Aussie singer-songwriter Ruby Fields is releasing her debut album ‘Been Doin’ It For A Bit’ at the end of this month. She caught up with Impact’s Gemma Cockrell about what we should expect from the album, Australia’s handling of the pandemic, and her love for the boys in her band.
“I’m 23 now, and when I was a teenager, I didn’t really feel like I had any sort of identity. My older sisters were very much the queen bees of high school, so I remember when I got there, I felt very out of place,” Fields reflects. She found solace in creativity; “It gave me confidence to do something different to what everyone else was doing at the time. It went from me having something to prove and distract myself from, being this mischief maker when I was younger and not caring what anyone thought, to growing up and leaving high school and loving my parents and being an adult and dealing with trauma.” This maturation went on to influence her upcoming debut album ‘Been Doin’ It For A Bit’: “This album is a reflection of me being honest about that. It’s about growing into my early 20’s and what that meant.”
Fields provided a taste of the album with Song About A Boy, her most vulnerable moment thus far in her career
Fields provided a taste of the album with Song About A Boy, her most vulnerable moment thus far in her career. “I’ve never released a song about love before,” she admits, “I think I was scared to say anything about romance because it was more fun to write about everything else. It was about a friend of mine that I liked for a while. At the end, he didn’t like me in that way, but I was definitely led on for a while. I think once you don’t have the rose-tinted glasses on anymore, you can be grateful for what didn’t happen, but you can also be grateful for the lessons you learnt from that.” Even though her band expressed at the time that it is the “best song [she] had ever written”, she nearly opted against releasing it. “I think that was because I didn’t want to give this person a big ego!” she laughs, “but I was proud of how my song-writing had progressed and I was eager to share that, because I don’t think anyone had seen that side of me before.”
Another reason that she didn’t release the song immediately was due to the pandemic. “We had to hold onto all the songs for almost two years,” she explains, “we wanted to be able to show people something that we’d be able to provide them with live. I think the UK and Australia have similar live energy, when I played in the UK it felt like home and I loved it! But I wanted to make sure that we could give everyone these songs and then give them a space to enjoy them and sing them. I thought it would be more fun to release them when that was on the horizon. So, I definitely wanted to release them when people could come and see them live, but at the same time, people have needed music more than ever during these times, so it’s a double-edged sword. Eventually, we decided that we just wanted to release music and we wanted people to hear it, so we bit the bullet.”
Even though live music is returning to normal in the UK, it’s a different story in Australia. “Over here, it’s not looking great right now,” she admits. “We’ve gone through two big waves of it – the first one was when it first came about, and we were getting back to normal but now we have the worst numbers ever – especially in New South Wales, the state that I’m from and I live in. So, everything is locked down. In the middle part there, we were playing all over the country again, it was amazing! But it all came crashing down in the last few months, and it’s looking worse than it was at the start. We’re hoping to go back to normal at the start of 2022, and get to where England is at the moment. It’s looking positive that we might be able to tour in early 2022, in February and March. Me and the band want to tour in the UK, even if we need to quarantine for two weeks!”
We all love each other to bits, but we could all punch each other in the face!
Speaking of Fields’ band, they hugely inspired the lyrics of her album. “The boys, I met through school or through the local art scene, and they’ve just been my best friends. Often, I’ve been rightly criticised for not having more women in my band, but I’m very passionate and supportive of the female musicians in my life,” she clarifies. “These are the three boys I grew up with who believed in my dream enough to come on tour with me and write with me and record with me – and deal with my sh*t! I’m very grateful for them. Recording is like a family holiday – there are disputes, laughs and memories. There’s nothing like being able to share that with your family. We all love each other to bits, but we could all punch each other in the face! We tell each other when we’re right and when we’re wrong, when we’re proud and when we’re not, and I think that’s the most important part of being a family.”
The song Worms was written directly about Fields’ band, even though it initially began as a love song. “It changed into a song about me apologising to Adam, my guitarist, about this really petty fight that I started. We were in Perth – I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this – and I was drunk and acting like a d*ckhead and calling him out for something that wasn’t his fault. We got back into our hotel rooms and he messaged me and said ‘That wasn’t cool’ and instantly I was like ‘I know! It was so silly; do you want to talk about it’. The next day, I wrote this big song, and it turned into how much I love the boys and how grateful I am for them and how much I love them.” The track Kitchen is a more general an ode to all of her friends. “Kitchen is about waking up in the morning in a share-house, because I’ve lived in them since I was 17. Just walking into the kitchen and always having someone there to talk to, appreciating your friends for who they are and what they do. Talking about their problems, being someone to rely on, the things you get up to.”
Fields’ favourite track on the record, album closer Bottle-o, is going to be the next single she releases from the album. “I wrote it because I thought a friend was going to visit me but she couldn’t make it so I was really sad,” she explains. “We’re actually about to put out a video clip for that – I’m looking at the edit screen for it right now!” she announces, flipping her screen to show me. “During the pandemic, while pubs were closed but you could still have five friends to visit, we borrowed all this gear from a pub and turned my house’s dining room into a pub. We bought a bar a while ago, and changed the entire place into a pub. There’s smoke everywhere, and I’m just playing the piano. Not many people have heard that side of me before, playing the piano. It’s a nice prelude into the diversity of the album, and where I’m going to go from here.”
I put a lot of pride in the way I place my words and present them to the world
The progression from releasing EPs to a full-length album was natural for Fields. “The second EP was meant to be an album, we had 11 songs and I didn’t feel like it was the right time. I just wanted to put forward the strongest songs. Finally, I went away to a rural part of Victoria with the boys and we recorded the whole album over two weeks in this cabin. It was magic, and I felt like I loved all of these songs, we didn’t want to cut anything from it. There were some more heartfelt songs on the second EP, and then I feel like the album is 50/50 – there’s some fun, stupid songs and then there’s also a lot more focus on lyricism. I think more than anything, my lyrics are the one thing that I want people to notice. I know that art is subjective but I put a lot of pride in the way I place my words and present them to the world. So, moving forward, I think everything is going to have a more central focus around that.”
‘Been Doin’ It For A Bit’ is out on 24th September 2021. In the meantime, stream Fields’ latest single Song About A Boy here.
Featured image courtesy of Cole Bennetts. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @rubyfieldsm8 via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.
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