Geoff Geis

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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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So this happened…

So Sarah dumped me last week.

I know! I was surprised too. Actually, she did it on Wednesday, the same day that I posted that sweet little rock song about missing her. Our hearts and our minds were in different places, apparently.

I’m okay. The world isn’t over and I’m sure I’ll be back on my feet and for a lot of reasons I’m excited about the future. I’m still sad though, of course. We were together for four and a half years, almost, and our lives are interwoven. I certainly invested a lot in the relationship.

And that’s all I’m going to say. This isn’t Livejournal. I will, however, share this song.

I didn’t write this song for this situation. I have written a few of those – obviously, because that’s how I deal with everything – but I’ve not satisfactorily recorded them yet. Soon! I did write this at a similarly sullen time; I believe it was 2006. It taps into a certain mood that I’ve been rolling around in.

Tyler and I recorded this at his parents’ cabin in Pinecrest, California using a combination of Garageband and a really fancy dictation tape recorder from the Seventies or Eighties.

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

You Can Always Get off the Bus

Have you heard this? It’s “Ride Operator” by Disco Cisco and the Dreampunks – a bouncy jam driven by lush, melodic keyboard playing and punctuated with a few post-punk flourishes. The vocals are alluring, the lyrics are smart, and it ends quickly enough to demand repeat listens. I’m excited to hear what these Dreampunks do next.

Actually, I’m being kind of an asshole right now. I played lots of the instruments on this and produced it. Sarah is Disco Cisco. Obviously I’m not impartial.

In other news, I turned one of the bedrooms in our apartment into a recording studio. It’s called Murderland. Maybe I can record your band? You have to let me “get weird with it.”

Filed under: mp3, vanity projects, , , , , ,

Zimbabwe!

RECTANGLEMUGABE

After a tough campaign season, Robert Mugabe is finally ready to chill.

This is it! Today is the day! Election day in Zimbabwe! The polls have just closed, and even though results haven’t been announced everybody is already angry about them.

Did you know that Bob Marley played a concert for Robert Mugabe on the day he became Prime Minister in 1980? It’s true! You can look it up.

That doesn’t mean that the Rastaman supported Mugabe, necessarily. And even if he did, who is to judge? Marley was a proponent of a truly post-colonial Africa full of empowered Africans, so I’m sure Mugabe and others like him seemed promising at the time.

Mugabe didn’t actually like reggae. Yet, 33 years ago, he didn’t have enough clout to make the final decision over who played his own inauguration. Marley was picked because his song “Zimbabwe,” released on the Survival album when the nation was still Rhodesia, had been inspirational to the movement. After a chain of events that seems murky to me even after watching the documentary, there was some crazy tear gas incident at the concert. Kind of ominous.

The song  is optimistic, confrontational and energetic. However, listening to it is bittersweet. Zimbabwe hasn’t lived up to its expectations. Bob Marley didn’t even get to see it fail because he dropped dead. It’s seriously depressing.

Anyway,  hearing about Zimbabwe’s election inspired me to cover the song. In this version, I tried to capture a bit of the sadness and regret that I hear when I listen to the original. But hopefully I didn’t overdo it; I don’t have any reason to be overly pessimistic, and neither Mugabe’s regime nor the Rastaman’s demise diminishes the potency of the song’s message. I’d like for this to come off as more “pensive” than “melodramatic.”

Here it is, with backing vocals and organ from Sarah Cisco.

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

This will be exciting: Saccharine Surreality

Do you know about Saccharine Surreality?

It’s an exciting art show opening at Pehrspace this Saturday, January 12. Curated by Sarah Cisco, it features approximately 10,000 amazing artists who have created work in celebration of mankind’s “most innocent vice” (tell that to Lil’ Wayne!), candy. There will be lots of free candy and there will also be amazing candy-inspired cocktails.

The show will be up at Pehr until March. But there are special reasons for you to attend the opening. First, there will be a wonder-tent. Don’t ask me what it is, but know that it is a “one night only” thing and AWESOME. Second, I’ll be performing a few candy-themed cover songs at certain points during the night. I’ll never be playing these again, so if you want to hear me do a slowed-down, reverb-drenched, synth-heavy cover of Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy,” this is your only chance. Hint: you do want to hear that!

Anyhoo, feel free to RSVP on Facebook so that everybody knows you’ll be there. The 100th RSVP gets free candy (just kidding, everybody gets free candy).

Here’s Ms. Cisco working on the tent:

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

Patches in the museum

On Saturday, Sarah (aka Disco Cisco) was part of a group show at Pehrspace. She made miniatureMUSEUM for PAIR, a diorama show with the theme of “parallel worlds.”

The girl’s got a unique artistic vision and a knack for turning her aesthetic into reality. For this project, she made a seven-story dollhouse full of theme rooms and curated a miniature art show to go inside of it. I got to see her go through the different stages of developing the piece slowly over a little more than a month and I was really impressed with the final piece. I’m excited for the next project she undertakes!

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Sarah’s miniatureMUSEUM will be on display until August 31; if you want to see it online, there are pictures at her website, Intergalactic Fantastic.

I actually participated in the piece as well. I contributed a video, which we displayed in one of the rooms. Here’s the video that I made, entitled “Travels of Patches:”

I wanted to do something sweet and simple while experimenting with techniques I’d not previously used. I had fun making this little video collage. I filmed all of the stuff with Patches, and the backgrounds were sourced from Youtube.

Here’s what the movie looks like in the museum. Photo by Adrian Zaw.

In addition to contributing the video, I wrote about Sarah’s museum and several of her fellow dioramists’ works for seancarnage.com. Here’s that article.

Filed under: geoff geis, ipod touch, Video, , , , , ,

Cover song: “Rockin’ Around with You” (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)

Download “Rockin’ Around with You” (Tom Petty cover, featuring Sarah Cisco)

Boy, do I ever love Tom Petty. During the summer between fifth and sixth grade, it was a chance encounter with the “Into the Great Wide Open” that first inspired me to start paying attention to pop music. That led to a blossoming over the summer of ’94 and my discovery of groups like Nirvana, R.E.M., Beck, and Green Day. But while I loved “alternative music,” Tom Petty was my favorite. I had three of his albums before I had any albums by anyone else.

One of my earliest vinyl LPs was the band’s self-titled debut from 1976 — the one that’s got a picture of Tom smirking and wearing a bullet belt over his shoulder. That album, along with a story I read in the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock N Roll about how the band withheld the masters of the Hard Promises LP in a game of high-stakes brinksmanship with MCA over sticker price, was the proof that I used when my friends who liked Green Day and the Offspring called me a “poser” for liking Tom Petty so much. Bullets and a smirk are pretty punk, and so are the rockabilly grooves and odes to teenaged abandon on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. “Into the Great Wide Open” may have introduced me to Tom Petty, but it was this album that made the long-term impact on my taste.

So, here’s a cover of “Rockin’ Around with You,” the first song from that album. I recorded it a couple of weeks ago with the indescribably fabulous Sarah Cisco, my love and a damned fine musician who will hopefully continue to share her talents with the world. Sarah sang with me, and I did the drum machines, guitars, bass, and synth parts. It’s a pretty straightforward, shuffling jam that doesn’t stray too far from the original.

Filed under: geoff geis, mp3, ,

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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