The Stills

For the latest album Oceans Will Rise there seems to be a bit more playfulness in your playing perhaps, and maybe the arrangements that wasn’t there before. Did you have a bit more confidence in making this new record?

Dave: The arrangements are definitely a lot more elaborate than on any of our other records, just because I think we are better musicians and we wanted them to be a bit more exciting. So I guess we were trying to shake it up a bit.

Some of the songs like “Being Here” and “Snakecharming The Masses” have got so many twists and turns, were they hard to kinda kick into shape in the studio?

Tim: Actually, “Snakecharming” was a song that I wrote a little something and we were all ‘let’s go to the space and try it out’. We all had coffees, Dave, Liam and I, and went into the space, threw a beat down, within literally seven minutes, we had played it twice, and arranged it and finished it, and it was super easy.

Dave: “Being Here” I wrote at my old apartment in my bedroom and it took like 15 minutes and I had the whole thing.

So this stuff’s a doddle is what you’re telling me…

Dave : No, there’s other songs on the record that took longer…

Tim: It’s super easy, man!

Dave : It took me six months to write “Hands on Fire” for some reason and it took me 10 minutes to write “Being Here”.  It took me six months to write “Don’t Talk Down” also. Some songs you get on the first go, and some songs take a little longer to finish.

Taking on those kinds of styles, or “genre hopping” as you sort of called it, does it help to dodge pigeon holing that way?

Dave: Maybe that’s what we’re trying to do, I don’t know…

Tim: I think that’s what we might be trying to do… (laughs)

Dave: Our next record though is just going to be the same as this one, so… (all laugh).

But have you found that? Has it helped to keep as many people as possible confounded by it, and embrace that feeling of not always being compared to the same group of bands?

Dave: It’s kind of a nice feeling, and when we put out records, people are generally interested to hear what we’ve done this time, and I think that’s better than people not wanting to check it out because it’s this one thing and they’ve heard it so many times.

Tim: It’s like you said, there’s this consistency throughout all our albums, which is two people writing the songs in a certain way and arranging them in a certain way and there’s always going to be a common element within that. I think if people appreciate The Stills ten years from now it will be because of those elements overall.

You can come back and defend that when you’ve done your triple prog/disco side project by album number ten. Is that on the cards for the next record?

Dave: I don’t think so. Maybe… who knows. I think Oceans was our prog record.

Tim: Definitely.

Dave: There’s a lot of weird stuff going on and different time signatures. It’s intricate.

It’s actually resulted in your guys getting a bit of a leg-up finally, in Canada because you’re going home to play the Juno Awards, which are like the Canadian ARIAs.

Tim: We were never truly embraced by our fellow Canucks at home in Canada…

Dave: It’s because we didn’t have a single…

Tim: …and now that we’re on Arts & Crafts, the flagship Canadian pride record label they helped to lift our legs up.

Dave: We had a single of “Being Here” in the top 10 in Canada for 40 weeks or something, so it was pretty crazy.

But the best news is that The Stills have been nominated for Best New Group… on your third album.

Tim: Well we’re all pushing 40 here, and uh.. better late than never (laughs).

Keep dreaming, it could always happen. So here’s hoping that there’s the chinking of champagne glasses come the Junos.

Tim: We’ll be drinking champagne or some kind of grape derivation of alcohol.

And I hope that doesn’t keep you away from actually making it back to Australia. This is the tricky thing, do you think you could maybe do your own tour here at some point?

Dave: We’d love to.

Tim: It’s amazing here. People are so friendly and so cool and we’re having an amazing time. It’s so beautiful.

First broadcast on Static on 19/03/09. Static can be heard on Sydney’s 2SER (107.3 FM) and via the internet ( every Thursday evening (AEST).