It sounds exhausting to be Angus & Julia Stone: since the band’s self-titled album (their third full-length) was released this summer, they’ve been internationally touring non-stop, and Coachella is more of a mid-cycle blast rather than a victory lap.
“This is the beginning of all the festival stuff for us,” their manager, Tim Manton of Tap Management, told Billboard during a press-tent stop before the band’s mid-afternoon set at the Outdoor Theater. “Up til now it’s been headlining shows. But Coachella rolls into the summer festivals in America –actually, we go to France right after this, then the Governor’s Ball. Everything we’ve done to date has been for this.”
That said, Angus & Julia both seem to still have their wits about them — the duo last played Coachella in 2011, but since then they’ve become road warriors, which clearly has made them more comfortable with their role at the fest. “I think there were probably a lot more nerves [last time],” Julia said. “I’m still excited to be playing it, but it’s also a little bit like the veil’s been pulled away, and it’s just another festival.”
The band’s wistful songs can be fairly mellow — and at Coachella, there’s always the risk of being overpowered by your louder neighbors. But recently, the band’s had more of an arsenal to combat this problem. “The new record’s a lot more electric guitar based, so we have a bigger sound,” Julia clarified. “We’ve got [a drummer] who plays big, so from where we’ve come — brushes on snares and acoustic guitars — for festivals like this, [now] it can translate. [Early on], we did some festivals where it literally feels like you’re playing someone else’s songs, since that’s what’s coming through the microphones!”