“I’m just about to shoot through customs. Do you mind calling me back in about ten minutes?”
When we called to interview Angus Stone last week, we were not surprised to hear that he was about to board a plane.
Angus and Julia Stone, have built themselves a reputation as being a very well traveled duo. The Australian siblings spent the better part of two years touring after releasing their debut album, “A Book Like This” in 2007. Their sophomore record, “Down The Way” was recorded in a number of different studios, dotted around the globe and was released this March. The new album is one of the most subtle and honest slices of folk you’re likely to hear this year and has gone platinum in the band’s native Oz.
After he’d made it through airport security, the interview went ahead as planned. Angus told us about the process of making “Down The Way” and the tour, which reaches Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on Tuesday.
BLAST: You played in Portland last night. Where are you headed next?
ANGUS STONE: We’re off to the Windy City. Chicago.
BLAST: It seems as though you’re band that’s constantly on the move. At this point do you feel more at home on the road than anywhere else?
AS: Well, you’re permanently nowhere. It’s kind of something that grows on you. At first, you miss the stillness and nature – the place where we grew up has all that. There’s a lot of home on the road and there’s a lot of not.
BLAST: Does touring with your sister ever get tiresome?
AS: I think playing with Julia is more like playing with a friend than a sibling. We share the same passion and love for writing.
BLAST: Do you think that all your touring and travelling has helped you as musicians and contributed to the success you’ve enjoyed so far?
AS: Yeah. Constantly playing shows and being on the road allows you to evolve – with your writing and your skill with your instruments. It gives you an infinite space for learning, emotionally and also creatively.
BLAST: What has been the best experience of the tour so far?
AS: We played Austin City Limits, which was pretty cool. In LA I got to see some old friends. You know, it’s hard to put a finger on what’s been best. Everything’s been good.
BLAST: Of the upcoming dates, where are you looking forward to playing?
AS: I’m looking forward to…(pauses and laughs)… whereabouts are you calling from again?
AS: (Laughs again) OK, I’m really looking forward to coming to Boston. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place.
BLAST: You’re latest album “Down the Way” was written and recorded in various places all over the world. Now you’re back on tour, do you find that audiences in certain places respond differently to certain songs?
AS: Yeah, there some songs on there with the names of places we’ve played in them. Those places have a really proud connection to those songs. But, otherwise, it’s hard to gage – I should have some sort of thermometer on stage to take these readings.
BLAST: There are moments on the album come across as being very specific and personal to one of the two you. Were you and Julia in constant collaboration while writing songs or did work individually and then piece things together?
AS: The songs [on the album] that you hear me sing are the songs that I wrote, and vice versa. But it’s always a collaborative session, on all the songs. Whether it’s in the studio or just us jamming on them. There are always seeds there that haven’t quite hatched. When different musicians work their magic on it, it all starts to fall into place – places you would have never had seen it going.
BLAST: You and Julia have both worked on solo projects while in the process of doing stuff for the band. Are there times when you’ve worked on something for yourself and then felt it would fit better on an A&JS record?
AS: Yes. As an example, I did a solo project called “Lady Of The Sunshine.” There was a song on that record called “Big Jet Plane.” We were coming up on recording our album just after that. I thought of that song and just thought it fit really well with what we do. So I moved that across to Julia, and our project.
BLAST: You must enjoy that kind of freedom.
AS: Sure. The cool thing about it is that there are no boundaries. We can make our own rules for anything. I really like that we can just do what we want. We have great record companies that allow us to that and give us that freedom.
BLAST: Finally, I imagine you may need a break after this tour. What are your plans for when it’s all finished?
AS: Oh man. I’m thinking about going to Canada. Some friends of mine are getting a house in Banff. So I think I’ll go there and do some snowboarding.
For Angus Stone a more personal adventure will follow the public one he and his sister are currently in the midst of. One hopes that it won’t be too long, however, before the pair returns to the studio to follow up their stunning second album.
Angus and Julia Stone play the Paradise Rock Club on October 26. There album “Down The Way” is available now.
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