A keen DJ since the age of eleven, New York-based producer Ge-ology started off his impressive career in the world of hip-hop and rap music, becoming well known for his works and collaborations with such artists as Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, De La Soul and a young Tupac Shakur. In 2015, Ge-ology released his career-altering EP ‘Moon Circuitry’ on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature imprint, which paved the way for his transition into the more club-friendly, house and disco-oriented territories that we now familiarise him with. With original and remix works on such labels as Dekmantel, MCDE, Ubiquity and Crammed Discs in recent years, as well as his latest remix for Peggy Gou‘s ‘Travelling Without Arriving‘ on our own Phonica White imprint, Ge-ology’s unique brand of dancefloor-friendly house music has earned him well deserved spots at many of the world’s finest clubs and festivals.
To accompany Ge-ology’s epic two-hour mix, we caught up with the man himself for a chat about his past, present and future plans, amongst other things. Check it out below!
Hey Geo, how you doing?
I’m good! Thanks for asking. My next tour kicks off this week so I’m just prepping and packing records! But all is well.
You recently released a killer remix for Peggy Gou’s new track on our Phonica imprint – can you tell us a little about the remix and what your thought processes were?
Thank you! When Peggy contacted me about doing the remix, she let me hear her original song. Once I heard it, ideas immediately came to mind. I knew my version would musically be different from hers, but I wanted to incorporate elements from her original at the beginning of mine in order to tie them together. But from there, I wanted the music to organically flip into something totally different…taking the listener further down this whole other path they didn’t expect. I’ve been enjoying exploring those types of transitions lately.
What else have you got lined up for this year?
I prefer not to speak about things too far in advance, but more will be revealed in its proper time. The one thing I can mention now is the limited edition “GE-OLOGY STAYS DIGGIN” t-shirt project with 101 Apparel that also includes a special 7-inch record release and DJ mix that will soon be available. I believe that’s next in line after my remix on the Peggy Gou record.
Can you tell us a little bit about the mix you’ve prepared for us today?
For this mix I decided to take it even deeper and pull out those heavy digs for the people, that’s why I named it “Heritage Heat”. A lot of rare 45s, LP cuts and 12-inches from my collection… all original press, records that are 30 years plus and even older in age, but are funky and timelessly making people dance still. No reissues or compilations… and records that range from the dollar bin to the super expensive price-point in today’s current collector’s market. But most importantly, I wanted to shine some light on the deep heritage of all these variations of soulful dance music and highlight some of the roots of the Black music experience I grew up on. Back during the early 90s in NYC, one of my longtime friends/brother Tezmore and myself would put together these cassettes we recorded that we called “The Black Tapes”. On there we would compile the rawest, funkiest Black music we could find. I really enjoyed that! But many years later after meeting and bonding with brothers like Darryn Jones, Sadar Bahar, Tone B Nimble, Mark Grusane and a few other Chicago guys, it gives me a lot of that same feeling all over again, but at a more advanced stage of my life. We’re all heavy diggers for that raw heat that we insatiably crave!
What was your approach to putting this together for us? Are you quite systematic when it comes to preparing a mix?
Haha, generally nothing I do is systematic. I love always being prepared for both the expected and the unexpected, but I’m quite spontaneous and will do things according to the relativity of the situation. In the case of this mix, I’m between moving studios at the moment…meaning I’m working with a very minimal temporary setup currently. I pulled a bunch of records that I knew I wanted to possibly include but wasn’t really sure how and in what order I would play them if so. For me, it’s important for things to flow naturally even though I’m mixing together a variety of categorized “so-called” genres. It’s the risk of doing that in the unplanned improvised fashion that I play records that I think contributes to the aliveness of the journey and the overall story I’m telling. But because I’ve been doing this for many decades of my life, it always seems to come together nicely primarily due to all the years of dedication to my craft. The way I’m blending these records may sound smooth, but trust me, these are some of the most difficult records to mix! Most of these records are of live musicians playing instruments where the timing strays and tempos change constantly, not that quantized computer timing you’ll get in most of today’s current dance music. Trust me, I’m playing the pitch control like a trombone on these Technics 1200s MK-IIs to make these blends work. But thankfully I’ve built up my skill, knowledge and confidence strong enough over the years that all of this has long become second nature to me. It’s when it’s most-challenging that it’s the most rewarding…and I always love a challenge!
