Australia 2024: Electric Fields
Michael Ross (left) and Zaachariaha Fielding (right) (Photo: Nick Wilson)

Electric Fields from Australia: "Eurovision may be one of the best things humans ever did"

INTERVIEW Their goal is to live their best lives while representing Australia in Eurovision 2024, but it's also about sharing their unique art, their struggles, and their hope to inspire others along the way. They're Electric Fields

It was back in 2019 when the Eurovision community was first introduced to Electric Fields, an electronic music duo from Australia.

Back then the pair competed in the first-ever edition of the Australian national selection competition, Australia Decides, coming in second only to Kate Miller-Heidke's "Zero Gravity." The fans embraced the duo's uniqueness, their competing song "2000 and Whatever," and have been hoping for them to get another shot at Eurovision.

Well, here they are! Five years later Australian EBU broadcaster SBS sent out the invitation and they accepted.

Electric Fields were later announced as this year's Australian representative for Eurovision 2024, and their song was also released at the same time: "One Milkali (One Blood)."

Just a few days before they departed for Malmö, the duo met with Eurovisionworld via Zoom for a conversation that would often shift between fun and hilarious moments, to serious and important ones.

Both Michael Ross (producer, keyboards) and Zaachariaha Fielding (vocals) were laughing, and even before a question could pop up or even a quick "hi" could be said, Zaachariaha shouts:

– Pedro! What is your star sign?

I let him know I'm a Leo:

– I knew you were fire! We're both Sagittarius.

I guess that's how you introduce yourself nowadays. And to be quite frank, I love it.

Australia Decides 2019: Electric Fields – "2000 And Whatever"

Regardless of their fantastic sense of humor (a very Sagittarius characteristic), their journey doesn't only reflect fun times. It's safe to say that Electric Fields are born from struggle, from bullying, and hard times throughout life. The duo is open about that and about their goal with their music and Eurovision participation.

Growing up in a quite conservative and religious family wasn't easy for Michael, who had to battle with his family for 18 years just for being gay:

– Having endured that, there's a very deep strength that you acquire and I use that almost everyday, he says.

When asked if the struggles were worth it in order to become who he is today he agrees, despite not wishing it upon anyone. To illustrate his perspective, Ross brings up a story of a mother who goes into a school's principal office to complain about her daughter being bullied. Confronted with the situation, the principal calms her down by saying she'll eventually overcome it, and she'll be stronger because of it.

Growing up was difficult. The kids, they made it very hard for me when I was younger.Zaachariaha Fielding

Zaachariaha cheers him up after what he's just said, though his run wasn't any better. Being brought up in the remote desert community of Mimili in South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands was anything but an easy path:

– Growing up was difficult. The kids, they made it very hard for me when I was younger. They used to tell me that being gay was evil and terrible, but I forgive them and I love them.

He doesn't like to speak too much about it because "it hurts." What's interesting is that, despite the hurt and the pain from his childhood, Zaachariaha still pays tribute to his culture through their music. How?

– That's a really good and interesting feeling because I work with time differently. I don't look at it as time, but rather as a movement and being inside of that movement in order to observe it all, he says.

– When I am in it, I look at the details and it relaxes me to see how beautiful the present world is... something we keep on forgetting. It takes away the tension of what happened back then. It obviously hurts to go back, but you can just grab all of the beautiful things from that time and sort of replace the bad ones.

Eurovision Philosophy Contest

The idea is to experience a world without hurting, which is probably impossible to accomplish. For now, the duo is on its way to Eurovision 2024 and want to continue to spread love, acceptance, and inclusivity using that major platform:

– We're finally allowing that stream for struggle, and this platform that Eurovision holds is that escape for all ages. I honestly think Eurovision, besides the song contest, should host a competition on helping mankind, Zaachariaha suggests.

– I agree! In one room you'd have the songs and in another room the philosophy, Michael says. Zaachariaha continues:

– The truth is most of the songs out there come from a broken place, from a place of hurt. It's 90% of the time about a situation that's left you hurting.

– It's by sharing stories that we can heal together, Michael concludes.

Their Eurovision 2024 song "One Milkali (One Blood)" doesn't specifically share Michael's nor Zaachariaha's story, but our story as human beings, or at least what we'd like it to be; a united and connected world without space for prejudice and hate:

– The song's title features two languages and it means "one blood." That, on its own, is already pretty self-explanatory, Michael starts by saying.

It's by sharing stories that we can heal together.Michael Ross

– In the song there are a lot of different melodies going on at the same time, but all of them are playing together. This represents that there's much more that connects us than what separates us. It shows how we should focus on the similarities that unite us instead of focusing on the details that divide us.

