Words by Jasmine Bourgeois
Photo by Joseph Connor
The first time I heard of Georgia was through a video of her performing live. Even through a screen, I was in awe, feeling the unique type of chills only few performers can elicit. Georgia’s playing is playful, genuine, and full of spark; she’s the type of artist who shines with gaiety. Inspired by dance and house music of the late 20th century, her sonic landscape is lightyears ahead.
Georgia isn’t just a drummer, but a talented electronic beat-maker and 1-woman act. Watching her perform live is enthralling — she vibrates with fervor, and exudes such visible joy that you can’t help but dance along and grin.
“ I want people to connect with what I’m saying and remember the melodies,” she says.
… I’ve been all over the world this year and [have] seen people singing back the lyrics, and seeing their expressions when doing so. It makes me so happy!
Georgia is a Londoner, which no doubt has an influence on her music’s delightful eclecticism. She studied ethnomusicology at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, where she started working with notable musicians and artists in the London scene, like Kate Tempest, Kwes, and Micachu. With such a varied background behind her, it’s easy to see the roots of her vibrancy.
Living in the middle of such a dynamic scene lends itself to a lot of collaboration. Seeking Thrills features London’s Shygirl, DJ extraordinaire and co-found of NUXXE.
“Shygirl was incredible,” she exclaims. “She totally blew me away in the studio and it really added a great new energy to the record! It was easy and natural, that’s when collaboration is best.”
This record is heavily influenced by house music, particularly dance mania. “I wanted to create a character that was from 80’s Chicago; the person everyone looks to on the dance floor [to guide] them through this free loving sensual experience,” Georgia explains.
At this, she succeeded. Part of what makes Seeking Thrills so phenomenal is the obvious care that Georgia put into every aspect. What Georgia does is more than just songwriting — it’s curation. Georgia has a unique ability to exhibit a whole persona in her art; you can feel how much her music means to her, and how much she wants it to mean to you, too.
Official video for “24 Hours”
TTM: How do you think your background in drumming affects your digital beat-making?
Georgia: I think it helps a lot actually, certainly with having confidence to just explore possible beats for songs, and knowing what works and what doesn’t. The wealth of knowledge I’ve acquired over the years about different forms of drumming really helps, too. Not only have I played western styles of drumming, but I have played percussion/drums in ensembles from all over the world in many different styles. I always find inspiration from other culture’s patterns and rhythms. When I play [my] acoustic kit, I’m always wanting to approach playing inspired by different styles, [so] I guess this makes it into my beat making.
I’ve seen videos of you live — you are such a killer performer! What goes through your head when you’re performing?
Ah thank you. I think what goes through my head now is, “Work! Work! Work!”
I just want to make sure the audience is having a good time, and the energy is positive and high!
Your songs have a lot of complex parts, but you make being a one-person act look so easy. Do you prefer playing alone?
I do at the moment, yes. For these new songs, I just wanted to go head first into the live arena, so to speak. I didn’t want to have to spend a lot of time explaining to a band or directing them. I wanted to direct myself and push myself. I think in the end it’s the rawest way of presenting the music to the audience, and I think it hits them harder and draws them in.
This new album is influenced so much by dancefloor culture that I think in a way, I’m sort of a DJ. That’s how I think about it — I just want the audience to have a great experience, [and] I’m able to do that on my own. It’s also a lot more personal, I think, and I really feed off the energy of the crowd.
Can you break down your gear/instrument setup for live performances?
Well the whole show centers around my 1982 Red Simmons SDV kit, then we useAableton to trigger sounds, an SPD SX as a module, DW hardware, Zildgen REMIX discontinued hi-hats, Sabian AAX 20” Crash, Dave Smith OB6 keyboard, and a D Facto microphone. Then there is a lot of outboard equipment for the tracks, audio interfaces, and laptops. There’s a lot for just one person! (laughs)
You were allowed to use Nancy Honey’s “Bath” for the “About Work the Dancefloor” single— how cool! What’s the story behind using this photo?
I’m so chuffed you know who Nancy Honey is, she is so incredible ! Well, my creative director Jonny Lu was talking to me about the cover artwork one day, discussing possible avenues to explore, and one of them was using Nancy Honey’s photographs… On my first record I had Jamie Hawkesworth take a picture of me, so we wanted to keep the photography theme going.
Jonny emailed Nancy and told her a bit about the project and who I was, and [and asked if she would] be willing to meet us. We then got an immediate response from a really enthusiastic Nancy, and a few weeks later I found myself in her flat looking over her incredible collection of photography, just having the best time ever. We have a lot in common. She saw that, and so did I. Nancy then said that we could use any photographs! I was so pleased. I really appreciated that she didn’t collaborate often, but this felt special [to her]. I’m so glad she is part of this journey and story. It’s a real privilege, actually.
You collabed with Shygirl on this album — what was it like working with her? Are there any other artists you want to work with in the future?
Shygirl was incredible, she totally blew me away in the studio and it really added a great new energy to the record. It was easy and natural — that’s when collaboration is best!
This record is heavily influenced by house music, and particularly the dance mania side of house. I wanted to create a character that was from 80’s Chicago; the person everyone looks to on the dancefloor who guides them through this free loving sensual experience…
There are so many artists I would love to collaborate with, one being Channel Tres. I really love what he is doing right now. And then of course Missy Elliot & Kate Bush. Oh, and Depeche Mode!
I appreciate the range you have on this album. Who were some of your influences?
It was really inspired by the 80’s, from euro synth-pop, to Chicago House, and Detroit techno. But also [I was inspired by] amazing artists in the 80’s like Kate Bush, Japan, Blue Nile, [and] Prince — artists who were really pushing the digital/analogue world. That’s what I love about [that] period in music. The technology was really changing, and you got this amazing mix of analog-meeting-new-digital equipment.
It’s been a few years since your first album debuted. I’d love to hear more about how you feel your sound has evolved on “Seeking Thrills”.
It’s really evolved, I hope (laughs). That’s all I ever wanted to achieve with this record — I wanted my songwriting to evolve and to have pushed myself to be a bit more disciplined in the studio; to put the hours in, and get it right. The sound, I feel, is a lot more focused on this record. There’s a clarity in its sound, unlike the first. I think also the main evolution has been my voice. This record is centered around my voice, and I think that’s because I’ve finally realized that I am a singer, and I have a little more confidence [singing now] than I did before. I want people to connect with what I’m saying and remember the melodies. That seems to be happening now — I’ve been all over the world this year and [have] seen people singing back the lyrics, and seeing their expressions when doing so. It makes me so happy, and I hope I can continue doing that!