Picture: Sally Patti

Stonefield’s Hannah Findlay on SXSW, Mick Fleetwood and a return to touring

It’s a busy year for pysch-rock group Stonefield, having just come off on an international tour with shows at SXSW in Texas and with a string of Australian shows planned for September and November.

Guitarist Hannah Findlay said the year had been a mixture of touring and writing, and SXSW had been a highlight.

“We were kind of a little bit nervous to go over there just because of what we’ve been told and how crazy it can get,” Findlay said.

“I think we had a pretty good response, so we are still quite happy with it.”

On top of a successful stint playing SXSW, the band also got the chance to play with Fleetwood Mac on their Australian tour – even receiving compliments from Mick Fleetwood himself.

“They were such an amazing band – they actually brought us to tears seeing them live,” Findlay said.

“We got to meet Mick Fleetwood and he was just really lovely and had a lot of nice things to say.

“It was a really incredible experience.”

Stonefield is a family band, with Hannah and her siblings Amy, Sarah and Holly forming a close-knit unit.

The family dynamic comes with a unique set of benefits and challenges.

“It really works well for us, we’re really close with each other and there is no hiding behind anything,” said Findlay.

“We have grown up with each other, so we know everything we know about each other. It makes it a lot easier when working together.”

Does sibling rivalry ever rear its head?

“It does get tense – I’m not going to lie, but the good times outweigh the bad.”

The biggest achievement of the past year is a follow-up to their self-titled 2013 album Stonefield.

Called As Above, So Below, the name touches on spiritual themes.

“It reflects on how we believe that a lot of the time there are big things happening within the universe that reflect different things that are happening here on earth,” Findlay said.

The band experimented with different sounds than the last album, citing more intimacy on the record.

“We’ve become a bit more intimate with songs and haven’t been as afraid to pull everything away and get more close and personal with the songs and sounds we are experimenting with.”

Production of the album was a phased approach with many songs not making the final cut. The album was finished off at Melbourne-based producer John Lee’s studio in Coburg. It was a long process, but the band were “really happy with the final result”.

The single Love is markedly different from the other tracks in the album, having been created in a different way.

“I actually remember the day quite clearly,” said Findlay.

“It was boiling hot and we normally write in our shed at home, so that just wasn’t working because of the heat,” Findlay said.

“We brought everything inside and it was just guitar, keys and bass. We were kind of just jamming pretty quietly in our lounge room and I started off with a little guitar line that sounded quite Indian. The whole song formed around that.”

The band will embark on a huge national tour featuring metro and regional locations.

“I’m really looking forward to going to a few regional places we haven’t been to before,” said Findlay.

“Also going back to some places we haven’t been to in a while. I think we really appreciate the crowds in regional areas. I feel they don’t get as much music as they should, so it’s nice to go there and give them some music.”

The tour kicks off in Newcastle on October 6.

Full tour and ticketing information on Stonefield’s website.

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