By Dan Emmons
Australian retro-dance pop band Gold Fields brought their show to the TLA last week as part of their February-March US and Canada tour. The tour came through Philadelphia as a pit stop on its way to SXSW to promote their single “Dark Again” off their album Black Sun– due out February 26th. The band, which was formed in 2010, is a five-piece ensemble that came to the TLA solely to rock the bill. I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk with Mark Robert Fuller and Ryan D’Sylva, the lead singer and drummer of the group respectively.
Although Gold Fields have been classified as New Wave Dance Pop, a genre made popular in the 80’s by bands like Flock of Seagulls and My Bloody Valentine, the guys never try to box-in their synth-pop sound. “We usually tell people to listen to it, it’s hard to explain, and bands sound wanky when they describe their own sound” says Fuller. An unexplained sound that came to fruition only after re-recording their first album three times, admitting that they only had a vague idea of where they were taking their sound. “It was getting pulled in a lot of different directions by a lot of different forces. By the end of it, we had found our sound for this album. It sounds cohesive,” Fuller explains. “We have found our sound for now” adds D’Sylva, pointing out that Gold Fields are consistently growing individually and evolving as a band.
Taking their influences from some very interesting places, Field’s drummer cites Detroit-based Hip Hop producer J Dilla, “I am a fan of everything he produced and I didn’t even know he produced for some of my favorite artists”. From Hip-Hop to House Music, Gold Fields name current House DJs that are dipping into the style of 90’s as some of their particular favorites.
The night prior to the interview, Gold Fields played the Bowery Ballroom in NYC to a sold out crowd with MTV taping the show. The band, who plays the majority of their set under blue/black lighting with a light show and a wall of smoke, was concerned that they would have to change their stage show for the performance. However, much to their elation, MTV was able to cover their set without affecting the performance in any way. “It didn’t even feel like we are being filmed” says Fuller, with D’Sylva adding that the “Bowery is one of our favorite venues”. The show was a success and one of Gold Fields favorite acts to play with is Diamond Rings. “Awesome guys, great time, and the most interesting crowd I have ever seen,” says Fuller. “All the freaks came out!”
Gold Fields have spent most of their time in the USA working, but that is not too upsetting to them. They are a hard-working group of guys that enjoy getting to see a new city each day. Unfortunately, when they have been in Philadelphia they were only able to see the areas where they played.
With the release of Black Sun, the video for their single “Dark Again” was released ahead of time to get the buzz going and “wild” is the best way to explain the video.
“The concept was created and directed by Stephen Schuster from New York, who came up with the treatment after we told him we wanted to incorporate our artwork. The album is darker than the EP so the video progresses from a white world with Sean Ross, the African American albino, kind of like the prophet/painter and it transitions to the dark world,” says D’Sylva of the video.
The band insists that people take their own meaning from the video but wanted to stress the artistic creativity in it. “The whole album has element of darkness and an element of light, we wanted to create something that looked like the music sounds.” The band was able to do that through the mind of Stephen Schuster, “before we even thought of the concept for the clip we wanted to work with him”.
On tour now, and with the intense work ethic never halting, Gold Fields are excited to keep the ball rolling. They are already looking forward to writing the next album and are focused on creating a whole new sound for it too. On their way through America, and down to SXSW, Gold Fields is steadily bringing back the New Wave.