Posted on August 28, 2013
With harmonies that give you goose bumps and vocals that make the hairs stand on the back of your neck, The Staves are more than just your average folk band. Their flawless harmonies and soothing melodies can be attributed to their DNA – that’s right, Emily, Jessica and Camilla are three very talented sisters. The Watford-born trio had their first big break when Tom Jones roped them into his 2010 album Praise and Blame but it wasn’t long before their talent was spotted and soon they were touring with The Civil Wars across the United States and later, supporting Bon Iver’s US tour. Now they back in Blighty gigging around the country before heading on a European tour later in the month. We caught some time with the coolest siblings out there to talk the pros of teaching yourself the guitar and lazy dress sense.
Have you always only played as a trio together, or were you in other bands before forming The Staves?
We all used to sing with our mates growing up, and Jess played in a band called Mt Desolation for a little bit but that was always alongside Staves stuff. This has always been our musical focus.
How did you learn to play the guitar and ukulele? Did you have lessons, or are you self-taught?
Our Dad started teaching Jessica and I (Camilla) a few chords when we were young and we kind of taught ourselves the rest. It made Ukulele quite natural and easy to pick up later on. I think if we’d gone to lessons it would’ve seemed like work and we probably would’ve lost interest very quickly. It was nice discovering things at our own pace.
Do you have any other siblings or is it just the three of you?
Tell us about your album, Dead & Born & Grown – was it fun to make?
Yes! It was really nice to finally record some of the songs that we’d been gigging for ages and hadn’t had the chance to get on tape before. We recorded everything as live as we could do it so we could capture that energy you have when you actually perform together. It was a really natural and unforced process.
How would you sum it up for someone who hasn’t heard it before?
You made it with father and son producers Glyn and Ethan Johns. They are both legends, aren’t they? Are you fans of their previous work?
We were massive fans before we got to record with them and we felt so lucky and flattered that they wanted to work with us. I think we felt a little intimidated at first when we got into the studio they were just normal blokes. They have some very good stories to tell between them.
Where would you most like to perform?
Tough one. There’s a place called Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado, which is a massive outdoor theatre cut into these amazing red mountains. We played there with Bon Iver and Feist last year and it was incredible. It looked like something out of The Flintstones.
How much attention do you pay to clothes – do you think it’s an important part of your image as a band? Do any of you have a personal interest in fashion?
I think we all have a personal interest in fashion and all like clothes, but it’s not a massive part of who we are as a band. We don’t spend a massive amount of time on what we wear. I think we’re too lazy!
How would you describe your style?
We like mostly vintage stuff and classic, versatile, simple shirts and blouses. We’re not the most girly of girls and really like more androgynous clothing.
What is on your fashion wish-list at the moment?
White Levi jeans. Ones you can’t see my pants through!
Do you have any musical style icons, past or present? If so, who and why?
Joni Mitchell. Effortless.