“I’ve had an itch to make a record for a really long time. You get to create your own world when you make a record. It was really fun.” As Chris Baio talks about his recently released solo debut, The Names (Glassnote Records), there is a hint of excitement in his voice. Better known as the bassist of Vampire Weekend, Chris steps into the spotlight as BAIO – the electropop music producer with art rock sensibilities and meticulous production.
“Once I started to write songs I knew I couldn’t look back,” explains Chris. “I knew I was good enough and that I wanted to put it out there into the world.” Although his own musical universe started to come into fruition, Chris sat on the project for a while until this past fall when The Names was released. “Making the album and then sitting on it was a different kind of crazy because I felt like I had made the exact record I wanted to – a record where I wouldn’t change a single thing, but no one else in the world had heard it. It was a bit excruciating, but when it finally came out I got to start playing shows and playing music for people. It made me really happy because this world that I created, this thing in my head, suddenly became a real thing that other people could experience.”
Currently on tour in Europe, Chris continues to carve a name for himself as a solo artist, something that is admittedly challenging after finding such success with Vampire Weekend. “It’s thrilling to have something that’s entirely my own. I think there have been a few challenges along the way but I’ve been enjoying myself so far.” As for the differences between playing bass on the side and stepping out centre stage, Chris remains ever the consummate performer: “I always have so much fun playing live no matter what. Playing bass on stage is a pretty wonderful feeling and getting to sing a song in front of an audience of people that are really enthusiastic is a wonderful feeling, too. I’ve been waiting to get out and perform consistently, and now that I’m doing it I’m a very happy person.”
The Names is a thrilling electropop record with art rock influences that take the listener on a musical journey from short, punchy electropop songs to sprawling instrumentation and experimentation – all within a concise 40 minutes. “I love records like that,” explains Chris. “I love art rock records where it’s not particularly long but there’s tons of experimentation. That was where I was coming from with my record.” The title of the record, The Names, is a direct reference to Don DeLillo’s 1982 novel of the same title. “The novel is about an American living in Greece and his experience in Athens. Many of the themes involve paranoia and the idea of how you carry your country in your identity when you live abroad. For me this really came together when I moved from New York to London about two and a half years ago. It was the first time in my life where I was regularly reminded of my “American-ness.”
From growing up in Bronxville (coincidentally, also the home of DeLillo) to Vampire Weekend and its strong ties to New York, to his current project BAIO (where he’s an American expat in London), a strong sense of place has been inextricably tied to his musical journey. “I think I carry a little bit of these places with me as I get older. My time growing up in Bronxville – a suburban New York town – will always be etched in me. There will always be a bit of New York in my identity and now I feel that there is a bit of a London imprint on me as well. Things constantly change and mutate every day. That’s the nice thing about being alive – there’s so much to draw inspiration from and get excited by.”
The meaning of Jazz Cartier’s Fleurever is rooted in duality. In the two years since his sophomore mixtape, Hotel Paranoia, the artist has had to “[battle] the balances of love and money, risks and rewards, right and wrong, or living and dying”, alongside coming to terms with the throes of wealth and fame. Subsequently Fleurever—or, as he calls it, his “third project”—explores Cartier’s personal growth in the years following. With his newfound maturity in tow, Toronto’s rising rap star is on course to start a music revolution—well, that’s the idea anyway. Georgie caught up with Cartier to talk about gratitude, the rapper’s personal transformation, and the driving force behind Fleurever. G—Can you tell us a bit about your latest album Fleurever and the inspiration behind it? JC—Most of the inspiration came from growth, and a bit from my departure from Toronto. A lot of the record was made in my last days in Toronto, and just having that cloud over my head and knowing that I’d be leaving soon—it was more so showing my affection for the city that pretty much shaped my sound. G—Did you have a vision in mind when you started writing this album? JC—For the most part Fleurever is just myself and my
When asked to describe herself in three words, Nina Nesbitt didn’t hesitate. “Introverted, creative, and driven”. While you wouldn’t guess the former from her edgy, empowering tracks—her latest single “Loyal To Me” is a girl-power anthem, rallying women to ditch their unfaithful partners—the latter two can’t be questioned. In the six years since she was discovered in an unplanned encounter with Ed Sheeran, Nesbitt has released three EPs and one full length album; toured with Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and U.K rapper Example; and carved her way into the alt-pop scene with a harmonious blend of groove and grit. Earlier this year, the Edinborough-native was one of three emerging female artists chosen to partake in Spotify’s “Louder Together” initiative, recording the first collaborative Spotify single (“Psychopath”) with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence, and showcasing her signature style of thoughtful messages pulsating atop hook-driven melodies. With her sophomore album ready to drop, Georgie spoke with Nesbitt about her experience being thrust into the spotlight and maintaining her creative independence throughout it all. G—You’ve been touring a lot this year, specifically in North America. How have your North American audiences been receiving your shows? Is it different than performing for UK audiences?
Named for the Toronto area they grew up in, The Beaches are a far cry from a placid day on the lake. Led by singer/bassist Jordan Miller—with her sister and guitarist Kylie Miller, guitarist/keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—the Canadian four-piece burst out of Toronto with their 2018 debut, Late Show, and have since built up an aura of dissident swagger. Taking home this year’s Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the all-fem rock quartet is bringing grunge, gloss, and 70s glamour to a predominantly male genre. Georgie caught up with Leandra to talk about the band’s latest music video, taking charge of their music, and three simple ways to keep women in the industry. G—Did you grow up together in Toronto? LE—Yeah, I met the girls in high school. Jordan and Kylie are sisters, so they’ve known each other a bit longer, but they grew up with Eliza in Toronto’s Beaches area. G—What kind of music were you listening to at that time? LE—We grew up listening to all of the music our parents listened to. That definitely influenced us while writing our debut album since we drew from a lot of the 70’s music that our