Victorian four-piece Stonefield have taken a triumphant step forward with their fourth album Bent. Everything you’ve loved about the sister is still there – like the classic ’70s sound, the big riffs, and the powerful vocals – but this time they’ve turned the psych-rock sludge up to 100. The songs on Bent take on the experiences Stonefield have had to battle through across the last decade, and across its 33-minute run time you’ll find anger there, sadness too, but there’s also an energy and a power that cannot be ignored. We’ve picked it as our album of the week, so we sat down with the band’s vocalist and drummer Amy Findlay to chat about making the album, changes, and spending so much time overseas.
Inside the creative process
Amy Findlay: “The way that we write is almost always as a full band, just jamming. We have tried other ways of writing, but have always found that this is the easiest way for us to make music. When we set out to write a new record, we write a whole heap of crap that gets thrown away until we get to a point where we feel like what is coming out feels like the direction we want to take.
“That point came for us when we were on tour in the US with King Tuff during a polar vortex. We tried to find rehearsal spaces wherever we were passing through if we had a day off – Connecticut, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee. In the past, we’ve found it difficult to write on the road, but because we’ve been touring so much, we didn’t really have a choice if we wanted to release new music any time soon. It ended up being a really refreshing and inspiring approach. We finished everything off when we returned home to a blistering hot Australian summer.”
“Our recording approach this time around was really different from everything that we have done in the past. It was quick and no fuss, just the way it should have been for this particular record. It was certainly the easiest record to make. The songs still felt fresh when we went into the studio, although we had practised them and thought about production so that we were ready to smash it out.
“We recorded with Stu and Joe from King Gizzard at their studio in Melbourne. Aside from our own recording setup at home, it’s the most low key studio we have been in, which was great. We didn’t spend hours trying to get the right guitar sound or the perfect take, we used exactly what we use live and as a result, we finally feel like we captured the energy and rawness that we have in our shows.”
Down memory lane
AF: “My favourite memory was when we wrote ‘Route 29’ in the safety of the cosiest little rehearsal room with the heater blasting, candles burning and hot chocolate, wondering if we would be snowed in.”
Overcoming struggle town
AF: “The main struggle was finding the time to create an album in-between so much touring and also allowing ourselves the time to let our writing develop into the songs we used.
“It was a little stressful making sure we could actually lock the recording time in, but we didn’t intentionally make it so quick in the studio. It just happened that way, and I think that’s largely thanks to Stu and Joe for reassuring us that what we were doing sounded good and we didn’t need to go over everything a million times.”
Tell us the story
AF: “All the songs are based on what it’s like to be a woman trying to do your thing and trying to carve your place in the world for your music. It’s about being misunderstood, underestimated, belittled, and the power of supporting your peers. The first few songs we wrote that we were really happy with all had this theme, so we went with it and from there it was easy. It’s something that we really needed to write about and found we had a lot to say.”
AF: “We have experienced and learnt so much since we released our first music, and it is two completely different worlds. Ending up in a world of big wigs is quite crazy when you are still writing your first songs and working out where your place is in the world.
“What we have experienced has given us an amazing insight into all aspects of the industry. We are now at a place where we have complete creative freedom to do whatever we want, on our terms. The music we are writing might not get us a number 1 hit on mainstream radio anytime soon, but we are happy doing our thing for us and anyone else who enjoys it.”
AF: “We hope that listeners can feel the anger, sadness, and power that we poured into these songs. We want people to listen and relate, understand, and feel empowered.”
Take it to the world
AF: “International touring reminds you that the world is a big place and there are big enough audiences for all types of music. It gives you encouragement to continue doing whatever the hell you want.
“We have certainly seen and done a lot in the last few years. We recently played our first shows in Spain which were insane. The appreciation from the audiences there was next level. “
Say it in a sentence
AF: “Bent is heavy, eerie, dark, raw, and honest.”
Between a European tour and a stack of shows supporting King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard across America, Stonefield will return home to Australia to live launch Bent. They’ll take over Melbourne’s Howler on Thursday 1 August and you can get tickets through our matest Moshtix.