With precarious restrictions still in place across parts of Australia, there is one constant that people can turn to in uncertain times, and that is new music. Cronulla singer/ songwriter Ruby Fields, aka Ruby Phillips, has recently released her debut record ‘Been Doin’ It For A Bit’, and speaks to Clash about putting out her album in 2021.
First emerging onto the indie-rock scene back in early 2016, Fields has released two EPs, ‘Your Dad’s Opinion for Dinner’ and ‘Permanent Hermit’. The 23-year-old’s latest project hones in years of experience to unravel stories of youthful mischief, the awkwardness that follows heartbreak, and the topic of mental health. With the buzz of the album release, Fields admits that “lockdown is actually kind of rising up again where we are which sucks, for all of Australia really. I would give absolutely anything to go on tour right now. I miss everything about it, from the beers to the crowd to the airport weirdly.” She adds, “personally, I’ve just moved to a farm and have been building a little music studio, which is sick because I’ve never really tried to expand upon my knowledge of music or the recording process.”
While a world tour may be on pause, for now, Ruby Fields’ shows are an integral part of connecting with fans. Alongside Ruby, the live band which consists of members Adam Newling (lead guitar), Tas Wilson (bass guitar), and Patrick Rogers (drums), help unleash the riotous, self-assured energy you’d expect from a singer who is in complete control of her path and embracing her identity.
‘Been Doin’ It For A Bit’, with its ballad and punk origins, is an extension of her angsty roots. Now more refined and grounded in acceptance, it’s important that Ruby has not discarded what fuels her creative fire. A perfect example of this is on ‘Song About A Boy’. Showcasing nostalgic musings on early romance, the track opens up with complete vulnerability. Tracing the thrills that follow fragile connections and the aftermath of their fallout, Fields sings “we made an uncalculated risk, so let’s just leave this lying where it is.” The crux chronicles a love that might seem right, but ultimately falls short of what ‘right’ really is. Being the opening track on Fields’ album, it is a raw portrayal of post-break-up poignancy, cloaked in indie rock reverb.
The adrenaline-filled rush of ‘R.E.G.O’ harnesses a similar sound to ‘Song About A Boy’, full of bouncy drum beats and distorted, elastic guitar lines. Ruby Fields’ ethereal grunge, follows a hazy journey of fake wedding rings and propulsive vocals. - ‘Bottle’O’ is the latest music video from Fields, and the closing track on the album. Visuals are equally valued for the singer, as she comments “I think we’re a band that shines most when people see us on stage, which doesn’t help anyone overseas. We love telling jokes and acting like dickheads on stage. I suppose for the videos, I always want to reflect a sense of creativity and unity.”
On ‘Clothes Line’ Fields shares, “it was actually a fun little track I wrote before a small show once and never revisited until we recorded the album and one of the boys suggested doing it, then we made it heavy, and I love it so much.” To describe the deep cut ‘Bruises’ she points out “it is my first released song touching on my upbringing and previous (and abusive) relationships growing up. I am so proud of Bruises lyrically and can’t wait for people to really listen to those lyrics and what they mean.”
Ruby expresses, “I think it’s pretty crazy releasing an album in lockdown as so many artists have done. Most of all, and regardless of it all, I’m just glad I did it and get to release it with my best friends.” The musician confesses to being “a massive nerd” as we discuss what other forms of media she takes inspiration from. “I always find myself going back to my basics like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Game of Thrones.” When talking about any new artists that the singer is currently listening to, she states the Yolngu surf-rock band “King Stingray. Incredible band. Incredible music.” Ruby also notes, “I always try to consume constructive media and most of all found Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given to be incredibly informative… for many reasons.” Her mention of Florence Given’s empowering book is reflective of where Fields herself is at in her musical career. With a debut album that shows the singer freeing from the shackles of restrictive, toxic relationships, ‘Been Doin’ It For A Bit’ is a cathartic collection of songs, mirroring how the singer herself has been liberated by what she has read, watched and learnt over the last few years. It’s clear that Ruby Fields is not minimising herself for anyone, and her music acts as vignettes of this personal growth.
'Been Doin' It For A Bit' is out now.
WHERE: New South Wales, Australia
3 Songs: R.E.G.O, Clothes Line, Songs About A Boy
Words: Sahar Ghadirian
Photo Credit: Cole Bennetts
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