Geoff Geis

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KXLU Setlist: August 7, 12-3pm

I was on the radio again today. I played:

Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble // Reunification Rainbow
Julia Holter // In the Same Room
Voice on Tape // Sister May I

Fernanda Ulibarri // Crush
Winter // Alligator
Cornershop and Bubbly Kaur // Natch

Spoon // the Rent I Pay
the Aislers Set // the Red Door
Chris Knox // It’s Love

Whisperkid // Meet Me In a Dream
Kid Static // When My Soul Goes Down
Michael Vidal // Appraisal

“Missed Connections” Side A, featuring Sean Solomon, Lola Loshkey, Misha Poleshchuk, Steve Touchton, Charlyne Yi, Rhea Tepp, Geoff Geis, Evan Backer, the Sugar Frosted Lightbulbs, Denise Duncan, Michael Nhat, Steven Carrera, Haunted Tiger, and Andrew MacKelvie & Michael Reyder.

James Hetfield // Every “Yeah” Ever
Bür Gür // Bush
Maston // Young Hearts

Geoff Geis and Little Journey // One Cool Circus Remix
Theme Park // Milk (original)
Post Life // Prey

Twinkle // Golden Lights
Patti Smith // Redondo Beach

“Missed Connections” Side B, featuring Grant Capes & Justin McInteer, Pascal Stevenson, the Lingonberries, Nima Kazerouni, the Goats, Matthew Teardrop, David Scott Stone, Kid Infinity, Tommy Santee Klaws, and Pauline Lay & Rachel Birke.

Ocean Calling // Far West
Steppe People // One
Moses Campbell // Expectations

the Monolators // Want U Back (Cher Lloyd Cover)
Arthur Alexander // After You
Disco Cisco and the Dreampunks // Ride Operator
the Raincoats // Honey Mad Woman

Habits // Ride (Soft Sailors Remix)
Geoff Geis // We Can’t Stop (Miley Cyrus Cover)

Background music from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, the Dukes of Dixieland, Ennio Morricone, and Christmas Piano Favorites.

Saw this sick ride on the way home.

Saw this sick ride on the way home.

Filed under: Human Interest, music, , , ,

Say Hello to Soft Sailors

I am delighted to announce that I have a new band, Soft Sailors! Our music is this post, but you have to scroll down to hear it!

We're performing at Pehrspace on Friday, May 30.

We’re performing at Pehrspace on Friday, May 30.

We’ve got our first shows coming up. The very first one, at LA’s esteemed Pehrspace, is this Friday, May 30. It’s being presented by Mountair and will feature Galaxy Kat, Untoward Children, and Flight Crew as well as us. Why don’t you RSVP on Facebook while you wait eagerly for it to start?

So who are these Soft Sailors? What is our story, and how is it that we sound?

Perhaps you remember the band Pizza!, of which I was a member for several years. We were five best friends and the band was a truly collaborative experience — we were all in our mid-twenties, in that fun space between college and real life, and we lived together and were constantly being creative together. At the same time, I was in a band called Big Whup with a similar background and process and a similar personal bond — we even got matching tattoos!

But you know how it goes, don’t you? Time, proximity, and the trials and tribulations of growing up cause people to move apart. Eventually the halcyon days gave way to interpersonal drama, and eventually we stopped being able to operate the way we used to.

Pizza! was a sick band, and by the way no one ever booed us offstage during our entire run -- fuck you, Culkin! [photo by Jed Johnson]

Pizza! was a sick band, and by the way no one ever booed us offstage during our entire run — fuck you, MacCaulay Culkin! [photo by Jed Johnson]

With Pizza!, we stopped living together and creating became a chore. We held on, in name only, for a while, before officially calling it quits in 2011 with an album (We Come from the Swamp, available here on Spotify) yet to be released. With Big Whup, the other singer decided that she wanted to focus on other things but didn’t bother to say anything  — I read about her decision secondhand in LA Record.

The whole thing was depressing.

Both bands had something pretty special, and we even had a little bit of momentum. Each group went out with a fizzle, rather than a bang.

