Monday, January 16, 2012

The Stillsons

Melbourne based band THE STILLSONS are braving the heat and starting 2012 off with what they’ve dubbed the Mammoth Summer Tour. Singer, songwriter, percussionist, and all round nice girl CAT CANTERI talks to RACHEL BARNES about the band’s eclectic and sometimes surprising style.

With their latest album Earnest being named album of the week by radio stations and publications all over the place, The Stillsons unique, non-genre-specific approach to music is getting them some well deserved attention. From bankruptcy scares that threatened to shut the band down through to line up changes that massively impacted their sound, they have been through it all. Now touring as a four-piece, The Stillsons are stronger than ever with a sound that seems to have become even more eclectic. Stepping away from the indie folk idiom of their first album Circus, The Stillsons second effort, Earnest, moves towards a more roots-country-blues base. The band’s plethora of personal influences have helped them in this sonic evolution. “We all listen really widely to lots of different kinds of music, so I think the music just comes out the way it comes out. We don’t sort of intend for any particular genre at any time,” Canteri says.

With the album is now out and getting great reviews, The Stillsons are very far from being still. The band have spent the lead up to their tour in Melbourne preparing for a jam-packed summer by rehearsing in 40 degree heat without air-conditioning. “It’s pretty sticky and smelly, but you gotta do what you gotta do,” Canteri laughs.

The band tour with a fourth member, bassist Edmondo Ammendola, leaving Canteri outnumbered three to one in the gender stakes while on the road. Canteri doesn’t seem fazed by being the only girl on tour, and only realises her plight when there is another female close by. “When there’s another woman around it’s like, ‘Oh, this is what it’s like to talk to a woman, I’ve almost forgotten what it was like,’” she laughs.

Girls or no girls, Canteri says she appreciates every aspect of being in the band and especially loves touring because she is able to interact with different audiences and fans each night. “I suppose at the end of the day it’s really just about connecting with people (and) I really enjoy that process.”

The Mammoth Summer tour is one full-on way to kick off the new year, but the band are eager to play gigs all over the east coast at the peak of summer. “We’re all pumped for it,” Canteri enthuses. “We’re all really excited and really pumped to get out on the road and play some good shows and meet some new people.” Fans can expect a load of new material at the shows, ranging from funky and up-tempo beats to a taste of rock & roll. “There’s some really fresh stuff that we’re really excited to pump out and get some people dancing.”

Despite having so much new material in the bank, The Stillsons are taking their time to showcase their scope on tour and don’t plan on rushing into a new album. “We’re just going to take it easy and see how it goes. I think we’re all going to know when it’s the right time to record,” Canteri says. “Before you know it we’ll probably be in the studio again,” she laughs.

THE STILLSONS play Byron’s beach Hotel on Wednesday Jan 18; The Royal Mail Hotel, Ipswich, on Saturday Jan 21; Earth Sun Markets, Brisbane, on Sunday Jan 22 (morning); The Cave, Nobby Beach, on Monday Jan 23; and The Palmy Café, Gold Coast, on Tuesday Jan 24. They also play two secret shows – one in Byron on Thursday Jan 19 and one in Brisbane on Thursday Jan 26; details EARNEST is out

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