Andrew McMillen

An open letter to Stonefield

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Herein lies the rub of your band and bands like you, Stonefield. No amount of musical talent, studious networking and careerist determination can compare to the sudden rush of blood that occurs when humans are placed in the presence of attractive members of the opposite sex (or the same sex, if you’re that way inclined). So while we can pretend until the cows come home that you are hot property among the Australian music industry in 2011 purely because you’re talented, we’re fooling ourselves if we don’t admit that your gender and your looks weigh heavily on the minds of the people who make these decisions. Festival bookers, publicists, A&R reps; they each have one thing on their mind, and it’s not your musical chops. You have those, of course, but you’re also blessed with rarer, more distinctive traits: sisterhood, and beauty. With a story like yours, Stonefield, the press releases practically write themselves.

Were you just a bunch of unrelated misfits from suburban Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne – like a gazillion other bands, profiled on this site, Mess+Noise and elsewhere – you’d have had to wait long and work hard for your moment in the sun. But you’re not, so you didn’t. The steep ascent of your success is unsurprising given the perfect confluence of events that led to you winning the triple j Unearthed High competition last year, and continuing onward and upward ever since. If there’s one thing that the music business loves, it’s a bankable narrative, and I can just about see dollar signs in the jaded eyes of every music biz hack who’s ever heard your story so far.

Even those who have nothing to monetarily gain are flying your flag, Stonefield. To sit in a hotel conference room filled with Australian music industry lifers and hear Richard Kingsmill, triple j’s Music Director, spin a yarn about your band was to observe a fantastic case of social proof, writ large: by giving his approval aloud, he allowed everyone in that room to back a winner. Kingsmill won’t get a bonus for telling everyone he meets about this great band of hot sisters from rural Victoria, Stonefield – he works for the ABC, after all – but the fact that you were unearthed by triple j will pay marketing dividends for years to come, as the broadcaster seeks to forever increase their youth market penetration by slapping a ‘triple j presents’ sticker across the backsides of any passing act within whiff of success.

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