In the lead-up to her hotly anticipated debut album Been Doin’ It For a Bit out this Friday 24th September 2021, acclaimed singer-songwriter Ruby Fields has released what may be her finest moment captured on tape yet.
The restrained, vulnerable and heartfelt new single ‘Bottle’o’ finds Fields behind an upright piano as her delicate vocals take centre stage. It’s a track that shows another side of Ruby – who’s just as well-loved for her more raucous moments – in a piece of new music that’s bound to be a hit with fans. Diary-entry songwriting at its most beautiful and fragile.
Watch the video for ‘Bottle’o’
Ruby Fields is a natural-born storyteller, and the lyrics in this track are no exception. Like many of her best songs, it’s born from lived experience. As per usual, Fields is never afraid to tell it like it is.
“I wrote ‘Bottle’o’ in August 2019 living on the old farm waiting for someone to visit, who never made it,” she recalls of the track’s inception. “Went to the shops, tried to get money out and couldn’t. I didn’t have my ID so I had to use cash and my passport to buy beers. Got home and wrote a pretty ordinary poem about it in my opinion but then I sat at a piano and just took it from there and now it might be my favourite.”
So far, fans have been privy to ‘R.E.G.O’ – a brooding slice of fuzz-pop that traverses masochism and existential dread – and ‘Song About a Boy’, a heart-wrenching track that explores the darker sides of romantically complicated friendships.
All things considered, it’s no surprise that ‘Bottle’o’ finds Fields at her most brutally honest. With newfound depth to her songwriting and life experience, she’s able to turn songs of bottle shops, overdue regos, and everyday life into something profound. Call it Cronulla poetry, if you will. As Ruby says, it all comes from a place of personal growth.
“Since I was 17 I’ve been doing the Ruby Fields thing, but I gave myself a break last year to finally come to terms with who I am as a person,” says Ruby of the forthcoming album. “Making mistakes is part of life, but in 2020 my self-worth wasn’t validated by who I was on stage. So I’ve been working on being a better friend, partner, bandmate; just a better person.”
‘Bottle’o’ is yet another insight into the new Ruby Fields album, Been Doin’ It For A Bit that was produced by longtime collaborator Chris Collins (Skegss, Gang Of Youths, Middle Kids) and mastered by John Davis (The Killers, Gorillaz, Dua Lipa, Lana Del ray). A record that promises to leave its mark on listeners, with critics likening Fields to Australia’s answer to Phoebe Bridgers.
Been Doin’ It For A Bit is out this Friday, and can be pre-ordered HERE.
Been Doin’ It For A Bit – Out 24th September
1. Song About a Boy
5. Airport Cafe
7. Pretty Grim
10. Clothes Line
About Ruby Fields:
“I’ve always thought my music was something people can jump into the life of, like they can grow up with me through it,” says Ruby Fields, the songwriter who’s been growing up in public ever since she rose to fame in 2017.
Ruby is a modern Australian–a no bullshit Cronulla native, who gave the local music scene a much needed kick with her raging debut EP, Your Dad’s Opinion for Dinner. Now, Ruby is ready to solidify her position as the iconoclastic songwriter Australia needs with her first full-length album, Been Doin’ It For A Bit.
Ruby’s emergence as an unflinching songwriting personality can be traced back to the moment in her late teens when she decided to take charge of her identity. “I cut my hair, threw on some jeans and started drinking beers and started my band,” said Ruby in a recent Rolling Stone Feature.
From here, things started happening in a hurry. The 2017 singles ‘I Want’ and ‘P Plates’ introduced audiences to Ruby’s guitar-toting, melodically savvy power pop sound, with triple j’s Richard Kingsmill calling the former a “great song for sure.” Both tracks appeared on Your Dad’s Opinion For Dinner, which came out in March 2018 and garnered enough hype to land support tours with the likes of Ball Park Music and San Cisco.
But the real eruption occurred later that year with the release of ‘Dinosaurs’. The lead single from Ruby’s second EP Permanent Hermit, ‘Dinosaurs’ set off a chain of events that’d stir envy in even the most self-assured musos. Not only did the song reach #9 in triple j’s Hottest 100 and achieved ARIA Platinum certification, but it led to sold out headline shows across Australia and appearances at Laneway Festival and Splendour in the Grass.
2020 was set to continue in a similar manner, but instead the COVID-induced touring freezegrounded Ruby, both literally and metaphorically. The work she produced during the forced sabbatical is a brutally honest examination of the pains of growing up. Ruby and her band might front as party-oriented hit machines, but Been Doin’ it for A Bit Doesn’t shy away from toxicity in relationships, alcohol and drug abuse, and battles with mental health.
It also contains more dynamic variance than the two EPs that preceded it, with songs like the acoustic ‘Airport Café’ and the waltzing ‘Pokies’ showcasing a more intimate aspect ofRuby’s songwriting. Fear not, however, as the record still roars with guitar distortion and sing-along choruses, maintaining the sense of mischief and nostalgia found in Ruby’s previous works.
“Since I was 17 I’ve been doing the Ruby Fields thing, but I gave myself a break last year to finally come to terms with who I am as a person,” says Ruby. “I’m not sure I’ve taken the time to reflect on that after high school.”
“Making mistakes is part of life, but in 2020 my self-worth wasn’t validated by who I was onstage. So I’ve been working on being a better friend, partner, bandmate; just a better person.”
This journey is reflected in Ruby’s lyrics. The album begins with ‘Song About a Boy’, which Ruby describes as “a song about your feelings being caught up in someone that’s not right for you.” From here, the record provides listeners with a more layered depiction of Ruby’s inner life than anything she’s released previously.
The album’s most heart-wrenching number is ‘Pokies’, which begins with the line “My oldman loves a slap at the pub,” before laying down a series of stark revelations. On the penultimate track, the moody, minor key ‘Clothes’, Ruby ponders how she might react if confronted by the grim reaper. “If the reaper comes to claim me and all I’ve gone and done / Is write some shitty music and take some shitty drugs,” she sings, before forecasting a torrent of contrasting emotions.
Then there’s ‘Pretty Grim’, which begins with a description of malaise that immediately justifies the song title. “I’m hungover again, fourth weeknight on the piss,” sings Ruby, “I’m barely scraping rent, and there’s more of my blood in the bathroom sink.” It’s a difficult but no-less catchy interrogation of depression, but its conclusions aren’t without hope. “I need something worthwhile to me,” sings Ruby at the song’s end, before transitioning into ‘Worms’, a tribute to her band members and the life they share together.
The band is made up of three of Ruby’s best mates–guitarist Adam Newling, bass player Tas Wilson, and drummer Patrick Rogers–and she describes the boys as her family. “This album is my love letter to the boys, and maybe to everything that’s broken me in the past,” she says.
Together, they recorded the album in Waiuku, New Zealand in early 2020, but the sessions were cut short when the pandemic hit. They ultimately regrouped to complete the record atThe Music Farm, Byron Bay later in the year. Far from being a setback, the stop-start recording process allowed extra time for the songs to grow.
The finished product is a declaration of individual and artistic independence that reflects the complexities of growing up, making mistakes and ultimately making peace with one’s fallibility.