ST.Weicken

The Staves
Interview

Ihr perfektes Unisono stellt die Härchen auf meinen Armen auf, als Jessica, Camilla und Emily Staveley-Taylor, besser bekannt als 'The Staves' ihr Konzert im Heimathafen Neukölln mit 'Blood I bled' eröffnen. Das erste Lied ihres neuen Albums 'If I was', welches nicht nur in Justin Vernons Haus entstanden ist, sondern auch von Mr. Bon Iver produziert wurde. Ein paar Stunden früher habe ich die drei Schwestern aus dem englischen Watford zum Gespräch getroffen.

 

Your new album was produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, how did that come about?
We sort of didn't even realize it was happening until it was too late. We became friends when we toured with him and he said 'When you got the time after the road, come up to the house. I'd like to record you singing a bit and figure out what works on your voices". We literally went up to the studio for 10 days with no plan. We didn't prepare anything but of course thought we were gonna sing there, maybe write a song but we ended up just making lots of demos. We were downstairs in the studio all the time.
There where little ideas that we'd had through touring. After 10 days, we had about six really nice strong demos and we knew we had to come back. At the end of our second trip out there we had a conversation where we said we think we may be making an album here and Justin was like “ Yeah, can I produce it?“ and we were like “We think you already are!“. It just kind of happened, we did another session and then actually did the recording for the album.

That sounds perfect for the second album because there must have been high expectations.
Yeah, we started before there where any expectations really. We were still touring the first album and when we had time off we were at Justin's. We hadn't even started thinking about making a new album. Also, we didn't really tell our label that we went up the first time cause we were worried they'd get all excited. There would have been expectations and questions like “What did you come up with while you where there? Can you do a duet with Justin? Let's get a film crew up there to make a documentary!“ It was nice to do it in secrecy.

In the first album there was a lot of sweetness that is still in the second album but in a more mature way. What is “If I was“ biggest difference from the first album?
I don't know. I think listening to the album for us is a little like looking at a photo album. You hate your nose or remember something about that day. You can not really be objective about it. But we are definitely stronger, we have more experience and a good few knocks that toughened us up. Because we had such a great time recording it, it is difficult to separate yourself from that but when I listen to the album, I hear how excited we were to be there and trying knew things. Just letting things get much bigger.

I did an Interview with 'Hozier' and he said something like for him the music is the frame but the lyrics of a song where really the picture.

I feel like the bare bones of the song are the lyrics and the melody, and the voices are the picture, or the Christmas tree and everything else is just decorating it. All the stuff that you can do in the studio, the trickery, the magic. It is interesting because we were talking about how to perform the songs live because we sometimes play with a band and sometimes as a trio. One time in the studio I was getting a little stressed out because I didn't know how do it. It was just so much now on the recordings, more than we used to do. I thought we were gonna have 50 people on stage, but then I talked to Brad who plays base on the album and he said it were just the songs that people are gonna like. If it is just us and a guitar at a gig playing them, it's still good songs and people will still have the same connection with them. When the lyrics are shit though, there is no coming back from that.

Most of your artwork is set in past times, also the new video for 'Black and White', what is the appeal for you?
We definitely have always been inspired by bands like 'The Beatles', but we never made a conscious decision what we wanted things to sound and look like. Maybe the very nature of us being a family band is somehow kind of whimsical and doesn't seem that modern. It is usually that the song dictates everything and the first album was made in a really old school way. We recorded it on tape and live and we physically edited it. We designed all the artwork, we drew it– it was really similar to how records where made in the 60ies and 70ies and I think when it came to making videos it just fitted. With the new album the influences where maybe a bit more playful. Justin had a lot of Polaroid cameras in his house and he ended up taking the picture that is on the album cover. The video for 'Black and White' doesn't really have anything to do with a specific time, the director just had the idea of doing some sort of TV Quiz Show and we didn't want to be the main characters but more of onlookers. But if you set it in a different time and a different country it frees you up to heighten the drama of it.

How do you separate working together from just spending time together as sisters?
That is a real battle. As we started going on tour and being real band we noticed the importance of doing that. You have a dynamic in your family, the roles that everyone plays and suddenly that is put in a business area. You are signing contracts and there is money and people you are paying to do jobs. It's not only about music but it's about everything else. Every time you try to hang out you end up talking about emails you just read. It's really important to take time to just be sisters and nothing more.