What do I have to say that is so important to me that I can only sing it?Alternative Melodies Canada - Published: 7th January 2019 - - Words & Questions: A Lonely Ghost Burning -
With its lavish character and accentuated but consciously uninvolved dramaticism, the work of ggpeach has a casual but unhidden desire and demand to be the centre of attention. The (currently) solo project of Montreal artist Georgia Gleason brought an eloquent, sophisticated flair to the seventh compilation in our Alternative Melodies series, whilst her sharp, captivating sophomore EP, Good Comes in Threes, presents listeners with a playfully atypical approach to melody matched with clean, calculated songwriting. A Lonely Ghost Burning spent some time chatting with Georgia, who discussed her love of performing, the importance of staying social, the duality of her ideal writing conditions, and the background behind her distinctive sound.
Georgia: We were starting a band a bunch of years ago, and my friend was like, “Why don’t you play guitar in the band?” I was like, “I dunno, I don’t really play guitar.” He started teaching me some of his songs, and then one day I was alone in my room and thinking about this toxic relationship I was in with this stupid, stupid person, and I started writing a song about it.
Georgia: I’ve definitely tried to consciously emulate techniques or musical styles that I like, whereas before I just wrote whatever I thought sounded good. Which is good too, but I think you should always try to keep growing in life. I don’t know if that shows through. I have a lot of unreleased material, so maybe it’ll show through more in that.
Georgia: I am going to release it; you have to release the things that you make. If you don’t, how are you ever gonna know if people would’ve liked it?
I’m going through an interesting experience with this right now, because I recorded a full-length album. I’m just taking my time with it, because I really want it to be something I’m very, very proud of. Since I have time and resources right now to make it really, really good, I’m gonna take as much time and make it really, really good. I haven’t had this kind of experience before, and that’s why it feels so long and drawn out to me. Everything I’ve done before was like, “Boom boom boom. Bang bang bang. We’re out of money. Put it out. Let’s see what happens.” [laughs]
Georgia: A lot of times something will happen that will affect me so deeply, that I will have so much to say about, I’ll usually sit down and write something almost all at once. That’s how I write most of my songs. I have to get it all out. It takes a whole day or half a day, and I only get up to go to the bathroom and drink water. That’s mostly it. Alternatively, I have these ideas for melodies — I’m singing in the shower or while cleaning my room or something — and then I figure it out on the guitar or record it into my iPhone. I’ll forget about it and then a couple of weeks later it’ll come back to me. The fact that it comes back makes me realise that it’s a good one. Then I’ll expand it.
Georgia: It’s funny, because I think that I’ve done my best writing when I’m simultaneously very comfortable and very uncomfortable. Maybe emotionally I’m very uncomfortable because something really shit has happened and I want it to be over, so I’m writing a song about it to get over it. But, I’m also at home, in my room, and I have candles going — maybe I just took a bath [laughs] — and I’m very comfortable in my environment. I definitely need to be in my zone to write songs.
Georgia: Basically, just my own editorial mind. Self-censorship is a huge obstacle. There’s the creative essence, and then there is the mind. The mind is controlling, and telling you what’s good and bad, even though it doesn’t really know. That’s a big obstacle. You have to shut that off.
Georgia: Excellent question! I wish I had the answer. [laughs] I do think meditation helps. I meditate every single morning — if I miss a day then the chatterbox of the mind pipes up louder. But I don’t think there’s any one or two things that you could do — I think it’s probably a lifelong process. It’s work.
Forgiving yourself — that’s a big one, because if you make something that you don’t like, you still made something. So you have to acknowledge that you still did the thing, and just because you didn’t like it doesn’t mean someone else won’t.
Georgia: Not about the style of music. There are things about the music scene and music industry that irritate me, like how homogeneous it is. But style, no.
Georgia: The fun about writing your own songs is that you can just do whatever you want. I never really thought of myself as a singer-songwriter, and I’m curious what you mean when you say ‘the style’. I’m curious what you think my style is, because I don’t even know sometimes.
Georgia: Yeah, describing a style of music — oh my God, that’s so hard! But, what is nice of you to say, is that it’s distinctive, because that is something that I’ve always tried to do. You just have to do your own thing; you just have to do what you like and what you think is good. That’s what people are gonna hear.
