In just two short years, Australia's Gold Fields have gone from a relatively obscure new-wave influenced dance pop band to the precipice of something much bigger. When the band's full length debut, Black Sun, hit the racks this past February, Gold Fields hit the States for a whirlwind four month tour that just mad the buzz even stronger.
Speaking from a tour stop in San Diego and in anticipation of Friday's show at Dada, frontman Mark Robert Fuller talked with DC9 about Gold Fields' popular aspirations and how signing with a major label did not mean the band was on easy street.
Is this the band's first tour of America?
This is our second lengthy time here. We were here before and spent about four months touring. It was a full, flat out tour where we were playing 70 shows. We've been here a couple of times before that, but it was for shorter trips. This is our first ever, headlining tour.
Have you been to Texas before?
We have. We've been to SXSW the past two years. We've played in Dallas at the House of Blues with Empire of the Sun. That was an awesome show. We absolutely love Empire of the Sun and look up to them so much. It was awesome to play a show with another Australian band. It was a sold out crowd and it was amazing.
What are some interesting differences between Australia and America in terms of making music?
For us, the world we live in over here is similar to the world we live in at home. We travel around meeting people in music venues. We meet a sound engineer every day and a bartender every day and a production manager every day. They are all really nice people whether they are from Australia or America. The main difference is the ability to tour. We can go nonstop over here, but back home you can tour for a couple of weeks and play each capital city once. That's about it. Over here, we spent four months playing in different cities. Thankfully, no one got sick of us. There are so many places to play. You can travel for four or five hours and wind up in a different city. Over there, it is ten hours between each city.
Are the fans more rowdy in Australia?
Actually, American fans get into it a lot more. I think people at home really don't give a shit. They enjoy the music and have fun and have a good night, but they are hesitant to get into and move around about. In American, everyone is right into it and we get everybody dancing. It's a lot more shameless over here in America. That is better for us; that is for sure.
Do you think dance music gets a bad rap as being mindless?
I guess there is some dance music that doesn't appeal to the mind, but there is music in every single genre that doesn't appeal to the mind. Some music appeals to the body. I'm sure there are a lot of people who can say that they have been emotionally moved by dance music just as much as by a rock ballad. I think dance music has a way of making people feel things. That has to do with the atmosphere. Maybe that's what contributes to it. We come from rock and punk backgrounds. We grew up playing in rock bands. Probably the last five or ten years, we've really been enjoying dance music.
Many critics compare Gold Fields to Duran Duran. Do you ever get sick of that comparison?
No, we don't get sick of it. We get a lot of people from an older generation; people who were going to clubs in the 80's, a lot of them say we remind them of the British New Romantic movement. For us, it is a compliment. Those bands have had an impact on our music. I guess it's better than people comparing us to a lot of the music that is around at the moment.
You were signed to a major label very quickly. Has the band paid its dues?
Being on a major label is a big misconception these days. People assume that a major label means a lot of money, a glamorous and easy lifestyle. All it has meant for us is that we have had to be away from home for most of the past two years and be away from our girlfriends and family. It means driving around America and playing a show every night. We set up ourselves just like every other band does. We pack up, drive for three hours and get to the hotel at three in the morning. We sleep for hours and then get up and start driving. It just means a lot more work. We did sign to a major label. I think the biggest difference is having a promotional team on board to help us try and get the word out. This is our first album and we didn't have a following in America. We thought if we were going to release an album in America and get people to come and enjoy the show with us, we need to get the word out there through a group of people who love our music. I don't think all bands work as hard as we do. Having a major label doesn't make it any easier. We have definitely paid our dues.
What is the worst stereotype Americans have about Australia?
Probably the biggest one is we get asked a lot about kangaroos in our backyards. There's probably not near as many kangaroos in Australia as Americans think there are. Some parts of the country like the outback and the bush, you will find the wildlife that Australia is known for. We don't see kangaroos hopping down Main Street.
Perhaps Australians think in Texas, everyone still has horses and cows.
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That's right. It's nice to imagine that. That is something fun to think about.
Have you been on a walkabout?
No, I have not. That's the tradition of the aboriginals. I've never done it myself, but I've thought many times of leaving the tour van and going for a long walk.