Cape Forestier

Cape Forestier

Julia Stone sees her sixth album with brother Angus as “coming full circle”, and with good reason. Its languid grooves, blissful vocal harmonies and woozy aesthetic recall the duo’s 2007 debut A Book Like This, a tone that was established when Julia first visited Angus at Sugarcane Mountain Studios, his newly built studio in Murwillumbah, New South Wales. “It felt reminiscent of the way we had started, back when we made [2006 EP] Chocolates & Cigarettes,” she tells Apple Music. “It had this feeling of being in the living room and just sharing songs. I guess that’s a more traditional singer-songwriter style of storytelling. And Angus has also got the piano from our childhood in the living room, so that feels pretty magic.” The aesthetic of Sugarcane Mountain Studios harks back to the ’70s, a time, says Angus, where musical expression was less restrained by rules and expectations—as was the interior design. “There’s the Wild West of colours in the carpet,” he smiles, “where it’s just plumes of green swirling around with whites popping out, and in the wallpaper you’ve got orange, and it’s kind of clashing.” Though echoing the stripped-back simplicity of their early output, Cape Forestier still boasts a rich tapestry of sounds, such as lush strings (“The Wonder of You”, “No Boat No Aeroplane”), choral backing vocals (“Down to the Sea”) and pedal steel (“The Wedding Song”). A cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Want You” and a truncated rendition of Elvis Presley’s “The Wonder of You” are further rejoinders to their past, with Dylan in particular a staple of their father’s wedding band. Here, the Stone siblings expand on the themes and sounds of Cape Forestier, track by track. “Losing You” Julia Stone: “It’s one of the most fun songs to sing, because we sing in harmony the whole way through. It sort of feels like it’s talking about a relationship with somebody else. But for us, I think it also represents the relationship with self and how that journey happens, where you just sometimes feel so lost and so far away from the goodness and the beauty of the world, and then before you know it you find it. That dance never really stops.” “Down to the Sea” JS: “The lyrics are about the mess that we’re in as a species. And this idea of shifting blame, and not taking responsibility for the world that we’ve created. And ‘I’ll take you down to the sea’ is a representation of something hopeful like, there are new horizons if we actually just own up to what we’ve done and where we’re at. There’s no shame in saying, ‘I’m sorry.’” “My Little Anchor” Angus Stone: “It’s following two lovers that have been pulled apart and how they find their way back together. And in that glance across the room after they’ve sailed the seven seas to find one another, realising in that moment whether it’s the right thing or not. I guess it comes back to that constant search of finding love and the one that will take you through to the end.” “Cape Forestier” JS: “Our grandparents would sail all over the world. They’d come back from these trips and they’d tell us tales of the sea. The bravery of people who take to the ocean, when you can’t see land and you have to trust that you’re going to be OK, I think our grandparents, and our parents, they passed that on to us, and certainly it’s been a part of what has made it possible for us to be brave and go out and share ourselves with the world. So ‘Cape Forestier’, although it’s about one boat in particular, a boat that does exist in the world, for us it was a song about that very journey and what the ocean and that journey represents.” “County Sign” JS: “That was [written while] sitting on the front porch, just finding our way and watching the sunset. Angus and I [were] going backwards and forwards, saying things that popped into our heads—it felt like a song that represented a kind of life and freedom that we’ve both always been looking for in our hearts. That song is that feeling of a gentle breeze on a warm day, and that appreciation of the simple things, and raising a glass to it all and saying thank you for this incredible experience and what a privilege it is to be here.” “City of Lights” JS: “For a period of time we worked on a record with Rick Rubin [2014’s Angus & Julia Stone]. During that time we were living in Los Angeles. We had a great time, but there’s a little bit of darkness to LA at times, possibly because a lot of people come there to find a realisation for a dream. The song is about the city of lights—we were talking about that view when you look over LA and you’re up at the observatory in Griffith Park, and you see the city and it looks so pretty at night. But I guess the message of that song is that when you have love in your heart, you’re happy wherever you are, even in a place where you see a lot of sadness at times, and a lot of beauty. It’s all OK, because we’re together.” “No Boat No Aeroplane” AS: “It’s one of the first songs I ever wrote, when I was probably around 15, 16. When it came to making this record it just popped into our heads. The beauty of when you first start writing is the simplicity in what you’re saying. There’s something quite childlike in just keeping it simple. When it came time to put this record together, more than ever the lyrics rang true to myself and Julia. We jumped back in the studio and gave it a new life and it’s really cool to see what you’ve done when you’re a kid still stand the test of time.” “The Wedding Song” JS: “It started out as a gesture towards a couple of friends who were getting married, and I wanted to sing something for them at the wedding. Then Angus and I started singing it at some of our shows. A recording from one of those shows ended up being shared, and we started getting sent videos of people who were using the live recording for their weddings. It was really sweet. When we were making this record we were talking about how it’s a shame that a version of the song that’s not, in our opinion, the best version is out there. So we decided it would be nice to make it something really beautiful and share that with the fans.” “I Want You” AS: “Bob Dylan was one of the main artists that spun in our family home. It’s a big part of who we are, and we were just strumming the song on the couch and it felt good to play. It’s a beautiful piece of art.” “Somehow” JS: “It makes me laugh because it was a very humbling moment for me to fall in love with a friend of mine who didn’t feel the same way. Love doesn’t have to be something that gets pulled away from you because it doesn’t come back. This song is an acknowledgement that it’s OK to love somebody and not have them love you the same way, and it doesn’t necessarily have to change what it feels like for you.” “Sitting in Seoul” JS: “Angus and I spend a lot of our time travelling around and it is a real privilege to do this for a job. But sometimes you’re sitting in an airport, and there’s a delayed flight, and it was your birthday last week, and you’re already meant to be home; these kinds of things that sometimes you miss, and that’s the nature of a life that spans across the globe. ‘Sitting in Seoul’ is beautiful, because it’s sort of sad—it’s like, I’m sitting in this airport, and I want you to know that I’m OK. But also, I’m not OK. I’ve missed these things with you. It’s about a deep love that can survive distance. It’s sad, but it’s hopeful.” “The Wonder of You” JS: “We wanted a song to be like the last chapter, and I think ‘The Wonder of You’ is a really nice way to say, life is wonderful, you are wonderful, this is wonderful. And the string arrangement, we just loved it so much. We didn’t want to do a full cover, we didn’t want to do the whole song, we just wanted the moment to say, that’s the wonder of you. It’s the wonder of life, the wonder of what it is to make music, to be here, to be creating and enjoying what it is to be human.”

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