Morgan Geist - Make It A Double
3D’s Huwston speaks with Morgan Geist, one half of Metro Area, about his new album, Double Night Time.
The romanticism of speaking to Morgan Geist as he walks down a Brooklyn street on a gusty autumn evening is inevitably lost when the somewhat elusive figure of dance music comes across so down to earth, realistic and at times even delicate. Coming to Australia for the first time with a lot of expectations placed on him and the anticipation of a new solo album in Double Night Time, it was refreshing to hear his take on his position as a supposed daddy of nu disco.
“I haven’t been there [to Australia] mainly because it is a lot of travel,” he admits. “I am not looking forward to going to Adelaide from New York ’cause it’s a 28-hour flight. It is quite an investment in time. I have the label [Environ] to run and studio responsibilities – so it’s logistics.”
Geist’s mystique is almost palpable in disco circles, so surely a long sit down, some time differences and a bit of baggage handling can’t be all that’s kept him from us for so long-
“Jeremy [Greenspan, of Junior Boys and featured vocalist on Double Night Time] said – and I don’t know if this is true or not – that with The Cure, Robert Smith didn’t want to fly to Australia and they got a petition and made him come… but that he came in on and ship or something!” he laughs. “But if it heightens the mystery about me, I’m all for it – I’m a boring, normal guy, so I’ll take what I can get.”
Jokes aside, he is keen to come to Sydney, although he notes you rarely see any of the cities you DJ in. His partner in music Darshan Jesrani on his most recent trip did get to share a little studio time with Jimi Polar and Noel Boogie, but apart from that – as you’d expect – downtime is scarce.
“I had this Australian fetish musically,” he says, “and this is going back a long way, but Severed Heads was really influential for me in my teens and early 20s – so going to Sydney has that weird fanboy thing going for me.”
His earlier mention of Greenspan brings the conversation from the tour back to the album, where Jeremy is featured on nearly half a dozen tracks. With such a popular vocalist in front of the mic, did Geist ever worry people might get it twisted-
“I don’t care, whatever gets the music out there,” he replys. “People talk about Jeremy but it’s always clear that it’s coming from a record by a guy called Morgan Geist – if someone heard it and thought it was a Junior Boys record, I am not that hung up … I could be compared to worse people!”
Geist even wrote all of the lyrics on the album, stepping away from the mixing desk and synthesiser to pen some charming, thoughtful lyrics, which he admits was a worry for him.
“I wrote all the lyrics except for City of Smoke and Flame. It’s terrifying to release the stuff,” he says, almost stuttering. “I wanted to do that for a long time and if people hate it or trash it then that’s part of throwing yourself in the deep end and doing something that’s not so comfortable. I thought it was a first test to pass that Jeremy even wanted to sing them.”
Admitting that he excels most at being self-critical and self-conscious, Geist feels that with his background in instrumental music, lyrics might belong to music that was not progressive or forward thinking.
“This is how I feel about pop music – and I’m talking about Prince or The Beach Boys … innovative music that has gotten popular,” he explains. “You don’t determine if you are making pop music, the public does. You can think you are making pop music but if it appeals to no one then you haven’t succeeded … it’s up to people’s reactions how it’s classified or what genre it’s put in.”
WHO: Morgan Geist
WHAT: Double Night Time through Environ/Inertia
WHEN: Out now
MORE: inertia-music.com / myspace.com/morgangeist