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Georgia

In conversation with 1883 Magazine's Cameron Poole, Georgia chats about her new LP Euphoric, visiting LA, and music production.

London-based artist Georgia is the personification of creativity, charm, and dynamism.

As soon as you meet the creative you’ll find yourself speaking to someone that is teeming with energy in the most positively infectious way. She speaks about her work in such a in-depth, thrilling, and humble manner that it’s hard not to like her and get swept up in it all. From the get-go, it’s clear to see how much her work means to her and when it comes to the songwriter’s bodies of work, she continues to impress across the board. Not many artists can write and produce effortlessly cool electronically-tinged pop songs like Georgia can. The 2015 debut self-titled offering from Georgia and its 2020 follow-up, Seeking Thrills, were both wildly exciting due to their experimental and dance-worthy sounds. So it’s easy to see why the Londoner was a BBC Sound of 2020 nomination and was also up for a Mercury Music Prize the same year. Remarkably, alongside Georgia’s already busy schedule, she has maintained a reputation for being an in-demand co-writer and has collaborated with Years & Years, Shania Twain, Shygirl, and Gorillaz, to name a few. When it comes to the live aspect of Georgia’s career, the singer and drummer puts on a joyous live experience.

Now, the artist is back with the brand new record, Euphoric, which releases tomorrow via Domino Records. It’s a project that was created in sunny Los Angeles following the decision to work with another producer for the first time ever. The end result is a gorgeous collection of energetic synth-pop tracks and somehow Georgia has continued to raise the bar again. In conversation with 1883 Magazine’s Cameron Poole, Georgia chats about her new LP Euphoric, visiting LA, and music production.

 

 

Georgia, thanks for speaking with 1883 Magazine. Your third studio record Euphoric is out July 28th via Domino Records. Given that it has been three years since your last record since the release of 2020’s Seeking Thrills, would you mind telling us a bit about how this new record came to be and why you decided to work with another producer, Rostam, for the first time on this project? 

Yeah, sure. So the year Seeking Thrills was released was obviously quite a weird year because all of a sudden, we were thrown into a pandemic where society just stopped. It was a strange time because I suppose I didn’t really get to do all the touring that I would have liked to have done for Seeking Thrills. But that album took on its own life and we got the Mercury nomination, so that helped things It was quite an odd time really for everyone. Instead of just stopping completely, I saw it as an opportunity to just get back into the studio and start writing, I felt quite inspired really. It’s weird, out of those kind of really monstrous events, I found my imagination really being sparked. I just felt incredibly inspired. So I went into the studio. Prior to that in 2019, I had actually made contact with Rostam. I did a track with Mura Masa called Live Like We’re Dancing, and Rostam was friends with Mura Masa. Rostam heard the demo that me and Alex did, and he direct messaged me on Instagram and just said, ‘Look, I really love your voice. I hope you don’t mind me reaching out. I really love the song you and Alex have done.’ I was completely excited by this text, and we just started communicating.

Then at the end of 2019, I was in LA playing my first ever show there. I had a couple of days to spare, I thought ‘Fuck it, why not? I’ll just text Rostam to see if he’s around,’ and so I did. I said, ‘Look, can I come over to your studio, and can we write something?’ I wanted to get in the studio with other people. I think even by then, I  wanted a collaborative experience. We got in the studio, and then on that day, we wrote my new album’s first single, It’s Euphoric. So something just clicked in me after that meeting with Rostam. I just felt incredibly comfortable. I felt like I’d known him for years. I was already being very vulnerable with him in the studio, opening up, talking about life, talking about music, talking about just common things. It crossed my mind that I would like to work with him for more songs, and I didn’t quite know for what at that point but I just knew I really enjoyed the experience in the studio I had with him. Fast forward to 2020 when the pandemic hit, we were sort of keeping in communication, and I asked him, ‘Do you want to do a record?’ He said: ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’

