SIBLINGS ON SONG
ANGUS & JULIA STONE SHARE THEIR NEW TUNES WITH THE GOLD COAST THIS WEEKEND
The way they saw it, Angus and Julia Stone were not a band any more.
They had made two albums and achieved more than they ever imagined was possible – topping the chart with Big Jet Plane, ARIA awards and a smash hit with 2010 album Down the Way.
It all started rather casually. At 18, Angus made a demo for a record company in Sydney.
He brought along his sister, two years older, for vocal support. Julia pitched in some of her songs, too. And away they went, always writing separately, performing and recording together.
But by 2012 they were both committed to separate careers, Julia releasing her second solo album By the Horns; Angus following up with his Smoking
Gun album. Yet here we are, two years later, and the siblings are in the offices of their Sydney record company explaining how content they were on their separate paths – and the tentative steps that led them back together.
Angus explains: “When Julia and I were on stage together, sometimes I would drift off and see someone in the crowd. I would wonder what it would be like to be that person, leaving your body and watching from the outside in.’’
It finally happened in December 2012, when Angus and Julia, both promoting solo albums, were booked to play separate sets at Woodford Folk Festival.
“I got to finally live that experience. I saw Julia playing her show in the amphitheatre at Woodford to 30,000 people. And it was mindblowing. I was really touched,’’ Angus, 28, says.
Then Angus walked out on stage and joined his sister to perform the song Santa Monica
“It was magical,’’ Angus says.
Julia thought so, too. “We both had such great sets that night,’’ Julia says. “It was, ‘You can’t top that’. Then Angus came on and we sang to this massive crowd and you could hear a pin drop.’’
Rick Rubin does not set boundaries on the kind of musicians he works with. He only cares that the music is great. He has produced records by artists as diverse as The Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, Jay Z, Neil Diamond, Kanye West and Black Sabbath.
Rubin heard Angus and Julia’s music playing at a party and contacted them.
He offered to produce them … if they worked together.
Rubin spent some time with Angus and Julia, separately, in Los Angeles, getting to know them, chatting about life and music. Much of a producer’s job is as a psychologist who works to ensure his charges make the best record they can.
He told them he felt like they had not made the record they were capable of yet.
And the result? They made the record of their lives.
Angus and Julia Stone is going to be in a lot of critics’ best albums of 2014 lists. Angus & Julia Stone play The Gold Coast Arts Centre on Sunday.