INTERVIEW: THE STAVES

There may be a million and one folk bands out there at the moment, there may even be a million and one sibling folk bands out there, but when you are providing backing vocals for Tom Jones and supporting Bon Iver, you know your not part of the ordinary mix. We saw the Staves back in February supporting Michael Kiwanuka and were blown away by the monumental stage presence projected by three young ladies and their instruments. Taken out of a live situation, their single “Motherlode” shows they’re just as capable as producing breathtaking harmonies in a recording studio and will do so for a whole album released this summer. Here is what The Staves had to say about Tom Jones, Family and a good boogie.

 

What are your feelings about supporting Bon Iver on his North American Tour coming up? Nervous, excited, petrified?

Terrifying in an exciting way- we’re trying not to worry about it too much. He’s someone we’ve looked up to since our first record. So yeah… exciting but nerve-wracking!

You were recently asked to sing backing vocals for Tom Jones. What was it like working with a legend?

It came about in a convoluted way, it was crazy. He was lovely though, very sweet, very quiet- his voice is the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. It was an amazing experience, we’re incredibly lucky.

What is on your Ipod at the moment?

Been listening to Feist a lot recently, I listen to more folk music like John Jacob Niles. I like to stick to bands I know, I’m always trying to get an education on new music but then I’ll go back to- Bob Dylan, and The Beatles.

What is your favourite track at the moment?

‘Pearly gate music’ Gossamer Hair.

You’ve had such a great reception to your music so far. What do you attribute to your success? Do you think you have a stronger musical connection due to the fact that you are siblings?

We’re lucky that people enjoy it, it matters to us a lot that people are interested. We have a connection between the three of us outside of music anyway. We’re all close but always have been. We have a very strong musical understanding. We sometimes guess what the other’s thinking. We always end up singing the same thing and realising ‘oh no need to change it’

Where does the inspiration for your lyrics come from and have you ever thought about writing for someone else?

We never thought about writing for anyone else, we write for ourselves, always pretty personal, something we experienced, and something we read about. We’re not trying to create world peace… yet.

 

What is it like being in a band with your family?

I love singing with my sisters, there’s a great satisfaction singing together, it completes it all. I love writing with the girls. When we spend time together, we have a real laugh. Like kids sitting in the back of a car, although instead of annoying our parents it’s our manager on the tour bus…

It can be hard to be very honest with them, when it comes to music and lyrics, you write about things which you wouldn’t always talk to family about. That’s why we tend to write lyrics together, sometimes one of us will write a song solely, and then we’ll have to explain what it’s about!

What would be your advice for starting a band with your sisters?

Don’t do it for any reason other than wanting to- It’s not a gimmick, make sure you get on; some of the more tempestuous relationships make great music. Do it as long as you have fun- don’t force it.

When was the last time you had a good dance?

When we were on tour with Ben Howard, we’d watch him every night, and he had a drummer so everyone could rock out a bit. We’d be dancing at the back in the shadows.

Is there anything you’re listening too that you’d be embarrassed to share?

I don’t really have any guilty pleasures, everything I listen to, I don’t mind other people knowing! I guess Take That’s later stuff?

What is your favourite part of touring?

When you do a tour- night after night, you’re able to make a connection with people; it’s amazing just having a chat with people after gigs, them buying your CDs… Night after night of doing this, is amazing- you get to the end and you realise you reach a new fan base you wouldn’t have otherwise reached.

What’s the best thing about being in the Staves?

It’s always nice when you see people enjoying your songs- if someone knows the words it’s great to have that connection.

We can struggle with confidence; sometimes we think no one could really be here to hear us play.  We’re starting to be a bit more confident now though- We’re gradually adding a few elements to the show- I’ll be playing electric guitar- I’m even thinking about putting in a few dance moves [kidding.]

What’s been the most surreal moment so far?

Tom Jones was so surreal, when we first met Ethan John who produced our record it was a defining moment- when he said he enjoyed our music we couldn’t believe it.

 

The Staves’ single “The Motherlode” is out now and their album is out in July. For more information check out their website

http://www.thestaves.com/

Words: Emily Ames

Interview: Jess Stavely

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