It was really me saying I wanted to work with somebody else, it wasn’t the case of the record label saying: ‘You should partner up with so and so because that’s the trendy thing to do.’ It was a very natural thing that happened between us. So that’s why I pursued it because I just knew that we could make cool music together. I then spent the next couple of years demoing songs with the intention to going to LA and writing the record with him. But Rostam from the get-go was very sensitive to the fact that I produced everything. In fact, that really excited him. That’s why he wanted to work with me. I think he even felt that we could learn from each other. We could exchange techniques, we could exchange certain writing techniques, and just record music. At no point was he like: ‘I’m the producer, and you’re the artist.’ That’s why at the beginning, working with him, I felt so comfortable because he was just very encouraging of anything I would suggest.

In fact he was more like ‘I don’t want to impose too much of my producer head into this. I want to see you go, and then I’ll add to it, and we’ll collaborate.’ So the whole thing was very collaborative. It was always going to be something of a topic for people who knew me that I was working with another producer on this record. But it really was just very exciting being in the studio with him in particular. I just felt very inspired by his musical abilities, and I think likewise he was inspired by mine. It was honestly an absolutely fantastic experience, and I know it’s not always like that.

 

It sounds like it was a natural and fruitful collaboration. So that’s amazing! LA must have been so fun.

Yeah, it was really. I think thats where my head was at when it came to writing this new record. Long before I organised working with Rostam, I was asking my manager about how I could write and record in a completely different way to how I’ve done the previous two albums. Both of the previous albums had been made in my studio in London. Often with the same surroundings, the same kind of routine and I love that because I get good results working that way. But I just felt like I wanted an adventure writing this next record, and how that would affect my lyrics, and whether I could really push myself in certain directions that otherwise I normally wouldn’t. There’s no doubt that Rostam had so much influence on it. He would say to me, ‘Let’s go here with the lyrics. Let’s go there.’ The music, for me, is something that I want to get better at. I don’t see myself as a finished article or anything like that. I’ve never wanted to be an artist like that. I’ve always wanted, whatever the next record is, for me to grow as a producer, writer, and performer.

I just felt like I wanted something new and fresh. Definitely part of that was going to LA and living somewhere I’d never lived before. Certainly, the environment of LA I found incredibly exciting. I have grown up knowing about the music that has come out of LA, the whole Laurel Canyon scene, hip-hop, and all the metal, rock, and pop sounds. So arriving into LAX Airport that first week of committing to writing this record with Rostam, it was incredibly nerve-racking and also exciting. As I came down on the plane, I was listening to the birds, and I was like: ’This is it. This is a real moment that I’ll remember forever’ Because I’m a Londoner, and London’s very much like New York, everyone’s on top of each other, it’s incredibly cramped, fast-paced, and busy.Suddenly, to get to somewhere where it was just so spacious you know? I just found it incredibly inspiring. 

Everyone talks about the light in LA. For me, it was incredibly inspiring, this sort of golden hour light that just made me feel very warm. Of course, I know that the city has its problems, and I was very much confronted with a lot of the issues that are going on in LA. I was in East Hollywood, so off Sunset strip. You would go from one end of Sunset where it was very gentrified, to suddenly people really homeless with nothing. So it managed to be this kind of magical environment but then it was also a  very surreal environment. To see all of that was also quite affecting. I don’t know… there’s something about the grit of LA as well, the underground sort of scene. I love it. But going to LA was a risk, I didn’t know whether it would work. I didn’t know whether my mental state would survive out there. It’s the unknown really but I think I’m really glad I did it. I’m glad I pursued with it. I’m proud of this record. I’m proud of the other two as well but this one particularly feels a bit like my stamp of the music that I want to create.

 

Simply, I want to know what your favourite song is from Euphoric and why? For myself, it has to be The Dream or Friends Will Never Let You Go.

