An Interview with Hannah Findlay (Stonefield)

Having had Beatles on the brain for a while now, specifically the early years of their hysteria-inducing mop tops, I started to think about their early interviews. I looked up some of those early pressers and was taken aback by just how many times the fab foursome was asked about money and marriage, but there were also some gems hidden amongst the clunkers. And so, inspired by the early press conferences of the Beatles, especially their US tour interviews, I decided to ask some of those very same questions to some of the best and brightest making music today.

Stonefield's music is quite a thing to behold. This quartet of witchy Aussie women churns out song after song of big, bold psych/stoner rock (with hints of prog and pop lurking in the darkest nooks and crannies). Their towering, clouded crystal ball creations have an air of wizardry and black magic to them, and it's no surprise, then, that the ladies are on the roster at Flightless Records.

The band is this very evening kicking off their most recent US tour. Levitation-goers, make sure you check out Stonefield's Thursday night set at Barracuda AND/OR Friday night at Mohawk. DC, catch Stonefield on 11/12 at the Pie Shop. In the meantime, get to know the world of Stonefield a bit better, thanks to guitarist/vocalist Hannah Findlay.

What has been your most exciting moment in the last year?

Writing and releasing our album Bent. We’re extremely proud of this record. It’s been the easiest thing we’ve ever written and it poured out of us quickly, naturally, and passionately. It’s given us the opportunity to tour the most we’ve toured before and experience new and amazing places.

Who are your favorite recording artists?

There are too many to name but a few favourites are Frank Zappa, Black Sabbath, Can, Janis Joplin, Aldous Harding, Uncle Acid.

Do you feel safe riding in airplanes?

Mostly! There are definitely moments where I feel a little nervous, for example when there’s intense turbulence or a bumpy landing...but I know that you’re probably safer in a plane than what you are in a car!

Does every city look the same?

To be honest when we don’t have a lot of time in each city to fully immerse ourselves in the culture, they do become similar. We always try to see and experience as much as we can, but sometimes our experience of a city is a case of finding food and getting back to the venue.

What message are you trying to get across, if any?

There’s not one particular message we are trying to get across, however our last album was heavily focused on our experiences as women. As a band we don’t actively push our messages onto people, but hope that our music speaks for itself.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

As much as I don’t like it sometimes..."Stoic."

Where would you like to go that you haven't gone yet?

I’d love to see South America! I think it would be an amazing place to tour and experience.

Do you feel that you're setting a new trend in music?

I’d like to think we are, but we’re not...haha. I guess there seems to be a movement in our genre that a lot of bands are contributing to and it seems to be growing all the time. It feels pretty good to be involved in that and I hope that we can continue to put our own touch on the genre of music that we play.

What kinds of guitars do you use?

I mainly use my custom shop 62 reissue SG.. however recently I’ve also been using an amazing hand-made guitar by Mark Nicol. It’s quite a different sound to my SG and a pretty wacky shape which makes it super fun to play.

Does anybody ever ask you for advice?

Every now and then! We get asked for advice from people starting out in the music industry occasionally, and on a more personal level, my friends and I can always rely on each other to give advice when needed.

How do you prefer for your fans to act at your concerts?

However they prefer to act, as long as they’re respectful! Of course we enjoy it when we can see everyone getting in to it or getting a bit wild but it’s not always like that, so as long as we can see everyone seems to be enjoying it then we’re happy!

How do you go about writing your songs?

They generally stem from a riff or line that someone has. We jam on that until it evolves into a song. Amy tends to write most of the lyrics, however recently we’ve been a bit more involved, particularly Holly...she has a knack for coming up with a good line!

What is one question you would like to be asked that probably nobody has ever asked?

I feel like we’re often asked a broad range of questions but I suppose one thing no one has really asked is what keeps us doing what we’re doing. Which may be obvious but music is sometimes a really tough business that makes you question if it’s all worth it. It’s also one of the most powerful things in the world and the feeling of writing a song you’re extremely happy with or playing a great show is an irreplaceable, addictive feeling.

What do you call your sound?


Have you ever had a mental block-out on stage?

Too many times!! It’s one of the worst feelings...and there’s just nothing you can do about it but hope that it comes back to you ASAP. A lot of the time it’s in songs that we’ve played a million times which makes no sense and is super frustrating!

What are your unfulfilled ambitions?

I guess as is the nature with most careers, I’d love to keep growing with the band and playing more shows in new places to new people.

What advice do you have for teenagers?

Be confident in yourself and don’t think you have to do anything just because other people think that’s what you’re "meant" to do.

What is the closest you have come to losing life and limb?

I wrote off my car a couple of years ago with my mum, Sarah, and Holly as passengers. It was a stormy night and a large tree fell across the road in front of us. We went flying in/over the tree but somehow were completely uninjured. It could have been so much worse, but somehow none of the branches went through the windscreen!

Do you think of yourself more as an entertainer or a musician, or do you think it's more of a combination of the two?

I think it’s a combination of both. We play a lot of gigs and I think essentially even if you’re not trying to be entertaining, when you’re in front of people playing music you’re providing entertainment. I don’t do anything extremely exciting onstage to ham up the entertainer side of it but it is very different to playing music in your bedroom.

[posted 11.6.19]


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