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Interview: Georgia Fields


Interview: Georgia Fields

Kate Sansome

Independent singer-songwriter and musician, Georgia Fields is set to release her highly anticipated sophomore album, Astral Debris next month.  The multi-instrumentalist is about to hit the road next week to celebrate the release of her upcoming second album and will be dropping by Adelaide's The Wheatsheaf Hotel on September 9th.   We recently got the chance to talk to Fields about her upcoming album, her inspirations and what can fans expect from her tour.

Could you quickly introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background in music?

I’m a singer and songwriter currently based in Melbourne. I play pop music, although I dance between genres – from chamber-folk to synth-pop and vintage-soaked balladry. When I’m not performing and releasing my own music, I work as a string arranger and compose orchestral accompaniment for other artist’s work. Last year I wrote my first film score for feature length documentary Winter at Westbeth. It all keeps me very busy!

When did you first start getting into music and what do you enjoy most about creating it?

I wrote my first song when I was 8-years-old. It was called I’m a Cowgirl. I was on the road, camping with my Dad, and I was listening to a lot of country – Patsy Cline, Hank Williams. I love tinkering in the studio but my favourite part of music-making is that very special buzz – that distinct and unique high that you get from playing live on stage, whether it’s solo at the piano or with an ensemble of musicians. I have not yet encountered anything on earth like it.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

My family. My father raised me on Tom Waits, Sam and Dave, Ray Charles, The Beatles, Oscar Peterson, Tchaikovsky… My mother schooled me in Madonna, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin… I discovered Mariah Carey for myself in the schoolyard.

 Image via Georgia Fields

Image via Georgia Fields

You’re just about to release your second album, Astral Debris, how has the writing and recording process been?

It has been an incredibly humbling journey. I funded Astral Debris with a crowd-funding campaign through Pozible, and despite being scared out of my wits about being that vulnerable and asking for support, I was absolutely amazed by the level of engagement and excitement about the project. People pledged, and we got the album made! Along the way I discovered I was pregnant, so I pressed ‘pause’ on the album release plans to take time out and welcome our daughter into the world. She was a very special part of the album process, from kicking inside my belly during the string sessions, to making baby gurgle noises in the background of some of the vocal takes.

How would you describe the overall sound or direction of the album?

My debut album (released 2010) was almost a live album – recorded in a big studio room with my band and a 15-piece ensemble of strings, woodwind, brass and tuned percussion. This was my ‘Mini-Indie-Orchestra’. For this second album Astral Debris, I wanted to pursue a different sound palette entirely, which is why I connected with electronic producer Tim Shiel (Faux Pas; Bertie Blackman; Gotye). Tim worked with samples of organic sounds as well as some pretty far out synths to create an other-worldly soundscape which still referenced my acoustic debut. Some album tracks feature my band, and there are two tracks that are just string section and voice. Through the songwriting process, I was inspired by myths, fairytales and how pop music accesses universal archetypes. Astral Debris is a reference to the moon (who is herself a piece of astral debris), as well as the idea that we are all made up of the remnants of stars.

Your lyrics are quite poetic in nature, where do you draw inspiration for your song writing?

Thank you! I adore the work of Feist, Laura Viers, Sarah Blasko and Bjork, as well as local artists Olympia and Ainslie Wills. In terms of my own song-stories, I often look to literature, films, fables, and of course personal experiences. The book Women Who Run With The Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés was a big inspiration during the writing of Astral Debris.

Can you tell us a bit about the story behind the leading single Hood & The Hunter?

I heard a literary academic talking on the radio about how fables evolve over time, and they mentioned the Red Riding Hood story. I remembered an early version I had heard as a child, where Little Red cuts her own way out of the wolf’s belly – playing the role of both innocent feminine and brave Hunter. I did some research and discovered there are many different versions of the tale originating back to 12th century France, and that yes – there are versions where Little Red tricks the wolf into eating her, before using a small knife (or her own finger nails) to claw her way out of his belly and rescue her Grandmother on her way out. So Hood and the Hunter is my metaphor for breaking out of a negative culture (something or someone who seeks to devour you), and birthing the Mature Feminine.

 Image via Georgia Fields

Image via Georgia Fields

You also recently released the music video for your latest single, Open Orange, can you tell us how the video came about?

I love working with director Rohan Spong! He is a music video wizard. We have worked together on all my music videos so far, and for this one we went for a vintage psychedelic vibe circa 1968. We wanted to play with hand and arm doubles, so I put a call-out on social media and we all piled into a little studio and let Rohan project animated kaleidoscopes onto us. It was FUN.

On the track you also teamed up with Phia, how did that collaboration come about?

It was producer Tim Shiel who suggested we team up on Open Orange!  I had met Phia a few years back when I was travelling around Europe and she had just relocated to Berlin. We met at an open mic night in Paris, of all places! Phia was still living in Berlin at the time we recorded that track, so we were emailing vocal parts back and forth… It was incredible! She is an inspired songwriter and a mind-blowing live performer – definitely worth seeing on stage if you get the chance.

You are about to hit the road for your upcoming tour, how have you been preparing for it and what can fans expect from the tour?

I am super excited to get out on the road and reconnect with audiences! It’s been a while since I played in Adelaide and Sydney, so I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and new friends. I’ll be playing solo on piano and electric guitar, which will be a wonderful opportunity to strip the songs back to their bare bones – and perhaps collaborate on a song with the other bands on the bill? It’s always fun to throw something unexpected into the mix! Fans can expect heartfelt songs, stories, self-deprecating inter-song banter, and surprises.

You can catch Georgia Fields' at The Wheatsheaf Hotel on September 9th. More information here.

Header Image via Georgia Fields