Geoff Geis

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Song for an Imaginary Space Mission

Have you ever wanted to just go on a space walk?

I agree. This is some trippy cash.

I agree. This is some trippy cash.

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People Like Us (Talking Heads cover)

“People Like Us” is at the emotional core of David Byrne’s 1985 film True Stories. The movie is about a town in Texas and how all of its colorful characters are preparing for the town’s 150th anniversary. Perhaps the most charismatic of these characters is Louis, a lonely man played by a then-unknown John Goodman who spends the movie trying to find love via a video dating service. Louis is adorably pathetic, and Goodman is as good as ever in the role.

This song, which the character is supposed to have composed, is an ode to desperation: “We don’t want freedom, we don’t want justice, we just want someone to love.” He mentions picking up the phone, giving the impression that the “us” in the refrain literally refers to Louis and his fellow dial-a-daters. In one scene, he petrifies a woman by singing it to her, a capella, in her living room.

“It’s awful sad,” she says. “I couldn’t have that sort of sadness in my life. Do you really feel that way?”

“I never thought about it,” he replies after a stammer. His look is genuinely quizzical before there’s a flash of realization: “Maybe I am kinda sad. I like sad songs.”

He looks downward.

“They make me want to lie on the floor.”

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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.

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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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