On this cold winter day, what could be better than a good hot coffee, a cozy place and some good music to feel comforted and happy?... A single from Geisha Skills, of course! Because some music, yeah, but with the excellent taste of a refined chocolate in the saucer, near the steaming cup...
Geisha Skills offers us today the much loved bitterness of coffee and the sweetness of chocolate. His new single 'Alone With My Pains' starts with impeccable, haunting Satriani-like notes. He immediately takes us with him, our ears delighted and our minds wandering... But where does he take us? Alone, yes, at this moment I am, totally in the bubble of the piece, transported, hermetic of the world, well, so well... What sweetness...
However, very quickly one perceives true loneliness, melancholy, the music becomes more saturated and enters a little more deeply in me, in front of me, my demons, my monsters under the bed, my memories, my pains, my sorrows... For all that, I am well there, I remain in my bubble, appreciating each note of this strong single of an incredible control of the music...
It speaks to me, a story without words, a magnificent poem without a single word and yet, I hear my soul speaking without stopping... Geisha Skills is, without a doubt, the best writer on staves.
You will have understood it, we fall very quickly under the charm of this piece and its paradoxes. Go without further delay to discover the latest single of Geisha Skills 'Alone With My Pains', you will leave transcended! Hats off to the artist...
There is a little more, my lady, I leave it to you ?
You should know that a short time ago, we had the honor to interview Mr. Geisha Skills who confided with passion about his latest acquisition, a 'LeoCustom' guitar, custom made, body and material, in order to marry his dream of a unique guitar, soulmate of his talent, made just for him. But I'll let you discover it all in the video below, transcribed (again below) for those who would prefer to read it (yeah, we don't do anything by halves at Earama).
Earama - We're meeting today to talk about your guitar prototype. Can you introduce the project to us?
Geisha Skills - At the beginning, I was endorsed by the SolarGuitar brand and I was approached by a luthier who wants to start his brand. His name is Leo, he created LeoCustomGuitar. And so he had a project to make my guitar, the guitar of my dreams. So my signature guitar. And then to use it to sell it as a model that we could customize. But the starting point would be the woods and the pickups that I would have chosen. In fact, the person who is going to buy a custom guitar could change the colors and some things on it. So that's his basic project. So I thought the project was pretty cool and it was very flattering for me. So here is the first prototype. It's mahogany, with flamed maple for the body. The neck is flamed maple, caramelized. And the front is a maple they call 'burl top' with the Geisha Skills logo in the center. The headstock is reversed into 7 strings. We are on 26-5 and on a radius of 20 so it's very flat, it's going to please shredders and everything that is modern metal. The pickups are splitable. I didn't put a tone on it. I don't use a tone, in fact, everything is blended. You can split the mics, so it gives a nice variety. And here we're on a three position. I preferred a 3 rather than a 5 because it gives me 6 possibilities... 6 types of mics rather than just 5. The hardware is Hipshot. So it's custom too. And here, we are on a prototype because behind it, we still have to work on the... Because I gained a little bit of weight so I asked him to remove a little more wood here, to round it off here... Now the plate is going to be bigger, it's going to have the same color and the same type of wood as on the front. It's going to be a little bit of a reminder behind. And here we're going to hollow out for a better access to the higher notes. But basically, here we are. This would be the base. And the person who would like a custom on top could change the colors, could put a burl top or another type of flame. There could be another color here (the fretboard). There could be ebony. That's it. But we'd go around this shape. And it could have it in 6, too. In 7... Eight, why not! This is the first prototype and it's pretty good!
Earama - How does it feel to have it in your hands now? To have realized it now. To be able to hold it.
Geisha Skills - So it was pretty exciting to have it the first time because the quality of the assembly and the work on the wood... You have to know that he does everything by hand. So he removed all the wood himself, the handle he dug by hand... So it takes a little time but when you have it, you have the guitar of your dreams. And especially, compared to the price, to other brands on a custom... If I wanted Mayones to make me a guitar like this, I would have paid 4 000 or 5 000 € ! A guitar with this quality of wood... Here we are on a guitar that will cost around 2 000 € maximum. So it stays as close as possible to the price for young musicians who would like to really enjoy themselves or even professional musicians, but with coherent prices. Because you see PRS? Guitars at 15 000 €! There is not a guitar in the world that is worth 15 000 €. That's it. We pay the name 'PRS' but it's not worth it.
