Game on: Angus & Julia Stone sign with BMG (Exclusive)
Angus & Julia Stone are ready for another ride on that big jet plane, this time through a deal with BMG.
The soulful sibling duo return this Friday (Aug. 20) with the new album Life Is Strange, their first release through a new recording deal with BMG, TIO can exclusively reveal.
Following a string of releases through EMI, the multi-platinum, ARIA and APRA Award-winning act joins BMG’s roster for Australia and New Zealand.
It’s game on for Angus and Julia. The forthcoming LP is the soundtrack to the popular video game Life Is Strange 3, which boasts 20 million unique players across the lifetime of the franchise.
Led by the track ‘Love Song,’ also due out Friday, the new record is pitched as “unexpected, unguarded, unforgettable”, and speculated to be among their finest efforts to date.
Life Is Strange has deep roots, and was recorded in some of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Much of it was cut in the studio on Angus’ farm, Stonecutters, and in Boulder, Colorado where the companion video game was developed. Parts of the album were completed at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studio in Auckland (last year, Johns and the BMG team struck an exclusive global publishing deal with Finn).
“We weren’t on track to make a record together but life had other plans for us. We were asked to write songs for an Xbox game,” reads a statement from the pair, “and ended up with a record of songs we love.”
It’s a sort of homecoming for the Stones and BMG, several years in the making.
Angus’ Dope Lemon project is already signed to the independent music group, through an arrangement unveiled in 2019.
Angus “kindly put in a good word” with Julia, notes BMG Managing Director Australia Heath Johns, resulting in her signing a global recording pact with BMG in 2020.
That partnership produced special fruit with the charity LP Songs For Australia, curated by Julia Stone and featuring The National, Dermot Kennedy, Joan As Police Woman and others.
Songs For Australia opened the door to Julia’s sublime St Vincent-produced Sixty Summers LP, for which BMG built a global campaign in the midst of the pandemic.
Stone even managed to rope-in Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover to appear on-screen for the first time for a music video.
“A huge part of BMG Australia’s rapid growth as a record label is due to the belief that Angus and Tim Manton (TAP Management) had in BMG from the outset,” explains Johns. “We became the global partner for Dope Lemon and really helped establish that brand on the global stage.”
With those relationships in place, taking the next step was a blend of timing, and tunes.
Johns recounts an early listening session with Manton, the duo’s manager.
“Tim played it to us and the whole team fell in love,” he recounts. The ANZ rights were open, and all those moving parts fell neatly into place.
“It’s a unique proposition in that it performs as the soundtrack to the game,” Johns enthuses, “but also as a truly wonderful classic A&J album.”
Without bombast and fireworks, Angus & Julia stone have built an outstanding international career.
Together, they’ve released four studio albums dating back to 2007s platinum-certified A Book Like This. 2010’s Down The Way blasted to No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart and is triple-platinum certified, and its follow-up, the Rick Rubin-produced 2014 set Angus & Julia Stone also hit No. 1 and platinum status.
Life Is Strange is the folllowup to 2017’s gold-certified Snow, which charted at No. 2.
Angus & Julia Stone’s signature singles ‘Big Jet Plane’ and ‘Chateau’ are certified platinum and triple platinum, and were voted as No. 1 and No. 3 in triple j’s Hottest 100 of 2010 and 2017, respectively.
Across their 15-year career, they’ve snagged ARIA Awards for Album of the Year, Best Adult Alternative Album and Single of the Year, in addition to APRA Awards for Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Blues and Roots Work of the Year.
“I think don’t think people understand how big Angus and Julia are, very few Australian artists consistently command over four million monthly listeners on Spotify even when they are very much off-cycle,” notes Johns.
“They have a super loyal, international audience and I’m not sure they were ever chasing that ‘big American hit’.”
Watch Angus & Julia Stone’s ‘Love Song’ (acoustic video):
Launching in 2016, BMG Australia ramped up its recording aspirations in 2018 and has assembled a roster that includes Chet Faker, Ladyhawke, Tim Minchin, Dune Rats, Hockey Dad, Peking Duk (ex ANZ), Winston Surfshirt (a joint venture with Sweat It Out), CHAII, Nyxen and now Angus & Julia Stone.
Johns pays tribute to BMG colleagues Bridie McGuire, Craig Redfearn, Jodie Feld and Fuchsia Davidson, who “deserve particular credit for their tireless effort and endless creativity with our Australian and New Zealand artists.”
Angus and Julia “have crafted a truly glorious record and we are genuinely thrilled to be their label,” he explains.
“It was always a dream to one day make BMG Australia the home of Angus & Julia Stone.”
This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.