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Q + A With Georgia Fields

Ever-engaging and perpetually cutting-edge, indie shapeshifter Georgia Fields once again wows with elegant ease on her bold new track Holding My Hands Out, out now. A magnetic showing of fearless art-pop and searing vulnerability, Holding My Hands Out marks another sublime insight into Georgia’s upcoming third full-length album Hiraeth. The new track is accompanied by a bewitching, kaleidoscopic music video – in which we see Georgia ominously expel moths from her mouth – firmly reflecting thematic notions of rebirth, and the dark depths of the subconscious.

Now, Georgia sets her sights firmly on the release of her third studio album Hiraeth; a follow-up from 2016’s Astral Debris, which garnered airplay on Double J, ABC Radio National and community radio nationwide. Inspired by the Welsh word with no direct English translation, Georgia’s new body of work explores “a profound longing for a home you can’t return to…the nostalgia/grief for the lost places of your past”. Holding My Hands Out is a salient snippet of what’s to come on Hiraeth, while ultimately offering Georgia the chance to turn her creative verve outward once more, and we caught up with Georgia for a quick Q + A

Hi, thanks for taking the time to chat with Hear 2 Zen, what have you been up to today?

I spent the day with my two kids, and my brother is visiting from Sydney. We went for a walk through the bush reserve to the cafe on the other side, then came home. While my littlest had a nap, I made a curry from scratch and my daughter made a zine with my brother. We listened to the latest mixes of my album, which was really sweet to do as a family… My husband is working on an album too, and he was out rehearsing. It was a simple, cosy winter day at home. 

Tell us about yourself, how long have you been performing/creating music for? 

I released my first EP in 2007, it was called ‘Drama on the High Seas of Emotion’, and I handmade every cover from a vintage Little Golden Book. It took freaking AGES and I got heaps of paper cuts. Since then I’ve released two albums, toured the country, made two babies, and am preparing to release my third album in November. 

Who are your greatest inspirations?  Why?

I am most inspired by the musicians and artists around me in the Melbourne scene. I was talking to my friend Eva Popov (who performs under the moniker Hello Satellites recently), and we were saying how special it has been to be approaching the 15-year mark of being an independent artist, and growing up alongside our community – watching our friends create such beautiful, world-class works of art and getting to share in their journey with their music. 

How do you create music?  Are you lyrics/story driven, or does the music/melody come first?  Explain your process.

I’m definitely lyrics/story driven. Melody is just as important, but I need to know what I’m singing about before I can imagine the arc or character of the melody. I also find it hard to put lyrics to an existing melody, so I prefer to start with words. Once I’ve got some words on the page, and an idea of the narrative or feeling I want to convey, I sit down with an instrument – either my guitar or the piano. If I think it’s going to be a song I’d like to perform with loops, I have to construct the chord progression and corresponding melody in a very careful way, almost like a puzzle, looking for ostinatos or melodic “pedals” that can be carried under all the chords, as well as opportunities for layered countermelodies. I used to have endless time to sit with an instrument and gently coax the songs out. These days with two kids, I do a lot of songwriting in my head, in the car, and if I can snatch a few minutes here and there to keep working on something at the piano if the kids are occupied. I have to work faster and more efficiently. 

What has been your greatest challenge so far in performing/creating music?

I’d say there are two main challenges. Financial and emotional resources. As an independent artist I’m responsible for fronting the cost of all my projects upfront, which means a lot of saving and applying for grants. As a solo, self-managed artist, it’s just me captaining the ship – which suits my “control freak” nature (ha!), but also comes at a cost. I have had to learn to nurture and maintain my mental health and energy reserves. Being an independent musician is a marathon, and burnout is real!

Tell us about your new single ‘Holding My Hands Out’. How did it come about?

I began writing this song just after my second baby was born, during a particularly vulnerable passage of time… and then I finished it during one of the Melbourne lockdowns (enough said!). I wanted to explore that primal desire we all have to be held, to be comforted. At the time, I was listening to Sharon van Etten and Sarah Blasko, and was inspired by their simple but anthemic choruses. I was also deeply moved by the novel ‘Islands’, by Australian author Peggy Frew. ‘Holding My Hands Out’ is partly inspired by her character June, as well as June’s mother Helen. When I presented the song in the studio to my producer Josh Barber, we had a lot of fun crafting the “snare” sample by layering vintage wind-up toys and half-broken wooden percussion – I wanted there to be a real juxtaposition between a gritty drum sound and dreamy, ethereal strings. For the music video, I worked with my friend and longtime collaborator, filmmaker Rohan Spong. We wanted to play with light, colour and shadow, referencing the lyrics “you move like a shadow”. Rohan had this idea that I could cough up moths, and they would swarm above me like a cloud of unspoken menace. I loved this because moths represent transformation and rebirth, but also disguise, our hidden nature, and the night – the realm of the subconscious. No moths were harmed during filming!

What advice do you have to artists who are just starting out?

Do exactly that – just start! Listen to the people you trust, but also back yourself. No one is going to have a better idea of your vision and creative statement than YOU.

Tell us your favourite Zen practice.

Do you mean like meditation? When my kids are yelling at each other, I close my eyes and breathe deeply and try not to scream, does that count? I haven’t studied Buddhism so I can’t say that I have a Zen practice, but I can say that I feel the most alive, the most “in” my body, the most joyful and the most authentic when I’m singing in a room full of people. 

Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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