Earama - Especially here, indeed. It's a work of goldsmith. As you said, everything is done by hand. Really, we have a luthier's job from start to finish, a cabinet maker, all that.
Geisha Skills - Most of all, the project starts on a sheet of paper. So you'll see, you're going to start from a blank sheet of paper. If you want a custom from A to Z, you start with a blank sheet of paper, you're going to talk with him according to your style, according to the sounds you're looking for, the type of wood he's going to look for. So it's quite magical to see the creation of the guitar because at the beginning, we were looking for... For the neck, I wanted a Roasted Maple neck, so a caramelized neck. So we went to several wood libraries to find the nicest one, the one that looked the best and then he started working on it. He told me that it was like butter to pass the chisels in the wood. It was magical, the creation where little by little you see the baby coming. It's... It's quite enjoyable.
Earama - And how long have you been working on it?
Geisha Skills - So when he first came to me I asked him to work on two new projects. 2 fretboards. So he made me fretboards for guitars that I already had but I wasn't a fan of. So when I saw the quality of his work, I told him "ok, let's set a deadline, as if I were a customer", and so he did it in 3 weeks. This one he did in three weeks, whereas we worked on the fretboards for two months. He set himself a challenge, he worked every day. After 3 weeks he came home and said, "Here we are. This is the prototype". And we were there, indeed, it's a little wonder.
Earama - It's magic, it's really magic. To be able to control everything like that, to choose everything... It's sublime.
Geisha Skills - Honestly, he really makes pretty things. Frankly I recommend him. But after that, there are other brands that I am endorsed by. There's SkullString, for example, who did my signature set and who did it for other guitarists. And likewise, they work... It's a marvel of craftsmanship. You choose the alloys for the strings, the sizes... Everything is custom and when you order a set of strings, the set of strings is made the day before! And then it's mailed. And you have the alloy that you want; either it's Stainless Steel, or Nickel... Depending on the woods you use on the guitar you change the types of string alloys. The sound is totally different. Same thing with the pedals. I'm with Radikal Audio. And Radikal Audio, when I want a particular pedal or a pedal that doesn't exist anymore, for example from the 70's to have a precise sound, they will make it. So they will send me the prototype. I will play with it, I will have a very particular sound. I love this approach! As I'm a bit of a sound fanatic and I'm always looking for the sound that I have in my head and that I'll never have, anyway, like all guitarists. So I'm always looking for new material, new processes... And the brands that follow me are also in this process of really reaching perfection and I love it! SkullString, a marvel, I recommend it. SolarGuitar, it's another approach but I love Solar's guitars ! But LeoCustom there we are really in the custom-custom! You go and find your own pearl that nobody else on the planet has.
Earama - Yes, it's really a unique model in every way; the body of the guitar, the material used... The whole thing, really.
Geisha Skills - Everything! So much so that we're working on how he's going to hollow out the guitar so that it fits on my body perfectly. As I gained a little bit of weight... But here we are, we are really at the end of the end!
Earama - Really, when you come out of there, you have your own. It's very personal. It's magical.
Geisha Skills - Yes, yes. Then afterwards, it sounds a certain way. With the strings that you put on it, which like, were made for you, it sounds a certain way. Then you go and work on your pedals... Well, it's your sound anyway.
Earama - It's not just the aesthetics, so everything is really pushed. You told us that you were endorsed by several brands; can you tell us a little bit more about them and how long you've been working with them?
Geisha Skills - For my little story, I came back to music about 3-4 years ago. And I had a plan to reunite with my old band that we used to tour with when I was younger. But well, we're all older now; we're all dads, we're all married, we all have lives so we don't really have time. And I said to myself "ok, I'm going to do my own project, I'm going to do everything, I'm going to play all the instruments". And now with the internet we have the ease to produce and especially to go out with the social networks. So I did it. And as I grew on social networks and my music began to please, I was contacted by some brands, I met some people. And little by little, one thing leading to another, it came to what is now... A year - a year and a half ago, I was endorsed by SolarGuitar and that really pushed me up. Because people thought "Oh, but if a brand like Solar trusts him, maybe we'll listen to what he does". So a lot of people started to come and listen to my music. Well, a lot... It's very small, I'm not a big star, but there started to be traffic on Spotify, on Itunes, on social networks. And one thing leading to another, there was the pedal brand. I met the creator, I found his way of working fantastic; he liked my way of imagining the sound and the music. So it was a good match. The same goes for Skull String, I was already playing it before and I thought it was a great brand. And I had the chance to meet Gwen, and so we talked, it matched and then I was endorsed. She has a very specific idea of the business; people have to adhere to her way of imagining the music, why this string or that. If you fit into that model, she'll like you, you'll fit in. If you're just someone who says "I want to be endorsed so I can get free strings", it's no use. And likewise, I was endorsed by a pick brand that made my pick in the material I wanted, the thickness I wanted, the color... So I'm with 4 brands and it's been a year and a half.