Here's what I looked like when I was with So Many Wizards. In this photo, I'm Frank Maston. [David Uzzardi]

Here’s what I looked like when I was with So Many Wizards. In this photo, I’m Frank Maston. [Photo by David Uzzardi]

Anyway, in the ensuing years I kept doing music. I made a solo album, Princess, by finishing up some scraps of songs that I’d written for Pizza! and Big Whup but that never got produced due to our calcifying process. I played bass in my friends’ band, So Many Wizards, for about a year — we toured England and made a pretty cool record, Warm Nothing. I also started spending a lot of time creating covers and instrumentals to upload to my SoundCloud account, which started to build a bit of a following and helped me connect with musicians around the world.

All of those experiences were really fun and educational, but I must admit that none of them gave me the same thrill that I got from collaborating so hard with my best friends in Pizza! and Big Whup. As the time passed, I started to wonder if I even should continue making music at all. When I left So Many Wizards, I was intending to bow out and do something else – maybe even leave Los Angeles. I was working with Pizza!’s drummer Tyler on an album of solo songs that I thought would be my farewell to music as an attempted career.

Tyler doesn't look anything like this now, but he did once.

Tyler doesn’t look anything like this now, but he did once.

One song for that album, “Shake it Up,” was an early Pizza! jam we’d never recorded. Most songs fall away after a while, but this one always kept coming back to me. It’s a song about turning away from dependence on a wrecked relationship, no matter how comforting you may be deluding yourself into thinking it is. Perhaps it keeps coming back to me because the premise keeps repeating itself in my life.

We decided to record it with Pizza!’s bassist, Alex. He did such a good job that we asked him to play bass on the rest of the record.

Duncan, at practice.

Duncan, at practice.

And then the Smell, which is the lynchpin of the entire Los Angeles DIY scene and one of our band’s chief inspirations and motivators, wanted us to reunite for their 16th birthday this January. We accepted the offer, and it felt so good to play again! As we prepared for the show, we all realized that we’d been missing each other’s energy. Duncan, who’d spent the ensuing years getting a Master’s Degree, started talking about writing together again.

Jenna, on bass.

Jenna, on bass.

This was around the same time that I started hanging out again with Jenna, the bassist of Big Whup, who had spent the years since that band’s demise getting a law degree and playing in a great new band called Sweet Bump It. She was really enthusiastic about the new songs we’d been working on and offered to help — which was perfect, because a couple of brutal world tours with Liars and Fol Chen had burned Alex out on the idea of doing anything other than recording.

So Jenna agreed to take the bass, not only solidifying rhythm section but infusing the whole project with both energy and professionalism. And that completed the lineup — Rand, who was in both Pizza! and Big Whup, is too busy being a robot genius at Jet Propulsion Laboratories to be too involved this time around; but fortunately he’s agreed to do engineering stuff for us. His first task is installing an electric pickup onto an acoustic banjo.

And now, we’ve got a handful of shows and a couple of songs.

Here’s the second song we released, called “Work Doesn’t Pay.” I wrote this one during that time I was telling you about earlier, when I was thinking about quitting music and ditching Los Angeles.

Lyrically, it’s a pretty heavy number and reflects some pretty heavy thoughts. I’m proud of it because it’s more direct and honest that I usually am, and clearer. The story’s there: I was demoralized. I’d come to this city because I thought I could accomplish things here, and I’d started to accomplish them but now they were crumbled and all I had left was this go-nowhere day job that I’d gotten in order to sustain myself as I tried to accomplish what I was no longer trying to accomplish.

Soft Sailors photo by Dalton Blanco.

Soft Sailors, from left to right: Tyler Sabbag, Jenna Eyrich, Geoff Geis, Duncan Thum. [Photo by Dalton Blanco]

That’s not where I am now — and I sure am glad. For one thing, the job’s better. But mostly, it’s really great to be playing with these guys again. And I’m really excited about the material.

What started as a farewell now seems like a new beginning. And thank goodness for that; as much as I wanted to try and do something else, I sure as hell couldn’t figure out what. Music just keeps calling!

So please come see us, and don’t put it off! We”ve got three shows coming up in rapid succession, and then we’re taking off for a couple of months while we complete more recordings, tend to our personal needs (Jenna’s even taking the bar exam), and find a publicist.

Here’s the schedule:

May 30: Soft Sailors at Pehrspace. With GalaxyKat, Untoward Children, Flight Crew. Presented by Mountair.

June 6: Soft Sailors on KXLU’s Demolisten. Streaming online from kxlu.com and on the air in LA at 88.9 FM between 6-8 pm PST.

