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, , , ,

Echo Chamber – coming this summer!

Okay, so I’m writing for LA Record again!

conradjoetext96hdark12aI actually quit on my own volition. My column, “Heart of Darkness,” was supposed to be all about my adventures going to underground shows on the East Side. And maybe I did a pretty good job at first, but eventually it became a chore because I burned out on going to shows and stopped being a legitimate representative of the scene I was supposed to represent…

I’m in a different place now, and I’m glad. And so the next print edition of the magazine will include my first column in a while.

I’m really excited about the subject matter of this one: a collaborative art space called Echo Chamber in the former Echo Curio spot on 1519 Sunset Blvd. It taps into history, but it also promises the future. Curators Sarah Cisco and Rhea Tepp have been putting a ton of effort into doing something aimed at expanding our ideas about what communal arts spaces can be.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 11.30.50 AMI was going to post my column here today in order to help them on Kickstarter — but they’ve actually already achieved their goal! So I’ll save my column for the magazine, which should be available all over town in the next couple of weeks. I know I’m excited.

But even though they’ve already reached their own goal, Echo Chamber has pledged to donate the first $400 they receive over their goal to helping out other community spaces: the Smell, Pehrspace, LA Fort, and HM 157. So go and support not just Echo Chamber but the greater DIY/DIT community by donating on Kickstarter. Join the club!

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 11.31.01 AMHere’s a bit of the interview that I did with Rhea to prepare the article. Much of this didn’t make it into the actual column because I had to focus on all the rad events that are coming up! In the following passage, Rhea expounds upon the nature of DIY/DIT spaces and her motivation for putting together projects like this.

The first event is July 3, by the way. You should RSVP on Facebook.

Here’s Rhea:

“There is a sense of urgency within the DIY/DIT community that both empowers its existence and makes it quite vulnerable. For those who choose to create the spaces for individuals to express freely, operating these venues is their art.

I certainly consider organizing Zine Fest and Echo Chamber a facet of what makes me an artist. I find a lot more freedom available as a performer in a space than I do as the space creator. If I use a curse word while performing, the FCC isn’t going to be sitting in the audience waiting to tell me I can no longer share my art with the public. It terrifies me to imagine that as an actual reality, but in a sense, that’s the type of restriction that artists who open independent creative spaces are facing.

Those who want to open a creative space with artistic intentions first and foremost, and business intentions second, third or perhaps not at all, are incredibly restricted in their ability to do so.

There is also a disconnect between artists and our local government, so often the resources feel inaccessible that would allow for an artist who is not also a business person to create that space. It can be difficult as an artist in Los Angeles to know if our local government values independent artistic communities. A number of local venues have been shut down over the years (Echo Curio, Church on York), close out of fear, or reevaluate their initial mission in order to operate.

One space that definitely stands out as one that has had to reevaluate its purpose for the community is the L.A Fort. The space has been open for a year and a half and began with a focus on live music. After being unable to continue hosting shows, the space is now a membership-run collective of individual studios.

I want to create a temporary environment for collaborations between all types of artists, face-to-face. I value the connections I make with people at a live music show, but those moments are often lacking the environment to create and share ideas together. An event like L.A. Zine Fest certainly revealed to me that the desire for these connections exists and is incredibly powerful right now within this culture.

I want people to put down their smart phones for a moment and be open to making a zine beside someone, or maybe even with them. I want people to share stories of what the creative process is like and take time to connect through these experiences.

Check out the next issue of LA Record for more…

Filed under: Art, Events, geoff geis, Human Interest, music, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

KXLU Setlist: June 20, from 3-6pm

Look, I did another radio show. I played:

Sparks // Funny Face
Philip Glass + Janice Pendarvis // Lightning

Together PANGEA // Alive
Devon Williams // Games
So Many Wizards // Night Chills

Winter // Alligator
Family Fodder // Debbie Harry
Dinosaur // Kiss Me Again

Moses Campbell // Cold
Bür Gür // Shorts
inner Ecstacy // Ascension

the Neo Boys // Give Me the Message
Minor Threat // Stumped
the Mo-dettes // White Mice
the Vaselines // Slushy

