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Still Corners

It is really such a great honour to have Still Corners in The Basement, as the British duet (London) can be considered as one of the greatest dream/synth pop bands of the decade. Will never forget the very first time I listened to their brilliant debut Creatures Of An Hour in 2011. Really changed my days and nights back then, totally blew my mind... An absolutely beautiful and adventurous debut, definitely a landmark release of the 10's. Their second album Strange Pleasures released two years later was equally elegant and intriguing. Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray talked to the Basement and we are more than happy to present you the interview.    

 

The Basement: Hi Still Corners ! Let’s start from the very beginning: How did it all start for Still Corners ?
Greg -
Some time in 2007 I decided to form a band, I didn't know what it would be but I knew what I loved.  So what came out later in 2007 was a self-released EP called "Remember Pepper?".  We sent it round to local record shops and some radio stations in Europe and America.  Things began to take shape slowly.  It was a while before we released our next song - Endless Summer, which we did as a digital release.  That was quickly followed by a song and video of Wish.  It was soon after that that we started getting some heat and labels began to approach us.  Sub Pop was one of those labels and they flew over to see us play and a deal was struck!  

The Basement: What’s the story behind your name ?
Greg -
Still Corners was taken from a poem called New Hampshire by Robert Frost.  We were going through a ton of names and I was getting burned out on it.  I remember reading that poem and it just popped out from the page and grabbed me, I went with it.

The Basement: What’s the first time you ever picked an instrument ? And, Tessa, how did you start singing at first place ?
Tessa -
I've been singing for as long as I can remember!  When I was growing up I used to sing a lot at schools, I was in choir, sang in competitions and loved performing.  I never really thought about joining a band but when Greg was looking for a singer for Still Corners I thought I could help out and we clicked.
Greg - I started noodling around on dusty organ we had that was in a corner of our house around the age of 9.  Around 21 I started really getting into acoustic guitar.  I bought my first acoustic at that time and it never left my side.  I think I even slept with it a few times.

The Basement: We for the first time listened to you, back in 2010, from the excellent single “Don't Fall In Love”.  We will never stop listening to it, it's so wonderful ! Please, let us know more about that track. 
Tessa -
Thank you, we're glad you like it.  That song was a break up song, you have your heart broken so badly that the easiest thing seems to be just not to let yourself fall in love again.  But it's not that simple, maybe you meet someone and there's a click and you think maybe it's worth giving it another try and get in the cycle all over again.
Greg - That was a tricky song.  I had gone through a break up and that's the song I wrote about it.  I remember Tessa singing it and it just blew me away, she really captured the heart ache.  It's a tricky song to sing.  I remember being happy with it, like out of the bad came the good.

The Basement: In 2011, you gave us one of the best dream pop albums ever made. Your excellent debut Creatures Of An Hour... Did you expect back then the acceptance and the recognition it enjoyed by the vast majority of audience and critics?
Tessa -
Creatures of an Hour seemed to tap into emotions that lots of people could connect with and it was amazing to have such a positive reaction to our early work. When we finished it, the only thing we knew was that we enjoyed listening to it and all we could do was hope that other people would feel the same way.   We try to write songs that mean something to us and that we are happy to listen to and play live again and again - if you don't want to listen to something a lot then why would anyone else want to?
Greg - No I didn't expect anything.  I was just following my heart.  That's all you can do.  If you start trying to make things that you think people will like it's over.  It was amazing though that people embraced it.

The Basement: So, we have a great new song, Horses At Night, after a rather long period of...silence. What’s the story behind the track, how was it initially inspired and written ?
Tessa -
We wrote the song in the countryside and by the sea in England.  We had the structure and music written for a long time but could never quite get the right vibe and lyrics so it sat on a shelf gathering dust for a couple of years really.  We listened to it again recently and loved it, we felt we had to put it out so spent the time to agree the lyrics and booked a studio here in Austin to do the last bits of recording.  It always had that chorus "stop breaking my heart" but we had to tap into the emotions of someone who is feeling like that.

 

 

The Basement: Is Horses At Night the herald of your third album ? Will it be with us in 2016 ? 
Tessa - Horses at Night won't be on our third album but we are working on the finishing touches right now so it should be out in 2016.  

