The Staves: "We were getting to the point where we started going a little bit crazy"

Interview The Staves: “We were getting to the point where we started going a little bit crazy”

Quest to find the ring: The Staves divulge a few secrets behind their new album, ‘If I Was’.

Working on albums is hard work. Just think of the amount of time and effort, blood, sweat and tears that get poured into each and every record that you open in iTunes or stick in your CD player. On the odd occasion, though, the stars align and everything works out perfectly. That’s exactly what happened for The Staves, when it came to (accidentally) beginning work on their second album.

“I think the timing was really perfect because we were kinda getting to the point where we had started going a little bit crazy,” Camilla, one of the trio of sisters Stavely-Taylor explains, in between sips of camomile tea, “and we desperately needed to write something.” After almost three years on the road in support of their debut ‘Dead & Born & Grown’, it was an invite from former touring mate Justin Vernon that gave them the prime opportunity to get away. Unbeknown to the band, it was also the catalyst for their sophomore effort.

“It’s great and we love touring,” she continues, “but a lot of things have changed in the two or three years that we’ve been touring solidly. Our personal lives have changed, we’ve changed as people and we had a lot that we wanted to say, and get off our chests. When we went to Justin’s, it was just the best timing to have those two weeks. It was a breather, and suddenly all of this stuff came out and all of the little ideas that we’d had in our heads for ages were able to grow.

It wasn’t just getting away from their comfort zone that helped: the backdrop of Vernon’s April Base studio also provided some inspiration. “The studio was kind of in the middle of nowhere as well,” adds in guitarist Jessica, “so it felt like a bit of a sanctuary, or the safe house as we called it. We just felt like we could get up to stuff without anybody really watching or knowing what we were up to, and as a result, we just felt really free to be uncensored. During that first trip out there, it became really apparent that it was a very important place for us to come back to.”

“It was a wonderful backdrop for creativity,” continues Emily, “it was really inspiring and that alone is exciting. I think people who live in Wisconsin are probably a bit over snow, because it sticks around for a year, but for me, snow that you actually make snowmen out of is a very, very good thing.”

Unsurprisingly, the man himself also had a key role to play in the making of ‘If I Was’. It just might not be quite what you’d have expected from the Bon Iver frontman... “He was a bit of a mentor, a friend, a guru,” laughs Jessica. “He sort of became a bit like Gandalf, he was guiding us hobbits through the quest to find the ring… No, to make a record!”

Photo: Mike Massaro / DIY. Taken from the March 2015 issue of DIY. The Staves’ new album ‘If I Was’ is out 23rd March via Atlantic Records.

Tags: The Staves, Features, Interviews

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