your upcoming new record?
‘Justine’ at the moment. It was a ramshackle song written on a mandolin in the car on the way home from a festival drunk and lonely, thinking about a time when it all seemed so possible. ‘It all’ being god only knows what. I liked the melody and the finger-picking pattern on the guitar, then on the day of recording I sang through the song a few times and when I finally chose a take, I wasn’t sure that it was right or wrong, good or bad, I just had to make a decision and now when I listen to it, I understand what I’m singing about.
Do you always select “stone”, (or rather, “rock”) when playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors”?
Of course, but it makes it shit for winning. Everybody knows that’s what I’m going to go with.
Do you prefer the Stone Roses or the Rolling Stones?
By default I have to say the Rolling Stones because I don’t know the music of ‘Stone Roses’ and my dad’s band covered heaps of Rolling Stones songs so I’m totally in love with their music. From another perspective, unrelated to music, I also like the feeling when I picture a rolling stone much more than the feeling I get thinking of the image of a stone rose. Something so heart breaking about a beautiful flower being frozen in stone.
Although you are now solo, is there anyone you would want to duet with?
I love singing duets. I’m singing with a guy called Sam Amidon at some of the shows. His music is extraordinary, really special. I’m looking forward to singing with him. I love more than anything when voices come together in harmony.
It’s All Okay is out today and By The Horns is released on May 28th on Picture Show Records and is preceded by an introductory EP, ‘Let’s Forget All The Things That We Say’ – out now. Polaroid images of Julia by Imogene Barron.