Mention The Famous Spiegeltent to most people and they’ll normally whirl around, rambling about big top atmosphere granted to big name acts. Yet, there’s a middle ground to it all. For all the worldly travelling circus of artistic expression, critical to the event is drawing from each of its temporary homes. Appropriately, the Melbourne camp welcomes the talents of genre-riding, uke-playing Georgia Fields and her mini-indie-orchestra.
Having toured relentlessly on the back of her 2010 self-titled debut, acclaimed across the radio bands and stages across the country, a night with Georgia Fields at the Spiegeltent is sure to be something. Playing predominately for the last year or so as a stripped back pop band, the sense of occasion has brought on its own dilemmas as Georgia told Tone Deaf over a glass of miscellaneous red at The Wesley Anne.
“I always put myself under a great deal of stress…there’s always the event management stress but it usually turns out to be heaps of fun. Tim my electric guitarist was always going to be away during the Spiegeltent time so I thought this was a really good opportunity to get the strings back. I used to do a lot more orchestral stuff and orchestral folk with the arrangements on my debut album so this is more tied in with the whole aesthetic of that.”
Pressing on, the ever expanding demographic exposed to the musings of Georgia Fields through small clubs shows to TV appearances on the likes of Rock Wiz have granted the exposure which fuels the desire to evolve. “I’ve decided that [after the Spiegeltent show] I’m going to take a break and really be able to focus on the recording for the second album. So with that in mind, I thought I might as well have one more time with the string quartet. They’re incredible!
“Judy who plays cello in the quartet is one of my high school friends, so that’s really nice. I’m really looking forward to having her back [after her own travels playing around Europe]. You know how really good friends have that thing where they can read each others’ minds? She can tell when I’m getting stressed out so it’s great having her there.”
With so much building up to the show where does Georgia Fields go from here? It’s not a bad line in the sand for any artist. “I feel like it’s a great place to be. The second act!” she quips.
Rather than more of the same, with a few tweaks in the producing shed, it seems Georgia Fields has far deeper visions of where an artist should reach for as she reflects: “It’s not going to be a concept as such for my second album. The first album was more just recordings of songs and stories about my friends, my life and my experiences. Since then I’ve been doing a lot of research into mythology and more archetypes about the astral myths around the sun along with some Paganism. The common threads that people have respected or enjoyed glorifying across different elements of the world as we experience it. The dirt, the water, the sky… all across different cultures and time it’s quite shocking to see so many similarities when you tie it all together.”
Typical indie-pop princess? Christ on a bike, no. To say it’s refreshing to peel back the veil of the forbidden in a world where stapling slabs of raw meat to your body then heading to an awards show is deemed “kooky” would be unfair to weekly magazine sales figures. The norm is dull and often staggeringly irrational, particularly when it comes to stepping out off stage, as Georgia muses, reaching for the deeper reasoning to things so often overlooked.
“I’ve been looking into different types of facepaint in particular with moon worship and how that compares with make up today. For instance, I’ve started experimenting with it, painting my forehead when I’m getting dressed up. Some don’t even notice, but some find it quite striking and won’t sit next sit next to you on a tram, asking if I’m in a cult. I find that really funny, since we paint our lips. We eat there. That’s weird to put paint there.”
Awkwardly panic stricken at the thought that I might have been wearing some sort of lip paint, the happy realisation of it only being “wine stains” on the glass brought welcome calm. With all the talk of progressing through other realms of influence, it leads to ponder where Georgia might draw from.
“As a teenager I really got into Tori Amos, which is kind of classic for a female songwriter and she really went to some dark places spiritually and cosmically. Especially when she made Boys for Pele, which is my favourite album, when she went and spent time in Hawaii with the Shaman. When I heard about that I wondered why you would do that and want to syphon that into your art. It seemed spooky and irrelevant. But now I think when you become interested in something then you naturally want to tell that story and become a bit bored with your own life.”
Genre hopping to atone, Georgia Fields is never one to shy away from readdressing her instinctive loves of expression, throwing back to the records of old will surely lend great appropriation to the Spiegeltent’s charms as she hypes “going to back to a lot of stuff I really liked as a teen too like Ray Charles. Lots of stuff where you get to really sing the shit out of a song.”
Not one to rest on her able arrangements and sweetened breathy vocals alone she says, “There will be costumes! Being in or at a show is an exchange. It’s not like TV.” Wise indeed. Nor should it be TV. For that matter nor should you stay at home watching Home and Away (tape it, please). There’s a treat in store as Georgia eyes leaping over the line in the sand on her way to a brighter star. “I’ve a few ideas for a more innovative ways to present my music. This is a new imagining.”
Georgia Fields will play The Famous Spiegeltent tonight.