QUICK CHAT W/ CRAYON FIELDS
Melbourne based die hard romantics Crayon Fields are back after six years on the down low whilst their frontman Geoffrey O’Connor galavanted around releasing two really quite good solo records. They’ll be launching their fantastic new album No One Deserves You at Sydney’s Newtown Social Club on the 6th, and Melbourne’s Howler on the 14th of November, so we had a chat with Geoffrey about what’s been going on all this time, and why it took them so long to drop another dose of mystical pop goodness on us.
Six years is a while between albums, what do you think has changed the most within Crayon Fields as a group between 2009 and now?
It’s embarrassing how little has changed. We are slightly better musicians than we were, yet the idiosyncrasies in our playing haven’t changed in the slightest. We all have new frames for our glasses, new clothes etc., but they are the same types of frames and shirts that we used to wear. We rehearse in a new studio but we stand and sit in exactly the same configuration. We are all exercising more than we used to, which has kept us at the same physical and spiritual age as we were before. It’s creepy.
What have you all been up to since 2009?
I released two solo albums and toured fairly regularly. I’ve also been recording other artists and making music videos on the side which has been fun. Between the others there has been solar engineering, architecture, graphic design and a lot of torrenting.
The liner notes for ‘So Do I’ on Chapter Music’s 20 Big Ones compilation say you were originally slated to put out a new Crayon Fields record in 2013, what pushed it out to mid-2015?
I had a grant to record and tour a solo album, so we swapped the order around. We also reworked the album a little, which mostly involved making the arrangements a little less cluttered. My vocal range extended an extra three semitones in that time, so I re-recorded all the singing parts to indulge that a little too.
What can you tell us about some of the tracks you’ve included on your ‘No One Deserves You Official Influences Playlist’?
I love the understated funk aspect of the Barbara Streisand album ‘Guilty’. The songs have a buoyancy and sense of fun to them without bouncing around too much. It’s something we tried to achieve with a few songs on our record, such as the title track. Sia is Australia’s greatest living songwriter and her music is everywhere, so I guess it’s impossible to not be influenced by her in some way. I think the stacked harmonies that ELO always incorporate in their songs were a big influence on how we approached backing vocals for this record. Harmonies were a big aspect of our sound early on which we steered clear of for our last album, it was fun to bring them back again. I included ‘Hang On To Your Love’ because I think our bassist has a real Sade vibe and I think he’d fit that band like a glove.
Is it accurate to say that you haven’t played live as a group since that 2009 album? How are you looking forward to your shows for this album, do you think it’ll take a little bit of getting used to or will it feel like nothings changed at all?
We toured that album pretty extensively through 2010-2011 and played a few of times since then too. I’ve never really seen the point of playing shows unless you have something new out. We’ve been practicing a lot for these shows and it’s all come together very easily, almost too easily. I think they might have been secretly practicing behind each other’s backs.
What is some of your favourite independent music coming out of Australia right now?
The bands we are lucky enough to be joined by at our launches (Totally Mild, Angie, The Goon Sax and Abigail And Daisy) are all fantastic. Sui Zhen, Jonny Telafone and Habits are all doing very exciting and unique things. I feel like they all have a high level of conviction in what they do, which I really admire.
What is the plan for Crayon Fields after No One Deserves You? See you in another six years – or – not even thinking about it?
Not even thinking about it! We don’t really ‘do’ plans.
By Nicholas Kennedy