Geoff Geis

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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.

 

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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, , , , , , ,

Pizza!: We Come from the Swamp

My former band, Pizza!, just released an album called We Come from the Swamp via Bandcamp. You can pay for it if you’d like, or you can download the whole thing for free. I think that it’s got quite a few really great jams on it. Here it is:

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

Two new videos

Pizza! — Big Mammoth Skull from Caitlin Craggs on Vimeo.

Geoff Geis – “Jeremy” (directed by Walt Gorecki)

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

Update!

The picture above is from my show at Pehrspace on August 1st, which was the release party for my album Princess. It was an exciting show, and I’m really grateful for all the amazing people who came to see it. Sean Carnage has more photos on his website.

I’ve been doing a lot to promote the album, but probably the most fun thing has been this interview I gave to Mark Givens (of D.I.Y. heroes Wckr Spgt) for his massive electronic literary zine, MungBeing. Mark let me talk – a lot – about my musical history, my ideas about digital distribution, and Marcel Duchamp (of course). If you like that kind of stuff, you should read it! If not, you might want to check the nice little mp3 sampler that comes along with the interview – it includes some rare and unreleased jamz from my solo act, Big Whup, the New Motherfuckers, and Pizza!

Speaking of Pizza!, we just released this new video for our old song “Be a Man.” It was directed, beautifully, by our friend Blaine Ludy. When will we finally release new music? Sooner than you’d expect…

Oh yes, and there are also a couple of live shows to promote. One is this party at 5 Star Bar to celebrate the anniversary of the Summer Fun Time Society, an event production crew headed by my pal Vivian. You can RSVP on Facebook. Here’s a flyer for that one:

Finally, I’m organizing an event with FMLY on Saturday, Aug 27 at Tierra de la Culebra in Highland Park. It’s a “stripped-down” affair, and it will feature semi-acoustic performances by the likes of the Monolators, So Many Wizards, Dnonkong, Seasons, and Magick Orchids. You can also bring an instrument if you’d like to jam as well. Here’s the Facebook invitation. A flyer is forthcoming.

Filed under: Events, geoff geis, get excited, mp3, pizza, princess, Reviews, vanity projects, Video, , , , , , , , , , ,

New Pizza! preview video

Here is another new Pizza! preview video. This one features music taken from our song “Big Mammoth Skull,” which has yet to be released. The video footage comes from a Dust Bowl film entitled the Plow that Broke the Plains:

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Video weekend

I made a couple of videos this weekend, for Pizza! Each was made on my iPod Touch:

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Download “Into the Forest” by Magii

FREE DOWNLOAD:

Magii – Into the Forest with Magii

On Saturday, I played a show at the LA Lottery League with a band called Magii. The band was put together randomly as part of the LA Lottery League, and even though I’d previously met all of my bandmates I didn’t actually know any of them. We had a good time becoming friends, and we crafted three songs of which we’re all proud. I sing background and play guitar and keyboard on this record, which sounds quite different from the music I’ve normally made.

Thanks so much to the Council of Chiefs, who made the LA Lottery League happen! It was such a brilliant idea, and it had such excellent results all-around.

Into the Forest with Magii was produced by me and Joaquin Pastor.

True to the speedy and random nature of the Lottery League itself, I created this hodgepodge of imagary in 60 minutes using only an iPod:

Photo Credit: Charles Mallison

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

Saturday: LA Lottery League

Oh, so this is happening…

LA Lottery League – THE BIG SHOW (RSVP on Facebook) Saturday, February 26 at Project Infest, 3201 Maple Ave. 90011. $5.

Modeling themselves after the original Lottery League in Cleveland, a “Council of Chiefs” has randomly created 12 new bands from a pool of Los Angeles musicians. I’m involved, as are Tyler and Duncan from Pizza!.

On January 29, we were split into our new bands. Mine is called Magii, and it features Bizzart and members of Masks and M31. For a month, we’ve been writing and rehearsing our set. It’s been rewarding to work with these people, none of whom I knew very well before this adventure. I’m stoked about the results. I’m also excited about all of the other bands – the show is sure to be eclectic and entertaining.

Here’s the logo for Magii. It was created by bandmember Matteo Himes:

Filed under: Events, 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)

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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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