Is this different to the process involved in preparing for live gigs?
No, not so much. The only difference is that I’m pulling and bringing out a lot more records with me to my gigs. A 2 hour recorded mix is totally fine for Mixcloud and Soundcloud, but for a live gig, 2 hours is way too short to properly tell a story. I prefer much longer sets or all night long gigs that give me the proper time and space to stretch out and take the crowd on a deeper musical journey. The real music heads and dancers in the crowd actually prefer their favourite DJs to have more time to play in a night versus nights that squeeze in more DJs playing shorter sets. The best promoters realize this.
You seem to make quite a lot of radio appearances too, including an appearance on Charlie Bones’ NTS show (a certified Phonica favourite!) What is it that you like about radio work?
I wouldn’t necessarily describe my radio appearances as being quite a lot. For me, my appearances are periodic at best. I support a lot of the online radio station platforms that exist because those stations have much more freedom in its programming, and don’t need to stringently adhere to the same “shit-show” conformity politics that has destroyed current day commercial radio. “Commercial Radio Still Sucks” is one of my favourite stickers campaigned by London’s NTS radio, and their slogan says it all…”Don’t Assume”. Their station covers a lot of ground musically…which is also quite similar to other great online stations like Red Light Radio in Amsterdam, The Lot Radio in NY, Worldwide FM in London and the list goes on. But yes, Charlie Bones “The Do!! You!!! Breakfast Show” on NTS is one of my personal favourites! It’s like being at home playing records for your close friends. Although it requires me getting up early in the morning to get there and play records with my crusty sleepy eyes, it’s always fun.
You’ve said before that you’re a big collector – are there any recent digging finds on this mix that you’d like to draw attention to?
I would say that I’m a serious collector more than a big collector. I do have a lot of records, but there are many collectors out there that have far more records than I do. But my focus is more on the quality of what I’m collecting, not necessarily the quantity. But yes, in my collection I do have some serious digs for sure…and a lot of that heat that many may want but not too many have. As far as the mix goes, I just wanted to give the people 2 full hours of straight bangers from beginning to end! I don’t give away titles and artists, but you can Shazam several of the songs on there if you wish, although the most of mix will give you either no results or the wrong info entirely.
We’ve seen you’re heading to Johannesburg next week, are you setting aside some time to go digging there?
Yes! I’m very much looking forward to it too, as it will be my first time getting to visit the mother continent. And yes, of course, I definitely would love to go diggin’ there. There’s some serious South African heat that’s been on my want list for years, but certainly not the easiest stuff to find. But who knows…you just never know! Anything’s possible.
Can you pick out some producers that you’re excited about at the moment? What kind of music are you currently looking towards for inspiration?
Most of the people making quality music that I’m enjoying is from friends and peers actually… Lars Bartkuhn and numerous others. But what’s actually motivating me the most besides daily life experiences are finding and discovering records that are not necessarily new, but are dope under the radar cuts. There’s no one specific style either… I can find inspiration from any and everything.
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
In recent weeks I had been posting all of these deep 7-inch cuts on Instagram for #45Friday that if you tried to Shazam them, it would fail and give you the “No Result” alert. Then I posted the image of that Shazam fail alert. My point was to help motivate people to not depend solely on Shazam and Spotify to find and discover new music in today’s world. There are still so many unknown records out there in the universe that can’t be found in the internet system’s inventory. Even after all of these years, I still find it to be much more rewarding when you go out in the real world, to real record shops and do real diggin’ through dusty bins and boxes for hours. Something about that experience is beautiful to me. And good records can be found pretty much everywhere…even in places you least expect! I remember finding a small box of records randomly in the back of a woman’s clothing store in Oakland, California some years back. I found about 8 dope records in there, including a super rare private press LP that has sold for as much as $400 on several occasions. So you never know when and where you’ll strike gold, you just gotta keep searching. There’s still lots of long-forgotten treasures waiting to be found and rediscovered out there somewhere. Enjoy the process!