Geographer Shares Blissful Synth Pop Anthem “Van Halen”

June 12, 2023 BY Jason Currell

Today, cerebral synth-pop luminary Geographer shares his blissful new single, “Van Halen,” that, yes, was partially influenced by the hair metal god’s but only because it seeks to understand the animalistic drive to be an artist or creator in our nihilistic society.  The track, which highlights his pitch-perfect falsetto over playful pop beats, is the latest of a compilation of new offerings – the catchy “I Don’t Remember It Starting” and the ballad “One/Other.”

Visionary Mike Deni explains his thought process behind writing “Van Halen,” “What if the dream you’ve been chasing your whole life is just a discarded wrapper you found from a candy that some god ate and carelessly tossed aside?  What if the whole universe is like that; not some divine creation but an afterthought, and we’re living in that candy wrapper trying to glean our purpose from the grooves of its crumpled walls?  For some reason, in the moment of writing, the image of Van Halen—with teased out hair, their front man doing splits in the air, their bassist taking a phaser solo via his guitar tech in the center of a stadium full of people, their guitarist a Mozart whose pen scribed screaming electric guitar solos instead of symphonies and librettos dedicated to adolescent desires—was the perfect talisman for the narrative I was writing.  I suppose the song is about being an artist, answering ‘the call’ to make your own humble addition to what is an otherwise perfect creation.  But that is the beauty of humanity isn’t it?  We are the great purveyors and connoisseurs of lovely, unnecessary things.”


When asked about the video, he notes, “My partner Monica showed me a photo of Patti Smith in the Chelsea Hotel with tons of clutter around her, and then another of Nick Cave in a very similar state of creative, chaotic repose, and I immediately knew I wanted the visuals to emulate the feeling they evoked.  Both artists are so young in the photos, and their clutter to me is evidence of their youthful zeal at trying to create something perfect.  I remember those days myself, in my 20s, the entirety of my being devoted to the simple and impossible task of making an incredible song.  I was veritably obsessed with responding to the vapors I felt around me, the hidden interlocutor off whom we bounce the story of our lives.  The ‘You’ in the song is an anonymous example of this artistic archetype—singularly focused on a perceived calling that overshadows all else—and I wanted to create a liminal space that reflected his neglect of his life in search of the proper response to the anonymous letter he receives sent by the guy in the ‘I Don’t Remember It Starting’ video.”

Formed in San Francisco, Geographer is the moniker for the now Los Angeles-based Mike Deni. Part social scientist, part troubadour, if Geographer is an expert at anything, it’s precisely chronicling life’s imperfections. He has headlined many national tours, played Outside Lands, Just Like Heaven, Firefly, Treefort, and other festivals, released three critically acclaimed albums, including 2021’s Down and Out In The Garden Of Earthly Delights, and has performed with such musical luminaries as K.Flay, The Flaming Lips, Young The Giant, Tycho, Ratatat, Betty Who, and Tokyo Police Club.