There are a lot of different ways to live. Every country, every region, even every city has a different culture and a different way of doing things. You can travel your entire life and not even scratch the surface of all of the culture there is to experience. There are also an almost infinite number of ways to make music. The process behind the finished product can take any number of twists and turns, leading to the wonderful range and array of music you hear when you listen to a playlist. The incredible thing about all of this music is its ability to bring people together, no matter what the other circumstances are. A song can bring listeners closer to artists, and it can bring them closer to other listeners from all over the world. Natalia Panzarella and Ruby Carr are testament to this, and are proving the point as dark electronic duo Bahari. The pair have combined their experiences out in the world with their push towards musical independence to showcase their unique sound and the ability music has to connect us all.
The duo–currently based in LA–have been working diligently throughout 2019. After a run of single releases in 2018 including the darkly enticing “Fucked Up” and the gleefully pointed “Savage,” 2019 has feature more writing and more single releases. When we speak at the beginning of last week, Panzarella and Carr are working on the last-minute details leading up to the release of “:(” (the two laugh as they determine the way to pronounce it out loud is “sad face”).
The biggest development of the year to date has been the release of “Crashing” in January. The track was created with producer ILLENIUM, and sits at 9.2 million streams on Spotify. “We’d been working on that for awhile before it came out and the collaboration with ILLENIUM was just exactly what we could have ever hoped for,” Carr says. Not only did the spacious synths and vocal harmonies sound exactly like Bahari wanted them to, it created far-reaching new connections. “It’s been really cool seeing all his fans actually listen to our other music, I didn’t know that that would happen,” Panzarella says, admiring how the tune linked the duo to a whole new group of people. The music video for “Crashing” was filmed in the Ukraine, and they both express excitement over getting to meet and work with musicians and crew from the other side of the globe during the process.
Panzarella and Carr know a thing or two about music bringing people together on a personal level as well. Before meeting and moving in together in LA, the two came from very different areas. Panzarella was born and raised in Nashville here in the States, while Carr spent her childhood growing up in Kenya. The two different experiences in their youth not only allow each to give a unique perspective while writing, it also allows them to appreciate how music impacts people all over the world. “We grew up listening to such different music, but when you’re playing shows and watching people connect to your songs, it’s just our favorite part about being musicians,” Carr says, further explaining how much they love the unifying power of their work.
The duo cite the incredibly personal nature of their music as a key factor in how it helps them relate to each other and to fans. “I think that anytime you write about something, whether it turns out to be a good or bad song, it’s healthy. I think her and I both go through relationships and breakups, we can relate to each other on that,” Panzarella says. She also says that it can be helpful for one of them to write about an experience the other one had, as being detached from the actual event provides a fresh take or a different view on things.
Going independent has allowed Bahari the freedom to write about all of the things they want to, and it’s reflected in their sound as well. Besides writing, the duo also play guitar, bass, and piano, giving them a wide array of options when starting a song. When we discuss the darker, larger sound of some of the recent singles, Carr says “I would say its just the music that we write, that’s what comes out. That’s just who we are. We’re not trying to sound a specific way, we’re just expressing ourselves… .” Panzarella adds that they’re trying to be as authentic as they can be, and chuckles while saying the darker tones were just the mood they were in while writing.
Their sound is also helped by having a strong team behind them. The duo give credit to producer Danny Parra as not only a stellar producer in building their songs, but also as a mentor. “I think we’re learning a lot about production and that’s maybe why the stuff has come off more like us, we feel like it’s more like us,” Panzarella says. To illustrate the point, Bahari explain the origins of the Crashing (Remixes) EP. As it turns out, “remixes” might not be the right word. Each of the four versions of “Crashing” on the EP were at one time in consideration for release as the main single, making the EP more of a look inside the process of Bahari’s writing and work. While the version ILLENIUM worked on ended up being the one chosen, they loved all of them and “we just put them all out” Carr says with a laugh. Panzarella adds that they’ve been steadily learning more on the production side of things, and these “remixes” is a display of that for their fans. “Sometimes the magic is in the process and seeing how it all comes together,” Carr says.
The process extends to all of Bahari’s music videos, as well. Carr says “we always have ideas for videos even if we don’t end up making videos for all of them, we’re always going into it with the idea of making a video.” While each individual video idea comes along at a different point in the writing process, that attitude of always thinking about them allows for the creativity to flow. Since the two live together, they say the’ll bounce ideas off of each other all the time in order to get something created. Panzarella sums up their view by saying “I think anytime when we try to come up with a concept we want it to definitely pull emotion from something that we went through so people can relate to it, but still do something crazy and fun.”
There’s much more to come from Bahari in the future. Natalia Panzarella and Ruby Carr have built strong connections with each other and with their fans, and they’re interested in making many more. With a sound that’s entirely their own, a lifetime of different experiences to draw upon, and an unending journey to learn more about music and how we all relate to one another, Bahari will be bringing people together for a long time to come.