January 17th, 2024 – The Moroccan Lounge
It’s a Wednesday night in January, and the tight-knit Moroccan Lounge is packed from door to door. I hastily push through the crowd of unfamiliar faces until I finally spot a recognizable head of curls in the distance. The curls belong to Austin Geller, an LA-based electronic musician and film composer. It’s his first show in several years. I can tell the pre-show jitters are kicking in but in a good way.
I first met Geller in December 2022 on the outdoor patio at Catch One. It was a Subculture party, one of my first live music events in LA. We bonded over our shared love of electronic music.
As I said, the lounge was PACKED for the entirety of Geller’s return to the stage. I’ve never seen a show so crowded in the middle of the week. People were singing louder than the live mix. Geller’s overwhelming live success promises a new era for his music. We were able to catch up a bit after his set:
Photos by Teia Ciornei (@teiatoast)
Teia Ciornei: Would you say there’s a genre your music fits best into?
Austin Geller: I’d say electronic. It’s definitely pooling from a lot of places, though. Indie electronic, alternative electronic, anything in that wheelhouse. But given that I do a lot of composing for film, there is an underlying cinematic influence to my music.
Ciornei: When did you get into making music?
Geller: I was always musically involved in one way or another. When I was in elementary and middle school, I played clarinet and guitar and was in the school choir. But I didn’t get into actual production and songwriting until I was a freshman in high school. I discovered Flume, XXYYXX, Kaytranada, and a bunch of those earlier pioneers around that time and was super intrigued. So I downloaded Ableton Live and started messing around with it to make funny song mashups to play when I’d DJ with my friend in his garage (where we hung out a lot after school). But obviously, that gave way to me really diving into production. And I guess, like, ten years later, here I am.
Ciornei: You have way more gear on stage than any synth-based act I’ve seen live. Can you tell me a little more about your live setup?
Geller: So, I had multiple components to the setup. The show was running through Ableton, where I was triggering my song stems and playing some MIDI. I had somewhat of a DJ station going on where I’d trigger some effects and stuff like that. All the synths had live monitoring so that I could hop in at any moment.
I did a lot on the Behringer System 500 (the bigger modular one with a bunch of cables), which I was sending into a Microcosm pedal to create a lot of the electronic atmosphere and textures throughout the set. I used the Lyra-8 a couple of times for some drone effects and feedback sounds. And then, on the other side, I had a Prophet Rev 2, Volca Modular, Moog Mother 32, and the Behringer K2, which I riffed on at various moments. And then, obviously, another big part of the show was the live vocals.
Ciornei: What was the most memorable or surprising part of your night at the Moroccan?
Geller: I’d say the fact that we didn’t have any major technical hiccups. This was my first show in like six years, and it was by far my most ambitious setup. I’m very much testing things out right now, so the fact it went so smoothly was awesome! I’d also say it was crazy and humbling to see the place packed full of many familiar and unfamiliar faces. I signed a couple of setlists after the show for people who said my music was in their top songs of the year on Spotify. And I saw some people tearing up during some moments of the show. That was super surreal and something I won’t forget.
Ciornei: What other projects have you worked on this last year or so?
Geller: I did a lot of work for film and advertising this year. I did some music for social media ads for 7-Eleven, Champion, Adobe, Max, and a couple more, which was really cool. And then a bunch of short films with some up-and-coming directors that I’m really excited about. I also made the music for a fashion runway, which was a new experience. But yeah, I love being involved in a bunch of areas!
Check out Geller’s new single, “Bliss”, here: