As Far As I’m Concerned, Electric Fields Won Eurovision

Eurovision Electric Fields Music Performance First Nations Indigenous

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South Australian electronic duo Zaachariaha Fielding and Michael Ross headed to Sweden to represent Australia at Eurovision… and lost. But not in my mind. 

Despite annual confusion over Australia’s presence at Eurovision, it’s still an immensely exciting event. And this year was particularly exciting, with Electric Fields’ expansive dance track ‘One Milkali (One Blood)’ sung partly in Yankunytjatjara, making it Australia’s First Nations heritage debut at Eurovision. This year also marked the 50th anniversary since ABBA took the win in their home country of Sweden, where Electric Fields performed. And even though they didn’t technically win, I’m going to continue to believe that they did. Let me live. 

Note: This interview was conducted prior to Electric Fields’ performance earlier this month at Eurovision, which they totally should’ve won. 

Junkee: What would winning Eurovision mean to you? 

Michael: It would feel like Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve. It would be like getting a hole-in-one on a par five. Please forgive the sport reference, it’s not like us. 

But that’s not really the point of this because it’s a bit like that capitalist idea that if you come second, you’re the first to lose. We’re just able to be our creative selves. We do that whenever we want to, wherever the space opens up for us. And for this giant Olympic level stage to open up for us, we just really want to deliver the most beautiful storytelling that we can, and that will be our trophy. 

Zaachariaha: We’re going to deliver. We’re going to open. We’re going to host all three minutes. And our invitation to the audience is just to surrender yourself to that three minutes and feel where we wrote this song for them. Feel how small you are, but also how large you are and jump inside of the cluster for us to just swing you around. 

And then we’ll do just like one of those little, what’s those  

Michael: Snowglobe. 

Zaachariaha: Snowglobe. To shake that up and then just at the end, just watch all the snow just… [exhales]. 

Michael: But we will not be having snow on stage. We’re from the  

Both: Desert [they laugh]. 

‘One Milkali (One Blood)’ is such an expansive song. I couldn’t quite put it into words. It does make you feel small, but it’s so big at the same time. What made you go with this particular theme and genre? 

Michael: It’s interesting you mention that it makes you feel very small and very big at the same time. In the lyrics, the 0.618 is the golden mean, which we see in the shape of entire galaxies, and we also see in the shape of the smallest blooms in the garden. It’s almost like an Easter egg from the creative force that has manifested us all into existence. And to know how insignificant you are and yet that you absolutely matter is a very kind of realistic, humble way to view one’s individual self.   

We only survive in communities. Loneliness is a killer and community is the answer. Connectedness is the theme that we’re bringing and we’re making it as clear as day. Even as something as simple as the fact that we all bleed red. 

It’s so beautiful to introduce people to your language through this song — that can take things so much further than people expect. Just like with ‘Gangnam Style’ — my parents are Korean — that word took on a life of its own. 

Tell me about the title ‘One Milkali (One Blood)’, what it means to you and why you’ve chosen it. 

Michael: I think I mentioned before: two languages, one blood. It’s about bypassing the barrier, this kind of moment. We don’t put Zaachariaha’s language into the songs for the sake of having Aboriginal language. We have language in a lot of our music because when we write together, we want it to mean something to both of us. That’s why both of our uniqueness is woven into it, purely because we’re making honest art and beautifying truth rather than ticking the boxes of a genre that happens to be cool at the moment. 

What does the legacy of Eurovision mean to you as performers? 

Michael: The legacy of Eurovision is basically celebrating creativity. It’s celebrating artists, songwriters, singers and storytelling. It’s a license to be as imaginative and as creative as you possibly can. And it’s also a major platform to share your truth with a global population. All these things are so up our alley and to be included is one of the best things you could ask for. 

 Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.