MHD – Has starting as a drummer for other artists had any influence on your current career? Did it help you?
Georgia – Yes completely. I mean drums were a way for me to facilitate my own music, the reason why I became a session drummer. I love playing the drums, but it was also to be able to make money to fund my own music. But the situations I found myself in and the artists I found myself playing for were incredibly inspiring and I learned so much in playing with other people, you know, I think it was part of my development really, it was the experience of playing with other people.
MHD – What made you take the first step and risk a solo career?
Georgia – That was something that I always planned. But I guess it just took me a little bit longer to make that leap of faith cause, you know, you do get quite comfortable in certain roles. However, being a session musician is very hard and, actually, while I was playing for incredible artists, financially I would be going up and down, there was no kind of striking a balance, it was quite hard. But I always planned to start my own career.
MHD – I read that between the last album and this next one, you changed some of your habits: you stopped drinking alcohol, became vegan and went gluten-free. Did these changes bring about any deep transformation in you?
Georgia – Yes, completely. I really made a decision to get fit, lose weight, become healthy and take real pride in that. For me eating is very much kind of a part of this control thing probably. I have always had an odd relationship with food. I think with alcohol it was the same thing. All this things I felt that I just needed to kind of get a hold over in order to get the best possible creative process happening. I think these songs are very much a reflection of that. My approach to making the record was almost like my approach to getting fit, it was very disciplined. Taking a lot of care over certain aspects of the creative process, that was definitely a reflection of me taking care of myself. I think I learned a lot throughout the making of this record about myself. It’s weird. Speaking to journalists like yourself, I look back at the time when I thought “I am just making these songs to keep the emotions” and I start to think these songs are a deep reflection of my personal life. I realize these songs are projections of myself and I look back on it and it is almost as if music was kind of a therapeutic tool.
MHD – Judging by the first singles you released, everything pointed to a very festive and danceable album. Now that I’ve listened to the whole album, I see that it is something that really characterizes it. Why this investment in such intense and fervent rhythms?
Georgia – My dad is in a band and my mum is also a massive lover of music and I was brought up in a very musical house. In the late 80s and early 90s there was sort of a musical revolution happening in the UK, dance music, it was very much like raving was part of the whole kind of culture, it was more than just a musical movement it was almost as if it was a cultural movement as well, and my dad was part of that scene. It went from the underground to the mainstream and my dad was part of that, so when I was born in the 90s I was part of that whole scene too. Drums and rhythm and bass are all part of my make-up really, cause I was brought up around that culture of fast rhythms and different bass lines and synthesizers. When I was trying to find the direction for this new record, actually getting fit and all of this, I think I was trying to get back to my roots, in a way, I was trying to find myself really. I found it really interesting to go back to the originators of dance music, Chicago and Detroit, there were scenes called the Chicago House and the Detroit Techno that happened in the early 80s in America and that very much was the start of dance music, so in my sort of research of this movement I discovered my love for rhythm and it was all kind of entangled in the history of dance music.
MHD – The title Seeking Thrills perfectly crafts homages to hedonistic pursuits. Does this desire fit the Epicurean logic? A demand after pleasure to help you “stop feeling that blue”?
Georgia – I think I will need to read up a bit about it.
MHD – I remembered this because I am now reading Fernando Pessoa, a portuguese poet, and in some poems he tries to show that he really believes in this Epicurean logic. Epicurus was a greek philosopher who believed that the most important thing we have to do is to seek for happiness, and to find happiness we have to focus on the moment and in its pleasures.
Georgia – That is completely it, you are completely right. So somewhere along my madness, there is logic, Epicurean logic. That is completely one aspect of what I am saying with “Seeking Thrills”, you got that really right. Thank you, that is really cool.
MHD – Who is this “you” that you question throughout the album? Particularly in “Honey Dripping Sky”?
Georgia – Well, I think the “you” represents partners and represents a sense of love and somebody close to you. I am not referring to a specific person, I am just referring to the kind of idea of love and kind of exploring themes of relationship. I guess I am trying to get the listener to have a personal relationship with the song, all the songs are quite emotive, I can’t write a song that is not emotional probably, I find it very hard. It is mainly just trying to induce a personal emotive sense to the songs for the listener.
