One evening Greg Hughes, an American musician in London, boarded a train to London Bridge. The sign on the train was incorrect though; the train actually stopped at Kidbrooke. Hughes got off the train and stood at the platform, waiting. Next to him stood a young woman by the name of Tessa Murray.
“'Did you get on the wrong train, too?' she asked.
The two began chatting and quickly found they had more in common than a mistaken transfer. Hughes had just formed a band, called Still Corners, and Murray was a silk-voiced singer. About a year and a half later, Murray would join Still Corners.
It sounds like a fairytale, but it’s quite appropriate that fate should play such an integral role in this band’s formation. Still Corners plays a highly quixotic blend of dream-pop and shoegaze, birthed from a world where strangers’ eyes meet amongst crowded city streets, fly-by-night glances become lifelong friendships and the most trivial conversations blossom into the most fantastic of stories.
Critics have likened the band’s full-length debut, Creatures of An Hour, to a surrealist film script, something you might find wandering the behind the scenes of a Michel Gondry shoot. According to Hughes, this isn’t a coincidence. “There are certain directors I really like, like Albert Hitchcock and David Lynch. Their films carry a certain vibe and atmosphere. It’s [the music] me trying to get the atmosphere of a movie,” he tells me over the phone en-route to San Francisco.
It’s an objective the band often hits with dead-on accuracy, inviting exciting visions and colorful imagery. Almost all the reviews and press surrounding the band focuses more on imagery and films the music conjures than the actual sound. References to the French New Wave stand next to brief diatribes on the band’s debt to Italian horror soundtracks. Even live onstage, the visual experience pops to the forefront, courtesy of guitarist Leon Dufficy, whose otherworldly film projections mesmerize audiences cerebral dreamscapes.
“We don’t really do too much onstage,” explains Hughes, “so we wanted to create something new and beautiful for the audience to engage with visually.”
The inception of Still Corners occurred sometime in January of 2008, when Greg Hughes met Dufficy at a Hawaiian-themed party. “We talked about film soundtracks and horror movies,” says Hughes. “At that time I didn't have a band for my music, and when Leon came along we put one together.”
In late 2008, the group released Remember Pepper, their first EP and a grand omen of things to come. The EP sparked a small fire on the indie blogosphere, but the band kept their heads to the ground and retreated back to the studio. Then, Don’t Fall In Love, a single the band recorded for The Great Pop Supplement, sold out all 700 copies in a single day, an event which Hughes calls “miraculous.”
News of the quick sell flew across the Atlantic to the folks at Sub Pop Records, who promptly hopped a plane to London. “We're more about just plugging in and playing. We're not really part of the game or whatever you want to call it,” says Hughes in an interview with Contact Music. “We're enjoying being in a band and being able to make music, and that's why it seemed natural to sign with Sub Pop because they have no expectations beyond that either.”
With a new full-length on the market and support from one of the biggest indie labels in the country, Still Corners appear prepared to enchant audiences all over North America. Although their yearnings for an “Endless Summer” and the subconscious mischief of “Cuckoo” began cloaked in a London fog, Murray’s delicate whisper and the band’s waves of gently streaming fuzz should flutter kindly across the nation, from atop the skyscrapers of Manhattan to the cloud city of Seattle.