Georgia Fields On New Album ‘Hiraeth’

Throbbing with an alluring undercurrent of hypnotic textures, the brand new track In My Blood from Naarm/ Melbourne art-pop alchemist Georgia Fields is a meditation on the wine-dark waters that lie between desire and compulsion. A corroded synth line flickers like a detuned radio, cutting Georgia’s singular grace with an unsettling sense of menace. Pulsing with warm and wondrous undulations, the tension throughout In My Blood’s intricate – yet ultimately restrained – production builds steadily towards a beautiful, almost joyous sense of release. Georgia’s distinctive vocal brings to mind the piercing, understated clarity of Metals-era Feist, and the shoulders-back power-stance of Sharon van Etten.

Officially out now, In My Blood is the fifth and final single from Georgia’s third full-length album Hiraeth, has also been released. Pronounced “hee-raith”, the album takes its title from a Welsh word with no direct translation, referring to a profound longing for a home you can’t return to as it no longer exists, a sense of nostalgia or grief for the lost places of your past. Georgia goes in to more detail about the single with Hi Fi Way.

Congratulations on album number three, does it get any easier?
Thank you! Yes, it absolutely gets easier — and more fun, and ultimately more rewarding. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed making every single album and EP I’ve ever released… and honestly, Hiraeth has been the most fulfilling yet. A lot of that has to do with my collaborator: producer/engineer/drummer Josh Barber.

How did you celebrate release day?
I dropped my kids to kinder and school, took myself out for coffee, spent some time chatting with people on the socials… and went into PBS FM (community radio here in Melbourne) for an interview with a broadcaster I really admire, which was quite special to do on release day. Then my son put a bead up his nose at kinder and I spent two hours with him at Emergency, helping the doctors jimmy it out with a bent paperclip so he didn’t have to have surgery. Then we got hot chips on the way home to celebrate both the album and my son not needing surgery!

Did everything go to plan making the album?
Overall? Absolutely, yes. Producer Josh Barber and I had a very clear vision for Hiraeth from the get go, and all my dreams came true! But I remember there was one dicey moment we managed to navigate with sheer luck. On the day we were recording strings at Josh’s converted church studio in Mollongghip (90mins drive from Melbourne), my second violinist had to isolate because her husband had Covid. She found out at the last minute — and the other string players (plus a video crew!) were already on their way. It would have cost me loooots of money to reschedule. I think I called every violinist in Melbourne and managed to find someone who was miraculously available at thirty minutes notice. Not just anyone, either… Lucy Warren, one of Melbourne’s most exquisite string players. It was a very magical recording session (once my heart rate settled).

Were there any learnings from making the last album you were conscious not to repeat?
When recording my previous album Astral Debris I was heavily pregnant with my first daughter. My producer and I decided to set up a recording space at home for me, so I could just track vocals by myself, whenever it felt like a good day to sing (pregnancy does weird things to vocals). It was a good idea in theory, but in practice I discovered that I tend to lose perspective and spiral into self-doubt when I’m recording vocals alone. After all, I honed my singing craft onstage — in front of an audience! With Hiraeth, I was conscious of creating an atmosphere where I could tap into the energy of performing, and to have that quiet, wise producer’s perspective on the other side of the glass (which Josh absolutely embodied).

Is there a hidden meaning behind the album title?
There is a special meaning, although it’s not really hidden, it’s in the liner notes, haha! Hiraeth is a Welsh word with no direct translation that means a profound longing for a home you can’t return to, because it no longer exists. Hiraeth is also linked to a grief or nostalgia for the lost places of your past.

Is there a story behind your single In My Blood?
I wrote this song during one of Melbourne’s (many) lockdowns. Although I knew that the stay at home mandates were necessary, my mental health took a hit, and I found myself revisiting some unhealthy coping strategies – namely, drinking too much and eating too little. I started to question these habits. Is it nature? Is it nurture? Maybe it’s in my blood. Josh and I built the sonic world for In My Blood around the corroded, glitchy opening synth line – incorporating live drums played with soft mallets, as well as programmed beats, a rusty old nylon string guitar, and a Juno HS60.

Who are some of your musical heroes you looked up to for this album?
Sarah Blasko, in particular her album Depth of Field, as well as Sharon van Etten, and Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist Feist. All three bring a regal, Queen-like energy to their art, even in moments of extreme rawness. Their albums are also masterclasses in how to create a “sonic world”. They have such unique and clear visions, and produce records that sound and feel complete.

What’s next for Georgia Fields?
Shows, touring, and more shows! I am itching to get back in the writing chair too, but mostly excited to reconnect with audiences I haven’t seen in a few years and play Hiraeth live.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Connect with Georgia Fields
Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Spotify

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