If you took something really cute and adorable and momentous, like the birth of your first child, you'd have a big part of the sound that Minus Story creates. You'd also have to add something sinister, like a piranha coming out of the baby's vagina. But, even the piranha is cute, with a smile and a twinkle in its little fishy eye.
What I'm getting at is that Minus Story is one of the best indie bands writing music, with a poppy sound that in its own smiling way is deranged. If you listen to it going to sleep, you'll dream of a bear mauling you, but the bear is made of pudding and when s/he bites your neck, butterflies flutter forth.
What lay beneath this madness of an introduction is an interview with Jordan Geiger, singer, guitarist, keyboarder and writer of the majority of Minus Story songs. If you've heard Minus Story before, prepare for top secret plans that have yet to be revealed. If you haven't heard Minus Story, pull up a lawn chair and get ready for some chill times with some chiller tunes.
Scene Point Blank: Why did you choose the band name Minus Story? Is there any type of story behind the name?
Jordan Geiger: It simply means, "Lacking a story." We used the phrase briefly to make fun of a film a friend of ours was making. Around the same time, we made a long list of possible band names. Minus Story was the best. People often call us THE Minus Story, which used to annoy me because THE Minus Story doesn't make any sense. MINUS STORY does.
Scene Point Blank: What can we expect next from Minus Story? Does the new album have a name yet? How is the new album different than No Rest for Ghosts? When will you be recording it?
Jordan Geiger: Wow. There's a lot going on here. The album has the working titles, Aaron and My Ion Truss, at least to me. It will most likely have eight songs. We're shooting for Fall of '07 to release it. We're starting recording in September at Electrical Audio Studio in Chicago with John Congleton. It's been a dream of ours to record in these circumstances for a long time. In the meantime at home, we're going to self-record another record (probably an EP) tentatively called, Making the Dead Come which will be all the songs (about death) we didn't put on Aaron, plus a cover maybe. Aaron will have piano and lots of guitars, and is generally more "precious" than even The Captain is Dead, Let the Drum Corpse Dance, much more so that No Rest For Ghosts. I personally have really been into making weird guitar sounds. We're adding a bunch of weird stuff in the mix...more like The Captain... in that sense, although the music is not too similar to either The Captain or No Rest For Ghosts...also, a vinyl only project might happen with some songs Andy wrote that are really great. I want to make a CD of a monologue I've been working on in my head about "Capital."
Scene Point Blank: What kind of submissions did you get for "The Great Minus Story No Rest for Ghosts Contest"? In the contest it said the winner would receive a song from Minus Story, how did that end up working out? Will this song be made public?
Jordan Geiger: We got a lot of great stuff. The winner was an awesome song about zombies which is featured at our website along with some other runners-up. The song is coming along. I'm not sure whether it'll be public or not.
Scene Point Blank: What is "Move the Music," and what part in its operation do you undergo? Do you think rising gas costs are going to start effecting touring bands more and more in the long term?
Jordan Geiger: I'm not sure if Brandon (the founder of MTM) is going to continue it at all, since he just moved out of state. It is/was a great idea, a not-for-profit group that raised money for touring musicians. I know it made a great deal of a positive difference for us on tour. Rising gas costs are really putting a squeeze on small bands, that's for sure. I don't know what else I can say about that, it's pretty depressing.
Scene Point Blank: Why don't you have any upcoming shows? Will there be any upcoming tours where people can you check you out live style?
Jordan Geiger: We're really focusing our energies/money on writing and recording right now. We all live in different cities, so we have to be very strategic about getting together, it involves multiple plane tickets. We're hoping for a sweet west-coast tour to come together for December with our favorite band, but I don't know if that's going to work out.
Scene Point Blank: What's the deal with Jordan Geiger's upcoming solo album? How will it be different than Minus Story? Does anybody else have other projects they are working on?
