GEO isn’t making music for me or you.
He’s doing it for himself, or, as he put it, “I started this just to do whatever the fuck I want.” With only five tracks to his name, the first coming just eight months ago, he’s already making a bit of noise for a newcomer like himself, even ending up on Spotify’s “Fresh Finds” playlist. The Berklee graduate has always loved making music, playing in his high school jazz band before majoring in production and engineering. Now living in LA, GEO’s been producing for other musicians for a while but this is the first time he’s released music as his own.
GEO describes his music as a mix of R&B, Soul, and Funk, but even trying to classify his sound to any three genres is a stretch. His music doesn’t stay in any one lane and is really, as he told me: “My music is really a reflection of whatever I’m listening to right now, I’ve been listening to a lot of London rappers so my next song is sort of based off of that style.” The lack of sticking to any one genre is a defining characteristic for GEO, furthering the project’s sense of individuality. “The GEO project was really just a place for me to fuck around and have fun and make music that I wanted to make so there isn’t really one genre I’m sticking too right now.”
GEO got the motivation to start making music on his own after being discouraged by poor reviews on his collaborations, saying, “I kept getting feedback like the song is great but the vocals aren’t there, and that’s just not what you want to hear as a producer so I really just wanted to make music that I could really call my own and be proud about.” So, he did. Inspired by everyone from Erykah Badu, Earth Wind & Fire, to PB&GJ favorite Smino, he set off with the sole ideal of making music that “feels good” and the want “to be able to fuck around.”
His first song, “Good Morning“, was received well by several music blogs and was even featured in a playlist made by Martin Garrix. But he didn’t really start gaining exposure until a month later when he released “For You“, which he calls “a vintage love song.” After that came “Better”, his most popular song to date and the true embodiment of the GEO project. The song sounds messy to some, as GEO put it, “there’s a lot of wrong notes”, but to him it’s anything but. He told me, “I wanted to create something overwhelming, I wanted to feel overwhelmed.” The song is definitely overwhelming, but even more overwhelming was the response it received. GEO told me “‘Better’ blew up on HypeM, which was awesome because the SoundCloud community is so tight-knit, so it was really cool seeing them listening and responding. As artists we all just want to get some acknowledgment”
GEO followed his big hit with the most personal song he’s ever made, “Flax Pond“. During the recording he was going through one of the darkest points of his life, facing anxiety and depression after his parents’ divorce. “I did that for me”, he told me, about releasing the song at that time. The song stands separately from his other music, both visually and in meaning. All of the artwork for his music features flowers, except for “Flax Pond”, which prominently displays a strawberry, an ode to his childhood and growing up on strawberry fields in Cape Cod.
The artwork for his music holds significance for GEO as well. Currently, they are the only visual representation of his music and they reflect the feelings that he gets from each song. “Every flower is different and I feel they represent the songs”, he told me. I further reassured him that he wasn’t crazy associating Yellow with “Better”, Red with “Good Morning”, and so on. The cover artwork may seem to be the most cohesive part of the GEO project but he feels everything he makes is related, saying, “They’re all similar to me because it’s all from my head so I know what relates to each other even though it actually may not.”
Whether or not it seems cohesive to the listener really depends, but he tells me that he is working on an EP full of songs that will flow together as one. Even still, he told me, “I don’t feel like I’m going in any single direction,” but for GEO, I don’t think any one direction is enough.