by Matt Barton
You can be excused if you’ve never heard of Darraweit Guim. The small Victorian town has a population of under one thousand and certainly seems an unlikely place for four sisters to form a psych rock band. However, in 2006, that’s exactly what happened to form Stonefield.
The band is made up of Holly on bass (who, at just 18, is the youngest member), Sarah on keys, Hannah on guitar and Amy, the band’s vocalist and drummer. It’s she who I interview today, from quite a unique place.
“I’m currently in the pantry,” she laughs, “at my Mum and Dad’s house trying to get some privacy because everyone’s here and it’s loud and annoying when I’m trying to talk on the phone.”
In July, the quartet released their second album: As Above, So Below. The album landed at number 19 on the ARIA charts and has been very well received. Amy discusses the sound of the new album.
“I think it’s just definitely a lot more mature,” she admits. “I think that’s just because all bands kinda change a lot. Especially from your first record to your second record and especially for us because we did start so young. You go through a lot of change as a person. Particularly now the youngest Holly [who’s] now 18. A lot changes at that age. You’re kinda out in the new world and meeting new people and all those things end up influencing the things that you write. You’re hearing lots of new bands and new sounds and it’s hard not to be influenced by that..”
In writing for the new record the band worked with Kram, drummer and singer of Spiderbait, who, like Stonefield, are from a small rural town.
“So we met Kram when we were supporting Dan Sultan in Melbourne at The Forum,” Amy explains. “He was a guest in Dan’s set and he was watching our set side of stage and we played a couple of songs that we’d been working on for the new record and he really liked them and we just kinda got chatting . . . we decided to get together and just jam and show him everything that we’ve been working on and he really just helped us take what we were doing up another notch. Just writing with him was a really good experience. He definitely had a lot to teach us and a lot of advice to give. Especially with writing for us, we tend to get stuck on ideas and think on things a little bit too long. So he was really good with the whole “let’s finish this idea and move on and if it needs more work then you need to give yourself some space from it.” He was amazing to be around and he helped us grow quite a lot.”
The band are about to embark on an extensive metro and regional headline tour throughout Australia, and it seems Amy can’t wait to be back on the road.
“It’s our favourite part of playing in the band,” she states, “Just really looking forward to just travelling around again and playing some places that we haven’t played in a while. It’s a lot of fun”
The band have played many festivals over the year, the highlight, Amy admits without hesitation, is “Definitely Glastonbury. I think it was in 2011. You can’t really beat that. It’s a pretty amazing experience so we’ll see if we can top it eventually,” she laughs.
Over the past few years a major talking point about festivals, especially rock festivals, is the lack of female musicians on the lineup. I ask Amy is she thinks it’s harder to be an all female rock band in what is a very male dominated industry.
“Um. . . yes. I do believe so. I think it’s tough being any band, though,” she counters. “I think it’s a really difficult industry to be in. Especially for the actual artists; it feels like you’re banging your head against the wall trying to progress to the next thing but we’ve definitely come across some issues being an all female band but I think for us we kinda just take it as fuel for the fire and it makes us wanna go harder and achieve more.”
She goes on to agree that it’s also hard to be an Australian band trying to make it overseas, “It’s so expensive to get overseas. So in that aspect, it is really hard, especially if you’re working your way up from the bottom and don’t have a hit song you just have to keep going over there and doing the groundwork which is what we’re really focusing on at the moment. It is tough. It’s important to support yourself with a good team which we’ve kinda built up in the past year so it is a really exciting prospect. It’s so different over there and you can absolutely see the potential in working [towards] getting back over there.”
To end with I ask Amy if she can ever get time away from music. “No matter what I do, music is a huge part of my life,” she admits. “It’s so hard to avoid it because all my friends are musicians, my housemate is a musician, my boyfriend’s a musician and I always just find myself talking about pitch all the time,” she laughs. “So it’s definitely a huge part of my life.”
STONEFIELD AS ABOVE, SO BELOW TOUR DATES:
Thu 6 Oct, Small Ballroom – Newcastle NSW (18+)
Fri 7 Oct, Academy – Canberra ACT (18+)
Sat 8 Oct, The Imperial – Sydney NSW (18+)
Fri 14 Oct, Fat Controller – Adelaide SA (18+)
Sun 16 Oct, Sooki Lounge – Belgrave VIC (18+)
Thu 20 Oct, Kay St – Traralgon VIC (18+)
Fri 21 Oct, Karova Lounge – Ballarat VIC (18+)
Sat 22 Oct, The Wool Exchange – Geelong VIC (18+)
Thu 27 Oct, The Grand Hotel – Mornington VIC (18+)
Fri 28 Oct, The Westernport Hotel – Phillip Island VIC (18+)
Sat 29 Oct, Howler – Brunswick VIC (18+)
Fri 4 Nov, Sol Bar – Sunshine Coast QLD (18+)
Sat 5 Nov, The Foundry – Brisbane QLD (18+)
Sun 6 Nov, Miami Marketta – Gold Coast QLD (18+)
Fri 11 Nov, The Rosemount – Perth WA (18+)
Sun 13, Nov Mojo’s – Fremantle WA (18+)
STONEFIELD ALSO PLAYING AT…
Fri 16 Sep, The Beach Hotel – Byron Bay NSW
Sat 17 Sep, Mitchell Creek Blues & Rock Festival – QLD
Thu 22 Sep, Rolling Stone Live Lodge – Melbourne VIC
Sat 1 Oct, Yours and Owls Festival – Woollongong NSW
Sun 2 Oct, Caxton St Festival – Brisbane QLD
Sat 12 Nov, Bridgetown Bluefest – Bridgetown WA
Sat 26 Nov, Gizzfest – Melbourne, VIC
Tues 29 Nov, Gizzfest – Sydney, NSW