10 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Angus Stone’s second solo album as DOPE LEMON is different to anything the Australian singer-songwriter has released before. Unlike his first solo album or those released with his sister Julia, Smooth Big Cat is entirely his own. “I got to play all the instruments on it,” he tells Apple Music. “In the past, I’ve had people coming in, being creative in their own ways and bringing their ideas to the table. But this is 100% my brushstroke—every colour, every instrument, every sound. I didn’t really know that would happen, but it felt so fluid. I felt so energised.” Beyond playing every instrument himself, the stories that inspired each song are also definitively his own, inspired by his life, relationships and surroundings. Here, he delves into some of his favourites.

“Salt & Pepper”
“The studio we recorded in is really cool. It’s this old cottage on the outskirts of a jungly area that opens up into a big paddock. It’s really magic—there’s horses and cattle walking around, the sunsets are sublime. We’d sit around, have a few whiskies and talk about what we’ve got in front of us. We were working on ‘Salt & Pepper’ on a golden afternoon that turned into one of these nights. It all overlapped in the right ways and fell into place. For me, this song just simmers when you listen to it. You can just melt off. That’s what we were doing that night; it’s how we felt recording it.”

“Hey Little Baby”
“This is probably the most honest, personal song on the record. It’s about the world that I live in. Trying to maintain a relationship in that world can be quite difficult. It’s a tumultuous lifestyle, being away from home, in a new city every night. You’re doing something you love, and there are things which come along with that. But it is what it is.”

“Lonely Boys Paradise”
“It describes this place between heaven and hell, called Lonely Boys Paradise. It’s an island where you can fall in love for one night, but you can never leave. You’re on loop. And the concierge, he’s the devil. He keeps popping up in different forms—first, he arrives at the beach as a lobster. He’s smoking a cigarette, watching you fall in love, knowing that you’ll never leave this place alive. In some ways, the song explains the world I’m living in.”

“Smooth Big Cat”
“The Smooth Big Cat is a fictional character I created, but what he represents is real. He’s a cool cat, and he became the totem for the record. He shows up at just the right time, when you need to mellow out from all the nonsense going on in the world. He’s a caretaker, he’s someone who looks out for you. I think we all have someone like that.”

“Hey Man, Don’t Look at Me Like That”
“I recorded this song years ago with my ex-girlfriend. At the time, her acting career was doing well, my music career was kicking in, and the song is about all the things that came along with that world that we were living in. We used to have this thing we’d say when we went out, in this big Texan accent: ‘Hey man, don’t look at me like that.’ I recorded it on an old computer, and it’s really sweet—you can hear me whispering the lyrics to her because she didn’t know them all. It’s one of those moments where it doesn’t matter how good the quality is, all that matters is that you’ve captured a moment that represents something special. When I listen to it, it reminds me of our time together and a really sweet chapter in my life. I’ve had the recording for so long, but it just worked with what this record represents.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Angus Stone’s second solo album as DOPE LEMON is different to anything the Australian singer-songwriter has released before. Unlike his first solo album or those released with his sister Julia, Smooth Big Cat is entirely his own. “I got to play all the instruments on it,” he tells Apple Music. “In the past, I’ve had people coming in, being creative in their own ways and bringing their ideas to the table. But this is 100% my brushstroke—every colour, every instrument, every sound. I didn’t really know that would happen, but it felt so fluid. I felt so energised.” Beyond playing every instrument himself, the stories that inspired each song are also definitively his own, inspired by his life, relationships and surroundings. Here, he delves into some of his favourites.

“Salt & Pepper”
“The studio we recorded in is really cool. It’s this old cottage on the outskirts of a jungly area that opens up into a big paddock. It’s really magic—there’s horses and cattle walking around, the sunsets are sublime. We’d sit around, have a few whiskies and talk about what we’ve got in front of us. We were working on ‘Salt & Pepper’ on a golden afternoon that turned into one of these nights. It all overlapped in the right ways and fell into place. For me, this song just simmers when you listen to it. You can just melt off. That’s what we were doing that night; it’s how we felt recording it.”

“Hey Little Baby”
“This is probably the most honest, personal song on the record. It’s about the world that I live in. Trying to maintain a relationship in that world can be quite difficult. It’s a tumultuous lifestyle, being away from home, in a new city every night. You’re doing something you love, and there are things which come along with that. But it is what it is.”

“Lonely Boys Paradise”
“It describes this place between heaven and hell, called Lonely Boys Paradise. It’s an island where you can fall in love for one night, but you can never leave. You’re on loop. And the concierge, he’s the devil. He keeps popping up in different forms—first, he arrives at the beach as a lobster. He’s smoking a cigarette, watching you fall in love, knowing that you’ll never leave this place alive. In some ways, the song explains the world I’m living in.”

“Smooth Big Cat”
“The Smooth Big Cat is a fictional character I created, but what he represents is real. He’s a cool cat, and he became the totem for the record. He shows up at just the right time, when you need to mellow out from all the nonsense going on in the world. He’s a caretaker, he’s someone who looks out for you. I think we all have someone like that.”

“Hey Man, Don’t Look at Me Like That”
“I recorded this song years ago with my ex-girlfriend. At the time, her acting career was doing well, my music career was kicking in, and the song is about all the things that came along with that world that we were living in. We used to have this thing we’d say when we went out, in this big Texan accent: ‘Hey man, don’t look at me like that.’ I recorded it on an old computer, and it’s really sweet—you can hear me whispering the lyrics to her because she didn’t know them all. It’s one of those moments where it doesn’t matter how good the quality is, all that matters is that you’ve captured a moment that represents something special. When I listen to it, it reminds me of our time together and a really sweet chapter in my life. I’ve had the recording for so long, but it just worked with what this record represents.”

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