Georgia is somewhat of an enigma. I mean look, typing ‘Georgia, music’ into google won’t give you the desired results straight away, but what does that matter? There’s every chance you’ve already heard of her, or at least heard her music, and anyway, there’s more to life that serving everyone yourself on a plate, albeit a digital one.
Born and bred in North London, the 23 year old is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer, former drummer for squelchy sounding girl band Juce, as well as silky-smooth popstar Kwes and poet / musical raconteur Kate Tempest. Her own music shapeshifts between slinky electronic pop music, big, bold space-y production and often references the half sing-y, half shouty vocals of MIA or Ari Up. 2015’s self titled album was summed up by the single ‘Move Systems‘, a jangling 3 and a half minutes that surmised the punky, hip hop mish-mash of what it sounds like to grow up with punk, electronica and hip-hop in equal measures.
“I think that any kind of air of mysticism around an artist is really unique, it’s like a breath of fresh air, isn’t it,” she says from her north London studio. “Fever Ray’s just released an album, and you know she never does any interviews. So you’re just searching and clicking links trying to discover what this artist is about. It’s really unique to have that, really.” While Karin Drejer’s transformation into her disguise as Fever Ray is intentional, is Georgia’s semi-anonymity? “I think it was kind of intentional, when I first started. Electronic music always lends itself to mysticism and interesting ways of marketing yourself and creative direction. I also think that the artists I’ve been inspired by, including Fever Ray, have an air of otherness about them. Also I was probably very nervous about actually creating an identity and I had no idea about what kind of identity I wanted to set out to achieve; I just had this music that I was creating.” Does she want us to come to her then? “I think it’s good to discover someone yourself. But also, It’s hard when you are starting out, I had a clear idea of who I was and the type of audience I wanted to reach, but it is difficult to make an identity. At the end of the day, I’m not a concept artist, I’m just who I am, but at the same time, I do think that as a female artist you always have to have a bit of something extra to yourself”
I had to find a lot of inner strength that I didn’t know I had.
She might be right about that; that for women the creative process is an emotional catharsis, an outlet to something they can’t say, an itch to scratch. It’s how they process the world, package it up and then send it out to be understood, and reprocessed. “Totally. Yeah yeah, completely. Yeah maybe that’s what I’m trying say,” she muses. But with blokes it can feel a bit simpler, I offer. “No that’s very interesting. I think I’ve struggled this year with female musicians, like, I really enjoyed the fact that someone like Fever Ray comes out and is just really ballsy and a bit punky and a bit more in your face. It related to me a bit more than any other female artist this year really.”
Her own music is an assemblage of references, from her upbringing (her dad is one half of prog-house production duo Leftfield) to her mates, to whatever she’s truffled out of Rough Trade one one of her weekly pilgrimages. “Listening to music is part of my weekly routine. You have to constantly be listening to the sounds. For me one of the most important things is to be pushing the boundaries or create something new. So I listen to new music and old music.” She’s currently in the midst of finishing off her second album, the details of which are still trickling out. “I’ve gone completely back to the early 80s, the start of Chicago house era, and the beginning of rave, and how that infiltrated into pop; so I’ve been listening to bands like Depeche Mode and Japan. I’m constantly interested in connecting the dots between different genres as well. I guess because electronic music is so sample based – and hip hop too – which I guess I’m mostly sort of into.”
Having picked up drumsticks at an early age, what was the first song she made? “I was probably 8. It was bad, me and my brother used to put on shows for my mum and dad. I wrote a song called Holiday on the guitar. It was probably quite simple, like a jig,” she laughs. Her first album was a bit of an experiment, done pretty much by herself, late at night in the studio, with a “get in and see what comes out” attitude. Her second album is much more “proper” – in her words. “Made all during the day in proper sessions with an engineer.” Did she try to define each song a bit more? “Yeah, I wanted it to sound like a record. I was really disciplined for a year and a half, I didn’t drink or go out.” Was it hard to stick to that plan? “Yeah. I had to find a lot of inner strength that I didn’t know I had. Because I wasn’t drinking I was struggling with working a full week and not going out on a Friday to let off some steam.” Does she think she puts herself in the album much more as a result? “Yeah. It was intense. An intense process. This album is about love, about finding an escape. Finding an escape on the dance floor. A lot of songs are about finding love there too.”
Although finding love on a dancefloor might sound like a trope as old as the gramophone, for Georgia it means something different. “I struggled with London over the past year or so; it can be hard to find an identity in an ever changing city. I feel like a lot of my friends are like that too – and I just wanted to reflect that in some of the songs. The dance floor is something that is important to me and my friends. We always go out dancing and you know, take drugs and try and – you know, try and get out – try and escape I guess. But at the same time, in escaping yourself, I guess you’re finding yourself too.”