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Chats With Dope Lemon a.k.a Angus Stone, Ahead Of Their WOMAD Performance


Chats With Dope Lemon a.k.a Angus Stone, Ahead Of Their WOMAD Performance

Jason Katsaras

Ahead of his performance at this year's Womadelaide, and only a few days after the release of the 'Hound's Tooth' EP, we spoke to Angus Stone about his studio, playing in Adelaide and the future...

Hi mate, congrats on the release of the 'Hounds Tooth EP',  how’s the farm going? (Angus lives and records music on his farm at Byron Bay)

Yeah I’m up the coast, in the studio at the moment, had a few little updates to the studio recently, which has been good… there’s been a bit of rain actually which is good because the tanks were drying up.

Yeah I’ve heard it’s a pretty good setup there, do you grow your own food there?

Yeah, yeah! We've got a little veggie patch, there’s eighty head of cattle, and yeah we’re fully off the grid - so it’s all solar, and there’s water tanks so it's basically all what the elements are giving us out here.

Amazing! Now we know that 'Home Soon' is based on a 1972 jam called 'Stories' by a Belgian band called The Chakachas, when and where did you first hear the original and when did you think to rework it? 

Umm the song I heard a while back, I heard it and I was wrapped, I loved it. I don’t know if you’ve heard the original but it's really groovy and my voice suited it. I just got in the studio and tracked it out. I loved the flute in it, I fell in love with it so I had to make something from it.

Yeah well it has come out as an absolutely ripper tune, have you always been a big fan of Latin soul? Which is obviously the foundation of ‘Home Soon’...

Yeah, I mean, I grew up with my family listening to a lot of Latin music. We grew up with a lot of the Buena Vista Social Club. We had that playing a lot and I don’t know, I fell in love with that style of music as a kid. I did a bit of travelling over in South America when I was, I think 16? Went over there for a couple of months, I lived in Chile for a bit. The way that those guys make music, it's all pretty pure stuff.

Mmm well the Home soon video clip too is fantastic…


Did that guitar you were using survive the amount of paint on it?

Haha, it's still sitting in the back of my car. It's actually a sixty-something really old strat as well that guitar, so quite a nice electric. I was thinking it was a bit of a sacrifice, I think it’ll still work... but it was worth it.

Yeah well if you can get it to work with all the paint still on it too, that’d surely be pretty cool...

Yeah, yeah totally.

What advantages have there been to recording on your property? Rather than in a traditional studio in the city for example?

Yeah it’s been a huge advantage; I guess call it a home-ground advantage. When you're in a commercial studio, you’ve got an engineer, and paying however much a day, which is usually pretty expensive… you sort of have this feeling like time is not on your side. You're watching the clock. When you’re at home, and you have your own joint, it's much more relaxed. You can cut through a lot more of that magic and not have to be worried about the clock as much. I feel like that’s where the good stuff’s at, when you’re just kicking around, drinking beers and being creative. To be able to capture that is great, I feel very lucky to have that because it has always been a dream. It’s a big part of the way the recordings turn out now for us. 

So how long have you been sitting on this EP for? A lot of people were super happy that it came out so soon after ‘Honey Bones’.

Um maybe a couple of months. It's probably the quickest I’ve turned over a record. Usually the turnaround on a record can be up to a year of sitting around, stewing on it for too long. I feel like as I get older I want to find a balance where I still focus on the tracks and make sure they’re right - because that’s important - but I want to be able to have a more continuous stream of being creative and releasing records in that way. I think it's important because it feels more relevant from the time that you track it, and have that special feeling with the song, or whatever the feeling is behind the song. You want that to stay with you when your playing it live. I feel like if you can turn it over a bit quicker, you keep that.

Yeah you’d have so much more of a connection with a song if you’ve written it recently…

Yeah, I mean it changes, definitely. You find new meanings for old songs, if your playing them every night eventually you create new stories for them in a way; the lyrics start changing in front of you and you're sharing a different story, which is cool as well. To get the pure stuff from when you first wrote it, it’s important I think.

Now we know that Elliott from the Delta Riggs has featured and helped out in a lot of Dope Lemon's music... how did you originally meet the Riggs?

Umm, shit, I’d have to ask Elliott that. I just feel like I’ve known him forever. Those boys are just absolute legends, you know, they’re just good fun and they’re in it. That’s what they do. They don’t have other jobs and stuff, they’ve sort of dedicated their life to what they do and I really respect that, and they’re all such cool dudes, characters... especially Elliott [laughs] that guy's got some swagger.

Also we’re very excited to know you're coming to WOMAdelaide and playing on Saturday night. When’s the last time you were in town?

Umm yeah we came there and played a show at the place near the soccer field…

The Gov?

Yeah, we played at the old Gov.

How do you find Adelaide crowds?

They’re good man. They’re a lot more wild I’d say, which is good. I mean sometimes we’ll play a show in certain cities and it’ll be really drawn back. You have listening crowds and you have like vibe crowds and I think Adelaide’s a bit of both. Obviously for every different band it’s a different thing. Especially the old Gov, I love that joint, it's so swampy. Yeah, we always have a great time in Adelaide.

Long term future, once you’ve toured this EP heaps, do you know what you’ll get up to?

I’m just sorta psyched that the EP was released on Friday and I’m just taking a bit of time to kick back, because my head has been so in the project, getting it mixed and mastered, making sure the tracks are all in play. Now it's just at the stage where there’s a little bit of down time to reflect on it being released. Triple J’s been really supportive and we got in the charts. I don’t know, I just feel really lucky at the moment to be out playing music with the boys. Give us some shows and we’ll play them.

Brilliant, well that’s all the questions I have for you, have a good arvo Angus. 

Legend, Seeya mate!

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All images courtesy of Dope Lemon.