Two years after winning the Triple J Unearthed High competition and on the eve of their new EP release, lead singer and drummer Amy Findlay filled Tone Deaf in on all things Stonefield. “After winning Unearthed a lot of cool stuff happened to us. Our gigs were getting bigger and bigger and of course Glastonbury happened. I guess in a way things blew up quickly but at the same time it is easy to forget that we did spend quite some time doing all those little shows that everyone has to go to in the beginning. We have been so fortunate to be doing so much amazing, exciting stuff.”
Having recently released their new single, “Bad Reality”, sisters Amy, Holly, Hannah and Sarah Findlay are gearing up for a national tour in support of it. The gigs at the Northcote Social Club may have long since sold out, but the singer is glad to be playing some all ages shows along the way. “The whole all ages thing is really exciting for us, having half of our members underage it is really good to even be able to have the girls friends come and see us because they can’t come and see us in clubs.”
From humble beginnings in a shed in Darraweit Guim, 2011 saw the girls play Glastonbury which, incidentally, was their first gig overseas. “When we were first driving up to the site [Glastonbury] we could not believe how big it was; it just looked like a massive city. Our mouths just dropped open; it was ridiculous. We were very, very nervous because we found out about it in October the year before… so we had ages to think about it and it was such a big build up. Everyone at home knew what was going on so there was a lot of pressure to make sure it was a good gig. It was such a good feeling walking out on to the stage and seeing thousands of people in the crowd. It was our first international show so we couldn’t have asked for a better first gig overseas.”
Having achieved great critical success with the debut EP Through The Clover, Findlay is open about the pressure to deliver a solid follow up. “It is a little bit daunting because Through The Clover did do a lot for us, not so much now that we have written the single [“Bad Reality”], it was more daunting trying to write a song that was going to be as good or better. We feel so much more confident now that it is all done and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it so… we feel satisfied and that is the main thing. Hopefully everyone else likes it too, but we’re happy. It should be out really soon, it is going to print quite soon so hopefully in the next couple of weeks.”
Recorded at Birdland Studios, the Stonefield girls called on the talents of renowned producer Lindsay Gravina to work on their EP. “We are so, so happy with Lindsay. We learnt so much from him. It was probably our best recording experience so far just because he gets exactly what we want. He wasn’t just doing it [producing]; he was teaching us everything along the way and pushing us and putting the right amount of pressure on us without scaring us too much
While musical talent comes naturally, choosing a lead single proved somewhat more troublesome and the road to “Bad Reality” was studded with frustration. “We were feeling a lot of pressure to get this new single and we had written a whole heap of demos for the EP without having a specific song for a single ready. We recorded the EP in two blocks and after we recorded the first half no-one felt like we had the single yet. We just getting frustrated and then I got the melody in my head. I just went to Hannah and she picked up her acoustic guitar, it was one of those songs that the more simple and straightforward we made it, the more powerful it was. We were pretty happy and relieved when it all came together.”
“We have been doing so many shows it is so hard to get into the song writing zone. So, every chance we have to go in to the shed… that is sort of the only space that we ever write in. I don’t know, it’s just where we feel comfortable so we try to make the most of it. I guess you can’t really force things, if it’s not happening, it’s not happening. Most of the time we take it in turns of just playing something random and everyone jams on top of that. We just try and make the most of our time,” says Findlay of the delay in releasing new material.
“It is quite difficult. Holly is in year 9 and it’s not too bad for her because she is not in the real serious years of high school and all of the teachers are really supportive. Mum just emails them and asks for homework and all that kind of thing. Sarah is doing year 12 over two years; I think she is really starting to feel the pressure quite a bit. She gets a bit stressed out about it because she is one of those people, same as me, who get stressed really easily and likes to do everything properly. It is a little bit difficult but we are just trying to juggle everything.”
Having seen many other bands wade out into the murky and at times dangerous ocean that is the music industry, the eldest Findlay refuses to see herself – or her sisters – be anybody’s fool. “We have been warned a lot about sharks in the industry but because of that we have just taken our time in deciding the people we wanted to work with and made sure they were the right people before agreeing to anything. We are surrounded by really good people who are supportive; everyone is sort of looking out for us. We have got uncles that were musos back in the day and they have an idea of what to look out for. So far it has been pretty good.”
Having the last laugh at anyone who ever doubted that females in rock ‘n’ roll can more than hold their own, Stonefield have managed to silence doubters with their steely determination and sheer scope of talent to age ratio, but it has been a hard slog that ultimately has paid off. “In a way the whole ‘young’ and ‘female’ thing was harder before all of this stuff started happening. It was harder to earn people’s respect when no know who we were so we would have to literally walk into a venue, be basically judged, people would look at us like “Oh, what are these girls going to play?” and we would have to play before we earned their respect. It’s not so much like that anymore.”
Stonefield kick off the tour tomorrow night. Amy reckons, “We’re going to be doing songs of the new EP and we have another surprise in store.”
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