When I started songwriting, I approached music from a cathartic point of view. Singing my own stories was a way of reconciling big life events, of dealing with extremely personal matters of the heart. When I began writing my second album ‘Astral Debris’, I was inspired by fables and archetypes – I was reading Greek myths and revisiting fairytales, but looking at them through a pop music lens, wondering how artists like Sally Seltmann and Bat For Lashes and David Bowie distill archetypal human stories into catchy parcels of melody.
Album track ‘Open Orange’ was inspired by that delicious feeling of being unwrapped and discovered by somebody new. The album’s first single, ‘Hood and the Hunter’ is my feminist re-telling of the Red Riding Hood fable, and ‘A Sisyphean Grail’ is my interpretation of the Greek myth of Sisyphus. On ‘Moon’ (co-written with John Palmer), I’m singing from the point-of-view of our silvery satellite.
The ‘Astral Debris’ album title is a reference to the Moon, who is herself a piece of astral debris. It’s also a reference to the notion that we are all made up of the elements of the stars. I was an astronomy nerd when I was a kid, and although I haven’t studied astrophysics, the sky and our universe has always been a muse.
I’ve been lucky enough to see two of my idols live, Beyoncé and Tune-Yards. Quite different music, but both concerts left me feeling energised, ecstatic and empowered. I walked out thinking, “I can do that!”. Not literally, in that I wanted a ten piece band, 4 back up dancers and to fly across the stage in a harness like Beyoncé (actually, Georgia – perhaps we can talk about our stage props??) but more that it left me with this incredible urge to go and create, and do what I can do. I love that feeling. So, seeking out women doing amazing things inspires me.
In regards to songwriting, songs always begin with lyrics for me. Something will strike me in a conversation with someone, or I’ll be reading the newspaper or a book, and an idea will kind of “light up” in my mind, and it captures my imagination. I try and just write about it, without judgement and not worrying about the content. Then later I look back over it and see if I can find the chorus in there, and slowly the song develops from there. Eventually I move over to an instrument and try and discover the chords that match the melody. It’s a rocky road of feeling fantastic but also like you’re trudging through mud – but you just have to keep going and accept the cyclic nature of inspiration and creation!
You can catch Georgia Fields and Phia at the Oxford Arts Factory (Gallery) in Sydney on Thursday 27 July or at The Unorthodox Church of Groove in Newcastle on Friday 28 July. Tickets via www.skyandseatour.com.