Still Corners are a band who, over the past couple of years, have captivated me with their music and the ability to craft it in such a form where it takes you along a road of self discovery in which you never quite knew you needed to go on, so when I was offered the opportunity to check out their latest record ‘The Last Exit’ ahead of its release on the 22nd of January I had to grab it with both hands. Following on from the groups previous work they return in peak form doing what they do best and guiding the listener on a journey of escapism from the things that weigh us all down in day-to-day life. I caught up with the band to find out what inspired the record and the craftsmanship behind their writing…
So the fifth album is out on the 22nd (Jan). Where do you feel you are at now as a collective compared to back when you were releasing your first record?
Things have changed quite a bit from when we first started. We launched our own label in 2016 and that’s been a great journey for us. We found out we really like working the whole process of an album release – distribution, promo, radio, record stores, etc. It’s rewarding working with these people, getting to know them and cultivating a relationship with them. The bonus of course is that you’re in control of the ship, you know where everything stands and there’s no mystery. In terms of the music, we now seem to have evolved into a focus on the voice and guitar and seeing stylistically where that leads.
I read in a recent press release that the record was written as somewhat of an ode to the desert in part. What was it that kicked off the attraction there? Do you feel nature and the outdoors inspire you in a lot of your writing?
The record is about the desert and it’s in the desert that we found these songs. We call it desert fever, it’s not medical, it’s the sudden desire to leave the city or town and get out into the clean lines and isolation of the desert, it’s a desire for solitude. The concept and songs were discovered out there. What kicked it off was driving through it over the last 10 years on tour, once you’re there you don’t forget it. It’s a powerful place that draws you in.
I understand too that you had returned to writing songs for the record prior to its original release last year. Was there a dissatisfaction with where it was at then or was it more a case of some new found inspiration?
Big events have a way of jolting you out of your current paradigm. When the pandemic hit all our plans were scrapped. It was a few weeks after that we burned half the record, just deleted it all. We went back to work, wrote new songs, recorded new parts and came out with a much better album. We think to ourselves, “if this is the last thing you could do and your one chance to do it, is this what you want to say?” We wanted to say more and we could do better so we did.
With all the turmoil and uncertainty cast upon everyone in the past year how do you feel it has impacted your creativity both individually and as a group?
We doubled down on our efforts and worked harder.
A lot of artists have turned to live streaming and doing online shows to stay connected with fans. Have you adapted the way in which you engage with your own fans?
Our album coincided with the pandemic so we’ve been in full album release mode for months talking to fans, releasing art, photos, videos, clips of songs, little live snippets, etc. It’s been good to give something to everyone and try to take their minds off of current events and keep their hopes up.
Nothing really beats the magic of a live gig both in the lead up to it and the thrill of being there or even the aftermath and leaving feeling totally rejuvenated after a performance. What do you miss most about performing, or indeed being in the crowd for a gig yourself? Do you have any particular pre/post gig rituals?
What you’re talking about is an ancient thing, humans have been doing that since the cave days so it’s something we all need, we’re social creatures by nature. Performing live is the most primitive form of human contact so it’s that deeper connection that we all miss and need most. Before the gig we have a “pre-flight” drink – one whiskey for both of us and of course one after.
Going back to the album, I was fortunate enough to hear it in full and have to say it is excellent! It’s difficult to pick any individual tracks as favourites but ‘Mystery Road’ is a standout. More so though its the subtle intricacies like the cracking of stormy weather on ‘White Sands’ or, correct me if I’m wrong, the howling of a Coyote? On ‘Bad Town’ that draw me deeper making it overall more atmospheric. Were such additions as these carefully planned out to tie in with the theme of the album?
Thank you very much. We don’t plan anything ahead for songs, the songs drive themselves and tell you what they need. When we’re recording and listening back to something we’ve just done we’re thinking what is this song trying to tell us it needs? What would help convey the message and immerse the listener in this little world we’re creating? Yes that is a coyote recording we made out in Tuscon, Arizona, so we put that in there, we want you to feel that space on the album.
Your music for myself has always felt like a personal journey, acting as a sort of guide onward up the road of life (ha!). Is it the same for yourselves in that each record is a sort of forward progression on your journey as a band?
You understand it completely. It’s the same for us, we’re just going through life and writing about it.
You can purchase the record on the following link – cargorecordsdirect.co.uk