– Finally, there's one very plain and simple, fundamental thing... we all bleed red. If you start from there and understand that, you can build a stronger community.

The song was written with Eurovision in mind and that's why such big themes arise in it. Moreover, it should bring authenticity, truth, excitment, and uniqueness:

– Never bore the audience. Treat them like the intelligent art lovers they are, Ross concludes.

Eurovision: A risk worth taking

What's your goal with Eurovision?

– Honestly, to live our best lives. When you're born a singer and a songwriter, you do have the desire for sharing stories, and you obviously want to share them with as many people as possible. There's no better place on Earth than on the Eurovision stage, Michael says.

– I think Eurovision may be one of the best things humans ever did, and to be part of this community and to be included is one of the biggest compliments you could have as songwriters.

Regardless of the fan acceptance, the honor, and getting the opportunity of a lifetime to perform at Eurovision, saying yes can always be seen as risky when your previous attempt was so hyped among the fans like "2000 and Whatever" was.

Australia 2024: Electric Fields – "One Milkali (One Blood)"

– You have to take risks, states Michael.

– There's dignity and excitement in taking risks, and you have to swing big if you don't succeed... in whatever technical way people may consider not succeeding. It's literally turning up to life saying yes to a risky situation that could just pay off, he concludes.

As of now, the duo has stepped on to the Eurovision stage for a couple of rehearsals. We were able to see previews of what we'll be seeing on 7 May when they compete in their Semi-final, but during our conversation they shared little to no details:

– One of my favorite birthday parties was a surprise party. I want the performance to be a surprise party, Michael laughs.

I think Eurovision may be one of the best things humans ever did.Michael Ross

– What I can tell you is that Zaachariaha is designing his costume and I am designing mine with help. What we're wearing comes from our own creative minds. All about our performance will be as authentic as we are able to conjure.

– Once we're done with our performance, we want people to think we had heart. What else is in "The Wizard of Oz"? Zaachariaha asks and laughs.

Michael quickly catches the reference:

– It was heart, courage... I am really slow today, he replies.

– A mix of Teletubbies, Zaachariaha concludes.

Michael brings back the seriousness:

– We're kidding. We want people to see we're skipping along the same yellow brick road as everyone else, and regardless we're just traveling the world both internally and externally to one day come home to unearth the treasure buried in our own backyard.

As for ambition, the pair aims to win but knows how to settle expectations and will focus on giving their "absolute best":

– Regardless, I think that once you're part of Eurovision, you're part of it forever, Zaachariaha says.

Operating on structure is so boring

After the song contest, there are plans to tour Australia and Europe. During their time in Sweden, the duo hopes to hang out with a few ambassadors in order to visit some European cities with a new project that mixes their unique sound that ranges from traditional sounds to soul to electronic music with symphony orchestras.

– We've been doing sold out shows where we combine our music with orchestras. We'll be smashing it on stage and having an orchestra behind us, Zaachariaha explains.

Any genre of music or any label you could be given is untrue because we're all on a spectrum and we're just guessing.Michael Ross

– Yes, we've performed with the Melbourne Symphony twice, Sydney Symphony once, Adelaide Symphony, Canberra Symphony, and so on!

As we come to an end, we touch on another important social subject which is the constant need to label people and things. Their unique music style, which is now even being mixed with orchestras, sort of goes against that idea. It almost feels impossible to describe or label Electric Fields:

– It's a powerful skill to have, Zaachariaha agrees.

– Operating on structure is so boring. Just because your parents raised you in a specific way, you should go beyond those initial ideas they put in you of where you should go, of how you should be, and so on. The world is so vast, big and wide.

– I know Eurovision has a structure, but for Electric Fields this adventure is part of a pattern that's been happening for us. It's beautiful and mysterious. We're just following it, and it's leading us into the most different places, some are nice, some are not.

Michael continues:

– We performed at the AFL Stadium and you have to be brave in spaces like that. We played at a major sport event which can be seen as a very masculine space. So, even though mammals are pattern-seeking animals and we need to be able to identify groups for certain reasons, I believe the truth is any genre of music or any label you could be given is untrue because we're all on a spectrum and we're just guessing.

Electric Fields will perform "One Milkali (One Blood)" in the first Semi-final of Eurovision 2024 on 7 May.

About the author: Pedro Santos (Portugal)

authorPedro comes from Lisbon, Portugal. He's 30 years old and graduated in journalism. He has attended Eurovision Song Contest three times live - 2018, 2019 and 2022 - and covered the show twice more (2021, 2023) but his first Eurovision memory takes him back to 2007 when Sarbel delivered his catchy "Yassou Maria" performance. Pedro's favorite Eurovision song is Albania's 2015 "I'm Alive" by Elhaida Dani which is also his favorite Eurovision edition.

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