To say this album came as a surprise to both Angus and Julia Stone is an understatement. Having had a massively successful time as a duo, with their albums “A Book Like This” and “Down The Way”, both critical and commercial successes, along with sold out tours across the world, Angus and Julia decided to go their own way. They both continued as solo artists, each songwriter revelling in the freedom of a singular vision, there was absolutely no plan to re-team.
It took legendary US producer Rick Rubin to spark the flame. From Jay Z to the Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash to Red Hot Chili Peppers – Rick Rubin knows good music. Rubin heard Angus and Julia’s music playing at a friend’s party and quickly decided he had to get in contact and invited them to LA. “We landed in LA and were looking at each other going, ‘What the fuck are we going to do?’” Angus jokes. “We had no idea how it would come together”. “It took a while to get to a place where we thought it was a good idea,” admits Julia. “We were enjoying the time apart, enjoying our different directions. There was no conversation of, ‘When are we doing another Angus & Julia record?’ It never even came up.”
Unconvinced they should break from their individual plans, it was after spending time with Rubin over a few months that thoughts about getting back together started to form. “We decided that we would only move forward with the record if it felt real and it felt like the right thing.. I think this is what made the record what it is.” explains Angus. “We found a new way to make music together,” states Julia of the outcome. “I think we had enough space from each other to be able to really listen to this time and appreciate each other’s ideas, thoughts and feelings.”
For the first time ever the pair wrote side by side, jamming with musicians on new songs and working through existing tracks Angus had demoed at home in NYC and songs Julia had written whilst living in Venice Beach. In September 2013 they walked into Rubin’s Shangri La Studios in Malibu and recorded “Angus & Julia Stone”. “We found a new way to make music together,” states Julia of the outcome. “I think we had enough space from each other to be able to really listen to this time and appreciate each other’s ideas, thoughts and feelings.” “, I think we both felt the dust lift. We both felt empowered. The timing was unexpected but well placed” adds Angus.
“This album is extraordinary,” says Rubin. “Angus and Julia are truly unique musicians. They are authentic and pure people who do things from the heart. I’ve never worked with anyone like them before.”
Four years on from their last joint effort, Angus & Julia have delivered an album that defies expectations. Call it a coming of age or a re-invention, but the new self-titled record is their most exciting, visceral listen yet.