The Big Issue : Edition 545
THEBIGISSUE8–21SEP2017 35 PHOTOBYJENNIFERSTENGLEIN that wasn’t just [Angus] or me,” Julia recounts. “It was the first time we had done call-and-response type stuff, where he sings a line, and I sing a line. We loved the way that sounded, and the way it felt to write together.” And, so, over the past couple of years, as they “were off living our lives”, the pair would periodically write together. “There was a real sense of life just rolling on, and making music just happening to be a part of it,” Julia offers, wistfully. Of course, she admits that those nice vibes were impractical, so they set themselves real deadlines, and got to work on Snow. Befitting its shared, collaborative nature, the album was recorded and produced by Angus and Julia themselves, in Angus’ “cottage studio” in Byron Bay. They tossed around various ideas, inspirations, dreams: ‘Cellar Door’ is a reference to the 2001 film Donnie Darko; ‘Baudelaire’ is a riff on the French poet, the song inspired by the sentiments of his poem ‘Be Drunk’. A lot of the songs were built around a vintage organ and its rickety rhythms, something you can hear clearly at the beginning of the driving, Springsteenian epic ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’. The organ gives the album a sense of character. “[Angus] found it in the newspaper for $150,” Julia explains. “In the actual paper. The Echo up in Byron. If we’re out for breakfast or whatever, we like to pick up a paper and have a read. It’s one of these old organs that has pre-set rhythms and beats: samba, rhumba, waltz. They’re all pretty dinky and cute. We found ourselves using those beats to have jams, and write songs.” Writing together, they found their respective voices – both literal and figurative – becoming intertwined. “That we’re both an integral part of making every song sound the way it sounds, is kind of what gives [Snow] the quality it has,” Julia says. “No song is either Angus’ or my song. They were written by both of us, making them up on the spot, writing the lyrics backwards and forwards. None of these songs would exist without the other person.” Getting there, Julia notes, required trust. That trust has grown as the duo has grown up, becoming adults and friends as well as siblings and bandmates. “When you’re writing a song, making up a dance, painting a picture, whatever it is, there’s a certain amount of experimenting, trying and failing that you have to do, as you make choices,” Julia offers. “If, during that process, someone is watching, there can be a sense of potential embarrassment, or shyness about where you’d go. What you do in the quiet of your own room is very different to what we do when someone’s watching. As human beings, we censor ourselves when we feel we’re being observed. “But those choices that you make during moments of trying things that do or don’t work, that’s where the good stuff comes from. Luckily, the unique situation with us is that, by this point, we’ve been through so much and seen so much together. We know each other so well that there’s no hiding anything.” by Anthony Carew » Snow is out 15 September.