June 13: Soft Sailors at the Smell. With Post Life and more. Presented by KXLU 88.9 FM.

Like Soft Sailors on Facebook for music, images, events, and nautically-themed jokes.

 

Filed under: geoff geis, get excited, music, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

KXLU setlist: May 8, from 12-3 pm

Today I had the pleasure of being “on the air” and I played these songs:

Big Whup // Boniz Heart
Whiskeytown // Heart is Broken
Laco$te // Cellie

Traps PS // Prove It To You
Traps PS // Live What You Hate
Cambodian Cassette Archive // Look At the Owl
Asha Bhosle // Dum Maro Dum

Theme Park // Milk (original version)
Emperor X // Erica Western Teleport
James Supercave // Old Robot
Pregnant // Letter For a Friend

Michael Vidal // Dreams
Hecuba // Extra Connection
Love Valley and Geoff Geis // the Orchard of Summer

Soft Sailors // Shake it Up (unmixed)
Half Japanese // Firecracker
Dawn of Sequins // Some Secrets
Future Islands // Spirit

Digital Sabbag // Humans
La Yegros // Iluminada
Fernanda Ulibarri // Corro

Black Heart Procession // Release My Heart
Sweet Bump It // Dauphine
Cranes // Lilies

Post Life // Post Life
Batwings Catwings // Whoa
So Many Wizards // Inner City
Devon Williams // Elevator

Roxy Music // Just Like You
Faye Wong // Zheng Tuo (Cranberries cover)
Psychic TV // Godstar

Insect Surfers // Orion Canyon
Jeremy Jay // Out On the Highway
Los Prisioneros // Que No Destrocen Tu Vida
Stereo Total // C’est la Mort

Iggy Pop // Pumpin’ For Jill
Sally Shapiro // I’ll Be By Your Side
the Wagonmasters // Ballad of Davy Crockett (Bill Hayes cover)
Norse Horse // Sun Corridor

Jon Barba // Pop Punk on CD
Jeanette // Porque te Vas
Joya Landis // Moonlight Lover
Happiness // A Fool in Love
Abe Vigoda // Throwing Shade

the Raincoats // Running Away (Sly and the Family Stone cover)

Background music by Dnonkong, the Dukes of Dixieland, Philip Glass, Dustin Wong, anonymous African tribesmen, M’Boom, and myself.

Filed under: music, , , ,

Hey, Zombie!

This song is actually a left-over from the Pizza! era. There were several song ideas that we had floating around before we broke up, but most of them were just instrumental jams. This song, however, was the result of a recording back-n-forth between Duncan and me. He created the backing track – as a sketch for something more complicated later, I guess – then I wrote the vocals, then I went to his house where I recorded my vocals and he sang the background parts.

I guess we would’ve put it through the full band process after that, but we never got there.

It’s fine like it is though, right? It’s more simple than a typical Pizza! song. That’s not a slight on Pizza!, because complexity is both awesome and worthwhile. But simplicity has its own charm. Anyway, I released it last year on the Vanity Projects compilation. You can download that here, by the way. It’s got some good music on it.

I don’t have any idea what this song is about. If you think of something, please let me know.

Album artwork by Champ. [http://champoyhate.tumblr.com]

Album artwork by Champ. [http://champoyhate.tumblr.com]

Filed under: geoff geis, mp3, music, vanity projects, , , , , , ,

Song From an Imaginary Car Commercial

I don’t actually have the desire to make a song for a car commercial, but I thought that this would go well behind a car commercial. Can’t you imagine some hot sports car hugging the turns in the rain as this jam played?

I flatter myself.

Anyway, I was thinking it would be cool to make a fake car commercial, like maybe with Hot Wheels cars or Micro Machines. Is anybody down to help?

Filed under: geoff geis, mp3, music, , , ,

Juiceboxxx

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 1.56.08 PM

This is serious.

Juiceboxxx is one of my favorite rappers and showmen. His performances are awesome, and he’s just as insane as his persona. Well, it’s not a persona actually. He lived with me for a few months, so I can tell you that it’s certainly no act.

The characters in his songs aren’t characters, and he doesn’t turn it down when he’s not onstage. He’s truly an American treasure.

