Who said success only comes to those who wait? For Gold Fields it’s taken little more than a year and a half. Forget the rite of passage through empty bars and third-rank support slots. With these boys from Ballarat it’s been more like the Falls Festival, Groovin’ the Moo and Parklife. Most groups would humanely sacrifice their bass player for such a portfolio.
With comparisons to Miami Horror and Strange Talk, the band produces a sound so in vogue you’ll seldom pass a Bunnings without hearing it. Still, there is a sense of freshness within their music that ensures they never come across as generic.
In support of their debut EP, Gold Fields will be hitting the circuit from the Gold Coast to Ballarat and everywhere in between. One could argue the band is well prepared for such a grueling schedule, having already headlined their own tour earlier this year as well as supported the likes of The Naked & The Famous and The Holidays.
Tone Deaf sat down with lead vocalist Mark Fuller to ask (amongst other questions, of course) who has had the more meteoritic rise to fame: Gold Fields or Susan Boyle?
You guys have had a whirlwind year playing the likes of Falls and Parklife. Do you ever sit back and appreciate what the band has been able to achieve in such a short period of time?
Yeah we’ve been pretty lucky in some of the shows we’ve been able to play. We’ve had a lot of fun during the past 12 months. Still, I think as far as achieving something I don’t think we’ve really completed a great deal yet. I mean, yes we’ve been working really hard, playing lots of shows and getting to travel a little bit but I think our aim is to get the new album up to a level that we’re happy with. Once we’re happy with that, we might feel that we’ve achieved something really good.
Speaking of the new album, when are you aiming to release it?
It’s looking like May or April. Yeah, probably May next year. At the moment it’s about 80% done. We’ll try to add bits and pieces over the summer.
Gold Fields is the perfect proponent of an initiative like triple j Unearthed. How important were they in your development?
Yeah, they were huge. When we recorded our first song we had never played a show or didn’t even know if it was going to be released. We didn’t have a plan. We willy-nilly uploaded a song called “Treehouse” on Unearthed and the next minute we got an email from a label in London who wanted to release it. We were sort of “what the hell?” and realised we better learn how to play it live. So we went ahead and started practicing a lot. So yeah it’s probably due to triple j Unearthed that we have been able to play all these shows because that’s how people heard us in the first place. They’ve been very good to us. Plus they got us to play at Falls so we owe them a lot.
As a relatively new group, do you think playing live is an area you need to develop or have you pretty much got it down pat?
I think it’s different for every tour and every set we play because they’re all different. We’ve definitely worked hard at it. Once we’ve finished this tour it’ll be about 100 shows that we’ve played as a band in the past 12 months. After we recorded the EP the live shows have pretty much been our focus. We’ve been honing those skills during all those festivals and support acts to get it as good as we possibly can.
You guys will be commencing your own tour throughout November. How do you approach headlining a show as opposed to playing as a support act for the likes of Miami Horror or The Holidays?
We’ll probably just do what we’ve been doing. I don’t really feel any pressure – I just hope people come to our shows! That’s the only pressure, we feel pretty lucky to be playing at the venues we are playing at. They’re all good venues and we’re stoked to be taking Millions [Gold Fields’ supporting act] with us.
How’d the tour of the UK go?
It was good. It was pretty ridiculous as well. We had played five or six shows then all of a sudden we were in London playing our seventh. We did feel a little out of our depth solely because we hadn’t played together that much. It was the middle of winter which was hard for us coming from summer in Australia. It was weird having sleet every day but I guess we got to see London at its best. It was a very good learning experience in terms of playing tiny venues that were absolutely packed where the stages were sizes of bench tops.
How does a track like “Treehouse” or “The Woods” come together? Does someone piece together the melody before coming up with the lyrics or vice-versa?
Well, “Treehouse” was a song that was already programmed on Ryan’s computer. There was a verse and a chorus part and we wrote some melodies and stuff for it. Then I ended up getting a song that I had written two or three years beforehand so we put that vocal melody on top of Ryan’s file and it fit. We had to make a few changes to the music and vocals and had to record some percussion lines at the studio as well. For “The Woods” it was a guitar riff that Vin had and we took that into the studio and built it from there. I suppose any song we do is always different.
Will the new album be keeping with the vibe of the EP or perhaps take a different direction?
I dunno if it’ll take a different direction but I hope it sounds a bit more like a progression. We’ve spent the past 12 months writing flat out and playing shows and I hope that will show [in the album]. The EP is the first four songs we wrote together and to us that’s how it sounds.
I’ve got one last question before I let you get rid of your hangover (the band had a rather big one the night before in hometown Ballarat). Now, I’m guessing it’s a homage to your hometown, but why Gold Fields? What’s the meaning behind the name?
(Laughs) This sounds silly but we actually saw “Gold Fields” on a sign coming back from Melbourne and someone said, “How about that?” We thought it was a pretty good name without really thinking too much about the reference it has to our hometown. Now we think it’s a little stupid. I suppose it is what it is.
Hey, if ain’t broke…
– Paul Bonadio
See below for Gold Fields tour dates – or check out our competition to win a double pass in each city!
Sat 29th Oct – Corner Hotel, MELBOURNE – Tickets
Fri 4th Nov – Elsewhere, GOLD COAST – Tickets
Sat 5th Nov – Alhambra Lounge, BRISBANE – Tickets
Thur 10th Nov – Transit Bar, CANBERRA – Tickets
Fri 11th Nov – Oxford Art Factory, SYDNEY – Tickets
Sat 12th Nov – Level One, NEWCASTLE LEAGUES – Tickets
Fri 18th Nov – Jive, ADELAIDE – Tickets
Sat 19th Nov – Amplifier, PERTH – Tickets
Fri 25th Nov – Republic Bar, HOBART – Tickets
Sat 26th Nov – Karova Lounge, BALLARAT – Tickets