On The Radar: The Staves
Friday, June 1, 2012|by G.K. Hizer
Back in January, TMN tabbed The Civil Wars as the most anticipated show of the week in the weekly Top 5 list. As expected, the duo was stellar, performing a set that kept the audience spellbound throughout the evening. What we didn't know, however, was just how impressive the opening act, The Staves, would be.
Much like everyone else in the audience, we arrived asking "Who are the Staves?" By the end of the evening, we were asking the same question, but in a different context. Now it was more a matter of "Just who were those girls and how can we find out more?"
The trio of sisters from Watford, England have had a busy year. The group hasn't just opened for The Civil Wars and turned more heads in Austin in March, prompting Billboard magazine to declare "The three-part harmonies of UK folk trio The Staves might've been the prettiest part of SXSW's opening day", but it has also landed a coveted opening spot on Bon Iver's spring tour and is being spotlighted on a number of the summer festivals.
As fate would have it, The Staves are returning to Tulsa this Saturday night, June 2, as Bon Iver arrives for an already highly anticipated (and SOLD OUT) show at Brady Theater. Once again, it's the top show of the week, but this time we know you'd be foolish to not arrive early and be privy to the band that we're convinced will be a breaking act when it's full-length debut is issued by Atlantic Records this fall.
Last week, we got an email from the band's management and although we weren't able to get these young ladies on the phone, we were able to get an interview by e-mail. A busy week of touring, compressed by the Memorial Day holiday caused some delays, but we finally got the Group's response to a handful of quick questions and knew you'd want to hear what they had to say to get an introduction to this amazing trio of sisters from the UK.
Here's an excerpt of what they had to say:
GKH/TMN: As sisters performing together, it's rather obvious that music played a large role in your family growing up. How instrumental were your parent in nurturing your musical skills and development and were either (or both) of them musicians or musically inclined. Also, what was the impetus to set out as professional musicians and recording artists, as opposed to keeping it within the family?
The Staves: Our parents are music lovers and they sing and play a bit of guitar and piano. They would always be singing along to Beatles records or Bob Dylan and would sing us nursery rhymes and we'd join in. It all just sunk in as we were growing up and their music taste certainly influenced ours. Singing was always something we'd do at home and around friends and it was a long time until we started playing in public. We never saw music as a career path so we all went off and got degrees while gigging in the mean time. We were all in different places and were traveling across the country to meet up and do gigs and it started to become clear to us that it was what we should be doing. We never chased it but things started to gain their own momentum, so it all happened in a natural way.
GKH/TMN: I first saw you perform in January, opening for The Civil Wars, where I was highly impressed - as was most of the audience. Now you're out on tour with Bon Iver after a jaunt on the "Austin to Boston" Tour with Ben Howard. You've obviously been very fortunate to land such high profile tours. How did those opportunities fall into place and have there been any challenges in transitioning from smaller venues to the theaters? And has response been as overwhelmingly positive as what I experienced in January?
The Staves: We've been very lucky with who we've toured with. It's very inspiring when you're around bands whose music you love. We're very lucky to get to watch the Bon Diver show every night - they are mind blowing. We've been playing a mixture of big theater shows and festivals and small club shows over the last few months and that variety keeps you on your toes. You get that intimacy in small venues and there can be magic moments between you and the crowd, but the bigger shows are great in a different way. We're just getting used to them, really. You can feel more distant from a large crowd, but we've been lucky with the Bon Iver fans and the Civil Wars before them who are very receptive.
GKH/TMN: Obviously, you've already had a big year, but you have even more ahead with some big festival appearances planned for the summer. Is it daunting when considering the potentially overwhelming size of such festival audiences and what new challenges come with such a different atmosphere? Also, what do you have planned going into the future (or are you going 1 step at a time at this point)?
The Staves: With big festival crowds you can only do what you do and hope they like it. You get a mixed audience of fans and people who are discovering you for the first time (and usually some drunk people) so it's different from a normal gig (or maybe not!). We're not a rock'n'roll band so we can't batter an audience into submission. But we only play the kind of festivals where people who go are into our type of music anyway, so it's never too hard!
Of course, there was more to discuss as the sisters discussed their influences and working with Ethan and Glyn Johns on the debut album for Atlantic Records. An unedited transcript of the full interview can be found here. In the meantime, you don't want to miss Saturday night's concert with Bon Iver and The Staves at Brady Theater. Just make sure to arrive early so you don't miss one of the hottest young acts coming out of the UK, so you're in the know and can say you "saw them when", as The Staves inevitably becomes the next big buzz band in late 2012.