• Electric Fields perform at the 2019 Eurovision - Australia Decides final at the Gold Coast in February. (AAP)Source: AAP
Electric Fields has taken the Australian music scene by storm with their unique fusion of Aboriginal culture and electro pop, but success hasn't come easily.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

Source:
NITV News
27 Feb 2019 - 11:12 AM  UPDATED 27 Feb 2019 - 11:12 AM

There's a hush as Zaachariaha Fielding steps up to microphone. Draped in a purple satin kimono, his waist-long braids coiled up in a thick headband, he exudes an ethereal quality as he lets out a long, deep note while gazing intensely, enigmatically into the middle distance. 

Hundreds of punters sway gently as Fielding's hypnotic melody echoes around the Queensland Art Gallery auditorium, his voice gently easing into a higher register - giving the crowd a taste of his incredible vocal range.

Another moment of silence hangs, before Michael Ross on the keyboard unleashes an electro beat and suddenly the auditorium is a flurry of movement. When Fielding unfurls his headband, whipping his braids defiantly, the crowd is in raptures.

Such is the experience of a live performance by Electric Fields - the Adelaide duo of Fielding and Ross shaking up the Australian music industry with their unique blend of soaring vocals, pulsing beats and frenetic energy.

Their sound has been described as the love child of Daft Punk and Nina Simone, but lead vocalist Fielding is reluctant to place a label on it.

"The sound that I feel Electric Fields works with, it really hits those emotions," he told NITV News.

"It really hits the feeling of sad, it really fits the feeling of happy, it really hits the feeling of curiosity – like there’s a sound to those feelings that we’re creating slowly."

And it's a sound Australian audiences are loving. The dance act has become a popular fixture on the festival circuit, and narrowly missed out on the chance to represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest.

But it's been a long road to success for Fielding and Ross, who - despite their different backgrounds - faced similar struggles growing up. 

Fielding was raised in the remote desert community of Mimili in South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands. He describes the community as a "beautiful, special place" that he will always call home, but says growing up as a gay man in a remote Indigenous community wasn't easy.

"Growing up was very difficult. The kids... they made it very hard for me when I was younger, but I forgive them and I love them," he said. "I don’t really like [talking about it] because it was just very difficult, the feeling was not nice... I have a lot more respect for my childhood now."

Meanwhile, music producer Ross had his own struggles trying to reconcile his identity with his religion.

​"I had 17 years with one religion then left that, then went searching, had three-and-a-half years with another religion – left that," he recalled.

"They all said that me being gay was evil and terrible and I knew that I was made that way. So I realised that they had something wrong, because my soul doesn’t lie."

The pair met in Adelaide nine years ago, but only began writing music together in the last few years. Together, they’ve burst out of the box and found a way to celebrate exactly who they are.

"One thing that really drew us together was there were so many things in both of our lives telling us we weren’t allowed to be ourselves, naturally, authentically us – we had to fit some box they wanted us to fit in. And we’re both so sick of that," Ross explains. 

"The most I’m at peace is when I’m on stage," adds Fielding. "Because it’s our safe space and it’s our space that we have created where we can express ourselves however we want and just live our truth on our stage."

For Fielding, his cultural identity also plays an integral part in his performances. His native Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara language features strongly in their songs. 

"This is a part of who I am, and you are going to take it if you are going to enjoy Electric Fields’ music," he says. 

"And it’s a nice platform to also showcase that it’s one of Australia’s living and oldest languages in the country."

The pair have no shortage of creative energy, with around 40 unreleased tracks on the back-burner and a new album on the way.

Underpinning their growing success seems to be their love and respect for each other: "We're family," they say simply. 

 

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