The talented musician and singer-songwriter tells Shelley Carter why he’s not into fame and fortune, but would quite like the world to listen
Home-grown talent Ed Geater kept his musical prowess under wraps while he experimented and perfected his unique style in private. Thankfully for the rest of us he decided to share his craft and with a few years gigging under his belt things are about to get very interesting indeed. With a record deal in the bag he’s recently released EP Barriers, which is getting a lot of attention, and is hosting a launch party in Brum this month. Although Ed’s technique and style is pretty alternative, his musical roots are classical reaching an impressive grade eight in violin and grade five standard piano before picking up the electric guitar in his teens. He switched to acoustic at university in Leeds and began exploring unconventional techniques. Ed mastered finger style, so lots of finger-picking as opposed to strumming and slap harmonic – slapping the strings to create a different sound. If you’re still confused, a quick watch of the stunning video for single Don’t Think will introduce you to Ed’s style beautifully.
Influences include two of Ed’s favourite guitarists, Andy McKee and Antoine Dufour. Ambient electronica has influenced Ed’s style a lot too with artists such as Bonobo, Boards of Canada and Four Tet making the list along with the more mainstream Radiohead. One of the things Ed explored and honed was beatboxing. He began combining his guitar style with the beatboxing to create a fresh sound that appealed. Ed didn’t gig at all while in Leeds, but back in Brum post-graduation he felt ready. Open mic nights at the Yard Bird and the Island Bar followed while by day Ed worked at Guitar Guitar on Hagley Road. He invested in a loop station which allowed him to experiment creating beats and chord structures. Of his time at Guitar Guitar Ed says: “I learned a lot about technology. It also allowed me to save up for a trip to South America. The experiences I had there inspire a lot of my music.” Before Ed went off on his travels he released an EP online called Changing Waves through Ditto Music. “I just wanted to get something out there before I left and it was really positively received,” he says. Ed’s break came in London when after a gig at Caramel in Wood Green he was invited to play Phoenix Sessions in Kilburn funded by Jataneel Banerjee, owner of record label Music Mandi. Ed was spotted and signed pronto. He recalls: “It was a nice way to get signed. I hadn’t sent my work to any labels and I’d spent four years playing which was a steady process of gaining confidence and perfecting what I do.”
Currently Ed produces his own music on Logic Pro from his laptop which allows him creative control. He explains: “I know how I want things to turn out and I enjoy the process.” Having said that, Ed would be keen to collaborate in the future and perhaps make music for media and film. Of Birmingham’s music scene Ed’s positive, but accepts he probably wouldn’t have been signed here. He says: “Birmingham has a vibrant music scene and a large diverse young population, so the quality is high, but the industry professionals are in London.” The word perfecting pops up a lot in our interview, so I’m sensing Ed’s a bit of a perfectionist. Fast tracks to stardom are definitely not his bag. “I’m not in awe of fame and fortune. If I can play for a living and people across the world can listen that would be great.” And he adds: “I’m sure there are talented people on programmes like the X Factor but it’s a bit damaging. People stop appreciating what we do. Music means something to me – it’s personal and emotional.”