Feature: Ruby Fields – Been Doin’ It for a Bit

Born out of a place of self-acceptance for Ruby Fields, she unveils her debut album Been Doin’ It for a Bit.

“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 album. “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 on stage. So I’ve been working on being a better friend, partner, bandmate; just a better person.”

Loaded with twists of sunburnt poetry and heaving guitar lines. It also shows a more nuanced, layered portrait of Ruby.

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 old man 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, the 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 at The 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.

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