It’s safe to say that Angus Stone is one of the biggest chillers around. A quiet talker, he gave off the vibe of a laid-back hippie when he chatted to The Upside News recently.
Stone is in Adelaide soon as part of WOMADelaide music festival. When asked if he was excited to play WOMADelaide again, Stone responded “yeah absolutely, last WOMAD was incredible. There were some pretty wild and mysterious and wacky people backstage.”
He last played WOMADelaide with his sister Julia Stone back in 2011, but this time around he will be bringing his critically acclaimed band Dope Lemon to perform.
After the success of their maiden album Honey Bones in 2016 (singles ‘Marinade’ and ‘Uptown Folks’ from the album both cracking the Triple J Hottest 100 in 2016), Dope Lemon has released a new EP Hounds Tooth out now. Tracks from this EP will be played for the first time live at WOMADelaide.
Dope Lemon was originally conceived, in Stone’s words, by “me and some old mates just drinking beers and coming up with ideas.” Many of the recordings for Hounds Tooth were done at Stone’s farm. He converted a little cottage on his property into a studio complete with control room and a jam space.
Lead single from Hounds Tooth, ‘Home Soon’, was inspired by a funky 1950’s Brazilian song to which Stone added lyrics to create one of many gems on Hounds Tooth. Stone also includes flute, some new percussion and experiments with throat singing on the new EP. “It’s such an amazing feeling when you [throat sing]. The vibrations from your tongue to your throat to your skull, it’s really like meditation in a way. You have to be really relaxed and it’s almost like you’re channelling some sort of Viking.”
Stone is no stranger to experimenting with instruments. With a band conductor as a father, Stone has been around musical influences his whole life. “As kids we all had to choose an instrument and I played a brass instrument for six years. I played trombone.”
Growing up with a lounge room full of every instrument you could think of he could pick up a cello, a violin, you name it and he can play it.
Stone reminisced on his early influences and how he started out before jetting to fame. “Back in the day I was into Bob Marley heaps, I used to play in a covers band and I guess you could say I was a wedding singer. Me and a mate did a bunch of weddings around the town we grew up in.”
From there he travelled all around Sydney doing open-mic nights, jumping on the bus with his guitar and honing his skills on stage with the mic and learning the technicalities involved in a live show.
The rest is history after teaming up with his sister, Angus & Julia Stone’s hit ‘Big Jet Plane’ reaching the pinnacle of Aussie music atop the Triple J Hottest 100 in 2010. With three albums with Julia and a three albums under various monikers, life has been a whirlwind for Stone the past ten years. Then it all came to a crashing halt. “I had a snowboarding accident last year, so I was kind of out for a bit… but I’m just stoked to be out playing music again.”
Stone used the downtime in hospital and recovery to reset and said he felt it was almost a blessing for him to have some time to himself.
After his festival run with Dope Lemon, Stone is hitting the slopes again in Japan. A keen snowboarder, he’s ready to get back on it after his accident.
For the remainder of 2017, Stone is keeping it loose. He hints at an Australian tour, so hopefully he’ll be back soon. As for the next project? “I’m always chipping away at stuff. Having a studio is so awesome because you’re on your own clock, you don’t have to worry about having an engineer and booking a studio. That’s why it’s so important because you can have friends over and push record and jam and that’s where the magic’s at.”
This pretty much encapsulates what Dope Lemon’s all about, but it is Stone’s highly developed song writing and melodies that bring the music to life. He redefines the spontaneous jams, distilling them into gems. This is the Dope Lemon way.
WOMADelaide – The World’s Festival is on March 10 – 13 at Botanic Park, Adelaide. Pick up your tickets here.