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09th Nov 2015

JOE catches up with folk rock sisters The Staves on their UK tour…

Stunningly talented

Lia Nicholls

There’s been a few famous musicians to hail from Watford: Elton John, George Michael, Geri Halliwell and Naughty Boy to name a few.

But the coolest by far are The Staves.

Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor, who began performing at their local pub at open mic nights before being signed, are currently touring their second album ‘If I Was’. 

There are so many reasons to be a fan of the trio, whether it’s their harmonies, their edge or brutally honest lyrics. It’s Joni Mitchell times three.


Three sisters living on a tour bus together with 12 people since March, you’d think there would have been a few tantrums by now. Instead it’s playlists, films, coffee and whisky.

We caught up with band member Emily for a chat before their sold-out gig at London’s Roundhouse…

JOE: As sisters who have been playing together for 11 years and touring for five, you must know each others habits very well; describe a standard day on the tour bus… 

Emily: Jess is most into her coffee so she’ll get up and have a proper cup and then usually sit on her own and ease herself into the day by reading or watching something on her laptop, and you generally know at that time it’s probably best not to talk to her.

I’ve recently realised I need two pints of tea to feel human.

Millie’s bus routine is usually hungover…she wakes up at the last possible second, like a tramp…(laughs)

There’s loads of us on the bus so the objective is to try and sit still and not move too much to injure anyone, and then get off as soon as you can.

Sum up your year in a sentence…

Amazing. It has been a real pleasure to play these songs to people and to release this album. The process of making it and setting it free into the world has been quite emotional.

What track are you loving playing at the moment?

‘Damn It All’ makes me feel I’m standing on top of a mountain…

Towards the end of the last tour, you said playing those songs is like having sex with a boyfriend who you don’t love any more, I’m guessing you don’t feel the same? 

Hahahahaha! No, I’m not quite feeling that yet. It’s a weird thing, this time round we’ve realised how important it is to have a balance.

If you’re doing the same thing again and again, you’re not truly in that moment, you’re just living in the memory of what you’ve done before. We’ve switched things up so we don’t get sick of them.

Who is in charge of the playlist on tour? 

I’ve been looking after the playlist before we go on stage, like walk-on and walk-off music. At the moment we walk on to American Girl and walk off dancing to Whole of The Moon.

James, who plays keys and guitar in our band, was playing some absolute crackers backstage the other night like, (sings Chaka Khan’s) “I’m Every Woman”…

Whose albums are you loving at the moment? 

I’m loving Foals’ What Went Down and Tame Impala. Sometimes when you love an album, it can take you through a couple of years, everyone says, ‘new music, new music!’ but I’m like ‘I’m still listening to that!’

You’ve toured with Bon Iver and Florence and the Machine, who else would you like to tour with?

Feist, definitely. Fleet Foxes from back in the day. Bombay Bicycle Club would probably be quite fun.

And Foals too? You’d have to take on their whisky penchant though…

We’ve put a fair amount away on this tour, I reckon we could keep up.

What’s been your biggest extravagance this year?

It hasn’t really translated in to monetary success yet so we haven’t gone out and bought anything flash necessarily, but I guess we get a few more taxis here and there…

How are you planning to unwind once the tour is over? 

I retreat totally into my shell. For the first three or four days, I don’t leave my flat, I relish walking around in something that doesn’t move, sleep in my own bed and drink tea from a china cup.

I like getting drunk places where you can really relax at friends houses etc. And I like to get out to the countryside to experience a bit of nature.

As Watford FC fans, have you been able to keep up with their recent run?

We haven’t I’m afraid, although I do know they beat West Ham! But we do have our customised ‘Watford Til I Die’ t-shirts which we buy them for our mates for Christmas.

If there was a fire, what items would you save first and why?

Myself and my rabbit Mopsy, it’s not a real rabbit by the way…I’ve had it for a long time. I once took it to a Paul Simon gig and he signed it so Mopsy would definitely be getting saved. I have a box of letters that I treasure so they’d be coming, oh and my phone, you’re usually screwed without that.

Where was your worst ever job?

I’ve had a few. I worked for Mothercare in a call centre for their Christmas services once and having angry, pregnant women calling you wasn’t too good.

When was the last time you cried?

The other day I watched Blood Diamond on the bus, I’ve seen it before but I really did cry. Leonardo DiCaprio is the absolute man.

Who is your famous crush?

I mean any man who is really talented, there’s something really quite cool about that so the obvious; Leonardo, Tom Hardy and Johnny Depp.

Tom Hardy

And finally, what’s the most surreal party you’ve been to?

The most surreal usually happen in Ireland, they’re always the messiest and most unpredictable…

We also went to a mad party in Texas. We walked through this street and thought we were going to get killed and then someone peered out of a door and ushered us in…there were some real characters. We lost all sense of time, it was light when we emerged.