You can tell when someone’s a phony. You can hear it and you can feel it in your bones. You can also hear it and feel it when someone is being totally honest and just doing their own thing, and so I have always tried to do that. Always. That’s not a very revolutionary thing to say, but whatever. [laughs]
Georgia: Yes. I really want to get better at guitar. Oh, man — it’s a struggle. [laughs] I don’t have the discipline. You have to practice every single day, you have to do all these scales… I’m really, really trying hard. I’m taking guitar lessons, and there’s like a little kid leaving the room and then I go in, and then there’s a little kid coming in after me. [laughs] But, you know. I’m not musically trained or anything. So yes, I would love to improve my guitar — I would love to be able shred and stuff, but we’ll see about that.
Georgia: A huge part of motivation for me is social: going out to see shows; going to see friends play; showing my friends new songs, hearing what they think; hearing their new song. I think it’s really important to have a solid home base – a place where you can play shows, where you know people and have friends: a scene. I really, really value that. Highly.
Georgia: I honestly don’t think that much about what I gain. A lot of it for me is about giving, actually, because being able to perform and contribute that experience to people’s lives and evenings — that’s what I’m gaining: that sense of contribution. It’s being able to offer something to people to enjoy, and that’s what’s really rewarding about it for me: making the rest of the world go away so you can have fun.
Georgia: My goal above everything else is to just play live shows all of the time, all over the world. That’s the big vision. You have to start local, but I also think it’s important to visualise what you really want and to say it out loud — to put it out there. You’ve gotta ask for what you want. You’ve gotta tell people what you want.
And I think the other fun thing about getting to play more shows in different places is that you can make them so different each time. You can have so much variety in the experience of the show, and I think that is what I really look forward to in expanding and playing more widely: that I can make really unique experiences at different shows.
Georgia: Yep. You know what: it’s the best. The way I feel about it is that it’s the best thing to do; it’s just the best thing in the world to do: to be on stage. So, it’s nice to do it every night, and I think a lot of people feel that way who are on tour. It’s just the most fun thing that you can ever do.
I don’t really like the winter at all, so I don’t leave the house very much, but over the summer I went on tour. I planned these DIY tours, and I recently bought a minivan so that I could drive myself around and play shows. Performing is definitely the main reason that I do all of this — playing live is the number one thing for me. It’s the most fun thing. Ever.
I keep on going back to this quote — I don’t know why this has been coming up in my memory recently — but I started out when I was really young doing musical theatre. I had this vocal coach, and she was like my mentor for a long time. When we were doing rehearsals or something, and we were talking about a character starting to sing — you know how, in musical theatre, people are talking and then, suddenly, a song starts [laughs] – she would always say that the reason that was written into the show was because the character feels so strongly about something that they can’t just speak it, they have to sing it. The only way they can express this exact thought is by singing it through music — speaking it will not suffice. And so, I’ve been really trying to incorporate that into my original music: What do I have to say that is so important to me that I can only sing it?
Georgia: I think it’s easy for me because I already do that. I’m very meticulous with writing songs, and I think really long and hard about the words and what I’m going to say. I think that’s just an extension of my personality — of how I am in person when I’m not singing or writing songs. I don’t like speaking candidly and quickly about something that’s very important, because sometimes my brain is like three steps behind my mouth, and I want to make sure that it catches up. [laughs]
Georgia: Thank you. I am a very expressive person. I like things to be big and out there.
Georgia: My first instinct is to say that I can’t really separate the two. Who I am is very much the same as my creative output, but the more I think about it, the more I think that there are many other parts of the person…
I don’t know… There’s nothing else that I could do, so how much would I like it to define me as a person? One-hundred-percent. [laughs] I guess, when I think about the people that I look up to who have made music or who are performers — from what I’ve read and what I’ve learned about them, they completely, one-hundred-and-ten-percent, committed to it.
I just think that everyone should be honest, with themselves, and with other people. That’s what I’m trying to do: to be honest, and express myself. If people connect with that and feel some type of way when they hear the music then that’s awesome! But if they don’t, they don’t.ggpeach featured onAlternative Melodies 7
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