Los Angeles, CA
Over a decade, Geographer frontman Mike Deni released three full-length albums. They were thoughtful and gorgeously nuanced: Innocent Ghosts (2008), Myth (2012), and Ghost Modern (2015) levitated through the unbearable lightness of being. His latest, Down and Out in the Garden of Earthly Delights (out November 12, 2021, Nettwerk Records), however, brings Geographer back down to terra firma, into a thicket of emotions, both rueful and hopeful, confronting the all-too-human realities around us. This, as it turns out, has been creatively liberating for him. The gravitation back to Earth started when he moved from San Francisco to LA in Summer 2018. “I hit a ceiling in San Francisco. I was writing a lot more songs with people in LA, so I moved down,” says Deni. He quickly fell into a funk despite outsize success headlining tours, playing festivals, and hearing his work in countless projects (by Pixar, MTV, The CW, Apple, Lionsgate, and more). “I didn’t really have any friends and just spent way too much time alone, making music. I became very, very weak. I wasn’t thriving, I was surviving. Once you achieve success, not hanging onto it is the hardest thing.” “Everything feels possible here. Everything should be wonderful. That’s the vibe of LA: You’ve made it to paradise!” remarks Deni. “You should be really happy…and then nobody is. There’s a lot of darkness — you have to sift through everything to find your own path.” While recording his album, engineer Jules de Gasperis showed him an image of the famed, 15th-century triptych painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” depicting alternate realities of paradise, hell, and reality. “It’s like, why are we all so bummed out? We are all miserable. And we’re in paradise.” And thus, Down and Out in the Garden of Earthly Delights — recorded between Spring and Winter of 2019 — was born.