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Angus & Julia Stone take to nature for inspiration

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Angus & Julia Stone recorded their newest album “Snow” in a remote Byron Bay setting. (Courtesy Jennifer Stenglein)
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Angus Stone knows it sounds ironic, but before he and his sister released their 2007 debut “A Book Like This” as folksinging duo Angus & Julia Stone, they hadn’t spent much quality time together. “We got broken up as kids and moved into different homes,” he says. “It was only when we got older that we realized we had something to share in the way of making music, and common ground to stand on.” But the Australian pair grew even closer making the new album “Snow” by retreating to Angus’ remote Byron Bay studio Belafonte for six months to write and record nature-inspired songs such as “Oakwood,” “Chateau” and the title track.

What season was it when you and Julia disappeared into your hermitage?

It was coming out of winter, so it was warming up. And that time of year it’s really peaceful and all of nature is starting to come alive. It’s just nice and crisp in Australia then, and the air is really fresh. And my studio looks out onto these mountains, but it’s also by the ocean, so if you go tired of recording, you could just head out to it. Julia would go do her thing, and I’d go surfing. It was just a nice place to be, making music.

What kind of nature was around?

All the snakes start to come out. You start to see your brown snakes, your red-bellied black snakes, your taipans, your diamond pythons. They’re pretty standard, and there were a few in the studio at different times. You also get your koalas, and there’s a certain type of wallaby that I have on my property, too. And we get red foxes, kingfishers, kookaburras, cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets. You name it – nature just comes alive.

What was your daily regimen?

Well, on the other side of the property is a little lake with a jetty, and at the jetty there’s a little cabin where Julia was staying. And my cabin is on top of a hill that overlooks the whole property, and the studio is down the other side of the hill. So I’d wake up, drive over to the studio, and send Julia a text saying, “I’m up — you ready to do some recording?” So we’d cook breakfast and get to work.

Theoretically, you probably both had to be single for this solitary process, right?

Yeah. That’s true. If you really want to dive into this world, there have to be certain sacrifices, whether or not you make them consciously. But to end up at this place, and to have that sort of time to put aside that’s dedicated to your art? It is quite a selfish, selfless thing, you know?


IF YOU GO

Angus & Julia Stone
Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 3
Tickets: $25
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.ticketmaster.com
Note: They also appear at 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at the UC Theatre in Berkeley; tickets are $27.50 at www.ticketfly.com.

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