Julia Stone: Something Borrowed Something New
Trading in her bare foot trends for classy heels, Australia’s hippy sweetheart Julia Stone has lost none of her earthy charm. She spoke to Pearl Davies from her parents home on Sydney's North Shore about her upcoming solo tour and her desire to create something stylistically different from the music she makes with brother, Angus.
Julia Stone’s second solo album, By the Horns, was recorded in New York and is the end result of an experimental period for Stone, working in a new city, with new band members and new producers. “Somethings are different yet some stay the same,” says Stone. “But it will be differentin the quality of the way it plays out. Just being in a different city changes things…working with different personalities and indifferent studios. I know that I’m changing so my approach to my music changes.”
Stone’s first solo album, The Memory Machine, snuck out under the radar while she was touring with Angus. At the time, Stone said her main focus was on Angus and Julia Stone and she didn’t want to wait until after the tour for its release.“It’s something that happens, I guess, when youput out a record,” says Stone. “You start touring and then it’s two years down the track and you’re still playing the same material. We were touring for about a yearand-a-half and I had The Memory Machine on me the whole time. I was kind of thinking that maybe I’d wait until after the tour to release it, [and] play a few shows forit. But by [then] I knew I’d be over it and already have new material, new songs, and just want to do something new. It was nice to see it go under the radar, I just wanted to put it out there, you know.”
After solidly touring Angus and Julia Stone for the last six years, both siblings have felt the desire to diversify. “I think Angus and I always wanted to do our own thing. We’ve always loved making music together but we’ve always had our own side projects going at the same time. We both write a lot. In fact, we each write six songs, place [them] on an album [and] then follow it up with a tour. It was nice that we both felt the same way at the same time [about] separating to make our own records. We’ll see what happens.” On the road, Stone works in a little black book, often sketching rather than writing. “There’s a lot of in-between times, waiting at airports, waiting, waiting, waiting. That’s when I’d do a lot of sketching.”
While working on a new record together, the Stones decided to call it quits to focus on their solo careers, leaving the unfinished work behind them, songs that will probably never be released, according to Stone. “I don’t know, maybe we’ll release a B-side or something. We’re just all about our solo stuff right now and by the time we’re ready to get into it together again, we’ll want new material. We like to work in the now.” Except when they have one foot in the past. Both Stones have inherited an appreciation of the art of reinvention, covering songs by other artists. ‘’My dad was in a covers band,” says Stone. “And we grew up hearing and watching him jam and pump out songs that are amazing songs. I think some people have a really beautiful way of interpreting music in their own way. For me, personally, it’s a fun thing to do. You hear a song that’s been played 10, 20 different ways and each time it’s like a whole new song. It’s like a cup of tea anda jar of honey. Everyone that walks past and takes a photo will see it in completely different ways and each photograph will be different and tell a different story. We are all human and we are all unique and we all interpret things differently - I guess that’s what’s so amazing about art. We also all make mistakes. But in the end beauty and love are possible and we put this all out there in our art.”