Morgan Geist found unexpected hope in the unlikely success of the Junior Boys.
MORGAN GEIST with MIKEY APPLES, FELIX & GANI, DOPPLEHERTZ at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Saturday (October 11). $10 advance. milkaudio.com.
You'd think Morgan Geist would be a bit cheerier, considering the rave reviews his new solo album, Double Night Time (Environ), is receiving.
The NYC-based producer has long been an artist cited by other musicians, both for his solo work and as half of Metro Area. But in interviews he often grumbles about contemporary trends and seems bewildered by his own success. When gently teased about how easy it is to get him to rant, he objects but then admits that his view of the music industry is generally dark
"I resent that. How dare you say that!" he jokes.
"Jeremy [Greenspan] commented recently on an interview I gave that it was like reading an interview with Eeyore, the depressed donkey from Winnie The Pooh."
Greenspan is best known as the voice behind the Junior Boys, the Hamilton-based electro band who have become critical darlings for their subtle and intimate synth pop. Geist finds them one of the few bright spots in the current scene, and ended up roping Greenspan into contributing vocals on many of the tracks on Double Night Time.
"Unlike most material I get for remixing, I actually really liked their first album a lot and kept on listening to it, almost against my will. I'm a bit reactionary - I pictured this new hipster group who looked like supermodels, and I didn't want to like it but I just loved it. Meeting Jeremy helped a lot. I found out that they were actually just a couple guys from Hamilton."
The last time we talked to Geist about his long-awaited second solo album was back in 2005, and at that point he was hoping it would be finished later that year. ("I was actually thinking in Biblical time," he quips.) It turns out that it could have taken even longer than the 11 years since his last release had he not been evicted from his studio last year, forcing him to buckle down and wrap it up.
"I kept going back and forth, and would throw out a bunch of tracks, put them on hold or set them aside for Metro Area. There was a lot of discarding and restarting, and a lot of self-doubt. I'm a bit hyper-critical of my own stuff.
"I'd want to throw out the whole album. Then I'd see a Junior Boys show with a ton of people there, and I'd realize it would be a huge waste to toss it, since Jeremy is on my record. Now that it's done and I can't touch it or fuck it up any more, I'm starting to relax and think some of it is okay."
The collaboration promises to pay off for Geist in the long run. Double Night Time contains much of the icy soul familiar to Junior Boys fans while still retaining that particular Geist sound that long-time listeners will recognize.
"To me, our records sound wildly different. But I've had that my whole career - I'd go into record stores and see Environ records filed with DFA, and I never understood that.
"I can't wait to see all the ‘not as good as Junior Boys' reviews."