Interview: Still Corners return with adventurous video ahead of dream-inducing album 'Slow Air'

By Alex Brown - 8.10.18

Interview by Shannon Lawlor

Still Corners are a London-based dream-pop duo consisting of producer Greg Hughes and vocalist Tessa Murray. Their unique and captivating sound borrows elements from an array of styles and textures such as synthwave, electronica, or indie-pop. Still Corners signed to prestigious Seattle-based label Sub Pop (Beach House, Soundgarden, Father John Misty, etc) in 2011, who released their sophomore album, Strange Pleasures in 2013, inevitably gaining favourable reviews propelling the band further into the limelight.

Soon after, Still Corners released a follow-up album Dead Blue in 2016 via their very own imprint, Wrecking Light, further propelling their already mature and ethereal immersion. After two years Still Corners are back with an incredibly atmospheric and mesmerising body of work titled Slow Air. Released in August 2018, the album is a hauntingly atmospheric reflection and response to the fast paced lives we all live today.

We caught up with Still Corners on flow, memories and encouraging advice:

For anyone foreign to Still Corners’ luscious, indulgent and mesmerising sound - how would you personally describe the music you produce?

Thank you so much! I think that covers it, definitely on this last album, we were going for a more lush and warm sound.

Your latest album Slow Air out now via Wrecking Light is a gorgeous, atmospheric representation of essential growth. Could you detail the recording process of this album compared to any past sessions? (ie. 2016’s Dead Blue)

On Slow Air we moved very quickly which was the complete opposite to Dead Blue which we really laboured over everything. We used as much analogue gear as we could and everything went through hardware EQ and compressors which added a sound in itself. We used various mics, tube and ribbons, combined with a Neve preamp which has a full sort of 70's sound. I think it all combined to give it a warm vibe. That's the technical side, the songs lent themselves to a more atmospheric feel as well.

The single and video for “Black Lagoon” is a dreamy excursion through landscapes and aesthetically pleasing live visuals. Could you give any insight into the meaning, or inspiration to this textural single?

We were inspired driving through California which is basically a garden of Eden. Once you're out of the city, the nature there is absolutely stunning. I think we just fell in love with it and wanted to film it, capture it the best we could, with our rather limited knowledge of film making. The song ‘Black Lagoon’ seemed a good fit with its driving beat so we headed off to the beach to see what we could cook up.
Where do Still Corners usually like to seek inspiration from while writing or creating music?

We're open to any sort of inspiration, and there's a lot out there to be inspired by; nature, people, cooking, film, music. I saw some beautiful woodwork the other day in New York, it had a look and smell and feel that was lovely. Exposure to these things stick with you and can pop into your head when you’re just doodling on the guitar and piano. It’s best to let it all flow through you. So I think flow is the most important thing and keeping hold of it. This itself can be difficult and it's easy to get blocked because the world can be both beautiful and terrifying (there's good and bad days etc). Reading the news can completely throw you off so when you're writing you have to be cognisant of these things, keep the creative prize in mind and watch out for negative things or toxic things.

For Tessa: Working as a womxn in the music industry, do you find your current environment egalitarian? If not, in which ways do you feel we need to take action against these unjust issues?

I can't say I've experienced any issues being a woman in the music industry. Although there is still a gap on some of the larger platforms - Festival headline gigs is one example - there are many more female-led groups now than when I first started out with Still Corners. That's a great thing to see and be part of.

Out of everywhere you have performed to date, what do feel was your most memorable show, and why?

We played in an opera house at a festival in the South of France, a place called Toulon back in 2010. It was the Festival Midi, the first proper European festival that we'd played and the show and setting were amazing. It was just before Christmas and was a lovely way to close out the crazy year where actually having a career in music seemed like a realistic possibility.

Are there any instruments, hardware, software etc which you feel is absolutely vital in portraying Still Corners’ unique and signature tone?

I think the Fender Princeton amp and Tessa's secret vocal mic are some of the main recipes.
If Still Corners could choose that one ‘dream-collaboration’, with anyone, dead or alive - who would it be with and why?

David Bowie. A brilliant artist and a witty, very funny man.

Any mutual playlist favourites played on heavy rotation you’d care to mention?

I think Nils Frahm’s All Melody is the best sounding album I've heard in ages and the vinyl pressing is absolutely wonderful. We've been returning to it time and time again; it's an excellent album and the whole package is exquisite with large detailed colorful photos of the studio including anecdotes or descriptions.

Do you have any advice for up-and-coming producers and musicians out there trying to turn their dreams into reality?

Listen to as much music as humanly possible, read about your heroes, work on all aspects of sound reproduction including acoustics and speaker placement, spend a lot of time learning your gear, don't worry, don't get discouraged, practice as much as possible and get great monitors!

What’s next for Still Corners? Any tour plans, new(er) music to release, or is it time for some hibernation?

We're in the middle of our US tour with the west coast next and Europe to follow which we're very excited about!


Still Corners Tour Dates:
Thursday October 25th - Barracuda, Austin, TX
Monday October 29th - Rebel Lounge, Phoenix, AZ
Tuesday October 30th - Casbah, San Diego, CA
Thursday November 1st - Resident, Los Angeles, CA
Friday November 2nd - Neck of the Woods, San Francisco, CA
Sunday November 4th - Doug Fir Lounge, Portland OR
Monday November 5th - Sunset, Seattle WA
Tuesday November 6th - Fox Cabaret, Vancouver, BC

Order Slow Air by Still Corners
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