The Basement: What should we expect from your new work ?
Tessa - The record is darker than Strange Pleasures, it has a lot of groove, kind of dark synth songs with guitar and drums.    

The Basement: Will the new album be a combination of the previous ones ? Did you changed your sound at all ?  
Tessa - We're not the type of band that makes the same sounding record again and again.  We'd almost describe this as a mix of Creatures and Strange Pleasures - the sadness of Creatures with some of the bigger production of Strange Pleasures.
Greg - We wanted it to be bit darker and draw you in, there's a few pop songs as well as more odd arrangements.

The Basement: What about the recording process, any new techniques used in your new album ?
Greg - Yeah for this one I used a lot more analog gear for processing, compression, EQ, even reverb.  Mostly what has changed on this record is the arrangements, we strived to have a streamlined approach on the songs as opposed to a build up of layers and that's true with the production as well. 
Tessa - The record was mostly written, recorded and mixed by the sea in England.  We're just working on the final touches over here in Austin, TX.

The Basement: What was your basic inspiration for your new music ? 
Tessa -
Life and everything around us. It's been a dark period in terms of violence and unease in the world and it's hard not to let that come through in the music but there's also beauty and little things every day that make you feel alive. Trying to reflect all these things in music is what drives us.   

The Basement: When did you move to the States and why ? In which State you live now ?
Tessa -
We have been living in Austin, Tx for the last few months recording.  We wanted to change it up a bit and have always liked Texas for the people and weather.  It's great to get some sun for a change too.  The bourbon isn't bad either.

The Basement: How's life there ? Do you regularly visit the UK ? Are you going to be back home or that depends on something ?
Tessa -
We visit the UK regularly.  The UK and Europe still feels like home so we'll be back and hope to play some shows when we're over there.  We're not sure how long we'll be in the US for.

The Basement: Do you have a studio of yours there and you just cooperate with American musicians or you record elsewhere ?
Tessa -
We have set out a studio in our house where we can record, mix and practise for our live shows.  It's a great space and it's lovely to have the freedom to work on songs whenever we feel like it.  But when it comes to drums we like to go to a proper studio with a great room and a great drummer.  For this third record we recorded the drums at 123 studios in London with Neil Bullock on drums.  He's worked with Broadcast in the past and is an incredible drummer. We felt really lucky to work with him.


The Basement: Which bands or artists would you consider as your main influence ? 
Broadcast, Can, Vangelis, Klaus Schulz, Tangerine Dream, the Pixies, Hall and Oates, the Beatles, and John Carpenter and the Velvet Underground.

The Basement: Can you propose to us a new band or artist that you consider that could be huge in the new few years ?
Check out S U R V I V E - incredible band, like if Michael Mann did Manhunter 2.

The Basement: Do you thing that every artist should have a superior purpose apart of making a living and writing beautiful music, in the case of being a musician ?
Greg - I don't think any artist should do anything other than what they want.  Some follow a higher purpose and others don't.  You can only judge it on what they create.  If a bad person creates an amazing work what do you do? 
Tessa - We hear stories from people who have listened to our music to help them to deal with life's day to day worries, that definitely provides an incentive for us to keep doing what we're doing. It may not be a superior purpose but knowing that we can reach out to people through our music is meaningful.

The Basement: You have visited Greece twice before. What are your memories of those visits. Should we expect you back sometime ? Greek audience loves you ! 
Greg - Where do I start?  I love Greece.  The people, the countryside, the water, the food, the attitude, the music, the dancing.  We may even end up living there some day.  
Tessa - We have really loved our visits to Greece and can't wait to come back.  It's amazing that everyone is always so welcoming and that people in Greece seemed to have connected so well with our music.  It's such a beautiful country.  The food, atmosphere and people are fantastic.  We know you guys have been going through a difficult time but we're always struck by how vibrant every one is whenever we've been in town.  

The Basement: Thank you so so much ! Glad to have you back ! 
Tessa - Thank you so much, we can't wait to visit again.
Greg - Thank you so much, looking forward to our next visit!

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