Gold Fields have traveled a long way in the past few years, both geographically and musically, to get to this point. The journey so far feels like the kaleidoscopic view from a tour van window. The destination is certain, but the journey is a blur. At first it happened because of the music. From a set of demos that secured their first record deal – with revered international label Astral Werks no less – to the Triple J inspired infatuation with their first single, ‘Treehouse’, and the subsequent critical acclaim of the debut album ‘Black Sun’. Every note recorded in Ballarat, a Victorian era boomtown located about an hour’s drive west of Melbourne, in an ad hoc studio built with help from friends and borrowed equipment, in a small garage. A studio/garage customized with strings of Christmas lights, early album art, and even an illuminated Gold Fields light box built by one of the members brother-in-law.
Home and away.
And the music made people move. All over the World. Gold Fields had already performed at major festivals throughout Australia and supported Crystal Castles, Metric, Pnau, and Datarock before they embarked on the never-ending tour, peddling their buzz-worthy wares in every corner of the globe from Los Angeles to London. The Gold Fields live experience became stuff of legend. These cult-like gatherings gained the band a reputation as an internationally recognized touring act where in lieu of painstaking recreations of their studio recordings, the quintet’s live arrangements would build, wave upon wave, into propulsive, sinewy grooves that supercharge the energy in the room. Everything headed for the stars.
But just as Gold Fields imbues even its most ebullient live performances with melancholy—so too did the groundhog-day cycle of tour/single/tour/single/tour begin to erode the excitement and joy of writing and performing music as they had started, as five close friends, in 2010. Having spent almost 2 years consecutively feeding the insatiable US music industry Gold Fields were feeling a sense of disconnection to Australia, and the instincts that had served them so well in the past. Gold Fields made a conscious, and brave, decision to dream it all up again. This time on their own terms.
And home again.
The 2016 edition Gold Fields has a laser-like focus on the future, and a renewed sense of purpose. If their debut album cycle was full of publicity schedules and stylists, market research and EPK’s; the future of Gold Fields is all about gut instinct, self-belief, art, patience and experimentation. Independence of thought is valued and their music is central to each move. Gold Fields continue to make music for lovers of textured syncopated rhythms and shifting dynamics, of dramatic soundscapes and multi-layered melody. But they are also making music that moves themselves.
Gold Fields started their journey back to the heart through a series of highly regarded remixes for the likes of Little Dragon, Tinashe, YesYou and Empire Of The Sun. Connecting with other artists, exploring new inspirations and building a more permanent studio space in Melbourne to commence working on new material. At the same time Gold Fields DJs have been busy building an exciting trade behind the turntables as incorporating their own remixes into a series of killer sets to cater for everything from a festival audience at Coachella to a 3am gig in a NYC basement.
The first new music from Gold Fields emerged from Melbourne in 2014, a thick slice of sub-tropical-house infused pop called ‘Hold Me’. A stand-alone single ‘Hold Me’ announced the band as a headline act at Big Sound and Gold Fields recalibrated their live set in a series of underground club shows far from the mainstream spotlight. ‘Hold Me’ immediately began to excite the ears of local and international blogs:
“Gold Fields are masters of implementing smooth, dreamy synths with the perfect tone and velocity, and their prowess is blatantly obvious in their new single. [Their] distinct blend of house music possesses a certain alluring attribute many others can’t produce.” Hilly Dilly
Another track, this time a honeysweet collaboration with triplej favourite KLP called ‘Make Me Feel’ was released in mid-2015 and it did just that, as the two artists toured to sold-out rooms around Australia. These shows tapped a deep well of creativity and for Gold Fields, this time around, something new was happening each night on stage. Formula was replaced with experimentation, boundaries were stretched and reshaped, animal rhythms battled with tropical melodies and, on the road, the genesis of Gold Field’s sophomore album was taking shape. The tour culminated in a triumphant sold-out show at Melbourne’s HWLR venue, and it felt, for the first time in years, that all of the questions had been answered.
Back (home) to the future.
Now deep in a studio fog of their own making, Gold Fields have returned to the same home studio in Ballarat where it all began, amongst the familiar, where they are preparing the stage for their next release and a new album anticipated for late 2016. Everything feels just right. The album is taking shape just as the band intended. They are in love with the music again. The passage to reach this moment may have been challenging and less obvious, but it will ultimately be more rewarding for all of us.
But, most importantly, for Gold Fields.