JOVM mainstay Mike Deni is a New Jersey-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electro pop artist and producer, best known for his solo recording project Geographer. As the story goes, Deni relocated to San Francisco while living in the aftermath of the sudden and tragic death of his sister — and then the equally unexpected death of his father. While sleeping on a floor of a friend’s Haight-Ashbury apartment, Deni serendipitously found a synthesizer on the street and began to channel his grief and optimism into the songs that would eventually comprise his full-length debut 2008’s Innocent Ghost. And through the release of two more full-length albums 2012’s Myth, 2015’s Ghost Modern and three EPs, 2010’s Animal Shapes EP, 2015’s Endless Motion EP and last year’s Alone Time EP, Deni has received attention across the blogosphere for his unique, textured and soulful blend of analog, electronic and acoustic elements, a sound that he has described as “soulful music from outer space.”
Building upon a growing profile, Deni has toured with the likes of K. Flay, The Flaming Lips, Young The Giant, Tycho, Ratatat, Betty Who and Tokyo Police Club, and he played sets at Outside Lands Festival and Firefly Festival. Interestingly, last year the JOVM mainstay gave up his San Francisco apartment and hopped between tours and friends churches for the next six months, including a month stay back in Jersey and a few weeks in Italy (where both sides of his family are from). And he did that before finally relocating to Los Angeles. During that period of shiftlessness in which he was in limbo between his old life and new life, Deni wound up writing the material, which would eventually comprise his recently released New Jersey EP.
Many of the songs of the New Jersey EP began in his childhood home and were finished at a friend’s Los Angeles home while he was looking for an apartment; in fact, the EP’s first two singles “Love is Wasted in the Dark” and its latest single “Summer of My Discontentment” were part of the first batches of material written during that period. “Summer of My Discontentment” is a perfect example of the JOVM mainstay’s specialty — swooning and earnest 80s-inspired synth pop, centered around a twinkling and arpeggiated piano, thumping beats, a soaring hook and Deni’s plaintive and aching vocals; but unlike some of his previously released material, the song possesses a wistful air that comes from nostalgia for a long-gone, seemingly simpler time that you can’t have ever again — and the dreams your younger self may have given up for the compromises of adulthood.
Directed by Patrick Mattes, the recently released accompanying video follows a group of young people, full of youthful hopes and dreams on a gloriously sunny day while Deni broodingly sings the song from a different vantage point, during sunset. In some way, the video implies that the action are the reflections and reminiscing of the video’s central character — from the perspective of a complicated adulthood.
Deni will be embarking on a North American tour with fellow JOVM Manatee Commune that begins on May 17, 2019 and includes a New York area stop — June 7, 2019 at the Bowery Ballroom. Check out the tour dates below.