Jordan Geiger: Right now, I'm posting a rough mix of a new song every month, and I plan to do that for the forseeable future. I'm not sure when a record will materialize, I have a pretty big backlog of songs as well as different things I'd like to try, so we'll see...for the most part, the solo stuff has been either more personal (or particular to me) and/or more poppy than Minus Story. Check out jagjaguwar.com for all the mp3s so far. Mark plays guitar in a band called Black Christmas that's awesome. Andy is an assistant art director for independent films and such in NYC. We're all up to different things.
Scene Point Blank: How has your hometown of Boonville, MO influenced you? Was it the situations you grew up with, the people, the music or what? Is there a favorite place for you to play, either local or abroad, and why?
Jordan Geiger: I don't know what the deal about Boonville is...when we were kids it was a great place to raise kids. I don't know what it's like now. It's a weird little town in a weird border state. We sort of made our own fun and felt like the whole town was our playground. Even though I dislike Oklahoma in general, our two shows in Norman, OK at the Opolis have been really fun and exciting. We usually eat great Thai food at a local restaurant, then spend the night drinking whiskey. Chicago, Texas, and San Francisco are always good shows. I like visiting NYC.
Scene Point Blank: In a previous interview it was said that a theme of No Rest for Ghosts was having no control over destiny. What do you mean by this and how does No Rest For Ghosts portray this for you?
Jordan Geiger: The theme in general was powerlessness for sure. It comes from different conflicting elements of the Midwest, I think: hopelessness, stifling traditional values, apathy, etc... All this adds up to a sort of willful destruction that's depressing to be around. These ideas sort of manifested themselves through the lens of various things I/we are interested in: mind-control, the belief in God, death, war, authoritarianism, childish imagery, the end times, etc..
Scene Point Blank: Any particular reason why the vinyl for your newest album, No Rest For Ghosts, didn't include liner notes with lyrics? From the lyrics I've gotten a good grip of, it seems you guys like to do a narrative style of lyrics of weird things, like a baby eating its mother. How do you go about writing stories like this? Do you get a concept first then write it out, get some lines and write it around that, or what?
Jordan Geiger: We couldn't afford to package liner notes this time. It kind of slipped by without us noticing since it was our first experience with vinyl. The time when we were finishing the art was difficult for us in ways unrelated to the band, so we let it go...it kind of sucks. In the future, we'll be able to do some cool stuff with the vinyl release, I hope. I usually write melodies first, with a few key phrases amidst a lot of mumbling. Then I let the song play in my head all the time and a scenario comes up that makes sense to me.
Scene Point Blank: There seems to be an ongoing theme with younger light elements and at the same time darker mature elements. Is this mix intentional? Do you find that your audience is both younger and older?
Jordan Geiger: I'm not sure who our audience is, but I really appreciate hearing that people are interested/enjoy what we do. It's very flattering and encouraging. The mix of light/dark elements is sort of natural for us, it's an extension of our interests and personalities, as well as the fact that, try as I might to do different things, I always write pop songs that have a certain lighthearted element to them.
Scene Point Blank: What do you hope the audience, or listener, will obtain from watching/listening to Minus Story? Does the audience ever affect your song writing in any way?
Jordan Geiger: I just hope that the audience/listener can obtain something meaningful from our music. Whether that something is what I intend doesn't matter so much. I'm usually so intent on what we're working on that I don't think about the audience that much. I think we're going to keep changing and doing what's the most challenging and interesting to us for the forseeable future. Hopefully people will appreciate that.
Scene Point Blank: A lot of interview questions obviously ask very music related questions, are there any questions that you feel as a band you aren't asked that you would like to address?
Jordan Geiger: I've always wanted to do a technical interview about our recording processes over the years. I often value technical recording/music-making insight over more personal matters in interviews I read. There will be a recording diary for the new record, I think. If anyone has any questions, they can e-mail me, I guess.
Scene Point Blank: Any last words?
Jordan Geiger: Without a doubt, Broadway Cafe in Kansas City, Missouri makes the best espresso in the world.
Interview conducted by Zed.
Graphics and layout by Matt.