Creating art through any medium is arguably all about truth. Honesty is a key component when creating something that elicits not only emotion from the audience but also purveys emotion that is sincere and allows the artist to a space step into a sort of tangible vulnerability. In talking to Georgia Barnes, the 25-year-old musical whirlwind hailing from London, about her new self-titled album, “truth” was the word that came up most frequently through our conversation. I was overwhelmed by the openness with which she spoke about not only her album but also her feelings about music in general and how her love for the art blossomed.
For a span of five months, I found myself living in London, drifting through basements overflowing with perspiration, pulsing lights and the energy that can only be found in such a fluid, irresistibly hypnotic city. From an underground hip-hop karaoke club to three-story dance clubs with retro disco balls that are missing a few mirror tiles, the music is always shifting and sometimes it all just kinda flows together. As a consequence, it’s sometimes hard for new artists to establish themselves in the way that Georgia has so quickly and so definitively. I was not surprised to find myself drowning in her enthusiasm and honesty, which are only two qualities that explain her growing popularity and success, as we talked about the journey she had taken to create the eponymous album.
Coming from a musical household, the self-proclaimed troublemaker was always itching to tap on something, to fill spaces with that peculiar percussive energy that inhabits all her music. Georgia shared with me a memory that her mother shares with her about that “something in her” that made her want to drum. Her father, Neil Barnes of the electronic duo Leftfield, and his partners placed 8-year-old Georgia in front of the kit and she could “just do it” (drumming that is). Georgia doesn’t just play the drums though, she’s a multi-instrumentalist with an ear for every instrument under the sun and probably a few that haven’t been created yet.
The idea that this music could be an album, she said, formed about a year and a half or two years ago but that the process had really started when she was a child growing up with musically inclined parents and the support to pursue her love of the art. There was a desire to create a “true first album.” Georgia’s fascination with music is abundantly evident in every track. As the Intro of the album chants her name, one becomes immediately aware of one simple fact: this album is Georgia; it is her childhood, it is her journey to create an individual, a presence, a sound. Or maybe it isn’t about the journey of creating an individual; maybe it is more accurately the introduction of an astonishingly talented individual to the music world. Falling into “Kombine,” inspired by Pakistani Kawalli music, begins the unhalting experience that is getting to know the woman who has sprung full force from behind the drum kit into the audience.
Each track that follows is brilliantly refreshing, drawing inspiration from sounds that come from every direction. Invasive percussion and vocals from “Move Systems” are reminiscent of MIA right before a calming, futuristic lullaby spills forth in “Heart Wrecking Animals.” Amidst these constantly shifting sounds and atmospheres, there is the hypnotic and enticing thread that is Georgia’s voice binding each song to the one before. It would seem that the artist also has quite the eye for visual art as well. The video for “Move Systems” is addicting, flashing between glaring lights as Georgia dances in various venues and drumming in an empty gray room forcing all attention on her. I asked Georgia what videos she was into right now and I’m sure she hated the question as much as I hate when people ask what my favorite book is. She chuckled and told me she’d have to get back to me. She wanted to provide a sincere list. And much like her album, the five videos she told me were as scattered and interesting (check them out below).
It would be impossible to pin down this incredible artist as just a drummer, a DJ, a pop star or even as a musician. This task is just as impossible as reducing any individual to a single label. Georgia Barnes is a hurricane and as she describes it, her self-titled album is about truth. This “truth” being the relationship between artist and the world outside. Georgia seems to be reminding the listener that there is, in fact, no hard boundary between what is outside each of us and what is within. While each track seems to find some hint of inspiration either from a taxi cab, a Oneohtrix Point Never concert or the parents who raised her, there is still the undeniably unique personality that demands to be noticed. I’m sure this very album will become a source of inspiration for another artist out there because that is the wonderful nature of this business, this messiness that is music and artwork. It’s a living organism that feeds off and nourishes each individual that steps up and puts something incredible like Georgia out in the world. So make sure you check it out when it is available and if you can, catch this incredible performer live, it’s bound to be an extraordinary experience.
‘Georgia’ will be available on CD (WIGCD357), LP (WIGLP357), Deluxe LP (WIGLP357X) and Digital (WIG357D). The Deluxe LP comes with a bonus 10”. You can pre-order the album via Dom Mart or iTunes. Pre-orders will feature 5 instant grats –Intro, Move Systems, Be Ache, Nothing Solutions and Digits.
- Be Ache
- Nothing Solutions
- Hold It
- Cab Ride
- Tell Me About It
- Move Systems
- Heart Wrecking Animals
Georgia will be headlining London’s Electowerkz on Thursday the 9th of July and shall be supporting Hot Chip on their October UK tour – dates as follows:
Thurs 9th July – UK, London, Electrowerkz
Tues 13 Oct – UK, Bristol, O2 Academy*
Wed 14 Oct – UK, Portsmouth, Pyramid Centre*
Fri 16 Oct – UK, Glasgow, Barrowland*
Sat 17 Oct – UK, Manchester, Albert Hall*
Sun 18 Oct – UK, Leeds, Beckett University*
Tues 20 Oct – UK, Nottingham, Rock City*
Wed 21 Oct – UK, Cambridge, Corn Exchange*
*with Hot Chip
Listen to ‘Move Systems (With You Remix)’, HERE
Watch the album trailer featuring the album opener, ‘Intro’, HERE
Watch the video for ‘Move Systems’, HERE.
Listen to ‘Be Ache’, HERE.
Georgia’s Music Video Picks!
- Bjork – “Black Lake”
- Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
- Tame Impala – “Cause I’m a Man”
- Death Grips – “On GP”
- Big Sean – “Blessings ft. Drake, Kanye West”