Most of us have some sort of talent or skill that even your closest friends don’t know about. Maybe you’re a chess wizard, or maybe you kick arse every thursday night at the seniors poker league. Whatever it is, most of us sadly never get to develop our little hobbies into a fully fledged career. Fortunately for Jordan Wilson and Ben Riley, this is exactly what they have managed to do. Forming their act at school back in 2006, the two young musicians never told their friends about their future music aspirations. In fact it wasn’t until the two started playing around Sydney that friends and family knew anything about their musical abilities. “We started out just playing around and making new stuff every time we met up” said Jordan on the phone to XXIV from his home in Victoria. “We didn’t really like it when people we knew would come watch us so we didn’t tell a heap of people, but then someone saw us playing at a gig in the city so it was pretty obvious after that.”
At one particular gig, a weak phone connection caused a venue to change the name of their act from ‘Jordan and Ben’ to Georgia Fair. Since then the name has stuck. “We saw the name and decided that we should go with what we’re given. We were having trouble landing on a band name anyway and seeing as the universe provided us with that one we thought best to keep it.”
After signing to Sony Music in 2009 the two musicians quickly produced their first self titled EP. The single off the EP, ‘Picture Frames,’ gathered some attention from other musicians which enabled the guys from Georgia Fair to spend the next year touring around the country. As luck would have it, Band of Horses member Bill Reynolds took a liking to the music which eventually manifested into a deal that saw Reynolds and Georgia Fair travel to the U.S together to record their debut album All Through Winter in 2011. “Ben and I were lucky enough to get a chance to sit with Bill after touring to talk about music. We hit it off pretty well. We had, and still have, so much love for him so it was an easy decision having him produce the first album.”
With over 13,ooo likes on their Facebook page as well as numerous air plays on radio stations nationwide, the hype around Georgia Fair is only set to increase with the release of their second album, Trapped Flame. Featuring 12 tracks, the LP contains elements of folk, progressive rock and alternative music. In a music industry that’s already over saturated with artists in these genres, Georgia Fair are finding a way to differentiate their sound from others. ”More and more we’re trying to get into our own individual craft and distance ourself from being set into just one sound. At the end of the day I only give a f*ck about the actual song quality and not the genre. Eventually people will see that we’ve got more than just one sound, it can only change and develop as time goes on.”
Any artist will tell you that deciding which songs to put on an album is one of the biggest challenges of being a musician. Deciding on Georgia Fair’s track list for the second album was no different. “We’ve written so many songs so choosing the best 12 or so is just the nature of the beast,” explains Jordan. “I whittle away some tracks, then Ben whittles away some tracks, and then Sony whittles some tracks. The whole thing is just one big f*cking whittle down until we’re all really happy with the selection we came up with.”
Finding an effective creative process that enables an act to write songs efficiently can take many years. As relatively new players to the music scene, Georgia Fair is still deciding how best to write their music. “We like to think of ourselves as like two half’s coming together to create a whole. I’m more focused on song structure and melody but then Ben has this really sonic way of thinking about music and can just hear the whole thing before it’s finished. He’s real big picture stuff,” reveals Jordan. “At the moment we’re still finding how best to write music but usually what we do is go away from each other and then come together to practice and show each other what we’ve been working on. We get way more done when we write like this.”
Everyone’s heard the stories where big music labels try to gently ‘persuade’ the newly signed artist to change their overall sound. This can result in the act completely changing the overall style they were initially trying to create, all for the sake of becoming more commercially viable. Jordan explained how his experience with Sony has opened up his eyes to this industry practice. “Since being signed I have heard stories where this happens, but Sony are great and I honestly don’t think they will try to change how we sound. They’re good at giving me a nudge in the right direction if I’m stuck on a particular song when I’m like halfway through it. At the end of the day they are there to help us be the best artist we can be.” Jordan went on to explain what would happen if they tried to change the musical style of Georgia Fair. “They may try to pull that on us one day but it’s unlikely. We wouldn’t be afraid to counter-argue them if they wanted us to change. Since we signed to Sony, Ben and I are now both a bit more older and a bit wiser, but more importantly our balls are a bit bigger” (laughs).
Trapped Flame is available now.
Check out Love Free Me from the new album below.