3D Country

New York’s most exciting new band: Geese in conversation with The Flaming Lips
By Alex James Taylor | Music | 11 April 2024

Geese are the sound of new New York. From Brooklyn to the Lower East Side, they represent a link to what was, what is and what will be. The latest alternative voice from a city that has produced the lineage – Richman, Reed, Ramone – Geese stand at the intersection of rhythm and riot.

Consisting of Cameron Winter, Dominic DiGesu, Max Bassin, and GusGreen, the band formed as a bunch of school friends making music before inevitably leaving for college. But the wild success of their debut LP –Projector – had other plans: college can wait. Then came their 2023 record, 3DCountry, a genius work that saw the band unleash their true voice. Intricate, expansive, unpredictable. Croons, choirs and choruses. Streets populated by moonshine cowboys, biblical floods and Egyptian underlords. Their lo-fi beginnings elevated, the cagey, DIY sound of their early work unleashed as a shape-shifting sonic bolt lighting up the New York grid. In conversation with The Flaming Lips’ multi-instrumentalist Steve Drozd – a master of sounds expansive and deranged – Geese frontman Cameron Winter finds a kindred spirit.

Steve Drozd: Hey Cameron, thanks for asking me to do this.
Cameron Winter: We love you!

SD: Thank you, you’re kick-ass. What’re you up to now? Are you in touring mode?
CW: We’ve just finished touring for our last album and it was amazing. Now, I’m finishing some projects before starting the next Geesealbum, but then we should be recording in spring and touring for the rest of the year. It’s sort of new for us because, before this most recent record, we had the pandemic, so we’d spend as much time as we needed in the studio.

SD: When you talk about touring for the rest of the year, that’s so in the past for us. I think the longest tour we ever did, even back in the day, was three months maybe. And that seemed insane back in 1994. So you guys go on tour for months, are you back and forth a lot or just gone for a long time?
CW: The longest we’re out without breaks is like a month-and-a-half, that’s how it was for this tour, we did a month on, a week off, and then a month-and-a-half on.

SD: That’s smart, because I was going to be the cautionary voice from the grave like, don’t go on tour for six months at a time because it’ll fucking kill you. But you’re being reasonable about it.
CW: Did you tour with bands before Flaming Lips, or was that the first?

SD: Yeah, but only local bands. I was in a band in Austin, Texas, and we did a tour of the Midwest in the winter of 1990, but it was like ten shows. That was my only touring experience before The Flaming Lips.
CW: Did you guys get along well on tour?

SD: The Lips? There’s been so many versions of the band, but after all these years Wayne [Coyne, frontman] and I still get along really well. Wayne’s eight years older than me, he’s like an older brother, so we didn’t have these ego clashes many bands will have – it just happens. But we never had that really. They were also really cool… not cool [laughs] but they tolerated my drug abuse for a long time. We always got along on the road.
CW: That’s great. Not the drug abuse part, but the tolerance.

SD: Even if you fucking love music and it’s the only thing you care about, touring can just be a real hell for some people. I don’t like it, but I like playing shows so I put up with it, but some people just can’t deal with the travel, the stress and the strain. It’s been pretty easygoing for us on the road.
CW: Our beginnings as a band, we were just in high school and didn’t have any aspirations to tour or anything like that. I’d read about bands I loved breaking up and I’d just be so upset and angry, like, “How the hell do you get the best job in the world and just throw it away?” It was mind-boggling, I had no earthly idea why this was such a common occurrence. And not like things are going down the river for us or anything, but after a single tour, I completely understand – I’m almost shocked they don’t break up sooner. [both laugh]

SD: I’m imagining you guys being younger and more highly evolved than us, so you’d realise that quicker maybe and deal with it more responsibly. How old are you guys anyway?
CW: We’re all 21.

SD: Damn, that’s really young. You’re stirring some shit up pretty quickly. When I joined The Lips I was like 22. You guys have already put out LPs, EPs and everything, damn, that’s crazy. So you were like eighteen when the first stuff was coming out?
CW: The very, very first stuff was when we were like fifteen, we did some recordings when we were in eighth grade.

SD: Oh wow.
CW: But that stuff was really bad, it was like Sleep worship…

SD: The band Sleep?
CW: Yeah. It was more something that was concerned with separating us from the other kids, we wanted to be tasteful and all these things. It wasn’t very good.

