Invitation to success

Local folkie Brock Geiger finds his solo voice on debut album

Calgary’s Brock Geiger is an unassuming folk mastermind. Quietly toiling away at his musical craft for the last few years — he first made a splash winning the Calgary Folk Festival’s award for best performance in the Youth category in 2008 — he has recently been popping up everywhere in the city’s musical and artistic sightlines. As he poises himself for the release of his first full-length album Invitation Geiger remains humble about his growing presence in the Calgary music scene.

Geiger plays understated folk with highly orchestrated moments interjecting guitar-driven ditties —one friend likens it to “running at a [moderate] pace through crunchy peanut butter.” Invitation contains a myriad of musical flavours all working under the umbrella of his signature sound a balancing act that makes his growing acclaim unsurprising.

“The recording process for the whole thing took about a year from start to finish” he recalls. “The songs are going on a year old minimum. The way they are recorded is adapted to the way we’re performing them live now which is a different arrangement. When I planned the CD I planned on doing it as a solo project. There are different tracks that include members from [Geiger’s former band] Sea Level Rise and a mixture of songs that have a full-band arrangement kind of sound. A lot of them are a lot more solo songs. It seems like a beefy mixture of styles for me.”

The album not only features a robust complement of genres and sounds but also acts as a timeline of Geiger’s continuing musical development. In essence it’s both an introduction to his music and a document of the ongoing story of its creation.

“It’s definitely a progression” Geiger says. “When I started the album Sea Level Rise was still playing together and even though I was doing the album solo it kind of included some of that instrumentation on the record. As I started doing a lot more stuff on my own that’s when that stuff seemed to make sense showing up on the album. The album kind of develops like I have.”

Geiger’s journey has garnered him quite a few friends around town the most influential being the Consonant C’s Clea Foofat who now works under the moniker Clea Anaïs. The pair worked together on a project for the Ignite! festival’s music series and have been musically inseparable since. Geiger is quick to sing the cellist’s praises and credits her for taking him in a new direction.

“She definitely knows her shit” he says. “It’s super-wicked to even be involved with her at all. Even to help involve myself in the scene and getting to meet new people all the time is great. And maybe people take me more seriously because she hangs around. She’s given me a new way to approach my songs. It’s almost starting to become collaborative which is wicked to not just be screwing around with my songs all the time.”

Ignite!’s music series is not the only chance Geiger’s had to play some unconventional venues. The young folkie was also involved in CJSW’s summer concert series at Olympic Plaza with Calgary mainstays Dojo Workhorse and he will soon have the opportunity to play at the up-and-coming Mukwah Jamboree festival in Sundre Alta. He says these opportunities provide valuable experiences and have influenced the development of his music.

“Not to put down a bar show” he says “[but when] you get to play in an alternative atmosphere… like the Pumphouse Theatres for the Ignite! festival which was a brick room that could hold like 50 people it’s just a totally… different way to approach the way you play. I also respond differently to people’s reactions. Compared to Olympic Plaza where I played for 200 people coming and going it’s another thing altogether.”

With a growing local profile as the city’s new folk wunderkind Geiger will likely have the chance to try out as many venues as he likes.