Well funnily enough, The Dream came from a complete improv session with me on the drums and Rostam on guitar. So that was quite cool because it was a real moment that I’ve never done before in a studio, where you just leave the tape rolling, play, and then snippet what you recorded. So that was really cool because I’m not in a band, I’m normally on my own. That was also what was really nice about particularly exploring that sort of sound. It felt like myself and Rostam were in a band and I really enjoyed that. My favourite song changes but it’s always been either It’s Euphoric or So What, which is the last track on the record.

That was the first song I’ve ever written where I’ve actually felt like a songwriter. I know that sounds a bit weird. But I wrote it with a guy called Justin Parker, who wrote with Lana Del Rey on Video Games and wrote Stay with Rihanna. So it was a real moment of working with another songwriter in his room, figuring out chords and melodies. I’m incredibly proud of that song because I think we tapped into quite an emotive passage with the chorus. Even though it’s quite sombre, it’s also very optimistic. I like the message behind it. Yeah, so my main choice would be So What.

 

I think when an artist puts out an album it can potentially act as a snapshot of that person at the time. With this in mind, what would you say Euphoric says about Georgia as an artist and as a human?

I think optimistic is the word. I think with this album… I just wanted people to hear it and feel energised and imaginative. I think for a while, before this record, I was quite pessimistic about life. But I think everyone was. I think everyone was really assessing, re-evaluating their life and what was important to them. Writing this record really just brought back a positivity into my life, and actually, just that music can be such a creative, incredible medium. I feel really humbled that I get to do it, you know? I think that’s how I feel. I also feel quite open at the moment with the world. I don’t feel closed. I don’t feel like I want to hide away. I want to experience my life in a way of not escaping it. I think that the record gives me a sense of that and makes me feel like, ‘oh, yeah, we’re told we can’t travel, we can’t do this. Well, fuck it, we can.’ Let’s go and take a couple of months off and actually live a life.

I think it was a very hard time in England and it still is a hard time. I can’t really hide away from the fact that Brexit happened and it all feels very isolated at the moment. You feel quite isolated as an island. And I think I just really didn’t want that to affect my creativity. I wanted to look outward. I think that’s how I’m feeling in life really.

 

Well, first of all, I appreciate every answer you’ve given so far and yes that question was a bit forward/tricky, sorry about that haha.

No, it was a good question. It made me sort of sweat.

 

Right at the very beginning, you started out with a four-track tape cassette recorder. I’d love to hear about what pieces of kit you love using now when it comes to recording ideas and material? And when it comes to producing, what is one element of the craft that you could talk for hours on end about?

Yeah, it’s such a big part of what we do, isn’t it? The reason why I started on a four-track recorder, which was encouraged by my dad, was because that’s the basic understanding of sound recording, right? I think on a four-track or an eight-track, you get to know there are certain rules that one has to adhere to just because you can’t do anything more. I suppose on an eight-track, you can actually multitrack on one track, but I think my dad just wanted me to learn that limitations are also a big part of producing. So learning that there are four elements to a sound recording. One track would be for drums, the second track would be for bass, the third track would be for some kind of harmonic keys or guitar, and then the final track would be for voice. So it was very good for being able to know the foundations of a sound recording.

From there, it developed onto Logic. When I was eighteen, I got a student discount [for] Logic, and over the years, just experimented with that DAW. I took the basics of learning on an actual tape recorder into Logic which was really handy. Actually, I still to do it to this day sometimes. When I give talks to students, they say to me: ’What’s one thing that’s really important to you?’ And I always say, ‘Oh, the fact that I learned on this four-track recorder.’ It was really interesting because when I went to Rostam’s studio, he had the exact same one as me.

 

Oh really? That’s interesting he had the same recorder.