MHD – After your reflection on your parent’s divorce, do you feel able to believe in an eternal character of a relationship? At least, you seem to believe it is worth to wait for someone: “although your skies keep changing, I ‘ll still be waiting”
Georgia – Yes totally, I think there is of course darkness in everyone’s lives and I think definitely is just a fact of life that some relationships come to an end, but I think that there is an eternal character too, there is always that person that comes along and has a deeply profound effect on somebody. I am not trying to say one thing is right and the other is not but it is just life, isn’t it? Everyone goes through different experiences and I think songs, music, art is a great way of exploring all of these emotions. For me it is like a certain type of therapy, when my parents were going through that intense time, I found comfort in music, I was able to explore some of those themes that I was witnessing these humans going through, through music and lyrics. I have always been interested in artists that take that and explore through songs like Joni Mitchell, or Kate Bush, or Björk, I mean she is the queen of it, she can really write breakup records, not that this is a breakup record, but she gets human emotions so perfectly correct in a song. Joni Mitchell is obviously queen of that too and I like the way Kate Bush explores kind of all of it with music that is quite the opposite, and dance music is like that, lyrics will be quite melancholic but the music will be very positive. I have always been interested in darkness and light together in one piece.
MHD – In “Ultimate Sailor” the rhythm slows down and your voice comes clearer. Can you explain the need for a calmer moment that somehow stands out from the overall universe of the album?
Georgia – Yes, for me that was a real yearning for space in the record, I really like albums that alongside this kind of bangers they have moments for quietness almost. “Ultimate Sailor” was a song that I was able to do that, just calm the listener down, just a moment to breathe, I really love those often moments on records, where it slightly takes a different turn. Also with that song I really wanted to transport the listener on a boat, sailing across the sea, with that there is isolation so I was trying to get that into a song, as well the idea of not being afraid of silence, the silence in that song sort of just helps creating the overall atmosphere.
MHD – Tell me about the ideas and the process behind the video that accompanies “About Work The Dancefloor”. I really like it.
Georgia – Do you? Oh, that is cool. It was the director’s idea, he was quite a maverick Spanish director, actually, and he was quite interested in exploring this idea of within a house, a relationship where something is playing out, but in the basement, where there is this escapism. It was quite a mad idea, but I think he really understood the music, when I went to him he almost sang me back the lyrics and I think he was trying to find an interesting way to present this song. He had this idea of building a model house and he was just going to place me in it, it was an interesting arty way of creating a video, it was just a model, I was performing in a green screen and he just added me to it. I guess that the house is the metaphor of a relationship with someone, it is cool. Also, he really likes the eighties themes and he wanted to try to get that into the environment of the video.
MHD – How did the cover of your new album turn out to be a photograph taken by Nancy Honey?
Georgia – Yes, amazing. For my first record I also worked with a photographer and we wanted to still work with a photographer, but Jamie was too busy, in the nicest possible way, he is a good friend of mine, but it just didn’t work out. So I had a creative director helping me with this album, his name is Johnny Lou, we were looking for books and I saw Nancy’s work and I was like: “Wow, she is incredible!” And Johnny was like “Just let’s get in contact with her, let’s send her an email, tell her what the album is about, send her the songs and see if she likes them.” She called back almost immediately and she said “Love it. Let’s meet up. Come to my flat and let’s chat further.” So we went to Nancy’s flat and, had a conversation for a couple of hours about art, about music and I think she really related to me, cause she is an older woman, an enigma in photography, but she is so influential, she is a photographer’s photographer and she is in her sixties she forged her own path, I think she related to me cause I am a woman, trying to forge my own path. She released a series in the 80s called “Women to Women”, she went to the north of England, close to working classes communities and took photographs of them and these pictures really resonated in me, the rest is history. It is amazing, I think the main artwork, where the kids are in the air for a moment, sums up the message of the record: the euphoric moment and the living in the moment belief. It really worked and I am so glad Nancy is part of the whole story cause it is nice to have this authenticity in the record.
MHD – I know you have been opening the concerts of various bands, how has it been like opening the Interpol concerts?
Georgia – That has been incredible! I am a huge Interpol fan. It was amazing, like a dream come true. There are such lovely guys, it is a slightly different audience for me but it was cool to meet that audience.