Interview by Keaton McSweeney
All-girl sister act STONEFIELD are heading out on an extensive national tour next month, playing a bunch of regional dates in an effort to spread the positive message of government youth initiative The Line. Billed as a “Winter Road Trip”, the classic-rock indebted four-piece will be sharing the stage with synth-loving co-headliner and Wunderkind label mate OWL EYES. A few weeks out from the tour, we caught up with Stonefield guitarist Hannah Findlay to discuss The Line, the band’s upcoming debut, and why Stonefield are the perfect band to get The Line’s message out there.
“The Line is all about promoting healthy and respectful relationships, and also trying to change the negative attitudes and behaviours that some young people have towards each other,” explains Findlay, calling in from her parent’s farm somewhere north of Melbourne. “I guess because we’re quite young we can kind of relate to it, because we’ve seen a lot of these things happening around us. Also, being musicians, we’re in a great position help to get that message out there to people; namely that respect is a really key part of healthy relationships, and that people can reach out for help if they need it.”
Having been thrown into the music business since winning Triple J’s Unearthed High competition back in 2010, Findlay concedes that a lack of respect can be an issue out on the road, especially considering the fact that her band is made up of four sisters who were all under the age of 20 when they began touring. “Yeah, every now and then we do come across a person who thinks “oh, it’s just a bunch of girls” or something like that, and we have to try and prove ourselves,” she says. “But we’ve been really lucky, most of the people around us are really nice and respectful, and that’s the way it is the majority of the time. But the whole “all girls” thing can work two ways for us” she continues. “People can act really horrible to us because we’re girls and they think we’re not worthy of it, or people can be, and have been, really supportive of us. I guess that’s because they can see that we can play music and yeah…we’re just out there doing our best”.
With the tour still a few weeks off, Findlay says she and her siblings are using their down-time to work on their as-yet untitled debut record, set to be produced by Lindsay Gravina, the man behind their recent ‘Bad Reality’ EP. “We’re writing as much as we can at the moment, and we’re just about to get into demoing some new songs, so yeah, that’s keeping us busy,” she says. “We’ve got about ten songs that we’re pretty happy with, but we still want to write a few more before we start recording properly.” In what little free time they do have, Findlay says that she and her sisters are mostly preoccupied with practicing their instruments individually, while her two younger siblings [keys player Sarah and bassist Holly] are still in high school, which becomes their main focus when the band aren’t on tour.
But while the Winter Roadtrip and Stonefield’s forthcoming album are the band’s main points of focus at the moment, Findlay says they definitely have one eye trained on the future, “We definitely want this band to be our career.” she says. “We want to keep on doing it for as long as we can, and we’ve got lots of goals, particularly to get overseas and just generally to release as much music as we can. So yeah, hopefully is lasts a long time.” Findlay is also conscious of the “gimmicky” nature of being in a young, all-girl rock band. “Yeah, we’re aware that that whole thing can come and go really quickly” she says. “But we just try to focus as much as we can on the music itself, rather than the things that come with it”. Still, Findlay maintains that there is nothing predetermined about their distinctive classic rock sound. “We don’t really think too much about our music style, it sort of just happens,” she says. “Every time we write a song, we’re never consciously trying to write in a particular style. It’s just whatever flows out.”