Tiberius b’s sophomore EP DIN opens with the death of a friend. On “Delicate People,” thoughts race over silvery acoustic guitar riffs, articulating the many contradictions in loss—tears pour or vanish out of the blue, and existence is met with gratitude and disdain. The release marks a new era for the artist, delineating their most poetic, incisive songwriting to date. Unconsciously influenced by highlights from their parent’s CD collection, like Portishead, Underworld and Massive Attack, these five tracks expand on the musical motifs of Stains (Zelig, 2021), spanning grunge, trip-hop, folk and Brit pop.
Born in London but raised in rural Canada, these songs are an aesthetic homecoming, heavily influenced by relocating to the British capital in 2017. Co-produced by Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio, “Wasted,” written on a ten-hour flight in the throes of fresh betrayal, still pays a cheeky homage to their dad’s trailer back on Cortes Island. Elsewhere, “Cornerstone” plunges listeners into the exquisite chaos of a new life, coloured with forbidden infatuations and messy fantasies. Languishing guitar melodies morph into flickers of My Bloody Valentine-esque distortion while the chorus’s post-punk clamour echoes in your mind for days after listening.
“My face covered in you / While I go about my day / All that we get up to permanently permeates,” Tiberius sings on HHB. It’s one of the EP’s many sexual epiphanies. Likewise, DIN represents the intricate nature of queer intimacy, revelling in its ability to inspire originative communication and deep existential thought. “Twofer” portrays the latter, calling on the icons (“Orlando, Eileen and Claude”) for guidance on surgical decisions and speculating about whether two people of the same type can fall for each other. In a 2021 Them feature highlighting their knack for seamlessly fusing contemporary language and nostalgic music, the publication wrote, “[Tiberius] is a modern day alchemist, transmogrifying familiar sounds into future queer anthems.”
When first scheming visual ideas with stylist, art director and frequent collaborator Hamish Wirgman, they set out to make videos and cover art themed around London that were vulgar and embracing of sexuality, in line with the contents of the EP. In Stains, place also played a crucial role in defining the sound and imagery of the release, taking inspiration from their late grandmother’s cottage in the Welsh countryside. Upon Wirgman’s suggestion, pigeons became DIN’s central emblem. Given that their songwriting process is based on the concept of ordinary magic, Tiberius found them to be perfect mascots. The videos for “Jetski” and “HHB” were shot by Aidan Zamiri, choreographed by Lydia Walker, and with creative direction and special effects by Ethan Skates. “Jetski” takes ordinary magic to its most extreme conclusion—love at first sight. Lithe drums lend an infectiously giddy undercurrent to the lyrics’ shock and awe at how something as petty as a hookup could tectonically shift your perspective on life.
Made with a guitar plugged into their dilapidated 2010 Macbook with additional production from Yves Rothman, mixing by Andrew Sarlo and mastering by Eric Lagg, at its core, the EP mirrors the din of their life. Like years spent in the Vancouver scene, it’s loud and DIY, with surreal, experimental South London flair. Filtering these elements through a distinct pop sensibility, Tiberius b’s unique sound leaves an indelible impression.