If Georgia’s 2020 album Seeking Thrills was about embracing hedonism and escape on the dance floor, its follow-up Euphoric is about, well, seeking new thrills. “The world changed in the two years after Seeking Thrills came out, and I was on a journey of redefining what escapism meant for me,” the London singer, songwriter, drummer, and producer (full name Georgia Barnes) tells Apple Music. “It was wanting to try and have new experiences and push myself into new realms.” It was also about cracking open her creative process after years of being her own sounding board. So she enlisted Rostam Batmanglij, the ex-Vampire Weekend member and go-to indie producer (HAIM, Clairo, Frank Ocean), who she’d first met at his Los Angeles studio in late 2019. “It was a boom moment,” remembers Georgia—and it’s not hard to see why: That day, the pair wrote “It’s Euphoric,” the opening track here. The song, like much of this record (which they worked on remotely during lockdown before reuniting in late 2021 and early 2022 in LA), represents a meeting of two musical minds. Georgia’s obsession with dance and electronic music fuses with the warm live instrumentation that has become Rostam’s signature. “What I saw as a cool inspiration was every era of dance music colliding,” says Rostam. “You have drum ’n’ bass, you have house, you have electronica. And I think as a co-producer, my role was to be like, ‘What if you play it on drums?’ And Georgia was kind of like, ‘Really, we could do that?’ I said, ‘Not only could we do that, but it’ll sound really good if we do.’” Here, you’ll also hear shades of shimmering early-2000s pop (the “Pure Shores”-like “Give It up for Love”), New Order (“The Dream”), MGMT and Daft Punk (“All Night”), and dub (the gorgeous “Keep On”). It’s an album that’s expansive yet intimate and immediate—and Georgia’s most pop-leaning moment yet. “I wanted a new experience, and I hope people listen to this record and feel inspired to take risks,” she says. Read on as Georgia and Rostam walk us through the making of Euphoric, one track at a time. “It’s Euphoric” Rostam Batmanglij: “I was the one who reached out to Georgia. I had heard [the Mura Masa track featuring Georgia] ‘Live Like We’re Dancing,’ and I was just amazed by it—I was so taken by her voice. It made me really curious to work with her, and the first day we ever met, we wrote this. Georgia had come up with the bass part on the piano, and then she said something like, ‘And then for the next part, what if you put in some chords that made it sound really euphoric?’ And as soon as she said that, I was like, ‘Well, what if “euphoric” was the lyric of the chorus?’ It was kind of a funny ‘the rest is history’ moment. It was definitely Georgia: She brought that lyric in just by describing what she wanted from the music.” “Give It up for Love” Georgia: “The demo was so inspired by William Orbit and specifically Madonna’s Ray of Light [which Orbit produced]. It was one of the biggest pop records and yet it sounds so left-of-center and dance-y. I was just really fascinated by it. Then it just so happened that someone from my label was in touch with him and said, ‘Do you want to go and meet him for a coffee?’ We ended up being in this café for four or five hours just talking about music. I told him I’d written this track and said, ‘It’s very inspired by your sound. Do you want to add some beats?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, sure. Send it to me.’ It was really amazing.” RB: “I felt certain it wouldn’t be hard to get the final vocals for this song, but Georgia was changing her mind about lyrics—and we had four days before she was getting on a flight back. This song crept up on us from feeling like it would be easy to finish to suddenly being like, ‘Uh-oh, what are we going to do?’ Both of us were throwing different lyric ideas back and forth and spent a few days being really hard on ourselves. But those are some of my favorite lyrics, the ones that we wrote really under pressure.” “Some Things You’ll Never Know” G: “The demo of this was a lot darker and a lot more minor. That’s maybe why it feels a bit more like Seeking Thrills, because it was clubbier. Rostam said, ‘Let’s experiment a bit with the chords,’ and I think that was a really important moment for us, because I could have been like, ‘No, you are not touching this.’ I’m glad that I was in a total mindset of just experimenting and listening to other people. Rostam could hear the disco side of this song and wanted to add in a mad disco line. And I was like, ‘Yeah, wicked. Let’s do it.’” RB: “We realized it sounded like Kylie, but we both liked it, so we did something right. The funny thing about this song is that Georgia fell out of love with it while making the album. But I never did. And when we finished it, she said, ‘I think that might be my favorite now.’” “Mountain Song” G: “A kind of underwater sound is Rostam’s characteristic, and coming out of water is also something that’s very popular in dance music. I love the water. I spend a lot of time when I can in the seas around the world if I’m touring—I often find it’s the most calming place to be in. And that definitely influenced the lyrics of ‘Mountain Song’—it does sort of feel like you’re in the water or swimming. We wanted this song to be a bit of a journey. What’s nice about this one is that it has it all: our influences and the visceral elements of the ’90s.” “All Night” G: “This is one of the songs I sent to Rostam during lockdown. I hadn’t written the vocals, just these chords, but I was like, ‘God, there’s potential in these chords.’ This is an example of us recreating a breakbeat through our own means.” RB: “This one is interesting because it sounds electronic, but there are a lot of organic things. Georgia is playing the Wurlitzer [electric piano] and the drums, and I did the synth line on an analog synth. So there’s a lot of stuff that’s real. The way we’ve mixed Georgia’s voice in there, it almost feels like a sample. There’s vocals on this record where I think we’re kind of blurring the line between a piece of source material and a Georgia vocal. We were trying to make a fun pop song.” “Live Like We’re Dancing (Part II)” RB: “I felt we needed one more song. I thought, ‘What if we just tried another take of this “Live Like We’re Dancing” and it could be the sequel?’ Georgia took some convincing. Our version turned out slower and, in some ways, it’s a risk to take a dance song and slow it down.” G: “Luckily we know Alex [aka Mura Masa] really well and he gave us the go-ahead. He was really excited. Actually, it’s all kind of down to Alex that we’re in this. So it felt really nice to have that part of the story on the record. Alex sent me an email saying, ‘Mine is the 11:00 pm version and yours is the 6:00 am version.’” “The Dream” G: “Before I’d made this record, I was in a relationship and it was kind of the first real relationship for me where I’d been like, ‘This is important.’ Then it ended. I had a really poignant dream about me and this person. I remember talking to Rostam about it—we were writing the basics of the song, and I thought, ‘Let’s make it about the dream I had.’ We were quite inspired by early New Order. It was a moment on the record to be a little darker, a little more punky perhaps. My mum hears this record as a love record. Perhaps it was, perhaps I’d just been through this breakup and was also exploring what I was doing in life.” “Keep On” G: “I’ve got a memory of me sitting at Rostam’s, writing and looking out over Downtown LA in the golden hour of sunset. I just felt really content and happy that I’d made the right decision. I was probably the happiest I had been in ages, just in Rostam’s room. I think this song reflects that.” RB: “There was a vocal part in the original version of this that Georgia brought to the studio, that sounded like ‘keep-ah, keep-ah,’ and I couldn’t tell what it was. Eventually, we decided it should be lyrics, and the first thing that came to my mind was ‘something tells me I should’ and then ‘keep on.’ So we recorded that with a handheld mic. We tried a blend of me and Georgia and, for whatever reason, the version where I sang, that moment of the song felt a bit different in a good way. It just felt more honest to leave it like that.” G: “There’s also sort of a Balearic influence on this track—I was listening to a lot of late-’80s Balearic music, which was a scene in Ibiza. A lot of it was played when the sun was setting—before the night begins. I really wanted a track that sounded like that on the record, and it felt like that’s where my head was at the time. The lyric ‘Can you feel my heart? It’s calling out for you’ was something I sang looking out at Downtown LA and I really did feel a sense of belonging. Also, we got to add a little bit of dub on this track. There’s a similar melody to ‘Give It up for Love’—I was writing both at the same time. It was definitely this breakbeat with chords over the top, sort of early-’90s Andrew Weatherall kind of sound. It’s simple, but there’s something very honest and classic about it.” “Friends Will Never Let You Go” RB: “This is the only song where I sent Georgia a beat and she came up with a vocal part. We did it remotely, before we officially started working on an album together, kind of Postal-Service-style. Then Georgia came in, and she pretty much had a song written. It was easy. I also liked where we put this on the tracklist. The album’s almost over, but we’re going to give you one more spicy, fast song. Then we’ll give you a comedown.” G: “I think it sounds like if Taylor Swift did a drum ’n’ bass track.” “So What” G: “One special thing about this song was writing it with Justin Parker [the UK songwriter and producer who’s worked with Lana Del Rey, Rihanna, Bat for Lashes, and more]. That was an example of being in a studio with somebody [I] had no experience with. Nothing. Hadn’t even met him. And it took a couple of days, but out of it, we had this really intense and emotional song. It was a real moment, because I was going through quite a hard time [with] loads of different things going on. I didn’t want to put any production to it; I wanted Rostam to completely take the reins and turn it into something. We were in the same room when we worked on it. I sat there watching him do his thing and I was completely enamored. He was just in his own world. Everything he was doing was so emotive and capturing the essence of the song. I texted my manager saying, ‘He’s a genius. I know this is the right decision. We are going to make something really special.’”

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