Stonefield (formerly known as Iotah) are four sisters from Victoria who have gained all sorts of critical acclaim for their special brand of rock and roll. Tomatrax caught up with drummer and lead singer Amy Findlay and asked her about the sisters’ music.
Where did the name come from?
Band names are such a difficult thing.. up there with one of the hardest parts of being in a band I think! It came from reading a very old sayings book our pop gave us. One of them was the old saying “couldn’t give one iota.” We thought it was pretty cool and added a ‘h’ on the end. I wish we had a good reason for the h, but no.. just thought it looked better in writing!
Note: The band has since changed their name from Iotah to Stonefield to avoid confusion with solo artist iOTA.
When was your first gig?
Our first gig was at a jam session at a local country pub in Fowerdale. We had such an awesome time, meeting other musicians who have been playing for years and had so much encouragement from them, we’re still going to the Jam sessions as much as we can.
What’s it like to all be playing with your sisters?
It has it’s pros and cons, but mostly pros. As sisters you can say what you think and not worry about hurting their feelings too much. They’ll get over it pretty quickly. We all live together, so finding time to practice is easy. We live on a farm too and can make as much noise in our shed as we like. I think we have a bond that connects us as musicians. We of course fight, but not as much as other sisters. We’re pretty tight knit.
How did you decide who played which instrument?
Luckily enough, we all kind of had an interest in our individual instrument. It worked out to be no double ups. Perfect for forming a band!
Is it hard to play drums and sing at the same time?
No. It’s what I’ve done from the start.. I’m used to it. Plus, I’m a rock drummer. Straight 4 4 haha. I don’t do anything too fancy, just keep time.
You’ve recently been announced as a finalist for Unearthed High 2010, has that had much of an impact on your music’s exposure?
It’s had a huge impact. A lot more people are showing interest in our music from across Australia which is fantastic.
How did you pick which songs would be featured on Unearthed?
‘Foreign Lover,’ the song that’s currently being played on Triple J was recorded the day before the competition closed. We recorded it as part of my course (I’m studying a music degree and majoring in song writing.) We had it produced by Greg Arnold from ‘Things Of Stone and Wood.’ We whacked it up when we got home from the studio and low and behold, a week later it was on Triple J and got us into the finals.
From the songs on Unearthed there’s been some solid keyboard and guitar solos, is there any chance of a drum solo in any upcoming tunes?
A new song we are currently writing has a potential drum solo, so perhaps!
You’ve had all manner of people raving about you already; do you feel any pressure from here on as a result of all the early praise?
I guess we probably should, but no not really. Our songwriting so far has grown into something we feel is better each time. Hopefully we can block out outside pressures and keep working with our own pressure.
When you began playing together did you think you’d come this far this soon?
Being played on Triple J? Gosh no!
Did you really play a concert in the back of a truck? If so what was it like?
We’re from a rural area so there’s no shortage of concerts in the back of trucks. We’ve played quite a few of them at festivals and other community events.
When writing songs does the music come first or the lyrics?
Almost all of the time the music comes first. I’m better of getting a feel for the music before writing lyrics. I’ve written lyrics first a few times but end up scrapping them for something else once the music is done.
You music mixed various elements of rock, early metal and psychedelic rock, do you think about the style and sound you’re going for when putting songs together?
Yeah we do, particularly when we first started song writing. It’s easy to stray from the direction you want to head and write something that doesn’t sound like your band.
In the vein of your influences, will you be putting out any 10+ minute epics?
We would love to. I guess we’ve always been encouraged to keep it around the three minute mark, but epic and big is fun so hopefully we’ll be able to do that in the future.
Will you be releasing a CD in the near future? If so how will it compare to what’s being put out so far?
Yes, we’re releasing an EP this year. It will be the same kind of stuff that’s up on Unearthed. Each song has it’s different sort of influences from the 70s era. Some songs are more bluesy than others and some are more psychedelic rock.
Do you listen to your own music?
When we have a fresh recording yes, but other than that no. We hear it enough when we practice.
Is there any question you’ve always wanted to be asked?
Not that we can think of..
Is there any question you hate being asked?