The Stillsons

MUSIC FEATURE

For local country-roots band The Stillsons, the road has been long and bumpy but their hard work is beginning to pay-off. Now, with the launch of thei r new music video, lead singing and song-writing duo Justin Bernasconi and Cat Canteri take some time to reflect on the events and people that have kept them going. 

The band spent more than a year working on their debut albumCircus; sacrificing hard-earned savings and sleep to self-produce something they could be proud of. Their obvious talent and attention-to-detail did not go unnoticed, as Circus received a massive response from fans and critics world-wide.

“We couldn’t believe the response [from the album]. When we were putting it together, we only ever played it for a few friends and family. They all seemed to like it, but deep-down we knew they would say that, even if it was crap,” Bernasconi says with a smile.

“But the launch came and the feedback was incredible,” adds Canteri. “And it wasn’t just in Australia. Our music has now been played on local, national and international radio, and we’ve had sales as far as Europe, Asia, America and Africa.”

However, the band didn’t just sit back and enjoy the ride; instead they used the opportunity to expand their reach even further, using the next year to play as much as possible. They travelled the entire country, playing at major cities and festivals, and also organised a tour of England last year.

“We had a ball on the road; seeing new places and meeting new people. Sometimes we were being paid next-to-nothing, but the response and exposure we got made it all worth-while,” explains Bernasconi.

Upon returning, the band welcomed two new members in Ben Franz and Troy Gennoe, and began establishing themselves as a permanent part of live circuit, earning residencies at live venues around Melbourne.

Tonight The Stillsons launch their new music video, made for the album’s second single Charity And Ghosts. The seemingly chirpy song carries a much deeper message, recounting the tragic events of the ‘Forgotten Australians’. The emotional subject was intended to raise awareness of Australian history, and the children who were taken from their families in England and brought here to populate the country.

“We wanted to produce a music video for Charity And Ghostsbecause of it subject matter. It wasn’t something we thought would get made in the way we wanted, so to see it all come together is really rewarding,” says Canteri.

“It all happened when we were introduced to the directors Alex Joseski and Jonathan Burton. I think they were pretty blown away by the story and were really keen on being involved. We worked really hard to get it was done properly – with everything from writing the screenplay to casting,” explains Bernasconi.

One of the biggest surprises for the band during casting was when well-known Australian actor John Benton walked into audition.

“We couldn’t believe it when John walked in. He had been in films like The Castle, and now wanted to be in our video. But as it turned out, John had actually travelled to Australia as a migrant when he was a boy, on the same boats as some of the child migrants and even spent time in their camps. He said that this was the first script in a long time that had reached out to him. It was pretty inspiring to hear him talk about his own experiences,” says Bernasconi.

THE STILLSONS launch their new music video for Charity And Ghosts tonight Wednesday December 8 at The East Brunswick Club, with special guests The Stetson Family and Alysia Manceau. Tickets are $10 and available at the door.