SD: Still, it’s amazing that you guys have accomplished what you have at this age, and it seems like it’s all been on your terms. You’re just doing it yourselves, that’s the impression I get.
CW: We’ve been pretty lucky.

“I’d read about bands I loved breaking up and I’d just be so upset and angry, like, “How the hell do you get the best job in the world and just throw it away?””


SD: So how did the King Gizzard thing come about [Geese are supporting King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard on tour], are they fans of you guys?
CW: It turns out they are. We’d been fluttering our eyelashes at them for a little while. We’ve loved them for so long, I remember we were like sixteen and went to one of their shows – that was the first time I’d ever seen a moshpit in my life, and the first time I’d ever been in one. I had the ticket from that show up on my wall when I was a kid. I heard that they were in a livestream or something and they had our album playing in the background and I was obsessed with that rumour. We ended up meeting Ambrose [Kenny Smith, King Gizzard frontman] at a festival because he watched our set and then came up to us like, [puts on an Australian accent] “Hey, I really like you.” We played it pretty cool but were very excited at this. Then I heard they were touring and I’d sent them their tour poster and put a little text box in yellow saying ‘+ Geese’ and a big smiley face. I direct messaged them on Instagram with that. They read it and said nothing, so I was like, “Oh, now I’ve completely ruined my chances with them with this stupid joke.” But then suddenly their manager reached out like, “Would you do the first two thirds of the tour?” And we had a big hurrah.

SD: That’s going to be a good time.
CW: I’m beyond excited.

SD: The first track on your first record, Rain Dance, is that like 5/8s against 5/8s against 4/4 or something? It’s a really weird poly-rhythm juxtaposition-type thing. Is that inspired by anything?
CW: Yeah, we ripped off this other song that did almost the exact same thing. They did 7/8s against 4/4…

SD: You should always say you’re inspired by, never ripped off.
CW: Well this one’s pretty egregious. [both laugh]

SD: It’s really cool, really jarring. Do you guys listen to any progressive rock from the 70s?
CW: Oh dude, that was all we listened to for a long time. Our roots are pretty proggy.

SD: I forget that younger people have had so much access to all this music for most of your life. When I was sixteen, if you wanted to buy a new record you had to go to Hastings Music in Yukon, Oklahoma, and hope they had it. Now, my daughter is sixteen and I just can’t believe how much music she knows. Like, “Why are you listening to Guided by Voices? I’ve never played that for you.” And she’ll be like, “Oh, I heard this on some YouTube streamer’s thing.” Which is wonderful. When you have so much access to so many different kinds of music, I imagine it must be harder to hone in on one thing to make it your own when you have so much coming at you from different angles. How do you focus in on like, “This is going to be me,” or, “This is going to be us”?
CW: I get what you mean. It’s strange because even though we have this unprecedented access to music in our pocket – this incredible blessing that no other people before right now have been able to have – a lot of people are still pretty narrow in what they listen to, they don’t necessarily like exploring outside of their comfort zone. As a band, we definitely like to listen to different music and I get a kick out of getting into certain music that plays by a different set of rules to what I usually listen to. It opens my mind up. I’ve met some fucking insane musical polymaths, younger people with a knowledge of music that is like that of a 60-year-old record store owner.

SD: Our assistant tour manager, his name is Cameron and he’s 24,25 years old, oh my god, I tried to make him a Spotify playlist like, “Hey kid, here’s some music you might not know.” And he countered my playlist with the most insane, “Look old man, I know a lot more music than you do.”[laughs] The way I knew he was a real freak was, the first time he really spoke to me he said, “Hey Steve, they finally put that first King Crimson record out on a disc set remaster, and you can get it now if you’re looking for it.” He knows so much music, like what you’re saying, he could be an 80-year-old wizard that knows all recorded music. [both laugh]
CW: It can be very intimidating for us to make decisions about a song. I feel like for this record, not to disparage what we were trying to do, but it’s the result of about two years of us trying to develop with the new-found confidence that a label is interested in us, and that people will actually hear it. This is the first album we’ve made with any assurances. Even the first album, we made it for ourselves and then it got picked up and distributed, so we didn’t know it was going to be out there. I think our approach [to this latest record] was that every time we were going to limit ourselves and be like, “That’s too much,” we’d actively press that impulse.

