Georgia Fair paint a sunny picture

Georgia Fair are a lovely folk rock duo hailing from the Northern Beaches of NSW. The Dwarf spoke to Ben Riley, one half of the pair, about who Georgia Fair really are.


Talking to Ben, his cool, laid-back nature echoes down the phone, reminding me of the Australian beach lifestyle that can colour your whole outlook on Love, Life and the World (I lived on one of those amazing Australian beaches that everyone talks about, and I can attest to it mimicking a spiritual experience at times).


Their debut EP Picture Frames has just been released through Sony Records and, with a string of supports slots with both Kate Miller-Heidke and Whitley throughout November, the absence of an official launch seems trivial.


"We're not really doing a launch, we kind of didn't really have time to plan a launch or anything, but we have some cool shows lined up next month, so we are just going to treat that as our EP launch, we'll just get out on the road and go with that. We did a support with Oh Mercy about a month ago which was great, did the Queensland leg of their album launch" he says.


So I pose the question about an ultimate support; no limits, currently playing, or gracing the great stages in the Sky?


After much laughing, Ben answers with brutal honestly; "I don't know… we went and saw Crosby, Stills and Nash when they were out last time. That would be the ultimate, if we got to support them, it would be fucking amazing. I don't think it will happen."


I ask Ben how the thing with Sony happened. At this point, you could use some technical industry jargon, but really, let's just look at it simply.


"We were gigging around Sydney for a couple of years, I am assuming that we started to get a few fans and eventually were offered a showcase. It went well and… well, we went from zero to one-hundred," he explains.


Sounding truly grounded and at peace with the hectic record label ride, Ben talks about how it works, teaming up with your school-yard mate, Jordan Wilson, and making music in an industry that occasionally uses a lot of smoke and mirrors. Ben adopts a tone that has a genuine and heartfelt nature that can be felt down the line proving that Georgia Fair is built on a strong friendship that began some time back when both Ben and Jordan just hung out together at school.


"It's great to have one of your best mates beside you, if anything is getting you down and stressing you out … you are both on the ride," he says. "We must have figured it out at a really young age how to bear each other… we are still really close and it's still such an easy process. We just love it and we know when each other need some space. We still have those musical disagreements, but we are good at getting past it… it's great to have someone else with you. You can really just bounce off each other and feed off each others' confidence."


The end of the year sees Georgia Fair playing their very first festival stage at Peats Ridge in New South Wales.


"It [playing our first festival] is going to go really great… we love going to festivals and seeing bands, so I think we will feel right at home as far as playing goes," he says.


Ben then gives us the low-down on what to expect from Peats Ridge, for those of us not fortunate enough to make it out to the three day festivities over the New Year.


"It's about an hour north of Sydney in the middle of nowhere; apparently it has a great vibe. It goes over three days, over New Year, we just go there and camp out and play a few tunes and then just sit back and watch everyone else play and have a bit of fun… Sarah Blasko, The Panics, Whitely – a really suitable line-up."


With Georgia Fair busily tip-toeing around the mainland, I try to get a feel for what to expect from a live gig (Ben says they hope to make it my home state of Tassie soon…)


"Well, at the moment we are playing with a band with drums and bass and, more recently, we have been playing just the two of us. It's an intimate experience, we like to have a chat with the audience and we are really approachable after the show."


With that polite, gentle description we lament about those gigs that bands both young and old often experience when they start out, and Ben highlights the point: "We've played in a lot of sweaty pubs over the year."


So what's next for the folk rock duo?


"I think for the next four or five months, we will focus on touring… obviously we are writing all the time and we will probably record an album mid-next year. It's awesome to be busy… you can't really complain when you have people putting you out there and booking gigs."


Catch the sunny Georgia Fair supporting Kate Miller-Heidke and Whitley in November, at the Peats Ridge Festival or on a local stage near you. Head to www.myspace.com/georgiafair for dates and deets.


Picture Frames is out now on Sony Records.

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