Geoff Geis

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New free EP: “Diva” available now

Click here to download my new covers EP, Diva.

For me, 2011 was transformational. Since about 2004, I had been a guitarist and songwriter in bands — but both Pizza! and Big Whup dissolved this year. Until that happened, I had two songwriting modes: I could put songs together on an acoustic guitar, or I could contribute parts to collaborative pieces with other musicians. Both Pizza! and Big Whup were group efforts, and I’d prioritized writing with those groups over making anything on my own. This year, I decided to move in a new direction.

I got some technology, I collected instruments, and I started writing and producing songs on my own. I de-emphasized guitar and concentrated my attention towards the elements that I’d previously left to others, including beats, bass, and synth melodies. To practice production, I made some fun new albums with friends: Into the Forest with Magii was released in March, and Nima and Geoff (featuring So Many Wizards’ Nima Kazerouni) made an EP to release next year. Through these efforts, my process was upended. It was a very prolific time.

Princess, my solo debut, chronicles the earliest fruits of my labors. It’s kind of a hodgepodge of ideas and moods — some of them fresh, some of them rebuilt from the past, some of them improvised, and some of them orchestrated. I made and released Princess, above all, to prove to myself that I could do it. I gained a lot of experience while doing it, and I’m already hard at work on a follow-up that capitalizes on everything that I’ve learned.

This EP, however, is not that follow-up.

Instead, Diva rounds out 2011 with a some fun while paying homage to a handful of artists that have greatly influenced me. Throughout the year, I’ve been recording cover songs as well as originals. Covering this music has taught me a good deal about song craft and has given me many opportunities to experiment with technique and delivery. Diva is a collection of my four favorite covers from this year, including versions of tracks originally by Mariah Carey, Dusty Springfield, La Roux, and R.E.M.

Click here to download the EP in its entirety.

The lead track is my take on Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” When I made it this May, I was aiming to win the award for “creepiest song of the holiday season” with de-tuned pianos, off-kilter harmonies, and vocal effects meant to evoke a bad psychedelic trip. Unfortunately, Mariah decided to win that award herself by re-recording the very same song with Justin Bieber. Hopefully this is a strong contender for second place.

“I Only Wanna Be with You” is a duet with Michael Nhat. Michael Nhat is one of the most iconoclastic performers in Los Angeles, and also one of the best. He came over one day this summer and we covered this Dusty Springfield classic. We also started work on a Boys II Men and Brandy cover, but that’s fallen by the wayside (that’s my fault — sorry Michael).

La Roux‘s debut album is one of the almost I’ve most loved over the past couple of years. “Bulletproof” isn’t necessarily my favorite song on the album, but of course it’s the one that attracted me in the first place. I used an Omnichord as the basis of this downbeat, calypso-inspired version. Dalton Blanco (Sexting, Skull Tape, Robin Williams on Fire) provides some extra hard beats, and Big Whup’s Jenna Eyrich wrote the bassline. I think  this has already been covered by a lot of other bands. Oops.

The best recording on the EP, in my opinion, is my interpretation of R.E.M.’s “Tongue.” This was a cool experiment because it was the first time that I used a sample in a song. I built it using a loop I made from Mike Mills’ original piano line. When I was a teenager, R.E.M. was the most important band to me. They impacted both my taste and my worldview, and their demise inspired a lot of nostalgia and rumination. I finished this recording in September, immediately after they made the announcement that they had disbanded.

Filed under: geoff geis, mp3, vanity projects, Wonderful Christmas Music, , , , , , , , , , , ,

KXLU playlists from April 1 + 15

I substituted for Molly on KXLU on Fridays April 1st and 15th. Here are the playlists. Songs in italics are “new adds:” 

Friday, April 1, with Nima Kazerouni:

