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How Electric Fields Made a Eurovision-Worthy Anthem

Meet the South Australian duo proudly bringing Aboriginal language to the world stage

Electric Fields

Nick Wilson

For South Australian electronic duo Electric Fields, representing Australia at Eurovision this year was an opportunity they couldn’t let slip by. 

“We asked ourselves, ‘What story do we want to share with such a huge audience? Something impactful,'” says vocalist Zaachariaha Fielding, who’s joined by producer and keyboardist Michael Ross. “And now we’re bringing lyrics and energy we wholeheartedly believe in.”

Their newest song, “One Milkali (One Blood)”, set to debut in Sweden next month, captures the Electric Fields vision perfectly. With its anthemic chorus and incorporation of Aboriginal language and yidaki sounds, the duo might just be a surprise package in this year’s competition. 

Australian fans, of course, are already familiar with Electric Fields’ ethereal dance-pop tunes. Their 2023 hit “We the People” was even the official theme song for Sydney WorldPride, and their powerful live performances earned them a nod for Best Australian Live Act at the 2019 ARIA Awards.

Even with all that local success, though, Fielding and Ross have their sights set on bigger things, particularly Eurovision. Missing out in 2019, when they came a close second to Australian singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke with “2000 and Whatever”, just made them even more determined to make it happen.

Ross recalls that first live television performance as a pivotal moment. “Years ago, when Z and I started writing music together, songs like ‘Shade Away’ and ‘Pukulpa’, we dreamed of a room full of people singing our language back to us, like could that happen? When we did Australia Decides, it was our first live television performance as Electric Fields, and it was like a magic spell on stage,” he says.

Since then, they’ve expanded their output, from commissions for the Sydney Opera House to performing at the AFL Grand Final. Ross even sought advice from their former (friendly) rival Miller-Heidke, who enthusiastically encouraged their Eurovision journey: “I said, ‘Kate, you’ve been through the whole thing, you’ve lived it. Honestly, is it worth it?’ Kate said to me, ‘Fuck yes,’ very enthusiastically.”

Director of Blink TV and Australia’s Creative Director for Malmö, Paul Clarke, had high praise for Electric Fields: “Since hearing their brilliant song ‘2000 And Whatever’, we have always had our eye on Electric Fields for Eurovision. They came close to winning Australia Decides back then, but they are far stronger a few years down the track. Electric Fields will bring something never seen before on the Eurovision stage. They will be deadly in Malmö!”

Fielding and Ross are now switching from excitement to serious rehearsal mode as the contest approaches in just a few weeks. “We had that butterfly moment, jumping around like idiots… Then we’re like, okay, we gotta get to work on the performance.”

Though the tight-knit duo keeps quiet about their Eurovision plans, Fielding hints at using original artwork, reflecting his success as a visual artist after winning the $50,000 Wynne Prize for landscape painting at the 2023 Archibald Prize.

It’s no wonder Electric Fields are going all in: their Eurovision performance will mark a historic moment, showcasing the first song featuring Aboriginal language, specifically Yankunytjatjara of the Anangu peoples, and with over 160 million global viewers, the competition’s viewership surpasses even a Super Bowl Halftime Show.

For Fielding, who grew up in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in South Australia, this moment is a chance to spread global unity through music.

“The song’s title has two languages and one blood, showing how we’re all connected no matter our race or language,” he explains. “We’re inviting people from Europe and beyond to sing ‘One Milkali (One Blood)’ with us in English and one of the oldest languages on Earth. It’s like the song folding in on itself – it’s incredibly powerful. We’re all one blood.”

Regardless of Eurovision’s outcome, the duo’s strong bond in music and friendship shines through, with laughter filling their conversation. With a busy schedule ahead, including an ongoing stint with the Symphony Orchestra, could this be the secret to their success?

“We’re really witty, and our work is full of joy,” says Fielding. “It’s like a fun puzzle, mixing things that don’t seem to fit but somehow do. It’s avant-garde. Working with Michael is a blast – he brings all his senses to the table, and when there are no limits, it’s a wild ride.”

Ross agrees: “We’re constantly bouncing creative ideas off each other, from writing to recording to performing live. It’s a mystic balance energised by an authentic love for each other. And the best part? We’re always cracking each other up.”

Electric Fields’ “One Milkali (One Blood)” is out now. 

The Eurovision Song Contest airs 8-12 May LIVE and in prime time on SBS and SBS On Demand. Stay tuned to the SBS Eurovision website for updates: sbs.com.au/Eurovision