Twenty-something sisters Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor have won the hearts of Southern America and caused father-and-son-producing-superstars Ethan and Glyn John’s to hole- heartedly fall in love with them- and their music. Making their way through a sold-out tour, the sister’s album Dead and Born and Grown was written before guitarist Jessica could even play.
“I started writing the album before I could play the guitar,” a timid-sounding Jessica
admits, “so it’s written using the bottom two strings only. It’s very stripped-back and it represents us and what we do quite well, I feel.
“The sentiment in the title track is more about new beginnings, things beginning again, going full circle.”
Reaping the benefits of blood-relation, the album doesn’t hold memories of getting together as a band for the first time, Camilla explains: “Because we are all sisters it wasn’t a case of remembering when we first started the band it was more a case of ‘oh remember when you were born’.
Music producer Glyn Johns, who is famous for his craft work with The Beatles, The
Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin worked with the girls after chance-encounters with the Johns’ family: “We met both Glyn and Ethan separately. We met Ethan when we were asked to do some backing vocals for Tom Jones.
“We knew Ethan was producing it so we thought, great. We gave him our EP and we
were like ‘what do you think? We recorded it on tape!!’ He had a listen and asked us to keep sending him stuff.
“We then met his dad Glyn a couple of weeks later. He said to us ‘well I’m a retired
producer and I don’t really do this anymore but I think my son would really like you’ and we were like ‘well actually, we have already met him!’ He and Ethan got together as they said they had a pretty strong reaction to our music. They had never really got together before but they were up pairing up working with us.”
Tenement TV caught up with the folksies in the midst of their sell-out tour : “It’s really
exciting to do a sell-out tour, we played Edinburgh in April and there were only around 50 people there so it’s much more exciting in Edinburgh this time around with over 600 confirmed for tonight’s show. It’s visually different now too.
Sharing the bill with Bat for Lashes and Two Door Cinema Club, The girls secured a slot
on legendary show Later with Jools Holland: “ We were a bit surprised we got the slot. It was always something that we watched and looked up to and thought it would be amazing to do.
“They’re really, really last minute with confirming you for the show. It’s kind of luck of
the draw. We were on tour in Milan when we found out. We got the call from our manager just two days before the show”.
“We would be lying if we said that we weren’t shitting ourselves. I was terrified. It’s a
live show! We didn’t even have a stage, everyone else can chill in-between other bands in their little area, but they set us up in the middle of the room with everyone all around us. Our parents were in the crowd as well, and we kept losing where they were in the crowd because they kept moving us around.”
While supporting Bon Iver across the pond earlier this year, the girls went down well
with the American crowd. But it was the Deep South solo shows where their music really went down: “The southern states have had some great responses to our music. They were really vocal about it, they were always shouting out ‘yeahhhhhh’s’ and ‘you guys are just great!’
It’s a beautiful part of the world, it’s amazing. The landscape itself is just incredible round there
Between songs you would be like ‘thank you’ and they would shout ‘No thank you very much you have such a warm heart”, Emily bursts out laughing, “So yeah, we really like America.
On the bill for virtual festival Other Voices (joining bands such as Palma Violets and Local Natives) which is recorded in a church and streamed to pubs throughout Dingle in Ireland, The Staves enjoyed some nostalgia on the coastline where they spent time as kids: “It’s a beautiful part of the world, it’s amazing. The landscape itself is just incredible round there. The whole Gaelic culture and folk tradition is really strong. We love it there”
“The first time we went, we were on holiday as kids. We saw dolphins and everything. We went back a couple of years ago and played in the church where they record Other Voices and we were hanging out with local musicians in the pubs.
“They are basically world-class folk musicians who are sitting in the local pubs drinking pints of Guinness. We went back to this girl’s flat with a load of other people who were all drumming on paint pots and just playing on anything they could. All these girls were just singing, and we were like ‘I’m going to cry.’ It was amazing.”
Spending one half of December in India and the second half in hometown Watford, The
Staves are looking forward to a new year filled with solid-touring. And with those pretty faces and Marling- esque vibes The Staves are a sure bet for topping up the folk genre in music collections all over.
Edited by Nadine Walker