Kid Infinity // the Big Why
Magii // Magii
Dnonkong // In the Oceanery
Disco Cisco and the Dreampunks // Ride Operator

Jeremy Jay // Secret Sounds
Devo // Turnaround
Fun Boy Three // the Pressure of Life Takes Weight Off the Body
White Lies // Death

Wire // Doubles and Trebles

[…]

Facts on File // Get it Together
Spooks // Down to the River

Jew Cocks // Crazy Mako
Mistah Fab // Ghost Ride It
Future Islands // A Dream of Us

Norse Horse // Sun Corridor
Jonathan Fire Eater // When the Curtain Calls For You
Evan Voytas // Getting Higher
Sean Nicholas Savage // You Changed Me

Claude Francois // Hip Hip Hip Hoorah
Thomas Function // Sherman’s March

Brother Love and the Breakups // Honey Child
Summer Vacation // It’s My Birthday
Noice // Television

Nick Nicely // Hilly Fields
the Homosexuals // Vociferous Slam
Garageland // Fingerpops

Filed under: music, , ,

I Survived

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 12.23.10 PM

This is a just a little instrumental I made a little while back. I don’t even remember exactly how I made it, so I can’t tell the story! But I like it — it’s got two distinct parts and I think it’s pretty catchy.

Filed under: geoff geis, mp3, , , ,

What I Won’t Miss About Glassell Park

In November of 2010 I moved to Glassell Park, which is a neighborhood in North Los Angeles surrounded by Atwater Village to the South, Glendale to the West, Eagle Rock to the North, and Cypress Park to the East.

Now, I am officially moved out.

My original roommate, Kyle Mabson, found the apartment on Craigslist and we jumped at it because it was totally huge but priced at way under market value for LA. Part of the reason for the low price is because the apartment building is an aesthetically-unpleasing slum that is falling apart, but another big reason for the cheap living is that this neighborhood was only recently one of the worst centers of gang crime in the entire United States.

A couple of years before we moved in, the feds and the LAPD joined together to clean things up and did a fairly good job. Most of the really bad gang people went to jail right before we moved in – I actually get the sense that that’s why our apartment was vacated in the first place.

In the time that I lived there, everything was relatively peaceful. I kept my head down for a while, but I eventually stopped being afraid of walking around by myself at night. There were frightening things, occasionally, and nights when I was stirred from sleep by the sound of a search helicopter overhead. But that’s just city stuff.

Probably the most annoying people in the neighborhood, though, were the Little Gs.

All the big gangster dudes were carted off to jail in the police sweep, which meant that the only people left were the ones who were too young to have serious warrants yet.  For these kids, the police crackdown was an attack on a social structure and way of life. And they were grumpy about it.

When we moved in, I noticed this graffito scrawled above my car in the parking garage. The racial slur against Polynesians leads me to believe it was aimed at someone else. 

This penciled graffito is scrawled above where I kept my car in the parking garage.  It says, “Fagot, Puto, Poly, Tengo SIDA,” or, “Faggot, Male Prostitute, Polynesian, He has AIDS.” The Polynesian slur leads me to believe that it was not aimed at me.

The Polynesian slur leads me to believe it was aimed at someone else.

This created a palpable tension, but the Little Gs didn’t really do much but scowl, have Noz parties all night, play music really loud, and spray-paint retarded shit on the walls of apartment buildings and the adjacent cemetery. No big deal.

They must’ve gone through a lot of cans of spray paint during the time that I was there. Everything would get painted over within a couple of days, sometimes hours, from when they put it on the walls. But they’d keep spraying. Usually it was just the name of the gang or the nickname of somebody who had died, like Lolo.

Though Lolo was apparently well-loved by his homies, they probably should have saved up for something a little more permanent to remember him by.

Though Lolo was apparently well-loved by his homies, they should have saved up for something more permanent to remember him by.

Anyway, there was only one time when their shenanigans really got out of hand. That was in January of 2013, a few weeks after Christmas.

