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Around the World and Back Again: Crayon Fields

The touring life of a musician has become a thing of legend in the chronicles of rock and roll history; think the screaming teen mobs of The Beatles, the bravado of bands like Led Zeppelin, the juggernaut of Black Sabbath and the outfits of Adam Ant. But for Geoff O’Connor, singer and guitarist of Melbourne indie folk band Crayon Fields, it’s perhaps a little more straightforward.

“As much as I’d love to be in a band of sleazy, jazz brained booze hounds like myself, I just can’t break the others in,” he says jokingly, when asked how touring has changed for him as the band grows more successful. “As we’ve toured more frequently it’s become both a lot easier and a lot more interesting. Certainly in Australia it has become a lot more pleasurable now that we can cover the costs of our little adventures.”

Geoff and fellow band members Brett Hudson, Chris Hung and Neil Erenstrom are on the road for months each year and have only just returned from a three week stint in America. Despite the occasional feelings of homesickness, it’s easy to work out which side of the love/hate divide Geoff is on. “I love touring. It’s an incredible luxury to be able to travel at all, let alone to have some purpose in doing so,” Geoff muses. “Touring is such a fantastic way to meet people, and I’ve enjoyed both of the international tours we’ve had in the past year immensely. We travel interstate for shows maybe once a month, which is quite frequent, though it doesn’t really take up that much time when you consider many people out there spend more time watching re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond.

“We’ve made some very good friends in the Australian cities we travel to regularly, and I love being able to spend time with them each time we visit, ” Geoff continues. “Airports can be a bit of a drag and sometimes it can be hard to get enough equipment together, but I can’t think of many other cons.”

While the band may not always get to see too much of the places where they play, Geoff does have a few favourite destinations. “I loved playing in Germany and the United States, simply because they’re such exciting places to visit as a tourist,” he explains. “I think we were very lucky, especially in Germany, to have fallen in with some very good people who showed us around and made the trip more interesting. Playing for people in other countries changes things a little, mostly in terms of how we present ourselves and our general level of confidence. We still write all of our songs when we are at home though, much like we always have. There won’t be any ‘scene from a whorehouse in Hamburg’ type songs anytime soon.”

Now settled back in Melbourne, Geoff’s main priority after touring is to relax, rent DVDs and catch up with friends. “It’s always nice to return from overseas, all clean and innocent, and hear about your friends’ melodramas. It’s funny how much people’s lives seem to change in the space of a few weeks.”

With the promise of “projections, smoke and rock and roll”, Crayon Fields are playing their first Sydney show for 2010 this Saturday at the Oxford Art Factory with Parades and Step-Panther. Tickets are available at the door or online at Moshtix, or from us! We have a double pass to giveaway. Simply email your details to by 12noon tomorrow morning.

words: Jacinda Fermanis


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