BOBBY BAZINI’S PEARL
The Montréal singer-songwriter’s latest recording is a work-from-home gem with a DIY aesthetic
smART MAGAZINE | MONTRÉAL | HOMEGROWN
JUN 30, 2022 | ISSUE 12
Bobby Bazini is a music industry veteran, with over two decades as a signed artist and four albums to his credit. A francophone artist who prefers writing lyrics in English, his music has gained a fan base among both anglophone and francophone audiences, across Canada and internationally. This summer will see the release of his newest concept album, Pearl. Bazini found inspiration for the album after reading an article about pearl-formation, seeing the process as a metaphor for creating beauty out of life’s difficulties. Watery allusions are woven into the album’s music, including modified pitching to emulate underwater sound, the use of seashells as percussive instruments (an innovation courtesy of drummer Robbie Kuster), and the inclusion of natural ocean sounds recorded by Bazini.
The production of the album was a homecoming for the Quebec-born artist. Pearl was not recorded in London or Los Angeles, as Bazini has previously experienced. Instead, recording took place at a forest-encircled studio in Sainte-Adèle, Quebec, mere minutes from his home. Freed from the tight schedule that a trip to a foreign recording studio would impose, Bazini and his collaborators had ample time for creative exploration. Much like a real pearl, the album was created through a process of accretion. Building on elements from his original demos, each musician’s contribution added a new layer to the songs, resulting in a rich depth of instrumentation. Coming off a solid decade of touring before the pandemic, Pearl has allowed Bazini to make connections in his home province, finding both a studio and a community of talented producers and musicians on his doorstep. It is a community Bazini hopes he can continue cultivating, his experience creating Pearl having stirred his interest in Quebec’s music scene.
Bazini appreciated the close-to-home production of the album, feeling that the intimate and less hurried nature of the effort made for a freer creative process. This leads me to wonder how much of cultural production suffers when it is undertaken in rushed and stressful circumstances? Does the music industry as it stands too rarely give the space needed to nurture the kind of creative collaboration that has gone into Pearl? When I listen to the title track of the album, with its richly layered sounds and mellow pacing, I am thankful that Bazini had the time and space to take it slow for his latest venture.
PEARL IS SET FOR RELEASE 25 AUGUST, 2023. WWW.BOBBYBAZINI.COM | @bobbybazini
Pearl Cover Art
Bobby Bazini by Alexandre Couture
sM | How did recording an album in a familiar and intimate setting liberate the creative process for you?
BB ─ I've always gone far away to record but I realised that there was this great studio and this great producer ten minutes away from me. The studio is called The Tree House and I work with this amazingly talented producer named Connor Seidel. We had way more time this time around. Back then, I recorded in London, which was great, but I was always there for just a little bit. The creative process had to be within this certain time. When I was working here, I was always at home. Having that connection, that proximity, allowed for a more free and creative process.
sM | Who are some of your collaborators on this recording?
BB ─ I kept hearing about Robbie Kuster, who's this great drummer. He was the first person we reached out to and he was super excited. We got in the studio and we were looking for a keyboard player. During the pandemic, Connor started working with Conner Molander from Half Moon Run. Connor, the producer, played some of our demos for him and he immediately said yes. So Robbie, Conner, Connor, and I, that's really the foundation of the project. We also got Charles-Émile Beaudin who loves the same stuff that we do, and reached out to Antoine Gratton. He's an amazing string arranger.
“I DON’T TALK TO MY MOTHER”
sM | What emotional spaces precipitated this album and how do songs like “I Don’t Talk to My Mother” help you find it?
BB ─ I had released an album that came out right in the pandemic and it took a bit of time for me to process that. A part of me needed the break because I've been touring constantly for ten years. I'm so grateful for being able to live my dream but I guess another part of me needed a pause to take some time at home. When you're always gone, you're never there for birthdays, parties, family gatherings, and that kind of stuff. You lose that kind of connection. The song “I Don’t Talk to My Mother” is about how I wish there was that connection again.
sM | How do your concerts respond to the diverse demographic of your audience, which consists of both anglophone and francophone listeners?
BB ─ I grew up in a small town in Quebec where everything is of course very French. My parents don't really speak English that much, so I learned it later on. I guess we think that everywhere else is just English but when I started touring I realised that there are francophones everywhere. I always wanted to learn English as well because it was my dream to travel. I think when I started writing it just came naturally in English, but I love being able to speak French. When I go to France, for example, I sing in English, but then I can talk to the audience in French.