It’s 2020, just as the first wave of the COVID pandemic has hit the UK, the London-based Tiberius b had already relocated to a small village in North Wales to care for their grandmother, who was later hospitalized. Left alone in their grandmother’s home, in the Welsh countryside for six weeks, the singer and producer began exploring their isolated state, questioning their purpose with no job or person to care for, and the current state of humanity, all while going through what they call their own “second puberty” or “queer pupation,” eventually narrating all their reflections on their debut EP, Stains, released this year on Mark Ronson’s Zelig Records.
Navigating through their gender and sexual awakening, heartache, isolation, and those moments of elation, Tiberius initially worked through the songs using a makeshift “studio” setup with a local villager’s borrowed electric guitar, which was later wrapped in more flotations of synth-pop.
Raised in Western Canada, Tiberius relocated to their birthplace of London in 2017 and taps in more guitar-driven arrangements on the six tracks of Stains. Moving through the more sentimental on “Big Deal,” the title track’s torture of heartbreak and the more reflective “Steps” and “Tears Into The Sun”—which explores the loss of family and friends because of their life.
On the first single “No Smoke,” Tiberius b visually explores the freeing sense of biking but digs deeper in the the freeing sense of one’s awakening through each pulsing twist. In the video, choreographed by Tiberius’ cousin Lydia, the artist commands her bike riding, dancing hands-off and even riding through rougher terrain, visuals they say “mirrors the song being vulnerable, but lucid and emboldened at the same time.
“When I was a kid my dad told me that a bike represented freedom,” says Tiberius b. “He was a passionate cyclist, and I grew a similar affinity to cycling as I grew up. In 2016, I got run over by a van on my way to work and was hospitalized, I got 17 stitches in my leg. That instance ended up changing the course of my life, as the settlement I received gave me the means to travel and subsequently move to London.”
Tiberius b adds, “I have never been afraid of biking since my accident, and often dance on my bike on my way home at night when the roads are clear.”