Photo: Cole Bennetts
Following her outstanding debut 2019 EP, Permanent Hermit, Australian singer-songwriter Ruby Fields has finally released her long-awaited debut album Been Doin’ It For A Bit. Fields has sharpened the skills she’s developed since her initial debut and has focused her creative energy on what she does best, cultivating angry and angsty power pop that doesn't sacrifice her sharp-witted lyricism and unique vocal tone.
Opening with her previously released single "Song About A Boy," the track eases through the opening verse before sonically diverging in a different direction with the energetic, punchy pop-punk chorus, making it the perfect opening effort. Even though the immensely vulnerable lyrics left Fields unsure whether to release it or not, the record proves her place as a promising artist to watch.
This sense of honesty bleeds into every aspect of the record, especially on tracks like "Pretty Grim" and "Bruises," before coming to a winding conclusion on "Bottle'o." The closing song takes you right into the aimlessness of an idle day as Fields’ coy songwriting deepens. Although it’s the "lightest" track on the album, it manages to ease the audience from a punchy, full-throttled album. Longing for connection and singing about "wishful thinking," the song reminds you that you’re never truly alone.
We had the opportunity to dive deeper with Fields and chat about the record, relationships, and their inspirations.
Ones To Watch: Do you feel like the record is one story, or do you feel like it’s more of an anthology with each track telling its own separate story?
Ruby Fields: I definitely feel like it’s a concoction of different stories that all tell bits and pieces of my life for the last few years.
Were all of these songs written and recorded before the pandemic?
I did actually write the entire record before lockdown, but I’d still say we used the time during the pandemic to fine-tune the songs and really fall in love with them.
What or who inspires you, and how did that manifest in this album?
I think everyone in my life and everything that happens around me are the two biggest inspirations and influences to my music. I definitely love listening to all kinds of music, though. Maybe I’d say Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst) were a huge inspiration lyrically to the writing structure/poetry of the album. Adam, my guitarist, showed me them. All the boys in the band provide me with a wealth of ideas, from bands to the way they write their own music.
How did you develop the music video concepts, and what was it like working with Tas Wilson on the content side of things?
Jamieson Kerr did a fair few music videos for the album singles, and working with him is amazing. He’s super dedicated to his craft, and it shows in everything he creates. Tas (bassist) and I work together on a huge number of things in the project, and it’s incredible to work with someone you know so closely, so there’s heaps of honesty and freedom. Tas works on nearly all our posters and content and also on the latest film clip "Bottle'O." He takes so much pride in his work, and I’m honored to have it as the essence of "Ruby Fields."
What song is your favorite and your least favorite on the record?
My favorites have been changing every week but definitely "Bruises." I thought a lot about those lyrics, and I’m really proud of them. I don’t think I have a least favorite; I think they just have varying topics they encompass, and some might seem more or less important to the beholder. I’m also excited for people to hear "Clothesline." I wrote it a while ago before a show and randomly decided to open with it, then forgot about it until one of the boys reminded me as we were recording in New Zealand. It was written as something pretty light-handed despite the lyrical content, but we decided to just make it super heavy as something different, which I love. We cannot wait to play it at a festival.
What’s your process like when it comes to songwriting? Is it a tried-and-true method or something that developed over time?
I think the process has always been writing a poem from one set of words I like and building on it and trying to put some music to it. After that, I show the boys a structure, and they add their respective parts, then we record demos and make an EP or album.
Do you have a favorite lyric or a line from the album that resonates with you when you sing it?
I think "I’ve been sleeping alone for years" in "Song About a Boy" used to be my favorite, but now it might be in "Bruises." "I’m an atheist that enjoys the stars, not the ones in magazines my mother reads but never keeps" - I meant shitty astrology columns, but I guess it could also be taken as celebrities.
I’m sure that the reason might be because you literally have been making music for a while, but can you tell me why you went with Been Doin’ It For a Bit as the album’s name?
I was talking with my mates one day about what jobs we’ve had, and my friend Abbs mentioned she’s a teacher (and that she was 25 at the time), and my other mate Kane said, "Oh nice, how long you been doing that for?" and in a moment of confusion, we both thought he meant how long had she been 25, so she just said, "Been 25? Oh, I’ve been doing it for a bit." And it made us all laugh heaps, so it’s not really a groundbreaking story, it was just a line I thought was funny.
Been Doin' It For a Bit is available everywhere you can stream it.