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Bells Larsen and Georgia Harmer

“Our friendship is embedded with a shared love of each other’s music”


MAR 14, 2023 | ISSUE 10

Bells Larsen by Howard Bilerman, Georgia Harmer by Gemma Warren
Bells Larsen by Monse Muro
Album Cover for "Good Grief"

Bells Larsen and Georgia Harmer met in the foyer of their high school in Toronto. Since then, they have become close friends and musical confidants, sending voice memos of their songs to each other back and forth over the years. Some of which have made their way onto their debut albums Good Grief and Stay in Touch, both released this year.

Larsen has lived in Toronto, Montréal, and Halifax, embedding inspiration from each city into his music. Good Grief was weaved from the threads of a period of tremendous loss and transformation. Following the death of his first love, Larsen sought to create an album that was both a record of this transformation and guiding rail throughout.

In her own words, Georgia Harmer’s debut album Stay in Touch was created through a “hodgepodge of DIY situations.” The record is the product of four 13-hour days at ArtHaus, a garage turned recording studio in downtown Toronto, followed by recording sessions at Harmer’s home as well as her aunt’s farmhouse. The result is an intimate collection of memories sieved through various genres including folk, country, jazz, and rock. Likewise tackling themes of loss and remembering, Harmer invites listeners to reconnect with their inner selves by staying in touch with the people and experiences that have shaped them.

As two emerging Canadian artists, Larsen and Harmer have relied on the people in the artistic communities around them to help navigate the industry. From Harmer’s harmonies on Good Grief to songs expressing empathy for Larsen’s loss on Stay in Touch, the two albums are bridged together through years of artistic collaboration and genuine friendship. Larsen and Harmer join smART Magazine to talk about their new albums, their friendship, and finding the good in grief.


sM | You did two album release parties for Good Grief—one in Toronto and Montréal. How has each city shaped this album?

BL ─ I have a friend who is a dancer and they once talked about how the city choreographed them. I thought that was really beautiful. In between living in Toronto and living in Montréal, I also lived in Halifax. So I consider myself a maritime-coded artist, just based on how much I talk about water in a lot of my songs. I’ve also always felt so at home in Montréal. I love the speed of Montréal. I love the culture, the vibe, everything. So I feel very Montréal-y in theory. But I think in practice, my heart will always be very Torontonian.

sM | What’s the story behind the album cover?

BL ─ I’m very close with my grandmother. She is one of my best friends. She makes really beautiful quilts, such as the one on the cover. I picked a whole bunch of cool-looking old pictures of little me that either my mom or dad had taken and then dumped them into a folder, gave it to the designer that I was working with, and he picked out the picture. This quilt for me does represent a welcome-into-the-world present from my grandmother. So in a lot of ways, releasing Good Grief is welcoming myself into the world of music.

sM | As a young Canadian artist coming up, what was your experience navigating the music industry to record your debut album?

BL ─ In my first year of university, I experienced a pretty huge loss. My first love died by suicide. I lived under a rock for a while in terms of not making any music. I was making music, but just not putting it out, not playing gigs. When I recorded Good Grief, I was very much not active and unknown and figuring out how I was going to take these songs that I really believed in and really liked and bring them to a wider audience with very minimal resources. Ultimately, the answer to that question has been looking at the people who have been around me for years and years.

Georgia and I have been exchanging voice memos back and forth for years and years. Our friendship is embedded with a shared love of each other’s music. And that’s just one musical friendship. What has gotten me through navigating the Canadian music industry as a young person, with not that much experience, is just looking at the people around me who are really kind, who are really good, who love music, who love me, and just going from there.

sM | What did this album help you process?

BL ─ The record is taking my grief and my anger and my sadness and my heartbreak and my relief and making it good through songwriting and asking questions. I took my own grief and then brought it to people like Georgia, with whom I can collaborate, who understands where I’m coming from, is also so healing. The process of making this record has been how I have healed. It’s been so cathartic for me to do this.

It’s really strange now, getting myself back in the mindset of how I was when I wrote all of these songs when I was first grieving the person I lost. But my grief has made me more thoughtful. It’s made me more aware of how the people are around me. It made me more aware of what to look out for. Should I have had to go through what I’ve gone through to be a thoughtful, kind, caring person? No, not at all, but I love that I am. I feel at the point now in my own process where I’m able to look at the things that it has brought me rather than the things that it’s taken away from me.


Georgia Harmer by Gemma Warren