Georgia Barnes has been seeking thrills between her debut album and now. That much has been clear from recent singles ‘Started Out’ and ‘About Work The Dancefloor’, perfectly crafted homages to hedonistic pursuits, but it’s illuminating to hear about Georgia’s experiences in the four-year period that’s passed.
“I kind of lost my identity in London a little bit. I found it an uncomfortable place to be sometimes,” she reveals, having lived in the city her whole life. “I saw some of my friends struggling, people struggling, and I think I was influenced by the surroundings of London and the idea of seeking thrills within these mundane routines.”
One such pursuit included heading to Manchester’s The White Hotel with a group of friends and Georgia experienced something so powerful that it shaped the direction of those new songs. “Someone dropped one of my favourite disco tracks that was played throughout my childhood and I had this moment of ‘fuck, how important is this?!’ This had me feeling emotional, this has made me feel connected to who I am. Maybe it’s the old cliché of just having a space where you feel like you can tap into all sorts of emotions and who you are.” She pauses, choosing her words carefully. I can sense the magnitude. “It was quite a powerful moment. It sounds a bit like a clichéd disco thing but I really did have an emotive moment on the dancefloor and I never realised that before, how powerful a DJ can be. I think before I always thought it was a novelty but suddenly realised how important DJ culture is. Maybe I was a bit ignorant but I suddenly realised what an amazing thing it was.”
Around the same time, she set about exploring the very first pioneers of dance music (“early Chicago house, Detroit techno, Cybotron, Underground Resistance”) and tracing its journey into the hearts of British ravers and filtering into the charts. “You start drawing these lines of where music travels to and from,” she tells me excitedly. “You get pop stars that work with those producers and hear the sounds and see what happens in the clubs and the culture around it. The Chicago and Detroit sounds really did shape pop music from the eighties to now. We in the UK embraced it so heavily. It’s music that you love and sometimes you want to learn more about the history and the makeup of how that came about and I’m very much interested in all of that.”
This curiosity should come as little surprise due to her musical exposure from an early age, even if it didn’t always make sense to Georgia. “It was a world that was quite familiar to me as my dad was in Leftfield and my mum was a big lover of all types of music, so it was quite a familiar story. I’ve seen it as a young girl, seeing twenty thousand people raving in a tent and not understanding it, but later on in life figuring out why it’s so brilliant.”
You’ll be doing the same with these new tracks, I suggest, offering a gateway for casual dance music fans. “That would be the ultimate musician’s or producer’s goal,” she confirms. “If you can get a kid to say ‘I want to know more about one of those basslines’ or ‘she mentions Mr Fingers or Frankie Knuckles’, that is, for me, the beauty of music.”
“It sounds a bit like a clichéd disco thing but I really did have an emotive moment on the dancefloor and I never realised that before, how powerful a DJ can be…”
It doesn’t take long before we’re back on the subject of Georgia’s beloved London, a place so vital to her songwriting. “I do love this city beyond words and I do get sentimental when I think ‘I’ve been walking on the same pavement for 28 years’ and feel like my foot is imprinted on this stone,” she admits, before checking herself and giggling “fucking hell, grab a hold of yourself!”
Another pause, before Georgia continues: “I feel very grounded and rooted in this city but I feel like it’s time for a change. I think I have to leave the city to come back and appreciate it again.” And there she goes, on a mission to seek yet more thrills.
Photo by Rosie Marks.
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