Anyway, my boy had a bit of a viral moment last month after this performance on a local TV show in Milwaukee:

There are a lot of haters in the comments for that video, but they’re all complete idiots. This article gives you an objective explanation of why, but I think it has more to do with those haters’ joylessness and severe lack of imagination when it comes to what they think music ought to be. Perhaps, instead of commenting on Youtube videos, they should occupy themselves with something constructive.

Sure, it wasn’t his finest moment. In case you’re wondering, that moment was this:

Anyway, during my brief time living with the guy under my roof, we created a couple of collaborations. I shared the first one of them, a remix of a song by clipping., on this blog last year.

What I didn’t post – because you know, I like to let things get really old before I mention them, so that I can I have the least potent promotional impact – was this track. Called “The Saga Never Ends,” it’s a JB Mixtape jam that includes some really messy guitar work by me.

The video stars Valerie, a very nice dog.

Filed under: geoff geis, vanity projects, , , , , ,

Rollin’

Last month, I promised on this very website that I would have a breakup song soon!

Look, I did it. This song, “Rollin’,” came pretty quickly and is very simple. Three chords! It’s a song about a feeling that comes in that little bit of time at the end of a co-habitating relationship when you still live together. That fun little bit of time.

I did this at Murderland, which is just a fancy name for my home studio. Is that a bad name? I looked it up online and murderland.com is already taken. Apparently there was some TV miniseries in Britain called Murderland, too (I have not seen it). I have a feeling that Murderland is a bad name, but I still like it.

I stole this straight off the Internet. Not gonna lie.

I stole this straight off the Internet. Not gonna lie.

Filed under: geoff geis, mp3, , , , , , , , ,

Crazy Kids (Ke$ha cover)

I’m normally a huge Ke$ha fan, but the original version of this song is just bad. She nailed the affirmation anthem with “We R Who We R” but “Crazy Kids” is so bland. The worse part is the verse from will.i.am, which I left completely out of my cover version. This guy is known for ripping off other artist’s tracks, dumbing them down, and making huge hits. Yet somehow, on “Crazy Kids,” he manages to sound like a hacky facsimile of himself. Truly incredible in its badness.

I recorded this cover on Christmas Day and it was included on Mabson Enterprises’ Now That’s What I Call Mabson 2013 compilation.

Filed under: geoff geis, vanity projects, , , , , , ,

Lay All Your Love on Me (ABBA cover)

Why do we cover songs? What’s the point?

I hate it when I hear a cover song that sounds either a.) just like the original or b.) like it’s the result of a too-formulaic transposition of a performer’s established aesthetic onto another artist’s jam, like Limp Bizkit doing “Faith” or Reel Big Fish doing “Take on Me.”

If you want to do a precise version of a Green Day song in your bar band or drop a no-frills acoustic cover of “Driver 8” into your set at the coffee shop, that’s cool. But if you’re recording a cover, you should attempt to something to it or at least bring something out of what’s already there that is worth looking at more closely. By saying that I think that covers should “add something,” I’m not saying that artists should try and surpass the original versions because that’s likely to be a futile goal. But each recorded cover needs a reason to exist, even if it’s slight.

So for for what slight reason does this cover exist?

“Lay All Your Love on Me” is about jealousy, but the subtext is that it’s not condemnatory. I wanted to revel in the jealousy, as if it was a sublime pleasure, and I determined that I could do so with stark production that emphasized dark, crawling vocals. For a bit, it had no beat — just piano and bass sounds. But in the end, I added percussion to help keep it interesting through the duration and to (hopefully) keep it on the side of sultriness rather than creepiness.

The original version of this song is about as hard as ABBA gets. Mine is a little less club-ready, but I still hope it’s danceable.

Filed under: geoff geis, vanity projects, , , , , , ,

Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)

Is “Dancing in the Dark” about trying to get with a girl? Obviously it is. The lyrics are pretty clear. But I hear what I want to hear with songs, I guess. I didn’t really put that part together until I covered the song and actually thought about it.

Until then, I just kind of fixated on the title, being “sick of sitting ‘round here trying to write this book” and “there’s something happening somewhere, baby I just know there is.” I always just thought it was a song about feeling stalled and restless in general, which speaks to me. I guess the love thing’s pretty universal, too.

Filed under: geoff geis, Uncategorized, vanity projects, , , , , ,

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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