Brooklynn, New York | Rock

Geese

Winterruption Performance Details

show date
January 25

show time
10:50pm

show venue
Starlite Room

show notes:

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bio

Geese — consisting of frontman Cameron Winter, bassist Dominic DiGesu and guitarists Gus Green and Foster Hudson — delightedly watch on as drummer Max Bassin, who was 40 minutes late to their debut NME cover shoot, frantically wipes off the “four pounds of ketchup” that was erroneously added to his burger. Burger eventually salvaged, Bassin and his bandmates head off with NME to explore Luna Park for their photoshoot. They’re stopped, though, by one curious onlooker who quite bizarrely tells them that there is “a saviour” named Elon Musk who they can message on Twitter if they’re ever in need of help. “Mazel Tov!” the woman says in parting, leaving Geese in stitches.

Billie Eilish on the cover of NME
Geese on The Cover of NME. Credit: Matt Salacuse for NME
It’s little surprise that the band’s new Musk-championing friend initially enquired about who they are. Geese are still flying under the radar — for now, at least — despite the acclaim which greeted their phenomenal 2021 debut LP ‘Projector’, which NME lauded as “one of the year’s most thrilling rock debuts”. That all looks set to change, though, with the release of their second album ‘3D Country’ on June 23, which will rightly tell the world just how unique a band they are. Co-produced by the band and James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Florence + The Machine), the record sees Geese embrace the maximalist experimental rock music they always seemed destined to make.

“We’re always going to shift focus, no matter our situation,” Green tells NME about the new record. “We just get bored of the old shit.” Bassin nods in agreement: “A lot of what we do is trying not to repeat ourselves musically. The themes for ‘Projector’ are very different from ‘3D Country’, and the next record will also change. It is a matter of us sitting with something for so long that there’s been ample time to feel every kind of way about it, so that by the time the album comes out and we’re playing it live, it’s a different beast.”

Geese (2023)
Credit: Matt Salacuse for NME
Geese have certainly come a long way since Winter, Bassin and Green first met DiGesu and Husdon during their freshman year of high school in 2016. Bonding over their shared love of Led Zeppelin, Radiohead and Nirvana, as well as the psychedelic rock of bands like Yes and Pink Floyd, they eventually embarked on creating their own music as Geese, and self-recorded a still-unreleased EP in Bassin’s basement over the course of a year.

2020 was supposed to be the year the band graduated high school and went off to college, but, instead, all plans were put on hold due to the pandemic. This unprecedented period of pause, though, ultimately worked to Geese’s benefit: an early version of ‘Projector’ they recorded that was meant to be, as Green recalls, the “last piece of music we made before we split up and went to college”, fell into the hands of Partisan Records. The label, home to the likes of IDLES and Fontaines D.C., signed Geese in the summer of 2020, setting a whole new course for the five musicians.

Asked why they chose not to give up on Geese, Bassin jokes: “Well, you know, some would say artistic ambition. I would say the money.” The whole band bursts into laughter, with one member quipping: “What money?” Hudson humorously adds: “It’s the direct line to Elon Musk we have.”

Green picks up the tale: “We thought that ‘Projector’ would be our last project, but then it started getting attention. Then COVID happened, so we had a lot of time to think about what we wanted to do.” On the decision to sign to Partisan, the band wanted a label who would respect their creative freedom. “We wanted to get exactly what we had set out for,” Bassin explains. “We realised how big of a risk it was not to go to school.” Geese were also keen to own their masters “as soon as possible”, so the signing process — which, Hudson notes, felt like “one big Shark Tank episode” — was ultimately worth the effort.

‘Projector’, which arrived in October 2021, highlighted just why Geese deserved the attention they were getting at the time. Coming to fruition in Bassin’s DIY studio, the compelling album featured the groove-led ‘Low Era’ and their debut single ‘Disco’, a seven-minute track that leaned on the heavier side with a breakthrough moment of beauty in Winter’s lyrics (“Patron saint of wisdom is standing down the hall / My only proper instinct brings me to her altar”).

The success of their debut LP was further extended by memorable appearances at The Great Escape and SXSW, leading to sell-out shows across the UK and US as well as an invite from Jack White to open for him on his ‘Supply Chain Issues Tour’ in April 2022. How did Geese manage to ride that wave of hype?

“Hype is really dumb,” Winter replies. “Eventually, you stop living up to it. With hype, expectations get bigger as time goes on, or it’s not what you were advertised as in the first place. I get excited whenever anyone’s like, ‘Oh, you’re a hyped band’ because it feels good, you feel cool. But it’s a whole bunch of expectations that are put onto you that don’t exactly help.” Bassin nods in agreement: “Come to a show outside of a major city and you will be like, ‘Oh, fuck, there’s no hype. What’s going on?’”

The band looked to Arctic Monkeys’ early “don’t believe the hype” attitude to their rapid rise for guidance on how to move forward with their career. “They found their footing artistically in the middle of their career and reinvented themselves,” Bassin says. “It’s not as if they’re just riding the fucking hype of their first record.”

Though they hail from New York, Geese don’t fit into the typical mould created by some of the city’s great guitar bands like The Strokes and Interpol. “Just because we grew up in New York City, it doesn’t mean we’re going to be a homage to those bands,” Green explains. “It’s more than New York City. We grew up on the internet, where you can listen to anything and everything.”Far from being content with the post-punk label that often categorised ‘Projector’, Geese aimed to reinvent themselves on ‘3D Country’ with the help of Ford on production. “They’re fucking brilliant, honestly,” Ford tells NME. “They’re all brilliant producers and musicians. What appealed to me was the scale of their ambition: they have a multitude of ideas that they wanted to happen simultaneously. As a producer, that’s quite a challenge. I really loved the songs and I loved [Winter’s] voice, and I think it’s a wicked record. It was exciting to be part of it.”

‘3D Country’ is filled with cowboy imagery, from its cover art and music videos to the song titles, which all play into the lightness of the LP. “The entire time we were making the record, we were like, ‘We’re making an Americana record, boys!’” recalls Bassin. “Honestly, it might have stemmed from a desire to make it not British,” adds Winter.

Winter’s vocals are a key component of Geese’s charm. Playing with his voice in a similar vein to Tom Waits, each song is elevated by his presence; his vocals serving as the main character. “I do like Tom Waits specifically for how liberated he is with his voice and how he slips into different characters,” Winter says when NME puts that comparison to him. “I have a high tolerance and appreciation for vocal affectation, and I find it to be a nice way to add extra character to a song to give it some depth and capture some specific moments. I try not to limit myself vocally.”

Though the band’s decision to not creatively confine themselves worked wonders on this record, it did lead to some severe editing in the post-production process. “I spent the month after recording the album going over it in my room and taking out about 80 per cent of it,” Winter reveals. “We tried not to limit ourselves at all, and that included doing a lot of stupid shit over each song. Some of it did make it in.” Bassin adds: “It was also our first time in a proper studio for an extended period of time, so we were like kids in a candy store trying everything we could.”

The band’s wide-eyed sense of excitement about the recording process, and the boundary-breaking new album that emerged from it, is still palpable as we finish our drinks and head out of Luna Park. Geese, it seems, are well and truly ready to take flight.

Geese’s ‘3D Country’ is out on June 23 via Partisan Records/Play It Again Sam