SD: Got you. That’s interesting because when you’re just doing shit to be doing it, that’s such a different perspective from, “Oh, this record company is waiting for this from us.” But it sounds like you guys are dealing with that pretty well.
CW: We’ll see. [Steve laughs] We were really inspired by bands like Ween, they were able to sound like themselves while so clearly taking from these different musical worlds.

SD: They’re the master of that, for sure. Those guys are like, “We’re going to do a country record,” and it’s clearly their take on a country record, plus some like rogue whatever. Then there’s the sea shanty record, The Mollusk, I love that.
CW: It’s one of my favourite albums of all time.

SD: Oh man, there you go. To take from all these different genres but make it your own thing, it’s hard. I feel like we’ve done that a lot over the years, like, “We want to have some classic 70s country vibes on this song.”
CW: I know exactly what you mean.

SD: Over the years, there are many examples of me bringing something to Wayne and it would have too much of the essence of what it was influenced by, and Wayne is helpful in that way, like, “This sounds a little too much like whoever it is.” Then sometimes he’ll do that, every once-in-a-while. After all these years, there are things we each always go back to, things from our childhood. He goes back to Charlie Manson, the Beatles and Disney, somehow. [laughs] It must be from his eight-year-old brain. And mine is Kiss, Yes, 70s disco. The Beatles are always in Wayne’s brain, that’s just a part of his being. He would’ve been eight or nine when they broke up. That and the moon landings of 1969, Tom Jones – his mother loved Tom Jones – and Woodstock.
CW: One of the best things about being a kid is that you’re liberated from context, what you’re supposed to like, what’s cool and what’s not. I liked everything. I liked Imagine Dragons when I was a kid…

SD: I think being free from that is amazing. Young people love Steely Dan, right? But I have to tell you, in the early 90s, you couldn’t listen to Steely Dan, it was just verboten. And in a lot of ways you couldn’t listen to Yes, or Emerson, Lake & Palmer, or King Crimson. That’s just the way it was, people were so hung up on shit. So when you say you speak about not having these references to what’s cool and what’s not, it’s a great thing. It used to be that you couldn’t listen to certain things; if you want to be punk rock you can’t listen to Steely Dan. And now they’re the coolest band.
CW: Let’s not be too hasty, I don’t know if they’re the coolest band. [both laugh] They are great though, I am officially out the closest as a Steely Dan listener.

SD: I’ll tell you what I’m working on now. Wayne has two small children, so his world has completely changed. I remember he said, “Having two kids makes it really difficult to do stuff.” And I was like, “Yeah, I wish you realised that when my kids were one and three years old.” [laughs] Sothis is the longest we’ve ever not worked on new music. He’s working on a graphic novel right now and I’m doing a score for this documentary about the scientist Dr Robert R. Wilson, who worked with Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project and then freaked out about Hiroshima and Nagasaki so decided to help people. He worked on synchrotron and proton therapy, crazy stuff to help with cancer. Then we’ll probably get together in early spring to work on new Lips stuff. We were really excited about our last record, AmericanHead, but the pandemic hit and everything got shut down, so I feel like it didn’t get its due. But you guys are preparing to tour more and you’re working on new solo music?
CW: Yes, I’m making a solo record right now, but I haven’t really told anyone about it.

SD: You’re playing music every day?
CW: Essentially. Sometimes at the end of the day I feel really depressed and I’m just like, “What the fuck is wrong with me?” And I realise I haven’t played music all day.

SD: Absolutely, when I was younger, if I wasn’t playing the piano, guitar or drum kit at some time in the day I’d get really down, I understand that. Now I’m mostly strumming a guitar while watching television hoping for something to happen.
CW: I love to hear about this. I’ve just bought a nylon string guitar and I’ve retracked all the steel string I did on the album with nylon because it was a whole new world opened up.

SD: Oh cool, yeah I’ve got a nylon string, it’s pleasant in a different way. So where do you guys all live?
CW: We all live in New York, in Brooklyn.

SD: Wow man, I can’t imagine growing up in New York. I like visiting but if I’m there for more than three or four days I’ve got to get out of there. You probably feel the same about Oklahoma City.
CW: I’ve never been to OKC, we’re going to go around May to play.

SD: Oh cool, I hope we’re here so I can see you guys play.

Follow Geese on Instagram.
Geese are currently on tour across North America.

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