Earama - It must be a real pleasure to work with all this, then. You really have your own material, adapted for you.
Geisha Skills - I'm a spoiled child, yes!
Earama - And you said that you learned to do everything yourself musically?
Geisha Skills - Yes... When I was younger, since we didn't really earn our living by touring and selling CDs, I also gave guitar and bass lessons. And what I learned there was how to program the drums. Because at the beginning, when I started the project, I had a drummer with me. And the path of life made that he opened a restaurant; he left on his own. But the first tracks that I released on my EP are with a real drummer. And the songs that came out after that, they are drums that are programmed.
Earama - That's great! Because there is already a lot of work! If you want a nice rendering on a drum set like that, anyway, you have to know it well, you have to have worked on it.
Geisha Skills - It's mostly in the mix. Because I do everything by myself, from the cover, to the creation, to the idea of the song, to the whole mix, to the master... I do everything from A to Z. So that's it. I make my communication afterwards on the social networks. That's what takes me the most time and what bores me the most, in the end. But the creation process, in fact, as I am alone, what is good is that I go where I want, with the music I want... If my feeling is to do something ultra violent, it will be ultra violent. I don't have a drummer who tells me "no, I don't feel like it", I don't have a bass player who tells me "no, it's not my style". That's it. So I go alone in there and often, my creation process, it starts from an image, or a sketch, or a color, an emotion and I make a little film and then, by the music, I stick to this little film. As if my music was a soundtrack. And in all the instrumental pieces that I have done - there must be about ten of them that have been released - they all have a story. And I have a project for next year - I should have done it this year but life didn't give me much time - I would like to make a little booklet, a little bit like if it was the inside of a CD but as now everything is dematerialized... The physical one doesn't exist anymore... So I'd like to make a mini booklet with the little code for Spotify with a little text next to it explaining the story that leads to this piece. And so to know if the people who listened to this song were in the same universe where I was when I wrote this song.
There's one called "The Birth", well, it's the year my daughter was born and I said to everyone I played it to "Look, this is the day your child was born". Every time, they said "It's a match, I was there, I lived it again". There are little things like that... So that's my process. Once I've done the sketch in my head, I make the instruments. And then the mixing and mastering starts. Or, basically, that's not my job at all. From track to track I progress on it but I spend a lot of time on it ! To record the guitar part it takes me 2 hours and to mix it takes me 10 days.
Earama - It seems logical, indeed. There is a lot of work behind it anyway.
Geisha Skills - Yes, the post-production work is long, it's tedious. But, at the end, when I release the track, I'm happy with the result and I see all the way I went through to get there... Well, that's pretty cool!
Earama - It's a real pride at the end. So you have your own studio?
Geisha Skills - There you go. This is my home studio.
Earama - And just out of curiosity, how many guitars do you have?
Geisha Skills - 30! I have 8 amps, I have 4 types of slappers with several microphones to record them but... I don't use them much anymore. I don't use them too much anymore because the neighbors don't like it when they feel like a plane is crashing next to them. So now I record the heads directly into the computer and I can emulate the slaps. Now it's gotten so far in this business that you can have the same sound as if it was your slap, in the computer. So I record the guitars and basses like that. Then I program the drums. Then I go and get samples or create them. Or I make the sounds with the guitars, or with microphones that I re-process to get the ambiences that I want to have... That's it. Then I play them on the keyboard. And that's it. That's the process. And what I had done and what I continue to do now is that, one song out of two that I release, is done in collaboration with a singer. So I had a Canadian singer, a Swiss singer... Well, Patknot, who you know, who is with you too, who has already done two songs with me and with whom I will certainly do an EP soon. There is the former singer of the band I was in when I was younger, who already came to do two tracks with me; there is another singer of a Metal band which is quite big called Eryn Non Dae (M4th), who is quite violent and very hard, who is someone I know since he was very young, who did, likewise, a collab with me. So here I am, each time I release these tracks; one time it's an instrumental, where I go where I want, one time we make a collab', where it's my universe that comes to collide with theirs and the mixture of the two brings us to the track, in fact.
