“We need to polish off our dance routines”: An Interview with The Staves at Blissfields 2013


Emily, Jess and Camilla Stavely-Taylor make up The Staves, three absolutely beautiful sisters hailing from Watford. Producing a delightful folk-rock sound and all in perfect harmony, they are not only fantastic at what they do but are also lovely interviewees.  Editor Megan Downing interviewed the sisters at this year’s Blissfields. They discussed that amazing, once in a lifetime Glastonbury performance, festival necessities and artists they’re most excited about this year. Enjoy!

So speaking of Glastonbury, you played at that last week, I saw you guys on the Saturday on The Other Stage – how was that for you guys?

Emily: It was great fun, we had a great time. It was really good.

Obviously you ended up playing on The Pyramid Stage with Mumford and Sons – how did that come about? That must have been absolutely mental!

Camilla: It was kind of a last minute affair. We know the boys and they said ‘do you fancy singing this song?’ and we always used to sing it when we were little and loved the song so we were of course like ‘yeah, I think we’ll do it, on the Pyramid Stage, closing Glastonbury, yeah yeah, we’ll do it’. So we went there and didn’t know who else would be doing it and First Aid Kit were doing it and The Vaccines and Vampire Weekend who we all really love, so it was wicked! It was very surreal seeing so many people as far as the eye could see!

What can we expect from your performance here at Blissfields?

Emily: We’re doing a full band performance which is always a nice thing to do, we did a few of those at festivals last year but its kind of how we’ve been touring this year so its always really nice to have as full a sound as you can. We’re kind of just gonna play the best gig that we can play I reckon!
Camilla: We need to polish off our dance routines, all that kind of shit.
Jess: I’m intrigued, the stage looks like a bouncy castle from here as well, so I’m pretty excited.

The theme for Blissfields this year is film, if you could choose a theme and put it into action here, what would you do?

Camilla: Errrm, Twin Peaks!
Emily: Oh yeah! Good one!
Camilla: I feel there’s a lot of knitwear involved in that and it’s very hot so that could be terrible.
Jess: Could we do like, The Little Mermaid? Very specifically, I want people coming as ‘you know, I’m that clam, that’s in one second in the middle of ‘Under The Sea’ the song, you look to the side and he’s there?’
Emily: I reckon like English pastoral themed, like Cranford or something. Walk around with bonnets on and fans, riding horses and stuff, pretending your really upset about something.

You guys have done a lot of festivals this summer and you’ve obviously got loads more to come, what key items do you take to each festival?

Emily: Spare pair of sunglasses. You’ll always sit on them, drop them down a long drop.
Camilla: Wellingtons, suncream, hand sanitiser, disposable cameras. Oh and a little packet of tissues. Port-a-loos with no toilet paper are a terrible situation to be in.
Jess: Cereal bars! Because when you wake u[p in your tent at whatever time and you’re starving and the fry-up stall is like two miles away, you’re gonna need a nature valley bar.

At the moment their are a lot of emerging girls bands like you. How do you think your sound is different to the likes of Haim and First Aid Kit?

Emily: I think we’re really different from Haim!

Yeah, I agree. I saw you both at Glastonbury and could immediately see the differences.

Camilla: There’s is more a sort of performance, they properly rock out! It’s amazing, really, really cool.
Emily: I guess ours is more centered around the vocals and the harmonies but you know. First Aid Kit are as well but I guess they have more of a country thing going.
Camilla: More of an Americana vibe.
Jess: The similarities are basically that we’re all girls.

Yeah! People are going to write about you three bands and group you all together, but you’re all very different.

Jess: We all have boobs!
Camilla: We’ve all got long hair.
Emily: And we’re all sisters as well.

Who are your main influences? Who did you guys listen to when you were growing up?

Camilla: We listened to a lot of Paul Simon and The Beatles, I think those were kind of the main two that I recall. People like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Stuff that our parents listened to really. I think they were the big song writers that stuck in our heads.
Emily: Then we discovered our own music as we’ve grown up. We always return to those classic song-writers.
Jess: I think they’ve influenced so many people that the people who are current artists that influence me have probably been influenced by them as well. Fionn Regan and Feist and Fleet Foxes, they have such a Beach Boys kind of sound.

Can you recommend and up and coming bands to look out for at festivals this summer? 

Camilla: There’s a singer songwriter from Norway called Mikhael Paskalev, who is fucking amazing, you should definitely look out for him, I think he’s playing a few this summer.
Jess: Yeah, he is great!
Camilla: Stealing Sheep are also great.

I saw them supporting Alt-J, they were incredible! 

Camilla: They let us borrow their drum for Glasto as well, they’re good girls.
Jess: There’s a trio called Bear’s Den who are really good too.

Good recommendations! So finally, what are your plans for the future? Obviously you’ve got festival season.

Emily: I think the plan is to take a bit of time off after festivals to try and write some more stuff, cause we’ve been touring pretty heavily this past year. We’ve just got back from the States and before that there was a UK and European tour, so we’re gonna give ourselves some time to try and put some of those experiences into new songs and then hopefully we’ll play some more shows in the UK before the end of the year – that would be awesome. It’s so weird I can only think like a week ahead. The end of September seems like a lifetime away. Who knows, everything might have changed by the time it comes round!

Check out The Staves debut record Dead & Born & Grown & Live out now.


About Author


I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.

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