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Brock Geiger Is Getting His Steps In

The multifaceted Calgary songwriter breaks out with debut single, “Steps Taken.” 

by Sebastian Buzzalino

Photos by Emma Palm

Brock Geiger has been a fixture in Calgary’s indie music scene for many years, but in the video for his latest single, “Steps Taken,” the multi-instrumentalist and producer becomes part of the city’s landscape in a much more abstract way. 

The cinematic video, directed and produced by Brock Mitchell, finds Geiger standing atop a pedestal at Contemporary Calgary, surrounded by lighting gear, dollies, tracks, and cables — all to pull back the curtain of production as the song unravels towards its climax. Abstracted flashes of macro views of flowers anticipate the litany of botanical growth that emerges from Geiger’s body: soon, he is overtaken by the flowers sprouting from his arms, his back, and his head until he becomes a monstrous figure in a ghillie suit, unrecognizable but for what remains of his environment. 

Over the course of his career, Geiger has been prolific – the essential axeman for seminal Calgary bands such as The Dudes, Raleigh, and Reuben & the Dark, alongside shorter-term stints collaborating with musicians across just about every genre, from rock to experimental, pop, synthwave, country, and jazz — there are few corners of the music scene in town that he’s failed to touch.

“I’ve played in a lot of mellow-ass, introspective things lately,” Geiger tells RANGE over green tea and onigiri. “For this project, I wanted to have some fun, dancey music.”

This project” is his first real foray as a solo artist. Over the pandemic, with all the downtime associated with the lockdowns, he dove into piles of hard drives to mine his own recordings and musings over the years and see what was even there. “I realized I had so many sketches that weren’t fleshed out to full songs,” he says. “I had nothing but time because no one was touring, so I started digging through the ones I liked and realized I had plenty of material for a record. From there, I basically started working on a whole record at my own pace in my own space.” 

In his home recording studio, Studio B, and with the help of Will MacLellan in Los Angeles at Sound City Studios, the fleshed out songs became left-field weirdo pop experiments: dancey, groovy and approachable at their core, but unafraid to dive into textures and themes at the twist of a guitar pedal knob. The first single to emerge from this flurry of creativity is the abstract and lush “Steps Taken,” a track that he describes as “Prince backed by MGMT or The Flaming Lips.”

 

 

“The song is about the fragility of relationships, about losing yourself to someone that, I guess, on the surface is beautiful and in many ways is positive, but it can ultimately be damaging,” Geiger says. “It’s about toeing that line in that lyrical sentiment and contrasting those heavier, darker feelings with a more frenetic musical piece.” 

Although Geiger is releasing under his own name for the first time, he still found a lot of value in collaborating with Mitchell, his fellow Brock. The process of bringing out his internal, personal sketches into the world and inviting like-minded artists to collaborate on his solo artistic practice ultimately became the point of the whole thing. 

“When I brought the song to Brock Mitchell’s attention and was hoping to do this song with him as a collaborator, it immediately resonated with him,” says Geiger. “I think he interpreted some of that idea of losing yourself to something or someone more to his own relationship with his film production and art, where it was like he had felt that he’s invested so much in his own creative practice, he’s been able to bring a lot of beauty to life. It’s about finding that balance of where the art and the human existence are, which is delicate for a lot of us, I think.” 

“He brought this floral, bio-takeover concept to the table of something beautiful that ultimately morphs into this monstrous thing,” Geiger continues. “The concept was sort of a look behind the curtain of a music video gone wrong. We’re looking in on someone’s creative process of making the video, but it’s gone too far — the monster is out of control.”