Yeah, it was a Korg. I’ve forgotten the module now. It’s a silver thing with four tracks and a tape in there. It has your basic play, stop, record, and then your faders. You can get so creative with them. I mean certain people that I’ve been with, really famous artists, still demo ideas on those recorders because there’s just a certain vibe you get. So yeah, it was really interesting. I think throughout the years, you just get sucked into the computer world. But interestingly with Seeking Thrills, that was the first time I really got into a mix of analogue and digital. I really liked it. The foundation of the studio, for me, has to be analogue and digital. I can’t go into a room that’s just completely digital or is just a laptop and that’s it. I’m not saying there’s a right or wrong way of doing things. It’s just for me, I find that incredibly challenging actually, which might be quite good for the next record. Maybe that’s how I should do it.

But most of the time I need something physical to get my hands on, that’s sort of my creative flow. In my studio, I’ve got everything hooked up in old school MIDI, which  is obviously an 80’s technique developed with CV ports. Now, they’re sort of six pin, eight pin. The technology is old but it still works incredibly well and is brilliant. So I can start a melody on one synth and then record that into my computer, and send it to whatever synth I want. That’s kind of a way I developed the creative process in the studio. I really enjoyed that. Sometimes with MIDI, you get mistakes that are really interesting. Maybe the MIDI will somehow detune and it sounds quite cool. You’re kind of playing around with analogue things but in a digital way. Rostam was very much like that too.

Actually, quite a lot of the studios in LA that I went to were filled with the type of producers and mixers that still very much prefer when analogue meets digital. So yeah, I have been of recent thinking though, I would like to get out of the box in terms of maybe there’s a way of recording into a tape machine and doing it that way and seeing what will come out of it. I really love the way Daft Punk made Discovery. They made it all on SP-1200. I was thinking recently, maybe getting an SP-1200 would be fun. But obviously, it’s expensive…

 

Georgia, treat yourself!

Treat myself? Yeah. Well, I shall take that actually. I’ll say to my management, ‘Well, Cameron told me I could treat myself.’ I’m constantly thinking about technology. I mean it’s part of the job. At the moment everyone’s talking about AI. A couple of my friends and colleagues are using it and the very basic stuff, but it’s interesting. It’s kind of like… I don’t know… I was brought up with technology around me. UK rave music was made on machines, and so I come from that sort of place. But it was nice also with Rostam to pick up a guitar, and to play a beautiful piano, or to play a mandolin. That was fantastic. That was also very inspiring. I came back from LA with about three or four new guitars.

 

It sounds like you’ve really utilised every sort of tool you can when it comes to the production side of things. I do find it interesting how thanks to these DAWs like Logic, we have so much at our finger trips and for anyone just learning or starting out, it can be really overwhelming. But first of all, it’s great that you had the tape recorder that taught you the fundamentals and basics. You don’t always think to have more stems or anything, you just learnt to utilise the four tracks you had and work with it.

But I think that’s it, it can be quite overwhelming for people starting out. It’s not expensive to get a second-hand laptop and DAWs now. Logic is like GarageBand for people. But I think it is quite overwhelming at first but that’s what I’ve heard for a lot of people. I think starting with that basic understanding helps you put it all into context and perspective. So I think it’s important.

 

 

You’ve collaborated with a host of renowned artists in your career so far, such as Gorillaz, Shygirl, Years & Years and more. What goes through your mind when for example the legendary Shania Twain calls you “very talented” in an interview? And what do you get from working in these sort of sessions compared to when you work on your own art?

I mean, it was a total dream come true to work with Shania. Yeah, it’s still a pinch yourself sort of thing really. I still can’t really believe that I was sat in a room for three days and wrote this song with her. It’s crazy. I mean, I see it in a way where these sessions help with everything. The more I can do these types of things outside my own project, the more I learn, and the more I can take from that experience and bring into other things. I am very aware that it’s hard nowadays in music to just do one thing. I think if I can have my fingers in different pies and spread myself in certain situations, I think it’s only helpful. It’s something that I would love to pursue more in my songwriting career and in producing. I think every little helps.

