May 8, 2015 Consumer Guide / No. 2 / JUANITA STEIN with Mark Watkins
MW: Howling Bells were formed in Sydney, Australia. Describe for me what you remember / enjoyed of Sydney in the daytime, and at night?
JS : Sydney remains an earthy, safe, pleasant childhood memory for me. Even though I left as a young adult, it’s the memories I have of being young and naive that really stick with me. Eating fish and chips on the beach, sneaking ciggies behind the park huts, warm nights and crickets singing. That kinda stuff.
MW : What are your own “Aussie Rules” that you live by?
JS: The older I get the more I realise how much of that ‘stay calm’ Aussie ethos has cemented itself within. In terms of rules to be live by, I just think you need to stay somewhat level headed and try not to judge all too quick.
MW: Where do you live now, Juanita? Why did you move? Tell me about the cultural aspects?
JS: Right now I live in Brighton, quite a recent move. I’d been based in London for the last decade, so a sea change was well over due. Naturally I’m loving being near the sea, and as summer approaches I’m looking forward to that beachy energy I’ve missed for so long. Also, the arts scene is super vibrant here which is great.
MW: Describe your favourite room in your “house”?
JS: Not technically inside, Mark, but I’m loving the garden, weather permitting of course, I’d be happy to spend all year out there. It’s got a wild look with a little mosaic table and chairs which make me happy.
MW: If you could catch a plane, drive a car or walk 500 miles (as the song goes) which one would you pick and why? What music would you listen to on route?
JS: Drive a car, don’t love planes, too far to walk. I actually love driving. Especially if the route is vaguely inspiring.
If I were to make a trip out to the desert, I’d probably be listening to a mix of something dusty like Tinariwen and some cool country music station and then some Nancy and Lee, Dusty Springfield, maybe Cash.
MW: Would you travel alone, or with company? Why?
JS: I probably need to do the desert trip on my own. Just a vibe.
MW: Your current album is called HEARTSTRINGS? What tends to pulls on yours?
JS: Kindness will always bring a tear to my eye. Injustice will forever make me cry.
MW: If you could star in a movie, which film would you choose, what part, and why?
JS: Well Mark, I couldn’t decide between something infectiously cheeky like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinnie or Michelle Pfeiffer in Married To The Mob or someone more enigmatic like Lauren Hutton in American Gigolo. Either way the characters are empowered, charming and got the smarts.
MW: Do you ever cry at the movies? If so, what brings the tears?
JS: Occasionally I cry at the movies, it’s got to be a really genuine connection between the actors. I gotta feel that to be affected. Music obv plays a large part, the right song can bring the house down.
MW: What’s your favourite word in the Dictionary?
JS: Never had that one cornered. I really love this Brazilian word Feijoada. Sounds great.
MW: What was the first record your bought and why?
JS: From memory it was Dirt by Alice in Chains. I heard a track on the radio and loved it.
MW…and the the latest / why?
JS: The most recent album I bought was The Best of Peggy Lee. I always forget how great she is. Soulful and just the right amount of sexy.
MW: Which song (by another artist) do you wish you had written and explain why this is so?
JS: I Only Have Eyes For You by The Flamingos. I really think it’s the perfect song, it’s hypnotic in its beauty. There’s so much tension and majesty in the song, I never want it to end!
MW: O.K Juanita. Take us through Album by Album, who designed each sleeve and where did the creative input / ideas generate from?
JS: All records were a collaborative effort between band and photographer/designer.
The first album was designed by Mikkel Hess, a graphic designer who we contacted cold after seeing his work in a cool magazine.
With Radio Wars we worked with a cool designer who came up with concept of the Pop art style cover.
The Loudest Engine featured some cool photographs by Las Vegas based photographer Heather Hyte.
And Heartstrings used photos I had taken myself throughout my neighbourhood in London with the graphic design talents of Tom Greatorex. We wanted to capture something quite cinematic. Something akin to a 70s road film.
MW: Any plans for Howling Bells to release anything special on vinyl for the next Record Store Day?
MW: So what’s up next for The Howling Bells?
JS: We’ve recently started writing and jamming again. Hoping that will spur on some inspiration. And then who knows! Too vague and unpredictable an industry we thrive in. But we do what we love when we do it.
MW: Thank you for taking time out to answer my questions Juanita, in-between moving house and work!