Distance makes the music grow stronger for bicoastal duo Bestfriend

The band’s sophomore EP, “places i’ve left,” tucks our confusing world into a hazy, bedroom alt-pop soundtrack

Despite its name, the band Bestfriend didn’t start out as such.

Stacy Kim and Kaelan Geoffrey’s pipeline from internet strangers to bandmates to best friends might sound out of order—a shuffling of the familiar “lifelong pals start a band” formula. After connecting through Tumblr, Instagram DMs and the coincidence of sharing a mutual friend several years ago, the two bonded over their strikingly similar music tastes and senses of humour—even with Geoffrey living in Toronto and Kim on the other side of the country in Vancouver. 

Individually, Kim and Geoffrey knew they wanted to start something creative, but couldn’t quite put their fingers on the what or how of it all. So when they eventually met for the first time in person in 2018, they decided not to let distance stop them from pursuing music together.

“It’s difficult to find someone who wants to create the same things that you want to create,” says Kim. “So, for me, I just took the opportunity when I got it.”

Having fun was the most important aspect for both of them—neither were trying to become superstars. “We were just making some stuff for fun, and it just went well,” Geoffrey says. “We were destined to piss each other off for the rest of eternity.”

But not seeing each other every day or being directly involved in one another’s lives meant there was still a certain degree of separation that kept things from going deeper in the beginning stages. Their one point of intersection was the band, and they viewed it as something independent from the rest of their day-to-day lives. In a pleasantly surprising way, however, this worked out perfectly in their favour.

“If we were friends in real life, I don’t know if we would have made this,” says Geoffrey. “Because we would have just been friends. It’s almost like we just sort of decided, ‘Hey, it’s time to archive some stuff, and we’re good matches because we live appropriately far for it not to feel like too much too fast.”

Fast forward to present day, and now Kim and Geoffrey’s relationship accurately mirrors their band’s name. The duo released their debut EP places i’ve lived in 2021, and today (April 21), they’re giving their firstborn a sister in the form of their sophomore EP, places i’ve left. The two companion projects serve as bookends to a period of Kim and Geoffrey’s lives, a cohesive look into the anxieties and roadblocks of trying to steer through life in a confusing world set to hazy bedroom alt-pop.


places i’ve lived and places i’ve left were a labour of love for Bestfriend. “I like to write in the evenings a lot, which means that when I’m writing something at 10 p.m., Kaelan’s fast asleep,” Kim says. Their songwriting process normally begins with a loose concept, typically made up of vocals and guitar, which then gets passed back and forth between them until the skeleton of a song is created.

“You get, like, 85 percent done, and you’re like, ‘This is awesome! It’s going to be a great song!’ And now this next month is going to be so annoying, just getting it perfect,” Geoffrey says. “It’s funny. It’s the nature of it.”

places i’ve lived evokes a nighttime atmosphere with its slow ambience and tender, heart-wrenching ruminations on life-shaping past experiences and coming of age—think of it as the nostalgic soundtrack for an aimless late night drive or lying awake in bed past midnight. Enter places i’ve left, the daytime counterpart. Its sonic shift to brighter, upbeat sounds and its emphasis on the present make it the sun to the first EP’s moon.

places i’ve lived was very much retrospective. We were kind of writing about the things that we used to know for our younger selves,” Kim explains. “Whereas places i’ve left, we’re still following that same thread, but now in a sense of we’re looking toward the ‘what happens next?’ of it all.”

If places i’ve lived is about knowing, places i’ve left is about the unknown. It’s about trudging forward into the future without any idea of what it has in store for you. But don’t be fooled by its sunnier sounds—not everything is as optimistic as it seems on places i’ve left. Across six intimate yet expansive songs, Bestfriend homes in on disillusionment, the growing pains of being a human being and trying your best to carry on with life as best as you can in spite of those things. 

The EP’s first two singles, “LEMON LIME” and “Anxious People,” are prime examples of the “happy music, sad lyrics” style of songwriting that will have listeners dancing one minute and pausing to cry the next. The former’s summer-y title and beachy energy distract from the bleakness and exhaustion being expressed on first listen, while the latter’s opening lyric is “I think I’m dying,” sung softly to a sprightly melody. Both capture the disorienting feeling of not having your shit together in a fast-paced world that doesn’t wait for you to figure it out. 

“Matador” is the most explosive and dynamic song on the EP and perhaps in all of Bestfriend’s discography thus far. But it also lifts a heavy load storywise, navigating the aftermath of a toxic relationship and battling mental health struggles. The closing track “Love Always Came So Easy for You” feels like being wrapped in a warm hug, but it’s tinged with the melancholy and disappointment that comes with being let down by someone who can’t seem to make up their mind about you.

Anxiety can be a heavy throughline to write about, even with a pop backdrop accompanying it, and as Kim mentioned, the idea of healing her inner child was an important one to encapsulate. Take “Hannah in the City,” a lovelorn song from places i’ve lived about the missed opportunities and “what ifs” in a past relationship. The song’s queer narrative is riddled with gay romance and heartbreak, which is something Kim says she wants to explore more of in Bestfriend’s music. 

“There’s been a lot more openness [in music narratives] and I definitely really wanted to be a part of that, because I think that stories are things that help a lot of people,” she says. “I almost felt like I owed it to my younger self to say, ‘Hey, we’re in a place now where you can tell these stories and feel okay about it, and a lot of people will listen, and they’re going to say they relate, and it’s going to feel great.’ And it has.”

Even though vulnerability and openness are strengths within their music, Geoffrey admits that when it comes to sharing snippets of their own personal lives and discussing mental health in their songs, they’re still very much figuring out where to draw the line. “A lot about making anything is about opening up and figuring out what the heck it is you’re trying to say, right?” he says. 

Outside of music, Kim and Geoffrey say they cope with their own stress and anxiety through therapy—Kim, an avid Succession and The Last of Us fan, also loves getting lost in various TV shows to take her mind off things. From arranging flights to meet one another to planning the release of a new EP to all of the life stuff in between, Bestfriend has been navigating a lot of brand-new experiences recently, including their very first live performance at the Garrison in Toronto on April 20 to celebrate the release of places i’ve left.

Bestfriend performing at their debut live show at the Garrison in Toronto on April 20.

Credit: Jordan Currie

Fans and friends gathered to sing and dance along to old favourites, and became acquainted with the new songs that would release only hours later. It might’ve been Bestfriend’s inaugural show, but Kim, Geoffrey and their supporting bandmates looked and sounded like naturals, and the energy at the Garrison was palpable and infectious. To go from their imaginative little corner of the internet to finally getting to play in front of an audience after years of creating music together must have been an exciting and emotional milestone for Kim and Geoffrey.

Bestfriend ultimately hopes that people come away from places i’ve left feeling seen and heard.

“One of the best feelings for me is people taking lyrics from our songs and saying, ‘I love this lyric, this is what it feels like … I feel a little more heard in this experience,’” says Kim. “I would just love emotional connection, I think more than anything.”

“It’s nice when people see themselves in something that you brought to life,” Geoffrey adds. “We do this for those little moments.”

Jordan Currie (she/her) is a writer and Xtra's Associate Editor, Audience Engagement. She has written for Xtra, Exclaim!, New Feeling, Wavelength Music and others.

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Culture, Music, Feature, Canada

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