She was singing to herself, even while talking. Her voice was crystal-clear, her appearance tender and fragile. With her golden shoes, the black knie-high socks, a white plated skirt and a marine jumper. A warm soul with a warm smile. Then the male half with a romantic tousled look, jet-lagged – that was for sure. Angus and Julia Stone just came from Australia that day when I met them in Berlin. But even if I could imagine what kind of sleep deprivation they were going through, they were very kind and sweet: “Do you want a piece of cake?”, Angus was asking me, his finger was pointing to the brownies on the table. “Thank you, they are delicious”. And thank you for taking time for our interview.
How was your day?
Julia: Thank you. It was good actually, even if we came from Australia today which is why we are having a bit of a jetlag.
You are travelling all the time, how difficult it is to feel home sometimes?
Julia: Our family is in Sydney, so that is where I feel home I would say. We are used to be on tour all the time, that is why home is everywhere. Every city, every place has something beautiful and unique. It is a nice way to live.
Angus: I feel home when I am at my farm in Byron in Australia, I bought it a couple of years ago.
What do you wanted to become when you were little?
Angus: My dream was to build treehouses. At least, that is the first thing I could think of. And I like skating a lot. Music was rather a minor matter. It was during my highschool years when I started making music and writing songs.
“For me writing songs is like putting together a puzzle. You are sitting there, playing with it, you are thinking a lot, it makes fun, and little by little you finish it and it’s done”
And what was your motivation to continue making music instead of building treehouses or skating, Angus?
I fell in love with music. Especially with the music of bands from the city. I observed them when they were playing music. They were having a lot of fun, they were expressing themselves through their music. And sure you are having fun with skating and surfing too, but that is another form of it. For me writing songs is like putting together a puzzle. You are sitting there, playing with it, you are thinking a lot, it makes fun, and little by little you finish it and it’s done.
How was is for you, Julia?
I love music and I love the idea that you can express yourself through it. The moment you realise as a teenager that you can make some pocket money by playing a trumpet, that is a nice combination. That is much more fun than jobbing at McDonald’s.
I don’t know how you do it, and I could have had the hardest day, but everytime I listen to your music I feel happy and good. Your music gets under my skin. Sometimes it is so emotional, authentic and pure, I could cry. How do you do that?
Angus: (Smiling) That is hard to put into words. It is just the moment, when you let go of things. You write about emotions, personal experiences, everything bubbles out of you. I think there is no recipe for that.
Since we are already talking about feelings: What was the happiest moment in your life? Which moment would you love to live again?
Julia: I remember that moment, when I was thirtheen years old and my two best friends and I – we were just inseparable. We bought some fish and chips and were sitting at the beachside. All of a sudden it started raining heavily, everything along with our paper wrap was soaked to the bone – from top to the toe. I still remember, how we rolled around with laughter, it was such a weightless time. Life was nothing but a comedy for us, I never felt sad. That was right before I got my first boyfriend and everything changed (laughing).
Angus: One of the happiest moments in my life is when I am swimming in the ocean. When you can listen to the waves and become one with nature. That is happiness for me.
What is your biggest feat?
Julia: When you are thinking about your future and your past so much, that you miss the beautiful things happening here and now.
Angus: (Looking at Julia) After all the biggest fear is, to allow fear, no?
It seems like you don’t fear anything, Angus.
Sure, I fear a lot of things. But the thing is that you can control your fear a little bit and you can let go of things and the idea of things. But sure I have that horror vision of dying in a plane accident (laughs).
Another question: What would you take with you to a lonely island?
Angus: My dog, my girlfriend and my guitar.
Julia: My boyfriend, my guitar and a bottle of good wine.
If you had one wish…
Julia: Being great in croching!
Angus: A countless number of clean socks would be great.
What things do you appreciate in each other?
Angus: I like the way Julia writes. It’s so nice, honest and authentic. And sometimes she can be the funniest person in the world.
Julia: Now that I think about: If you – like us – are waiting much at airports and do not know how to pass the time, it‘s nice to have a brother who plays pranks and constantly makes you laugh.
Do you look back sometimes and think about the things which changed about you as a person?
Julia: Sometimes there is so much happening at once and sometimes it doesn’t. But especially in the last year there have been many changes. I had to let go of things and to accept new situations. A few days ago we were talking about the definition of a “normal life”. Also in terms of our childhood and the community in which we grew up. Lots of nature, beach, sun, sea, surf, sailing, dolphins – it’s a stunning area near Sydney. It’s like a little island, a small paradise.
“I remember my first solo show in Amsterdam. I was paralysed with joy and excitement, because that was the moment when I realised that Angus was not standing beside me. I felt alone. And all those feelings I shared with the audience, I was totally honest with the situation. And that was one of my best gigs”
Speaking of letting fo of things and changes in life. It took several years, before you get back together as a duo again. What happened in that time?
Angus: We have launched our solo albums and in fact it was not proposed to get back together. Our producer Rick Rubin had the idea. And of course it was a change at the beginning, because we were touring alone and getting used to it. The break was actually good for us.
Julia: Time and experiences make you change. It was the first time, that i was standing there – all alone. The stage was mine. I had the chance to work with other artists, to unfold myself and to grow. I remember my first solo show in Amsterdam. I was paralysed with joy and excitement, because that was the moment when I realised that Angus was not standing beside me. I felt alone. And all those feelings I shared with the audience, I was totally honest with the situation. And that was one of my best gigs. It was just the beginning and it was good. During that time I had no contact with Angus. I didn’t know where he was, what he did nor did I listen to his solo record. We needed that to grow and to mature. Now as I am looking back, I realise how more relaxed and balanced we are as a team. We needed to be separate in order to cherish being together. And it is beautiful to be together with you again. (looking at Angus and smiling)
Photo: Jan Lessner