The Librarian’s music library has created something distinct yet in no way setting herself in a genre specific category. Her knowledge of everything from the unusual to the spacey to ever present bass juiciness, creates access to a multitude of genres in each mix creating a fluid blend of musical bliss for her listeners. There is a distinct sense of guidance with each new break, cut and transition.
When I found out that The Librarian would be performing in Boise, I jumped at the opportunity to sit down with her and pick her brain. Not only is she powerful behind the decks but Andrea Graham is one half of the duo that created one of Canada’s most prolific music festivals, Bass Coast. She was as sweet in person as you might think someone with the stage name “The Librarian” would be and just as smooth and confident on stage. Once she was all settled in we were able to sit down and talk about life as The Librarian and what’s next for Andrea Graham.
Shontelle Reyna – Yourself and Liz Thompson curated and co-produce Bass Coast from the very beginning in 2009. What was it that made you both decide to make that jump. Is there any defining moment that you said, “This is what I want to do. Let’s make this happen”?
Librarian – There was. She and I had been going to festivals for years. We had also been working on different art projects for years like making B grade horror films where she would do the filming and I would do the music. We would just work on different creative projects and surrounded ourselves with a lot creative people in our area and after going to a lot of festivals we felt like we had all the components right where we live. We knew all these different amazing people who wanted a place to share their art so we started throwing these one night events that felt like a festival. They would have food art, people handing out art on the dance floor, people painting, innovative stage design and music. That was the inspiration for making the jump to starting Bass Coast. Getting to know all these other artists was planting the seed. Once we decided to throw the festival that just made our network grow so much larger.
SR – After moving forward with this huge endeavor did you find yourself facing any issues with people taking you seriously as two women in a very male dominated industry?
Librarian – We have never faced any challenges because of being female. Sex has never been an issue. It was more pitching the idea of a festival. That in itself was the biggest challenge. We’ve never felt anything but supported in the sense of being a woman. I just have always focused on doing what I do and I feel like that has put me in positions where the people that I am surrounded by are looking for, people who are motivated and have integrity in what they are doing. I think that if that’s your goal that you will find that same path.
SR – You played piano at a very young age and also play guitar, do you play any other instruments?
Librarian – (Laughs) In highschool I played the flute. I have sung my whole life so piano and vocals are my main instruments, guitar second. No other focus on major instruments. I like to fool around on everything else.
SR – Is incorporation of other live instruments into your live sets something you’ve considered doing?
Librarian – I have definitely been thinking about goals in the future which do incorporate live piano and live instruments in a specific show. Right now I haven’t made the space for that to happen because Bass Coast takes up a lot of my energy and thought and so does Djing. Just finding time to produce music for The Librarian is challenging. I do really want to move into this other idea that is beginning to bubble up.
SR – You’ve worked with so many amazing artists through both Bass Coast and The Librarian, who is an artist you would like to work with in the future?
Librarian – Oh there so many. Its hard to narrow it down. Going back to my origins in electronic music, what really got me excited to play music was the origins of dub step and Mala is one of the leaders of that movement. I would love in some capacity to play a show with him or work with him. In the big dream picture, I love Bjork and I love Thom York (Laughs). May as well throw that out there.
SR – Who would you say is your biggest inspiration right now?
Librarian – On January 2nd we had our full Lighta! crew annual show. Just hearing everyone in Lighta! Crew playing all their new original music and reinforcing the fact that there are so many talented people that are right there in our close surroundings was motivating and inspiring. I am mostly motivated by my friends.
SR – When I think bass I also think Hip Hop and have heard things like Erykah Badu samples in your mixes which rings true to your “bass music with soul” mantra. Is Hip Hop a genre you find inspiration from?
Librarian – Definitely. I like breaking up the more abstract and underground, new, rhythms with something that has some accessibility. Hip Hop is something that a lot of people can identify with and brings a lighter, fun, aspect to some deeper music so I like to play with that contrast.
SR – Bass Coast is alive and well and has succeeded in creating a beautiful community vibe. Your music career is also a success and has you traveling the world, whats next for you? Do you have any future goals that you haven’t conquered just yet?
Librarian – Its interesting that you already hit on one that I haven’t actually even out into words yet. One of my goals this year was to create more time to be in the studio producing music as The Librarian but I also have been starting to collaborate with some other artists that is exciting for the near future. I do want to work on creating an outlet for some other styles of music that are maybe a step outside of what The Librarian does that are in my head right now. What excites me about the future is creating time for more music production. I am always searching for new ideas and new styles. If theres something new that excites me, it blends the border between genres. I don’t really feel confined to any one style.