Interview: The Staves
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Only hours before their first ever festival headline slot, sister trio Camilla, Jess and Emily settle down in a sunny cornfield to talk about who they are. They are, of course, The Staves. The band, described as “youthful folk revivalists” arrived fresh from a Swiss plane to play Barn on the Farm, one of the UK’s best upcoming music festivals. They have an Americana vibe to their music, as if the Grand Canyon itself spat them out, so when the sisters begin in middle-classed London accents, it creates a little confusion. If you haven’t checked these girls out by now, where have you been? There’s a smart, yet natural sophistication to their discography. They tell me that they’re not really folk, not really rock and not really indie. “We’re like a three-headed singer-songwriter,” explains Emily before adding; “I’m so shit at this. We sing songs in three part harmony with essences of singer-songwriter rules.” The trio, armed with harmonies that could probably melt steel, formed after a friend suggested that they perform at their local Watford pub’s open-mic night. “We grew up singing around the house and all our friends were in bands and their parents were old, kind of rockers, I suppose there were a lot of parties when we grew up when it as very much pass the guitar around. We’d have a sing with our friends and just have a good time” Now eleven years later, the trio are signed to Atlantic Records and have since released their sophomore album, If I Was. The album was produced by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) in his very own studio. On asking what he was like, Jess blurts out “rubbish, he’s a complete wanker. Ass. Not talented or friendly at all,” before reassuring me that she is joking. They describe the venture as like their childhood holidays, “but without our parents and with shit loads of beer.” “It was really really amazing,” begins Jess. “He’s managed to create a really fantastic place. His home/studio is really secluded and surrounded by loads of lovely greenery and woods. It was like that feeling when we were little. We’d go on holiday to Ireland or Wales to somewhere similar where we could be as loud as we wanted to be and run around and not have to worry about sleeping.” Wisely and Slow, The Staves’ debut album was recorded in the middle of London. They tell me that creating that album felt like a working day, with the commute and acknowledgement that just round the corner are a million other people getting on with their lives.
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