This interview with singer/songwriter Michael Deni of Geographer, an indie rock trio from San Francisco, originally appeared on the Stern Grove Festival website as part of a series of artist interviews.
On singles such as "Kites" and "Life of Crime", Geographer's sound is very synth-driven. For their Stern Grove Festival appearance, the trio switches gears, performing an entirely acoustic set. Does this mean acoustic adaptations of electronic music, or music composed for acoustic instruments?
We're doing a little of both. A lot of the songs begin their lives on an acoustic guitar or piano. Most of them grow into a fully arranged and often electronic piece of music, but some of them feel like they don't need to change, and they stay relatively simple, acoustic songs. We haven't felt that any of those fit really into any of our recent albums, so they just sort of sit on a shelf. But we all really like them, largely because they are so refreshing. Often times I'll listen exclusively to that kind of music—Paul Simon, James Taylor, Neil Young—and the Stern Grove Festival performance is giving us a unique opportunity to bring those songs out from hiding, and the addition of the Magik*Magik Quartet arrangements fills in the gaps in a way that we really wouldn't on our own. The other side of the coin is taking a song like Verona or Kites and letting Minna [Choi, Magik*Magik’s director] re-imagine it for us. We just had our first rehearsal, and it was hard to keep playing the songs, because I was so excited at what I was hearing, and I was hearing it for the first time.