Geoff Farina is one of those musicians that, even though he seems to be in the shadows for the mainstream audience, has a legion of faithful fans who follows closely one and each of his movements. Lately, after quit playing in bands like Karate or Glorytellers, he has been playing with Exit Verse and its debut album, which was released in Europe by Damnably, is in our favorite list.
We spoke with Farina about this new album, the future of the band and the state of the past projects
Despite the album was recorded during summer of 2013, it was not released until November 2014. Why did it take that long to publish it?
We didn’t have a record deal when we recorded it, so it took a while to get on board with the labels. Ernest Jenning Rercord Co. had a pretty full release schedule, and we didn’t know this when we recorded, so that pushed it out further. Also, we wanted to make sure that we had time to tour on the record.
According to the credits of the album, you are the single composer. Did you work on your own for a long period? How much contribute the rest of the band during composition?
I write all the songs, just like I did in Karate. We work out the arrangements together. The arrangements are of course very important with this kind of band, so we spent a lot of time working out parts together.
Talking about the rest of the band members, how did you meet John Dugan, Pete Croke, Chris Dye and Thalia Zedek? Had you played with them before in other projects?
Pete I met when I moved to Chicago about five years ago. He was in a band w/a friend of mine, and Pete also introduced me to Chris. I knew Thalia from Boston, where I lived for 20 years, and John and I toured together when he was in Chisel and I was in Karate.
Exit Verse not only reminds Karate’s sound but also breaks away from acoustic concept of Glorytellers. Does Exit Verse grow in an attempt of going back to electric sounds?
We’re just a rock band, and I’ve kind of gone back to the 70s/80s rock/punk that I grew up with. So yes!
I guess this is a repetitive question, but I have to do it . Is there any chance to have Karate back on stages?
No plans for that now, but who knows.
In which point do you think Glorytellers is so far?
We are probably finished. It was always difficult to do live because of the acoustic instruments, so it just became a recording project. We did 3 records that I’m happy about, but I think it’s over at least for now.
Do you see Exit Verse as a parenthesis in your career or do you expect it to have continuity in the upcoming years?
No, we expect to keep working as a band. We are probably going to record a record later this year, and we’re all very happy about how everything has been going.
When composing, do you know from the very beginning to which project a song would be assigned?
I usually only work on one project at a time, so yes, I usually know where a song is going to go.
You were non stop touring during 2014, alone and with Exit Verse. Have live performances become a financial need to keep on being a musician? Do you still enjoy it as the first day?
I always enjoy performing and connecting to people at shows, probably more now than I did in the past. I try not to take it for granted because I am very lucky and it’s a wonderful experience that I cherish. That said, I don’t enjoy traveling very much at all. I’ve been to a lot of places and I think I’ve gotten travel out of my system at this point. It is somewhat of a financial need, but I also teach and do other things, so it’s not always crucial for me to tour constantly.
The last time you were in Spain you played alone. Is there any chance to have you back soon this time with your band?
I hope Exit Verse can come in the fall. We are touring Europe in May but won’t make it to Spain unfortunately, but we hope to return. Spain is always a great place to tour!
You are member of a musical school where you teach several courses about blues. Would you say blues music have influenced you most?
I love blues, especially acoustic blues from the 20s and 30s, but I’m influenced by all kinds of music.Me encanta el blues, especialmente el blues acústico de los años 20`s y 30’s pero estoy influenciado por musica de todo tipo.
In reference to teaching topic, what do you think about education system in your country? Do you think there are interesting projects related to music?You were non stop touring during 2014, alone and with Exit Verse. Have live performances become a financial need to keep on being a musician? Do you still enjoy it as the first day?
Well, it’s broken for sure. Higher education is far too expensive and the standards are very low, so there are lots of problems. The main problem that I see is that too much is expected of students now, and they don’t have the time or energy to look very closely at one thing. Students now do too many tasks superficially, instead of digging into one task thoroughly. There are a lot of skills (transcription, for example) that take a lot of time and practice to master, and that are absolutely mandatory to study music well, and these are being lost. I think students should be asked to do much less, and to dedicate more time and energy to one task.