by Zolton in New Music on Saturday 8 December 2007

There’s an ethereal feeling about the music of London-based, Aussie exports Howling Bells. It washes over you in waves of pure melody, always tinged by the faintest whisper of longing. We checked in recently with frontwoman Juanita Stein.

What’s been the highlight of 2007? ‘It has been a year of touring the legs off our debut record! We played many, many towns, cities, countries. In all, it’s a pretty incredible way to see the world. And especially cool is connecting with people who would never ordinarily hear your music’.

Are you a compulsive writer – do songs burst forth or more kind of trickle out? ‘Well, it’s funny you ask. For the first record, it was more a case of being love struck and expressing the those sentiments over a short period of time. For this next record, it’s thus far been a much more collaborative process. Recently we’ve been writing a song a day, its insane. We just got the bug. I suspect there’ll be two albums ready to go by the time recording come around!’

Is there a place that feels like home now? ‘Sydney is our sentimental home — it’s where we grew up, had our first kiss, first cigarette, first band … However, London feels like our musical birthplace. It inspires art in a way no other city has’.

Has work started towards the second album? ‘Yeah, I feel that it’s taking form rather beautifully. Sometimes the music will dictate a direction for you. Where the first album was sonically very sparse and brooding, this one feels a little more brash and bold, but still quite moody. It just ain’t as slow. It’s important to us that we grow and extend ourselves as a band. We wanted to try a slightly different avenue. And it feels good!’

Listen to the Howling Bells song, Bones.