  • Hawnay Troof – “Gods are Crazy”
  • La Sera – “Never Come Around”
  • No No Jammers – “Forever My Dawg”
  • Monolators – “Don’t Dance”
  • Agent Ribbons – “Oh La La” 
  • Fernanda Ulibarri – “Sol”
  • Devon Williams – “Who Cares About Forever?”
  • El Guicho – “Bombay”
  • ESG – “You’re No Good”
  • No Paws (No Lions) – “No Ghosts”
  • Laco$te – “Cellie”
  • Harlem – “South of France”
  • Cambodian Compilation – “Come See the Owl”
  • Hindu Pirates – “Money Honey”
  • Marine Girls – “In Love”
  • Cloud Nothings – “Not Important”
  • Pigeons for Panthers – “Praise”
  • Pizza! – “Riding Thru the Jungle” (Kid Infinity Remix)
  • Former Ghosts – “Taurean Nature”
  • Water World – “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”
  • Starfucker – “Julius” 
  • Toro y Moi – “New Beat”
  • Bill Nelson – “Acceleration”
  • Caldera Lakes – “Celebration”
  • Crystelles – “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”
  • Manhattan Murder Mystery – “Parking Lot”
  • Evan Voytas – “Astro”
  • Melt Banana – “Surfin’ USA”
  • Peter Stampfel – “the Tennessian” 
  • Dum Dum Girls – “Wrong Feels Right”
  • Nicole Kidman – “Eat and Cry”
  • Maskull – “Hollywood Gypsy”
  • Michael Nhat – “Here’s a Mop to Clean the Floor”
  • Jealov – “Just in Lov”

Friday, April 15, with Dalton Blanco:

  • Rainbow Arabia – “Without You”
  • Fancy Space People – “Pleidian Youth”
  • Magii – “Help! My Walrus is Broken!” 
  • Michael Nhat and Magick Orchids – “MENU”
  • Open Mike Eagle – “I Rock”
  • Pulse Out – “Dora”
  • Devon Williams – “A Truce”
  • A Lull – “Weapons for War”
  • Skull Tape – “Many Mountains Redux”
  • High Castle – “We Were Lovers”
  • Business Etiquette – “II”
  • Haile Zukas – “Track 1”
  • Primary Colors – “Animals”
  • Quintron – “Ring the Alarm” 
  • Agent Ribbons – “I’m Alright”
  • the Avant Garde Volkpenis – “It Never Degrades”
  • Chocolate Chip – “Suzy Certain”
  • Peter Pants – “Mad Out”
  • No No Jammers – “Forever My Dawg”
  • Cancha de Circuito – “Quimey Neuquén Remix (Chancha Via Circuito Remix)”
  • Adventure – “Open Door”
  • Sun Tones – “Nobody’s Sweetheart”
  • Water World – “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”
  • Amir Coyle – “White Rose
  • Oorutaichi – “Misen Gymnastics”
  • Toro y Moi – “New Beat”
  • the Moviegoers – “Avalanche”
  • Sister Fucker – “Casual Birth”
  • Chelsea Wolfe – “Tall Bodies”
  • Learned Helplessness -“Augustine”
  • Half Handed Cloud – “How is a Water-Walker Like?”
  • Yogurtman – Touchton Backer
  • Julia Holter – “In the Same Room”
  • Mathematiques Modernes – “Disco Rough”
  • Jon Barba – “I’m Sorry”
  • Eagle and Talon – “Ruen Pair”

Filed under: Human Interest, , , ,

“Bulletproof” (La Roux cover)

Congratulations to La Roux for winning the “Best Dance Album” Grammy last night! I haven’t actually heard any of the other albums against which the duo was competing, but I’m confident that the Academy made a good choice. I’ve listened to La Roux so much over the last year.

A couple of weeks ago, I teamed up with Jenna Eyrich and Dalton Blanco to record a cover of the song “Bulletproof.” I decided that today was a good day to put our cover on the Internet.

Download Fridate: “Bulletproof” (La Roux Cover)

Filed under: Human Interest, mp3, , , , , , , , ,

Music

This is Soft Sailors! We're a new band from Los Angeles. We don't have any upcoming shows scheduled, but you can hear us online:

Also, here are some solo songs I've uploaded recently to Soundcloud. I'm playing solo July 19th at the Pickle Factory at 647 Lamar Street in Los Angeles and September 1st at Los Globos in LA for a KCHUNG benefit.

In 2011, I released my first solo album, Princess. You can listen to it and download it on Bandcamp:

From 2005 until 2011, I was in the band Pizza! This is our album We Come From the Swamp:

From 2008-2010, I was in the band Big Whup. Here's one of our songs that I sang, called "Cover My Eyes:"

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