By Ben Cameron


The other great Mick of British rock music, Mick Fleetwood, played his own small part in Stonefield’s latest record, lead guitarist Hannah Findlay believes.


The girls from a small country town near Gisborne were supporting The Mac during their Australian tour late last year when the generous drummer offered some sage advice.


“(It) was definitely a pinch yourself moment,” the 23-year-old says, clearly still chuffed with the memory.


“He was so lovely and he had so many nice things to say. His advice was to ‘Keep it greasy’. “He was referring us to Led Zeppelin and kind of just saying: ‘Don’t tighten things up too much, keep that raw element of your music happening’.”


Talking to The Northsider from her sister Amy’s Ascot Vale home, Hannah says the band heeded Mick’s counsel; determined to push the boundaries with their latest record, As Above So Below. How so, though?


“I think not being afraid to tear everything down and be a little bit (more) raw than what we were,” she says.


While some musicians of her age bracket dream of number one hits and gold records, Hannah longs for stability above all else. “I think the ultimate goal is to know we can live comfortably off music, for a long time, it’s something we all dream of being able to do,” she says. “Being able to have my own home and put food on the table, pretty much. I definitely would like to experience city living at some stage, but I’m also a country girl and I’ll probably end up settling down in the country.”


Three quarters of the quartet – Hannah, Holly and Sarah – still live in the regional Victorian town of Darraweit Guim.


Raised on their parents’ collection of Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix (“all the classics”), the girls savour the serenity of their “little escape”, especially after the long slog of touring. Back home, the family shed has been decked out into a makeshift studio for rehearsals, to jam and basically just “get away from it all”.


Spiderbait drummer Kram has been one famous visitor to the Findlay estate after the girls first met him at a Dan Sultan gig in Melbourne. There were parallels to be found between his group and Stonefield, Hannah says.


“He had some stories about them being young and starting out, living in the country.” He had so much advice, it’s hard to think (of it all). He was always full of words of wisdom. The biggest thing he said was to not be afraid to try different things and experiment with different sounds and different style of music. I think that really reflects on the (new) album as well, we’ve pushed the boundaries a bit more.”


Kram eventually played on the new record, which Hannah says, packs a rawness their 2013 self titled debut may have lacked, especially on the tune Midnight: “We’d never done a song like that before, it’s quite slow and intimate”.


Hannah, who also digs contemporary acts like Moby and John Butler (“I remember seeing Butler playing in Mildura, I thought it was the best thing ever”) says the girls have managed to avoid the kind of infighting which can derail careers.


“It has been pretty smooth sailing (with Stonefield), although we do have our little fights and disagreements,” she says. But I think that comes down to us being sisters. We’re pretty close knit. The band is our number one priority at the moment.”


She remains thankful for their sudden breakthrough into the scene back in 2010. “We were incredibly lucky to get the support that we did at that time,” she says. “It did happen quite quickly. It was all such a whirlwind, it was crazy times. I definitely look back and think how lucky we were.”



Stonefield play Howler on October 29.

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