Since I started running this site, one of my most listened to records has to be the ‘Open Ended EP’ from Stanford Road, and I was delighted when the guys agreed to an interview with us at Belles and Gals. In the interview we touch on the EP, as well as talk about exciting new projects for Stanford Road.
Hi Guys! So who are Stanford Road?
Hi. We are country Americana songwriting duo Rachael and Terry Muller, we write, perform and record under the name Stanford Road (as that’s where we met as neighbors).
We’ve been writing together for just over 8 years now, and have actually been married for five of them. Rachael sings vocals and is chief melody/harmony maker, and Terry sings vocals, plays guitar and any other available instrument. We do consider ourselves,first and foremost, songwriters.
We first came across you at Belles and Gals when listening to the ‘Open Ended’ EP, one of our favorite records of last year. Personally I was particularly taken by the opening two tracks. “Letters” and “So Wrong”. Do you have a favorite song from the EP, maybe a fan favorite?
Rachael: I love Letters, it’s a very intimate song for me, and probably the first song I had written from such a personal perspective.
Terry: My favourite on the EP is probably Independence Highway. Not only is it such a universal story, but was great fun to record. Audiences love this one live, as well as So Wrong.
Rachael: I love our cover of Brooks & Dunn’s Cowgirls Don’t Cry too, lyrically it’s a great song. Actually we just love the whole EP!
Currently you’re busy recording your new album, “Two Wrongs From Right”. How exciting is it to be recording an album?
It’s been a great journey, but we wouldn’t say we’re quite there with it yet…
We’ve got so many songs that we absolutely love, but the whole process of melding them into an album that we hope will be a definitive portrayal of our music is actually a hell of a lot harder to create.
We love being in the studio, and have been in and out working on our latest material, and some of it really is sounding incredible. We’re really enjoying this journey, it’s so exciting, and, to be honest, we’re not in a massive rush to finish it.
So how did you both get into music in the first place? What made you pick up those guitars and sing?
Terry: My Dad is a multi-instrumentalist, and as such there was always musical influences around for me. In fact he recently dug out a tape of a seven year old Terry singing ‘It’s My Party’, haha!
My first real motivation to start writing songs and playing, was discovering Guns N Roses at 12 years old. I just wanted to be on that stage, performing to 180,000 people. Still very much an aspiration today.
Rachael: I can’t remember when I started singing, my earliest childhood memories include laying on my bunk bed singing harmonies with my sister. My mother sings and writes poetry, and she has always inspired me. I used to dream of being a backing singer but didn’t realize when I was younger that it was an actual real option. It is only recently I guess that I have found that performance desire and I think that is because I get to sing my own words.
In a similar vein, do you have any particular musical influences? Be that in Americana, country music or otherwise?
Terry: My musical influences have always been so varied, spanning the decades and genres. A few top ones for me are, The Carpenters, Incubus, Jamey Johnson and Tina Dico.
Rachael: I’m inspired by so many great songwriters, everyone from Nina Simone to David Bowie. Dolly Parton is incredible particularly as she’s still producing such brilliant new songs even now, and I really love James Taylor, Cathy Dennis, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon.
And what music are you listening to yourself at the moment?
Rachael: Lee Ann Womack, Jamey Johnson, John Moreland and The Cadillac Three.
Terry: I’m loving Sturgill Simpson, Travis Tritt and The Allman Brothers Band right now.
How do you go about the songwriting process? Do you each have a different role or does it vary from song to song?
We both work on concepts and lyrics, Sometimes separately, sometimes together. Our latest single ‘Black Coffee’ is a great example of our two minds meeting to create something really special. After the initial writing process, Rachael works mostly on the vocal hooks and melodies, whilst I concentrate on the musical side of things.
We then always come together again to fine tune things until we’re both happy with the finished article. It’s been 8 years in the making, but our writing relationship works really well, and we love it.
Tell us something completely random about yourself!
Rachael: I love love love cooking! I actually trained as a patisserie chef.
Terry: I ran the London Marathon a few years ago, just to see if I could. I successfully finished it, but haven’t run a single mile since.
Let’s have a quick game of Desert Island Discs. You can each take one album to a desert island. Which album do you take?
Rachael: it’s gotta be ‘Wish You Were Here’ by Pink Floyd. I love it!
Terry: I’d go for Zero 7 ‘Simple Things’, that’d keep me nice n chilled.
To finish, tell us what the coming weeks and the rest of 2016 have in store for Stanford Road?
We are really excited about our new single release ‘Black Coffee’ which is out on September 9th AND our very first music video which will accompany it. We’re currently working with our full band too, so loads of rehearsals, which are always fun! And of course some epic live shows.
On top of that we’ll still be in and out of the studio recording, and no doubt, spend time everyday working on our favourite thing, new songs.