Very soon, each of them will be hitting the road together on a Ball Park Music/San Cisco co-headline tour, with Ruby Fields opening the shows – unless she has something to say about it, that is.
Sitting down in Sydney’s Young Henrys, they took the rare pre-tour opportunity to get to know one another. Topics included opening Brisbane Festival, a life-changing encounter with The Veronicas, and what on earth a co-headline show actually is.
Before they spend two months together on an 11-date tour, we sat down with Jen from Ball Park Music, Scarlett from San Cisco, and Ruby Fields.
HAPPY: We’re all here because you’re about to head on a pretty awesome tour together. I looked back a little while and it seems like this is the first time you three are playing on a lineup together? Please correct me if I’m wrong.
RUBY: Correct my friend.
RUBY: Strong ding.
JEN: Ding ding ding!
HAPPY: I was going to ask if you had anything you ever wanted to say to each other but I just found out you’ve spent like eight hours together…
SCARLET: We have said so much to each other today!
JEN: I don’t think I’ve got any secrets anymore.
SCARLET: No, we’ve been learning little tidbits about each other all day, there’s not much left to learn. Stories… memories… new friendships are blossoming.
HAPPY: Does it feel good to get that sorted before the tour?
RUBY: Yeah for sure. It’s establishing a connection with someone so then you can see each other and be like ‘hey!’ and it’s not that awkward…
JEN: Totally, there’s always this weird first show on tour.
RUBY: I’m going to have to do it with the rest of your (to Jen) band but.
JEN: We’ll be mates already, so I’ll be like ‘ayy, this is Ruby. We’re already mates, so it’s all good.’
SCARLET: Usually it takes a few shows, but by the end of the tour…
RUBY: You always end up being best mates by the end of the tour for sure.
HAPPY: You’ve already got this head start, are there already inside jokes you’re going to be keeping from the rest of the bands?
SCARLET: Donny Benet.
RUBY: Marilyn Manson.
JEN: See? You’ve got no idea what these jokes are about.
RUBY: What else have we got?
SCARLET: The Veronicas! My band had a life changing experience where we played a gig in Geraldton with The Veronicas.
SCARLET: They were just the nicest people ever.
RUBY: A lot of other musos today. The cool bands club. CBC.
HAPPY: Sweet. Next question I had was, how are the actual shows going to work? Will the headliner slot be switched up?
SCARLET: We don’t…
JEN: This is a question that we’ve been ask a lot.
SCARLET: But we don’t actually know.
JEN: I assume there is some sort of decision made as to what’s happening here but…
SCARLET: I don’t want to go on after you guys!
JEN: I think it’s maybe not 100% decided but I feel like we’ll be going last for at least most of the shows.
RUBY: The secret is…
HAPPY: Ruby is headlining.
RUBY: It’s actually a Ruby Fields tour and I exploited these guys in order to sell 5000 tickets in Melbourne.
HAPPY: Good plan.
RUBY: I know.
RUBY: Oh yeah! Who went last?
HAPPY: They switched, they did one night Franz, one night MGMT.
RUBY: Two of my favourite sets from Splendour too.
HAPPY: For sure!
RUBY: But I thought it was Franz Ferdinand and The Presets and I nearly shit myself. They were actually my two favourite sets from Splendour but MGMT were good.
HAPPY: So it was, depending on which city you were in, depended on who you got to see last. Interestingly.
SCARLET: Yet to be determined.
HAPPY: Since you’ll be playing Brisbane Festival with Tia Gostelow, who is sadly not here, is there anything you’d like to say for her?
RUBY: She’s an absolute legend and one of the only nights on the tour we’ll have yet another awesome woman on the lineup.
JEN: Another lady! We wanted to have that show be a mini festival vibe – well seeing as it is part of Brisbane Festival – big hometown show…
RUBY: It’s your own night!
SCARLET: Is it your 400th show?
JEN: It’s our ten year anniversary!
SCARLET: Oh my god.
JEN: So I don’t know what show it will be by then but it will be our tenth anniversary, so we want to make it a bit extra special.
RUBY: Me and Tia have a lot of talks about Love Island and make-up games online, like when you dress up an avatar…
SCARLET: Can you do my makeup on tour?
RUBY: I can, I’m not good at it on myself but I used to love it, I can do that.
JEN: Massages and makeup by Ruby.
RUBY: And running beers onstage for you.
JEN: Oh, she’s going to be running beers onstage for us, too.
RUBY: Because my set will be over early in the night, I’ll be running around like a little rat!
JEN: She’ll be drunk.
RUBY: I’ll just want to run onstage and give you beers.
HAPPY: Fantastic, sounds like a good time. Tough question now, if you could pick two other Aussie bands to add to the tour or the Brisbane Festival bill, who would you choose? Not including Donny Benet.
SCARLET: Or The Veronicas.
HAPPY: Or The Veronicas.
JEN: Um, ok…
SCARLET: Confidence Man?
RUBY: Confidence Man would be sick!
JEN: Bring the party vibe.
SCARLET: Skegss would be fun.
