Jimmy Stanfield talks ‘Lake Fire’, jazz and the importance of moving on

“Life was really testing around the time I wrote Lake Fire,” Jimmy Stanfield reveals in an exclusive interview with Happy Mag. 

Jimmy Stanfield enraptured audiences earlier this month upon the release of Lake Fire, a shimmering showcase of the Phillip Island singer’s rich vocal delivery and lyrical vulnerability.

Drawing upon an eclectic palette from fuzzy surf rock to string-heavy chamber pop, the single is evidence of an artist wholly confident in their sound and trajectory. 

Jimmy Stanfield single 'Lake Fire'
Credit: Bronwyn Jayne

Fresh off the release of Lake Fire, we caught up with Jimmy Stanfield for a run-through on all things songwriting, jazz, and how he keeps level headed whenever “life gets really testing.”

Catch our full interview with Stanfield below, and scroll down to listen to his new single Lake Fire. Check out the single’s official music video below. 

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

JIMMY: In the studio with my dogs. 

HAPPY: What does a typical day look like when recording a project like Lake Fire?

JIMMY: I’ll make a cup of tea, pull up some recent sessions and make notes, from there I’ll know what my day looks like.

HAPPY: What’s the music scene like in your neck of the woods?

JIMMY: I’m in Collingwood so I’m spoilt for choice, you can find something every night of the week here.

HAPPY: Your first solo offering arrived in 2022. Was there a certain level of anxiety that came with releasing your own material outside of your band?

JIMMY: The reward of completing and releasing something outweighed the anxieties, I learnt a ton and made loads of mistakes but that’s all part of it.

Jimmy Stanfield single 'Lake Fire'
Credit: Bronwyn Jayne

HAPPY: You’ve cited classic musicians like Ray Charles, Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis. How would you introduce these musicians to someone who thinks they don’t like jazz?

JIMMY: Ask what they do like and work backwards, they may already like jazz and not know it. 

HAPPY: What elements of your life did you bring to the songwriting process for Lake Fire?

JIMMY: The ability to accept when something is complete and move on.

HAPPY: You’ve described Lake Fire as a song about resilience. Can you elaborate on what this means?

JIMMY: Life was really testing around the time I wrote Lake Fire so I think I used the writing process as a bit of a way to keep my head above it all.

HAPPY: You’ve mentioned your love of 60s exotica. How do you go about incorporating this sound into your work?

JIMMY: My early mixes were sounding very two dimensional and muddy, so exotica taught me the importance of space and arrangement to make each element shine.

HAPPY: Your band White Summer has performed alongside some of the greats. Any dream performers you’d like to one day share the stage with?

JIMMY: I really love Adrian Quesada’s work and his live productions are always amazing so let’s go with him.

HAPPY: What makes you happy?

JIMMY: Family, friends, my dogs & Choc Lava Cake.