Often seen jumping around and having a great time in bands Hey Harriet, Bromham, Koleh, and Sturt Avenue, Georgy Rochow is known for her sets full of “positive, feel-good vibes” that get the crowd moving and shaking. With her new project Georgy & Delilah, Georgy aims to focus less on getting the crowd moving and shaking, and more on getting them to internalise the lyrics and connect through their own past experiences of love, loss, and life.
I caught up with Georgy ahead of the release of “Lose You”, her first track from her solo project, to talk about addiction and mental health within the music industry, and why this new project is so important to her.
In a period of time when more and more artists are donning one word names, Georgy enlisted the help of her 6 year old cat to inspire the name of her solo project.
“Delilah is my cat and I really wanted a name that wasn’t just one word as I was seeing a bunch of new artists with one word names coming out at the time I was starting the project. Plus, my cat brings me so much joy. It’s nice having a portrait of her on the band tees as a reminder for me to smile. She’s definitely gotten me through some shit times.”
“Georgy & Delilah is about creating a platform for myself to play those darker, heart-aching, moody, indie pop piano songs that I thought no one else would ever find appealing. This project is really something I’m doing for myself and my mental well-being. So far it’s been an amazing experience to push myself to let go of the fear of rejection or embarrassment, and just play what I want to uncensored of what I think I should sound or look like.”
Usually found behind a guitar or accordion, “Lose You” is the first song Georgy has recorded with piano as her main instrument.
“I’ve missed playing piano. Piano was the first instrument I started learning as a baby, with my dad taking my little baby hands and putting them on the keys to make chords. I created this project to allow space for more piano in my live sets. I still have some songs that are performed on guitar, but I’m writing more and more on keys, which is really exciting for me!
For this release, I also have drums, bass and flugelhorn in the mix. I adore the horn line and the fluttering noises really fit the eerie vibe of this track. When I perform live I sometimes have a band, and sometimes play solo. I love that I can play around with the instrumentation and create some sets that are more intimate and stripped back.”
The themes of “Lose You” touch on a very familiar truth of self-medication often found within the music industry.
“This track is predominately about addiction, particularly to drugs and alcohol, and watching friends and loved ones live with addiction. The music industry is a very demanding one, with late nights, early mornings, uncertainties, low income, working long hours for little return, and the effect that the adrenaline from performing has on your emotional state. The result of all this stress is that a lot of musicians and industry people suffer from depression and anxiety, and turn to drugs or alcohol to self-manage this.”
Not unfamiliar with the throws of anxiety herself, Georgy isn’t able to enjoy a generation’s old favourite, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, due to an experience tainting the movie in her early teens.
“I was lucky that my anxiety hit before I was working full time in the music industry. It found me when I was a young teenager watching Willy Wonka in the cinema. My first anxiety attack tainted that movie forever. I feel lucky that I had so many years to deal with this heavy weight on my chest before I made my way into playing late night shows at dingey night clubs, with as much free beer as you wanted on the rider, and the smell of weed coming from the back alleys. I am now armed with tools I have picked up myself, over the years, through counselling, and travel. These tools stop me from turning to substances to numb the performance anxiety or help me sleep after a show. I still drink the band beers, but I feel like my relationship with them is better than some.”
“Lose You has two distinct sections; the ‘light’ and the ‘dark’. This was a concept I was really trying to capture throughout the filming and recording processes. I have beautiful, light filled friends that completely flip their personality when they drink or take drugs. I’m always waiting for that ‘light’ person to come back, and often excuse behaviour because I can still see that good side of them that’s just temporarily lost to the dark abyss. This song is very much about losing someone to the dark, which is repeatedly stated in the pre-chorus. I have always struggled with this balance between dark and light in my own personality too. I’ve suffered from depression for most my life, it comes in waves and often unexpectedly. When I’m in that dark place it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s hard to imagine that things will get better. So, I suppose this song is inspired a lot by my own experience with facing darkness as well as seeing others battle through it.”
“For the ‘lighter’ sections of the clip I really wanted to capture that nostalgic home movie feel. I wanted this part of the clip to feel intimate and close, as if the actor (Molly Flanagan) was smiling and interacting directly with the audience. This is a love story of sorts, so it was important to me that the sense of vulnerability and closeness was captured. Afternoon light and the sceneries we chose created that illusion of a nostalgic memory, as if you were watching a home movie. The locations we used for these sections were also quite nostalgic for me personally, as I chose to film in an area close to where I grew up.”
The video does well in showcasing the two sides of a person living with addiction, the “light” and “dark” these people experience.
“I wanted this clip to have a balance between the two themes and to really reflect the different extremes of the human personality.”
The end of the music leaves you feeling uncomfortable and uneasy. This was done on purpose:
“This song doesn’t have any resolve or happy ending. I think I left it like that because depression, anxiety, addiction, are things that you will have to manage your whole life if you are living with these conditions. There isn’t really a cure, but there is hard work, education, learning to value yourself, and learning to manage stressors. I will always have my dark days, and so will my friends, but they are becoming fewer and further between. The people I know who live with mental illness (in various forms) or addiction are some of the most hard-working people I know. They are carrying around this heavy thing with them every day and still writing, performing, working, inspiring others, socialising, empowering, connecting, listening, and loving.”
“This is first time I’ve had a clear idea of how I wanted something to be and I didn’t waiver on it. The film clip is exactly how I imagined it, and I can’t thank the videographers enough for sticking with me and my rambling throughout the process. While I am excited and nervous about this release, I also decided a long time ago to take the pressure off myself for this project and just do whatever I wanted to do”
It’s refreshing to see more and more artists being open, honest and transparent about their experiences with mental illness. We are coming into a period of social awareness about how common mental illness is within the Australian population, especially those within the arts and creative industries. Not only that, people are becoming more educated around mental illnesses and the signs and symptoms of those who are not coping well, and how many of these conditions can alter behaviour and impact everyday life for a lot of people.
It is important that we all practice various different types of self care, whether or not we may be living with mental illness. Self care is important when managing your mental health.
If you’re unsure about how to start a conversation with someone you love or care about around what may be happening for them in their life, R U OK? have amazing tools and resources to guide you through those tough conversations, and allow you to be there effectively for people you love.
If you or someone you know are seeking help, you can go to:
or head to our Resources page.
You can catch Georgy & Delilah next at Grace Emily Hotel on May 12th and Wheatsheaf Hotel on May 23rd.