Joss Stone Talks "LP1", Super Heavy, Foreign Films, and "The Hobbit"
Mon, 25 Jul 2011 06:39:16
"It's easy to make this work on stage because it's so raw," Joss Stone says of her brand new album, LP1.
Stone has never been one to hold back. In fact, it's her honest lyrical style and unbridled delivery that have made her one of the most important voices in soul music. However, she's personally redefining "raw" right now. On LP1, with a little help from Eurythmics' David A. Stewart, her soulful vocals vividly evoke a myriad of emotions. Stone and Stewart blazed through the recording sessions in six short days in Nashville, capturing numerous feelings and stories to tape in the process. That's where LP1 stretches into timeless territory—Stone's become a storyteller for the ages.
She smiles, "I can tell you we had a lot of fun making it. It was just hilarious."
Joss Stone sat down for an exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about LP1, some favorite foreign flicks, The Hobbit, and so much more…
Can you delve into some of that "fun" behind making LP1?
It sounds a bit serious. I didn't have any idea what kind of sound I just made because it was so quick. It was a whirlwind of madness with a lot of laughs and messing around. We also made a lot of songs in six days. I got home, and I didn't even realize what I'd done. I pressed play, and I was like, "Wow, that's a lot more emotional and serious-sounding than I thought it was going to be." There are a lot of builds in there. I was a bit shocked with myself actually because we did have such a laugh yet there are some really emotional moments in there.
The lyrics resound powerfully. Did you want to emphasize the words more by stripping the sound?
Yeah, I think so! The stuff I listen to and would normally put together is groove-based with bass lines and heavy drums. LP1 is more musical. It goes with the sentiment of the song, and it lifts the sentiment and makes it mean more rather than some groove that you could say anything over. It's a different style. It does help. With the songwriting, we wrote these songs in no time. The first thought is the thought that people hear, which I always find to be the most honest. If you're messing around with your lyrics for three days, then it's not honest, is it?
Was it fun for you to open up like this?
It was good! I had to. I was like, "I've got five seconds to do this right!" [Laughs] When I spoke to Dave [Stewart, Eurythmics], we didn't say, "Oh, let's go make an album for a month" and all of a sudden we were finished. It was more like, "These guys are free for a week. Should we go play with them?" Okay. I knew I had a week, and I wanted to get as much goodness out of this whole experience as I possibly could. We wrote each song down in the way we first thought about it, and I went and sang it three times. We didn't waste any more time on it. The feeling was that I gave every single piece of me on the first time I sang it. Then, I'd do the same again. I'd feel like my voice was dying, but I'd keep going. Maybe that's why it sounds so desperate. I didn't think about it though. It was like, "This is the one chance you get so give it some shit and stop fucking around."
Is it important for you to tell stories with each track?
It is actually. That's nice that you noticed that. I always hope that's the case. I like it when people can visualize something in their heads like reading a book. They can explain it to you, but at the end of the day, you make up your own visuals in your head. It's your own movie. It's the same with the song. You try to be as honest as you can and make it relatable to people.
Do you tend to watch a lot of movies or read a lot?
I do watch a lot of movies. I love movies—especially the really artsy ones. I do read, but not a lot. It takes me ages to read. I love fantasy, and that's the kind of stuff I read. Most of my songs aren't really fantasy, they usually come from something pretty factual, which is annoying, but it works for me.
What are your favorite fantasy books?
My dad used to read me The Hobbit when I was little, and I loved that. It was so good. Now, I'm just reading books about angels. They're really silly love stories about angels and demons. I like to go into a world that is nothing like mine whatsoever. If there happens to be a fairy that pops up, all the better! If there's some kind of wizardry, nice! [Laughs] If it takes you out of your world of reality, then it's great.
"Boat Yard" stands out. What's the story behind that song?
It's cool that you like that song. Some people really think that song's weird. While for other people, it's their favorite track. I like it! The changes are a bit quirky. Usually, musicians love it. I wrote that song in a boat yard just a couple of days before I went to Nashville. I went out to the South of Spain with my friend. We drove out there with my dog in my van. I ended up living in my van for three or four months after that. I went out planning to be there for a couple weeks to clean the bottom of this boat. We managed that. It took ages, but it was good fun! Then, Dave called me randomly. He was like, "Come out! It will be fun!" I didn't have any songs though. I knew the band was only available for a week, and I'd written "Boat Yard" a couple of days before. I thought of all the ladies who lose their husbands at sea because it does happen. They sit at the end of the promenade and cry. It's horrible. Then, my boyfriend came over and got on a little speedboat and went out into the sea. He wanted to go fishing, and I was like, "Oh my God, he's going to be lost at sea!" [Laughs] I wrote a song about that. It's dramatic, but it's quite funny.
If LP1 were a movie or a combination of movies what would it be?
I didn't expect it to happen, and I've never actually watched a movie like this before. Sound-wise, it's Dave and these Nashville chaps. I never really experienced that sound. I just jumped in and did what I could. I've never watched a movie that sounds like that.
What are some of your favorite movies?
I love Amelie and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. That is a fucking good film. It's totally weird, but it's so sweet and sad. I love Amelie because it's like eye-food. Every shot is so interesting. It's like a work of art in and of itself. The story is so simple and sweet. I love those films. Then I love Quentin Tarantino as well. I like a good love story like The Notebook too.
What's next for you?
We're going to do Super Heavy [Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, David A. Stewart, Damian Marley, A.R. Rahman] which is really fun. We're going to maybe put out a record later this year. The fun part for me is making the music, so that's what I'm going to do. The sound is totally quirky. It's funny! It doesn't sound like anything. It just sounds like us. It sounds like a mish-mash of different styles. It's really cool!
Did you approach it with a boundless mentality?
Pretty much! Anything went. Nobody sat down and said, "This is the sound guys. Let's stick to this and have continuity throughout the record." It was more like, "Everyone check your mics. Are they good? Okay. Go!" That was it. We did make noises [Laughs]. That's the best way to do it. Make noises until somebody smiles.
It sounds like there were a lot of smiles.
Absolutely! It was hilarious!
Are you excited for LP1?