I believe someone like Charli XCX would say that writing certain songs for others, I think she wrote a Camila Cabello song, helps with your own work and artistry. It also helps fund certain things. I’m lucky to be able to do all of that. I have to say I just love it. I think that’s the other thing, I’m just completely obsessed with music and the creative process and how somebody writes a song or how it starts. When the Shania opportunity came about, of course I was just like, ‘Yeah, I want to see how she writes.’ I was very much aware that she wrote the big record. She had 50% on each song. Sometimes you think with the big artists, they don’t write any of their own songs. But contrary to that, Shania sits in the studio and is writing every hour of the day, and she was first in the studio and last one out. So it’s incredibly inspiring to see someone of that stature and how hard they work. I think it was really inspiring.

 

I know it’s always been a main staple of a Georgia live show but the fact you play the drums on stage, sing, and put on an exciting live show all at the same time is incredible and not easily done. When you were learning your craft even before Georgia or when you previously drummed for Kae Tempest, how did you work on balancing vocals and drumming? Did you have certain practice elements that helped you pick it up or was it something you found you could always do with ease?

Thank you. Do you know what? I really don’t know. Ever since I could play the drums, I could sing at the same time. It was often like when I was drumming, I would be singing, learning the lead vocals whilst playing the drums. A lot of drummers will be able to sing because we very much play off the vocals. Without our bedrock, the vocals can’t really go over the top. So there is an intrinsic relationship between vocals and drums. Often in cultures such as in northern Indian music, there’s a musical language before they even play the tabla. I was just always able to do it. Yeah, then when it came to presenting the music, especially Seeking Thrills, I performed it one day to the team on my own and could just do it, and everyone was like, ‘This is really exciting. It’s a bit like Sheila E meets…’ Yeah, we just rolled with it really.

It’s a weird one because when I think about it too much when I’m on stage, if I suddenly have a moment of like: ‘Oh my god, I’m singing, whilst playing drums’, I’ll sort of loose the momentum. But I think for this new record because the voice is so front and centre in the production, there are some songs where I won’t be able to play drums and sing. It’s just too demanding. It’s been quite exciting creating this new live show because I’ve still got myself playing the drums, but we’ve just got few more players now. We’ve got another drummer as well, so there are actually double drums. So it’s powerful It’s really exciting actually. I’m really excited to play some more live shows soon.

 

Speaking about live shows, when it comes to them you’ve recently also added drummer Sharlene Goodridge and bassist Kat Bax to the mix. How has having Sharlene and Kat changed your experience for the better when performing?

I think it’s just been incredibly inspiring. Again, this whole mantra for this new record was just try  and see what works and what doesn’t That’s very much the mindset that Rostam and I had when we wrote this record. It was like, ‘Yeah, let’s just give it a go.’ I think it was always an intention of mine to expand the players on the stage. It’s quite lonely playing by yourself. Touring can be hard, and it’s just nice having an extra support on stage. I think as much as I really enjoy it, being [by] myself, just the lone self on stage, it feels a bit more like I’m going out to war or something like that. Do you know what I mean? 

It’s like you’re on the edge of this… and I think with the band, it’s just nice to be able to relax a bit and actually have a bit more audience interaction because I really like that. I was brought up on it. I used to love being the person in the crowd trying to reach for them. I think the interaction between the audience and myself is such a big thing, really. So it’s nice to be able to be in front of the stage for that.

 

Finally, if you could manifest something for yourself this year, what would it be and why?

Wow. I think just to be able to grow and learn and keep doing what I do. I think it’s hard enough in music  to just actually make a career of it. So I’d like to manifest a long career in music.

 

I’m sure you will you will easily manifest that. Thanks again for your time, Georgia, it means a lot!

Thanks Cameron. Likewise, It’s been really nice to chat to you.

 

Georgia’s third studio album Euphoric is out tomorrow. Follow Georgia @georgiauk

Interview Cameron Poole

Photography Will Spooner

 

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