I was a very big and very vocal early supporter of Stonefield. I dug what they were about, I loved their energy and I found them to be really exciting. Derivative? Sure, but sometimes that’s what you want – a bit of familiarity and some energy in it. We’ve since fallen out of love – I found both their debut album and headlining show at the Annandale last year to be quite disappointing. Maybe it was only fun when we were younger? Whatever the case, Amy was a quietly reserved and very sweet young lady to interview – probably the youngest person I’ve interviewed apart from maybe Adrian from Northlane? I think so. So yeah, this is from a much brighter time for the Findlay kids – for my money, anyway.
– DJY, October 2014
Amy Findlay is hanging out at her cousin’s house in regional Victoria – “Just relaxing, taking a break,” she says. Probably what most girls her age would be doing on a Monday afternoon during school holidays. With that said, it is here where the similarities between her and other girls ends. Give this girl a microphone, a drum set and a couple of siblings and she’ll show you Stonefield – one of the younger collective voices heard in Australian music right now, but easily one of the most exciting.
Having blitzed the competition of triple j’s Unearthed High contest under their former name of Iotah, the band scored high rotation on the station with tracks like Through the Clover and Foreign Lover, both of which were re-recorded for the band’s debut EP. For such a young band, it seems like it has all come to Stonefield quite naturally – and Findlay herself is quick to validate this hypothesis.
“We’ve always been interested in music,” says Amy, the eldest of the four sisters that make up the group. “Because we grew up in a country town, there wasn’t very much available in terms of music lessons – so we took dance lessons and singing lessons and things like that. Luckily for us, about five and a half years ago, a music teacher actually moved in next door to us! We all started playing around the same time – and, as soon as we could, started playing together as a band; ’cause we figured ‘why not?’”
Why not, indeed. Following a rapidly-growing interest in Iotah – now Stonefield after not wanting to be confused with Sydney performer iOTA – the band recorded the bulk of the Through the Clover EP at Atlantic Studios in the south of Melbourne. “That was really fun,” recalls Findlay. “The studio was really cool, too. There was heaps of old equipment – a Hammond organ, Leslie speakers, stuff like that.” The only track from Through the Clover not to be recorded at Atlantic was the title track itself, the stomping rocker with which you are most likely to be familiar with out of the band’s work. That track was recorded in triple j’s very own studio as a part of the aforementioned Unearthed High competition. Findlay also holds fond memories of this session, too – “It was amazing!” she says. “The studio was just incredible; and to work with Greg Wales was such a fun experience.”
With its glass-shattering lead vocals and crashing major chords, there is a very good reason Through the Clover is the band’s most popular song. Surely the group knew they were onto something during the songwriting process of that little number? Findlay is a little bashful, but eventually put this forward: “Y’know when you’re playing or writing a song, and you’d be smiling because you feel so good about it? That’s kind of what happened with that song.” Fair enough and all, but there’s just gotta be more to it than that! Perhaps the answer lies within the songwriting process, which Amy herself is happy to explain.
“Generally, it starts whenever one of us has an idea – whether it’s lyrics or a melody or whatever,” she says. “We just muck around with it, try a whole heap of different stuff and just jam. It’s the best way to get our ideas out there.” Hey, it’s worked so far, why mess with it? “Definitely,” says Amy with a giggle.
Outside of the studio, the band – rounded out by Hannah on guitar, Sarah on keyboards and the youngest, Holly, on bass – have also been honing their live chops. Of late, their biggest gig has been opening the Pyramid Rock festival, the annual Phillip Island festival. “We were pretty scared that there wasn’t going to be anyone there,” admits Amy. “But because a lot of people camped the night before, I think they were ready to see the first band. So there was a good turnout, and it was lots of fun. It was probably the biggest stage we’ve ever played on, too, so it was cool and challenging for us to try and fill that space.”
It won’t be the last time the girls of Stonefield will be filling big spaces – March sees the band taking to the Pushover festival alongside acts such as Children Collide and Violent Soho; while later this year the band will make their first ever trip overseas to perform at the Great Escape festival in May and what many perceive to be the best festival in the world, the Glastonbury Festival, in June. “That’s probably the biggest thing that’s happening this year,” says Amy with a nervous quiver in her tone. She might sound daunted by the big things ahead for Stonefield, but with a talent like theirs you can be sure they’ve got little to worry about.