JEN: I’ve never seen Skeggs…
RUBY: Skegss would be awesome.
HAPPY: How about I say that they will definitely play first? So you can book a huge artist and they’ll open for you.
SCARLET: So we can book Powderfinger and have them play first?
RUBY: Oh, that’s a power move.
JEN: It’s a powder move, actually.
SCARLET: Olivia Newton John.
RUBY: That’s genius… Midnight Oil. That would be psycho.
HAPPY: Next up; in the early ’60s bands were so competitive that they would intentionally focus on outperforming the bands they were supporting. Has this ever occurred to you or is it something that you’ve straight-up tried to do?
JEN: That’s how we got to where we are!
RUBY: What’s the question?
JEN: Like if you’re the support band, you try and be way better than the band you’re supporting.
RUBY: Oh 100%! That proud moment when, well I don’t know in your case, but I’ll go outside for a dart afterwards and the main band would be on and everybody would be having a ciggie, like ‘that was sick, we’re just having a dart’. I’m like ‘they’re on now!’, they’re like ‘oh it’s alright, you guys were sick anyway’. Thank you!
JEN: It’s important I think, you can’t have the mindset of ‘I’m just the support band’.
RUBY: You gotta build yourself into the headliner.
JEN: Yeah, you want people to be just as impressed at your set as they are with the headline band’s set.
HAPPY: Sweet. Flipside – has there ever been a time where you’ll happily admit to being upstaged by a support band?
RUBY: Yep. In Melbourne one time. Tony Dork, who we’re going to take on tour with us for the single, they just go crazy, like crawling through the audience. Just the interaction and how fun they were – I felt like a loser going up after ’cause they were just so ballsy and so much fun. I was just like, ‘how do we follow that up?’, we don’t have things like that planned, we just played our songs and they did so much.
HAPPY: Awesome, (to Jen and Scarlet) any of you guys?
JEN: I don’t know, I think we just go by the idea of being the best band. Even though at a headline show most people are there to see you, you still want to give people the best show they’ve ever seen. But I don’t know! We may see on this tour…
SCARLET: We always find banter the hardest thing to be natural.
RUBY: I want my shows to be half-comedy, half-live show.
JEN: I love that.
RUBY: So that’s what we focus on most, just making sure that lots of jokes are told, and it’s organic, and that’s why I’m so stoked on my new band. Cause all those boys are like comedians that I’ve grown up with.
JEN: You’ll be feeding off each other’s energy!
RUBY: Lots of wombat facts to come.
SCARLET: Can’t wait.
HAPPY: Fantastic. Would you call yourselves competitive as artists?
RUBY: I used to be.
JEN: I’m zero-ly competitive, even in board games.
SCARLET: Me too!
JEN: I’m like, ‘you can win’.
RUBY: I’m like that as well, but I used to be competitive when I was starting out because it’s such a big industry, I’m a woman and I felt like I had to compete. Then there was that moment that dawned on me when I was 19 that’s like, we’re all in the same league and doing the same thing… may as well make some mates while you’re at it. So now I’m just so on the train where you support and love other bands as much as possible.
HAPPY: Anything to add?
SCARLET: That’s pretty much it.
JEN: (French accent) “But most of all, we love each other.”
RUBY: The more, the merrier.
JEN: You want to be friends with the people in your industry.
HAPPY: Well it sounds like you’re going have heaps of fun on this tour. Last one, and you kind of touched on this a second ago, it’s a bit more serious. As three people who are about to embark on a tour with a really female-inclusive lineup, what do you make of festivals like Bluesfest or UNIFY, recently, who are still failing to represent women properly?
SCARLET: I just think there’s no excuse now.
JEN: There’s just so many amazing female-fronted acts and acts who have female members.
RUBY: Maybe they haven’t built up the name yet but the kind of argument I always make is women have, unfortunately, just been left behind in everything because… at one point in time we weren’t allowed to do it when men were. So we’re catching up! We’re catching up and there’s just no excuse for it anymore.
RUBY: My biggest thing is, as much as there is no excuse for it, if you want to see females on a lineup and they’re not on that lineup, don’t go and don’t give them the money.
SCARLET: Exactly, don’t endorse.
RUBY: Don’t support them, don’t go to a festival that does do that. Go to gigs that you want to see and the female acts that you want to watch.
HAPPY: Very well put. Well, really looking forward to the tour, thanks for the chat and thanks for getting serious at the end there.
RUBY: I don’t get serious.
Catch Ball Park Music, San Cisco and Ruby Fields on Ruby Fields’ headline tour this September/October:
Friday 7 September – Festival Hall, Melbourne
Saturday 8 September – Brisbane Festival – Riverstage, Brisbane – with Tia Gostelow
Friday 14 September – UOW UniHall, Wollongong
Saturday 15 September – NEX, Newcastle
Friday 21 September – UC Refectory, Canberra
Saturday 22 September – Big Top, Sydney
Saturday 6 October – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle
Sunday 7 October – Astor Theatre, Perth
Friday 19 October – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Saturday 20 October – City Oval, Ballarat
Wednesday 24 October – The Goods Shed, Hobart