As part of their whole “juvenile badass” schtick, the gang kids observe an annual holiday tradition of torching all of the Christmas trees that are left out in the street. It’s tiresome and foolish, but for the most part it is also harmless — they have enough sense to move the trees into the middle of the street and away from plants and cars.

But one night, as Sarah and I came home from Pehrspace at 4:00am after a marathon session of painting the place for her Saccharine Surreality show, we noticed something that was not harmless – a tree on fire on a sidewalk right next to a lot of dry brush and only  few feet away from a Ford Explorer. No person was around.

Here's a further relief on that puto pic. Notice that the puto has a super long dick with balls in the middle, which facilities him boofing a dog from the front.

Here’s a further relief on that puto pic. Notice that the puto has a super long dick with balls in the middle, which facilities him boofing a dog from the front.

I don’t know if an explosion was imminent but it could’ve been and that wasn’t cool so I did what I hope any of my rational neighbors would’ve done and I called 911. The fire truck took about 90 seconds to arrive and put the fire out very easily. I went to sleep content in the knowledge that a potential catastrophe had been averted.

The next morning, when I was pulling out of the parking garage to go out, I saw a new graffito on the cemetery wall. It was positioned precisely so that it would be seen by people pulling out of my apartment’s parking garage, and it read: “FUCK SNITCHES, 187!” (For those who have somehow never heard Snoop’s “What’s My Name?,” “187” is cop code for murder.)

So I wrote this song about them, which is mean and unforgiving. But I was pissed. And it took me a while to record, but I finally did that. So here it is:

For the record, calling the fire department to prevent potential loss of life and property is not “snitching.”

Anyway, I’m out.

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

Future Islands – Singles

Future Islands is probably my favorite current band. I first heard about them around the time of In Evening Air, when my then-roommate Kyle Mabson hooked my band Pizza! up with a show supporting them as they came through LA and played a sold-out show at the Smell. They were compelling and inspiring then, and it was a real honor to play with them.

But damn! Look at them now!

Their performance on Letterman last month really sent them into the stratosphere, and they deserve it. Sam Herring, the singer, is so confidently vulnerable. He really goes for it – there’s no reticence at all and he commands every moment.

Anyway, their new album Singles is really fantastic. I never really listened to On the Water, the one that came between In Evening Air and this one, and the little bit I’ve heard of it doesn’t sound that different from its predecessor. But this album seems like a real step forward. It’s ambitious:

Filed under: music, , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , ,

Katy B – Little Red

I’ve been really enjoying this Katy B album, “Little Red.” It’s a real grower; at first it was just background music but now the songs are beginning to jump out at me. There are many treasures in here.

It’s club music, but really textured and warm and rewarding.

Filed under: Things I Found, , , ,

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, , , , , , ,

Omnichords I Like

Often, the instruments that we use color the sounds that we make.

Well, I mean… obviously! But it goes beyond just timbre or style. We all have certain ways of interacting with our different instruments, and this can impact melodic or harmonic choices as well. On a piano, for example, I’m more inclined to write in C-major because I’m not really that good with piano but it sure is easy to only hit white keys. On guitar, though, I’m much more fluid with key — in part because I’m better at it but in part because of the nature of the instrument; changing key on guitar is usually as simple as moving up or down a few frets.

omnichord_om300 Then there’s the Omnichord, this fun little guy from Suzuki.

I’ve had limited applications for the Omnichord since I bought it a few years ago, but I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth. It’s mostly good for flourishes, but it also has an interesting songwriting function because the layout renders all chords equal.

With two hands on the chord buttons (if you just forget about the magical strum pad, which must’ve seemed incredibly impressive pre-iPad), you can find yourself completely liberated from key. Every chord is always in reach — you’re not only encouraged to leap out of key, but you’re enabled by the fact that there’s no mechanical challenge involved.

Hence, this little instrumental.

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

About


I'm a musician and writer from Los Angeles. When I feel motivated, I use this website to share my creative output and give my thoughts on the world around me.

Vanity Projects

I release cassettes and zines under the Vanity Projects label; I've done things by myself and also things by friends. Visit Vanity Projects on Tumblr.

@GeoffGeis on Twitter

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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