Earama - It's quite funny to see the two sides of the process; there's a personal side where you really need to bring out what you have, you, and to polish every millimeter so that it looks like you completely - a bit like your guitar, finally - And at the same time, with the featuring, the fact of sharing this universe, of making another universe come to you and see what it gives!
Geisha Skills - I love sharing. Because basically, music is not made to be alone in your room. And now the life makes that, already with my age, my work and all that, I don't go on tour, I don't go to make scenes here and there so there is not this sharing anymore. But on the other hand, to record myself with a singer, to start again in the emulation of "look what I made!" or "wait, I have an idea", "ok, I re-create" and that starts again... This sharing, in the end, is what music is all about! Very often, I bring the instrumental to the singer and what we do with it, at the end, has nothing to do with the original instrumental. But the process is very interesting!
Earama - Very good. Do you have something to share with us about upcoming projects?
Geisha Skills - So, soon, on November 17th I have a new instrumental coming out. It's a very personal instrumental, quite slow, quite sad, finally. A dark atmosphere for something very particular that belongs to me. Next months, normally, December, I'm releasing a track with lowmthrfckr, who is the singer who was with me before, in fact, and with whom I did 'Play It Tricky'. And now we're doing one that's pretty violent, pretty Neo-Metalcore... It's pretty jumpy in the end, it's meant to jump around! Normally, for January, the track is already mixed, I just have to master it ; a new instrumental is coming ! And if everything goes well, in February, I have a track with lowmthrfckr that will be with Patknot! And in fact, it's going to be the mix of the two that's going to lead us to something pretty... Very violent. More like Periphery, 'Blood Eagle'. Do you see this universe? That's it.
Earama - So this is a track that will go far!
Geisha Skills - I hope so! The instrumental is already done and the two singers fell in love with it and told me "I want it for me"... We said with these two singers that now they were residents with Geisha Skills so now, when I release a song that they like, if they tell me "it's for me", it's for them! So I played it to both of them on the same day, both of them said "It's for me". I said "Great, let's make a three-way collab and let's go!"
Earama - We can't wait to see it all!
Geisha Skills - So that's until February. After that, everything I'm going to create between now and then...
I had set myself the goal last year to release a song every month. So there's only August where I didn't release anything. Otherwise, from September to July, I released a single every month. And there, it is restarted! We start again from next month.
Earama - Well, congratulations, because it's already a lot of work!
Geisha Skills - Thank you! It's less work than if I wanted to make an album, but it's mostly the way of consumption nowadays. If you want to exist, actually, you have to be there all the time. So, instead of releasing a 10 track album at once, I release a 10 track album with a song every month, for 10 months, I'm there. For 10 months, I can come up with something new every month, talk about it, release... And at the end of 10 months, you'll have the 10 tracks in your hands anyway.
When I released my first EP in January 2020, I released the 6 tracks and I noticed that people were listening to it... Well, some people liked it, listened to the 6 and saved it, and some people listened to the first one, sometimes half of the second one, and then they moved on. Because listening to 40min to an album of someone who is unknown, who just arrived, with whom maybe you had a chat on Instagram, who tells you "I make music, listen"... Well you listen to one song, yeah, maybe, the second one, yeah, maybe and then you skip it. For the Spotify algorithm, for example, all it means is that your album is not interesting enough to be pushed. Whereas if you release a single, it lasts three minutes. The person listens to it. If they like it, they save it; if they don't like it, they skip it. But the algorithm says to itself "Ok, the song has been listened to, I'll keep pushing it". And so you continue to exist for 10 months, so you're growing the base. Apart from touring, it's the only way we have now, as musicians, to exist.
Earama - Yes, it's an adaptation to this whole world and this new way of doing things, finally.
Geisha Skills - That's right, it's the new way of consuming. Before, there were series, we bought complete DVDs... The whole season in 24 DVDs. Now there's Netflix. So now, you eat a series in three minutes, you go pick up something else, you watch an episode of another... And you're always being asked for something new. I used to be a Korn fan (I'm still a Korn fan, by the way), the album that came out in the 2000s, for a year, I ate it every day. The last Korn album that came out, I picked up three songs and forgot about it because after that, all the bands that came after had an album coming out. So I had 50 albums to listen to... I picked up some, others... And in the end, compared to the way we used to consume music, now we pick and choose... We are so solicited everywhere that we don't consume in the same way. So, I think that we, as musicians, are obliged to adapt ourselves to the way of releasing music.