Interview: Stonefield keep it greasy
Hi and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us at Something You Said. You exploded onto the scene back in 2010 and shortly afterwards found yourselves playing one of the world’s premier music festivals: Glastonbury. This surely would have been a daunting prospect but did it become the high watermark that made all other shows something of a walk in the park?
Playing at Glastonbury was certainly being thrown in the deep end. It was one of our first ever festival gigs and our very first international show. We were young, petrified and overwhelmed, but also unbelievably excited and thankful to have such an incredible opportunity and so early in our career. I don’t think any of us have ever felt that nervous before, so I guess in a way it has helped to wrangle our nerves for future shows!
Having met and played with so many different musicians over the years, were there any words of wisdom spoken to you that really resonated with you and altered the way you approach your music?
The standout words of wisdom were from Mick Fleetwood who told us to “keep it greasy”, after our final show with them in November last year. I wish I could remember word for word our whole conversation, but unfortunately I can’t. I think we were all in too much shock. He did say some very encouraging things that definitely inspired us to stay true to what we are doing.
Your new album As Above, So Below is an record about change and embracing change. In what ways does this album reflect where you are all at in your lives right now?
I think we’re all at an integral part in our lives where we are experiencing a lot of change – particularly for the youngest two who over the past couple of years have really blossomed into women. So much happens at that time of your life – you feel as though you’re finding your place in the world, meeting new people, experiencing new things. I think overall, our change as a band has been gaining confidence in our music, our decisions and staying true to that. As important as it is to listen to advice and peoples words of wisdom, only you know what is right for yourself and the music you create will never please everybody, so it’s best to just please yourself – like everything in life.
You worked with producer John Lee of Phaedra Studios fame. What did John bring to the table that shines through this LP?
John helped us to capture the raw energy of our band. He knew exactly what sounds to pull, straight away. We were very much on the same page with what we wanted to achieve. He also introduced us to a lot of amazing music that we hadn’t heard before. We had a great time in the studio with him – he’s such a zen, cool guy.
What was your biggest challenge in putting out this LP and equally what was a positive surprise during the process?
The biggest challenge was accepting the amount of time and journey it took and the positive surprise was an outcome we were really proud of. The record went through so many cycles and forms to get to where it ended and I think it was all well worth it, both for the record and our general musical development.
On a technical level, what’s in the kit that helps achieve your signature fuzzy, desert rock sound?
Holly uses a fuzz pedal on her bass, Sarah uses her Hammond organ a lot and Hannah has an array of pedals – distortion, phaser, delay…
I remember chatting with Richie Lewis from Tumbleweed who was advised by Kram of Spiderbait to “embrace the beautiful stuff” in reference to a softer approach when playing rock and rock. You to have worked with Kram on this album, did he provide any insightful tips?
Definitely the same advice! He pushed us to write outside of our comfort zone and embrace whatever comes out. I think we used to box ourselves in to a certain sound, but he helped us to consider strange ideas, or songs that felt uncomfortable and not natural.
What is more rewarding on stage, playing crowd favourites that receive a guaranteed positive response or new tracks that are played live for the first time?
Playing a new track is always very scary. You really feel like you’re putting yourself out there, so to feel good after playing and get a good response is always a great feeling.
What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?
We plan to do a pretty big album tour later in the year and of course we are already working on the next record. Ideally we would love to release music all over the world and be able to tour everywhere… to get that all lined up and in synch with Australia would be pretty ace.
As Above, So Below is released on July 15. Keep up to date with the band on Facebook.
Interview by Courtney Dabb. Photo by Sally Pattismres.