Stonefield: ‘It was nice to step back a bit and reflect’

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After a brief hiatus from touring, Victorian psych-rockers Stonefield are well and truly back in the game. The band recently appeared at Yours & Owls Festival in Wollongong, Brisbane’s Caxton Street Festival, Wave Rock Festival in Western Australia and the Mitchell Creek Rock ’N’ Blues Fest with some Byron Bay dates thrown in for good measure. In addition, the gals have just kicked off their massive 17-date national tour in support of their critically acclaimed 2016 LP As Above, So Below, which will be hitting Adelaide’s Fat Controller this Friday night, October 14. We were fortunate enough to catch vocalist/drummer Amy Findlay in a quieter moment to chat about what the sisters have been keeping busy with (aside from probably not sleeping very much because of playing shows). Have a read and make sure to check them out this weekend at Fat Controller!

So you’re looking forward to the upcoming tour?
Yeah, totally. It should be fun. We’re playing with some awesome bands as well so yeah, it should be good!

How are you feeling about As Above, So Below now that a few months have passed since its release?
Good! It’s had a pretty positive response. A lot of people seeming to like it, and it’s nice to be playing those new songs live and feel a bit more up-to-date with what we’re doing. It’s been good, it’s exciting.

People have called As Above, So Below Stonefield’s coming-of-age record. How has your writing process evolved over the years of playing in the band?
The actual writing process hasn’t changed that much for us. We still kind of do it as we’ve always done, which is just in our rehearsal space in our shed at the place that we grew up. I think it was just having a little bit of a break from touring for a couple of years, we didn’t play as much as we used to, and just really [took] the time to develop and mature as songwriters and musicians. I think it was really important to give ourselves the time to do that. Before, it was kind of like trying to squeeze writing into touring and it was all a bit hectic. It was nice to step back a bit and reflect on everything that had happened previous to that, and just really take the time to work on the songs.

What were you listening to when you were writing the latest album?
There’s a lot of newer bands that we were getting into throughout, like Go, Witch, Fuzz, Brian Jonestown [Massacre], Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, all that kind of psych-rock stuff, a bit of stoner rock. Obviously all the old classics and whatnot, and just touring in the States also this year has been really inspiring as well, playing with lots of other psych-rock bands. That all contribute[d] to the inspiration for the next album.

So what kind of bands did you play with in the USA?
We did a support tour with the La Luz who are quite different to us, they’re more of a doo-wop surfy kind of thing. But we really enjoyed them, they were really good. And then lots of psych-rock stoner bands. When we played in Austin, we played with a couple that were really good. There seems to be a really strong scene for that kind of music in America, which is really exciting.

When did you and your sisters get into playing music?
At a super young age. We’ve always been into music, but started doing the dancing thing really young and then upgraded to singing and then a music teacher moved in next door. We all started playing instruments then. Holly, who’s the youngest, was 7 or 6 at that point when she started learning, and I’m the oldest, 8 years older than her. So pretty young and we’ve always had music in the household and had a love for it.

What’s it like touring with your sisters? Does it get stressful at times, or is it just comfortable because you know each other so well?
It’s more so comfortable because we know each other so well. Like we definitely do fight sometimes which is annoying but it would be way worse if you were fighting with friends, not sisters, because it gets way more awkward, weird tensions and stuff. I think we’re pretty lucky. It’s a pretty intimate thing to be doing and [being] stuck with the same people in very close proximity for the whole tour does get tough, but for sure, it’s easier to be able to say whatever to your sisters and [not] really take it too much to heart, you just get over it [laughs].

Where do you all draw inspiration from as creative people?
I guess life, movies, books, other people’s stories, bands that we play with, the outdoors. We find ourselves writing a lot about that. Dreams, a bit of everything really. For me, lyrics come out subconsciously and I don’t really realise what I’m singing about until I go back and listen to whatever’s been sung and refine it and realise that I’ve just been singing about something in particular that’s happened. I think that’s a pretty cool thing about music.

Do you do other creative stuff, or is music the main output?
We’re all pretty creative people in general. I like doing crafty stuff and cooking, and so do the other girls. Sarah’s a really good photographer, she’s really been getting into that lately. [Holly’s] really into fashion and creating outfits.

And that’s all stuff that can tie in with music as well, which is helpful.
Exactly, it’s very handy. It’s good to have Sarah always snapping away and giving us good pictures to upload to the old Instagram.

What’s been one of your most pivotal moments in your musical career as a band?
Definitely winning Unearthed High was the main one that kicked everything off. Playing at Glastonbury, playing with Fleetwood Mac, releasing the first record then releasing the second one, both feelings of achievement. Hearing our song on the radio for the first time was pretty crazy.

How was supporting Fleetwood Mac? That’s massive.
It was amazing. They’re definitely one of the bands we grew up listening to and are very inspired by, so that was a really cool moment. We got to meet Mick Fleetwood after the last show, he was really lovely and said some very kind things. Got very emotional. We were all watching on the side of the stage crying.

Did you ever expect to make it as a successful band?
Not really, it’s not something we thought about that much. We just kind of did it ‘cause we enjoyed it. Mum and Dad were always saying, “you know, if you keep working hard then you’ll make it” and we’re just like, “whatever, we’re just doing our thing, whatever happens happens”. We’ve always been very go-with-the-flow kind of people. It’s funny how once you get to a certain point, you definitely crave the next thing though.

What can audiences expect from your upcoming shows?
Definitely a more dynamic performance. In the past, we felt a bit too scared to do anything that wasn’t flat-out rock because we were scared people would get bored, but now it’s got a bit more light and shade. Lots of the new songs on the new album, and a few old ones.

What do you have planned for the future of the band?
I guess work on the next record. We’re hoping to make things happen overseas a bit more, go back to the States next year. I guess the main goal is for us to be able to make a living off of doing this. We only recently got other jobs in hospitality, so to be able to not do that and just do music would be nice.

Stonefield will be performing at Fat Controller on Friday, October 14 supported by Rackett and White Bleaches. You can purchase tickets via moshtix.

stonefield.com.au

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