Local Spotlight: Geometrist

When I first heard their song “Modest Mouse” on Bandcamp, I was hooked. It had a nice groove, sound, vocals, and it moved fluidly back and forth from soft, laid-back guitar riffs to heavier and faster instrumental breakdowns. And the band had their own distinct sound.

It’s hard to pinpoint the genre of Geometrist. They describe themselves as indie and folk but also as volcano-step, mud-funk, and—my personal favorite: algebraic-gospel. Outside the suffocating bounds of a real or fictional genre name, Nick describes the band as “a bird slowly taking flight, and flying towards the sun, towards a beautiful climax.”

And in their journey towards that beautiful climax, they’ve been compared to Alt-J, Modest Mouse, and Kings of Leon. But they didn’t write music trying to sound like anyone else. Nick in fact refuses credit for the music on his Facebook page.  Instead, he offers it to a “young Algebrist” who skipped a “shiny golden stone” that “housed the greatest music in the world” across the water. But maybe the credit goes to science, not the young Algebrist, for it was only the cathartic reaction of those “rare metals in the stone” with the water that gave birth to the Geometrist.

The other day, with the mystery of their genesis still unsolved for me, I interviewed their drummer Nick. He talked about the band, their ambitions, and their real goal at the end of the day: to have fun.


Nitesh: What’s your favorite song on your EP?

Nick: Definitely “Modest Mouse.” For me, that song, just does it. It’s really got a great groove to the verse, it’s got a very catchy chorus. There’s kind of this trade-off between the guitar solos and the drum fills and that last chorus hits super hard. That songs just got a lot of great, great energy that I really enjoy. We take “Modest Mouse” in our future writings, and the songs we’ve been making since then. We try to bring that same sort of energy. That’s where we feel our pocket is. Playing this really big, energetic music with big choruses under everything.

Nitesh: Describe your song-writing process.

Nick: Jake does a lot of singer-songwriter type stuff and from there we all impart our own individual influences into that. Zach is a punk-rocker, he’s our bassist. Mike is very into oldies and new indie music. I’m really into alternative and funk. And Max actually learned how to play piano by learning Billy Joel songs. So he really brings a great chord structure to everything. We had been playing shows without him and having him back has been like that missing piece. Especially songs like, “Coal Miner” and “I Won’t Wait.”

Nitesh: I like the way your album is produced. Who produced it?

Nick: Thanks! For the album, we recorded it at the Record Company in Dorchester with our friend, Jesse Vengrove. We knew a couple people that knew Jesse and wanted to make it happen. We sent him some really crappy recordings that we made in the basement, but he liked our sound. In three sessions, we live-recorded everything. We didn’t track anything out. From there, he sent us stuff back and forth. He opened up his house to us. On the fifth track, “I Won’t Wait,” there’s a section where we do this instrumental breakdown. That was actually never recorded [with the band]. I recorded that with my roommate in our practice space and we just sent it to Jesse and he put it on the album. We play it now, but we had never played it together before.

Nitesh: What are your favorite venues to play at in Boston?

Nick: Definitely the Middle East. The way that the sound people work the board, the way that the stage kind of intersects the crowd, you’re right up above them and the crowd is right on top of you. It’s a small stage, a small room. It’s pretty easy to fill it up, and they just do great sound.

Nitesh: How do you feel about the music scene in Boston?

Nick: Especially where we are from in Allston, there’s a lot of noise music. It’s almost, the worse you can play your music—the more bad you can make your instrument sound—the better the hipster people in the area think you are. [laughs] Those bands have success in the underground scene. I’ve had people tell us, you guys should consider being a little bit more out there. If you want to play one of these house shows, you kind of have to follow that mold. There’s just a lot of bands playing that type of music. Especially in Allston. So we try to just break that mold as much as we can. We want to go and be known for the music that we like playing and play music that we like playing. In a lot of ways, we’ve gotten praise for it.

Nitesh: What are three things most people don’t know about you, or wouldn’t expect about you?

Nick: The fact that Jake and I have known each other for so long. People look at you on stage, and they are like, you have chemistry. And Jake and I have known each other since we were in the womb. [laughs] Our parents were friends with each other before we were even thought of. So we spend Thanksgiving together. Our families visit each other at Christmas. It’s really cool that we were both born and raised in St. Louis and just somehow we both ended in the Allston area, and we’re in a band together.

The second thing, I would say a lot of people don’t realize is that we’ve only been together for a year. We’ve been able to come out with an album, compose all this stuff, in the amount of time we’ve been together.

Third, maybe the fact that we’re all full-time in other things that are not the band. We all have very serious full-time jobs. I’m a student, Max is a student on top of that. We get together a couple times a week and throw this together. We work 9-5’s but we work here at night, plucking away, doing our things. Zach will work a twelve-hour day and come straight to band practice in his tie and work pants and he’ll practice with his bass, just in his work attire. [laughs] We just make it work.

Nitesh: Are there any songs in which you find the lyrics particularly meaningful?

Nick: To me, I think a lot of the album, with kind of the exception of “Pilots,” is in the same vein in terms of subject matter. It’s the disappointment side of love and longing to have that feeling. And realizing that it’s not going to happen. There’s a lot of longing that goes into the lyrics. I’ll say for me personally, I’ve had those feelings in the last year, towards certain people and certain things. When I first started playing with Jake, I didn’t really think about the lyrics for the album. And listening back on the lyrics, there’s a real chord that it strikes in me.

Nitesh: Can you think of a specific song?

Nick: “California.” It’s that one line, “I still dream of California.” That line says it all, I just got chills thinking about it. California, to a lot of east-coast people has that kind of sunshine-y happiness. There’s that general feeling that California represents the happier things, like the sunshine. “I dream of California.” It’s like I dream of that feeling. I have that longing for finding happiness, finding closure in whatever I’m dealing with. That line does it for me.

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