story + interview / LOGAN BRENDT
Since Mark Robert Fuller, the frontman for Australian band Gold Fields hates posting things online, telling people to listen to their band or buy their record, Ladygunn will gladly do it for them. As one of the best acts to emerge early in 2013, Gold Fields has deservedly and quickly gained attention for their engaging beats and memorable hooks. Even though the frontman mentions in our interview that he gets “a lot of middle aged white men” telling him that the music reminds them of 80s New Romanticism, I do agree that there are instances when their sound brings to mind some of the bands under that 80s New Wave umbrella, however I am far from a “middle aged white man”.
Recently nominated for an mtvU Woodie, Gold Fields are also on tour in support of their debut album titled Black Sun. Having performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last week, they will also be making a stop at SXSW, and will be featured on Last Call With Carson Daly at the end of March. Regardless, singer Mark Robert Fuller still found the time to answer questions about their touring schedule, their influences, and even give some really great advice to up-and-coming bands (even if he thinks he’s not qualified to give this advice).
Since you’ve been on a very busy touring schedule and things are always changing, what’s something you need on tour in order to have some normality in your life?
Mark Robert Fuller: It’s proven to be pretty important to keep as comfy as you can and it’s the little things that make the difference between being able to enjoy touring or being homesick and miserable. I talk to my girlfriend a lot and stream my local radio station from home so I don’t feel so far away. Also, I’m always in contact with mates back home. I take vitamins and try to eat healthy and am wise about when to party and when to sleep. Lately, it has become a lot of the latter.
I find that your album Black Sun has instances of similarities to Friendly Fires, even at times Duran Duran. But what bands (current or past) do you feel aligned with stylistically?
We got a lot of the Friendly Fires thing when we started out, so there must be something there. I guess we both have woodblocks, synths and melodic vocals sometimes. It’s fair enough I guess, but they’re a lot more fruity and happy than us, in a good way. We also tend to get a lot of middle aged white men telling us that we remind them of the 80s and the whole New Romantic thing, which is fair enough too— bands like Depeche Mode, New Order, and Spandau Ballet, which is something we like. We were probably fairly influenced by the whole “modular movement” back in Australia around 2006 to 2007. Those were the years we started going out to clubs and seeing the Bang Gang DJ’s, Cut Copy, and The Presets. I guess our live show is more influenced by dance music and dance festivals, like the Chemical Brothers or even Daft Punk. Our dream would be to create something like that with our full live band playing on stage.
As a band, what’s your best formula for songwriting? Do you usually have a drum beat in mind first?
We still don’t really have a formula. Each song sort of comes about in its own way. A lot of the time it’s an instrumental idea from Vin [Vinci Andanar] or Ry [Ryan D’Sylva] and then I’ll put a melody and lyrics on top of it, usually that I already had written in the ideas pile. Then we take that as the initial idea and we all put it together properly and play it live and change it up until we like the song. But it can happen in a lot of different ways.
How did you get your record deal?
A guy from our label who is a massive music fan heard our music on the internet and started watching what we were doing for a while and then got in touch with us about working with them. Our label, Astralwerks Records is amazing and we feel really lucky to be on it.
Do you have any advice to up and coming bands?
I’m not really qualified to hand out advice I don’t think. [Laughs.] We’re still a young band ourselves. But, I guess bands should never show anything to anyone unless they love it and think it’s the absolute best it can be. There’s no point showing your friends a song that you think could be better or playing a show that’s not the best it possibly can be. We recorded our album three times until we were ecstatic with it and we ended up recording the whole thing ourselves and found that was the only way to get it the way we wanted it.
Do you find that social media has been more beneficial in putting you where you are today, rather than networking out in public/ face to face? [Laughs.] Not really for us. I mean the internet in general is obviously a massive help in getting your music out there but we’re pretty bad at social networking. I wish it didn’t exist. I wish we just made music and if people liked it, they could listen to it on their own accord and come to our shows and have fun with us if they wanted. I hate posting things on Facebook, telling people to listen to Gold Fields or buy our record. But yeah, I guess these days it is a massive part of being a musician, which I really think is a bit of a shame. Musicians used to be relevant because they made great music. Now, musicians are relevant because they say something controversial on Twitter.
Lastly, while you’re in the U.S., what is something you’re most looking forward to?
I was mostly looking forward to our album coming out. We put a lot of work and a lot of love into it and we finally get to show people something that we’re pretty proud of. We really like it and if other people like it then it will be a massive bonus for us. It’s just exciting to get it out and let it go. So that’s the main thing I think all of us are looking forward to. I also can’t wait to start working on the next one.