Thoughtful vibe

Angus and Julia Stone.
Angus and Julia Stone. Contributed.

THERE is music in everything.

“You can write a song with any instrument … really,” Julia Stone said, breezily.

She talks in the same delicate resonance that makes her singing so special.

“I've even written a song using a harp in my dad's house,” the elder half of Angus and Julia Stone said, giggling. “It mightn't sound great, but you can do it.”

The approach lets the 25-year-old multi-instrumentalist and singer, who learned to play the trumpet when she was in primary school, compose whenever the inspiration takes her.

She and her 23-year-old brother are about to release their second album, and begin a tour across Australia, the UK and the United States to promote it.

The new album, Down the Way, was recorded in studios in London, Queens and Brooklyn in New York, the north coast of New South Wales, and in the English countryside. Angus experimented in a water tank studio in Coolangatta, but Julia's favourite was a converted timber mill in Cornwall, south-west of London.

“It was beautiful,” Julia said.

“We'd recorded in London and it was just so hectic … noise, people everywhere and everyone in a rush.

“We had a look at a few websites and came up with this converted sawmill by the River Fowey.

“I love living in the city. But this was such a contrast. Perfect.”

The vibe seems to fit nicely with the relaxed, thoughtful way they play.

For more than a year, they were based in their flat in Hackney in north-east London, while they toured to quiet acclaim – and recorded – before heading back home to the northern beaches of Sydney to stay with family. Angus took a couple of weeks to surf with mates around Byron Bay.

The Stones have always been surrounded by music.

Their father was a school bandmaster while they were growing up.

“There were always instruments around the house … we played a lot of them.”

Angus started with the trombone, but stopped early on. He plays and writes by ear.

Angus and Julia grew up listening to music from the '60s, '70s and '80s played by their father's covers band.

“It was everything from Van Morrison to The Eagles and The Beatles,” Julia said.

“We didn't know any of those bands. We just knew the songs because Dad had sung them.

“It was only a couple of years ago that we listened to The White Album, and thought to ourselves, ‘Oh right, these guys are a band – Dad didn't write the songs'.”

So, do they do covers?

“Not much,” she said.

“But it's not because we wouldn't like to.

“Well, we've written more than 20 songs for the new album, and we've had to drop seven of them.”

Angus and Julia Stone start a whirlwind tour across Australia, Europe and the US on March 16.

They play the Lake Kawana Community Centre on March 21. Call 5437 1170 for more information.

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