Stonefield are a 4-piece rock band from Melbourne who have been taking the world by storm since winning the Triple J Unearthed High competition in 2010. In 2011 they have played Glastonbury Festival, Sunset Strip Music Festival and are currently touring Australia to promote their new single 'Black Water Rising'.
It all started in a shed.
More specifically, it started in a shed on a family hobby farm in a tiny rural township just north of Melbourne.
The four Findlay sisters, who'd go on to become the earthen psych-rock opal that is Stonefield, had been granted their wish of a drum kit by their parents, whose Zappa, Hendrix and Zeppelin records had long been the shared soundtrack of the household. The shed, which housed little other than old furniture and a broken billiards table, was the obvious place in which to contain the young siblings' inexpert bashings.
Amy -- the oldest Findlay, though at that time just 15 -- took a particular shine to the kit and soon began lessons, her practice sessions echoing out across the family's acreage. It wasn't long, however, before her sisters were drawn back into the shelter as, one by one, they found their own instruments to wrangle with. Hannah, then 13, started on guitar. Sarah, 12, took on the keyboard. Holly, just seven years old, listened in on her sisters practising and, perhaps hearing that something was missing, asked her father for a bass.
As they tell it now, it was serendipity that the instruments each Findlay found a kinship with together made the workings of a band. However, six years later, as Stonefield begin to reveal themselves to the world via spirit-capturing recordings and live shows that bring the word 'incendiary' back from rock journo heaven, it's hard not to believe there was a more astute instinct at play. That is to say: listen to Stonefield and try to figure out what else the Findlays could possibly be doing.
Of course, it wasn't a clear path from their initial shed fumblings to festival stages and the playlists of Triple J and London's career-launching XFM. First came those lessons, which, in a town with a population of just over 200 people, initially proved a problem of opportunity. Fortuitously (yes, there are a few magical circumstances in this story), just as the Findlays' collection of instruments was growing, a music teacher moved into the property next door and was commissioned to coach each sister in her craft. (Sarah got the short end of the stick, perhaps, as this teacher didn't play keys and she was, therefore, relegated to learning via theory -- a task she shrugs off with a smile now.)
Then came their first all-in practices in which the sisters ran through every easy radio song they could think of until they plucked up the courage to tackle the Holy Grail of rock anthems: 'Purple Haze.' "Our favourite songs to cover were Hendrix," nods Amy, who now also takes care of lead vocals from behind her kit. "And then we started to figure out how to write originals."
From there, it was onto any community gig that would have them. Hannah remembers, "We got our mum to call around and find out if there was anywhere we could play a gig in front of people and we found out that there was this youth music group who put on shows around the area, so we went and did a battle of the bands. And we won." Time in the studio was secured as part of the prize and the band's first demos were recorded -- then discarded. More competitions followed, leading to further wins and further studio time, as well as trips to the inner-city venues of Melbourne, but still something wasn't quite right........
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