The Search for Geek: Mr. Gee
Ready for another The Search for Geek? To kick off 2014, here is a good friend of ours named Mr. Gee! We met him through February Album Writing Month and today we’re talking to him about his crazy Minecraft music, his Kickstarter to make said music happen and lots more!
Name: Steven Wesley Guiles (aka Mr. Gee – pronounced like the letter G)
Instruments: Voice, guitar, bass, drums, casio keyboards, midi instruments, uke, ProTools
Location: San Dimas, California
Year Formed: 2007
Mag. Attack: 42
Mag. Defense: 51
Favourite Fandom: Miyazaki, Fallout 3
Finishing Move: Bacon Taco Zombie Whip
What is your geek origin story?
My first love for geek came from Star Wars. That and playing video games! In fact, that probably happened simultaneously. I first got into gaming on my Dad’s Radio Shack TRS-80 playing games that I remember loading on a cassette deck. It was crazy! You could load a game for 30 minutes and if anything went wrong in the process you would have to start again!
From there I got into my neighbors’ Atari games (Adventure was amazing!) and then later on Super Mario. I’ve been a gamer ever since. I tend to lean more towards adventure games with puzzles and questing involved. I was also a big fan of the King’s Quest series.
How did you get into songwriting?
I started writing music in college. I had already been learned to play guitar in high school, but I hadn’t really applied it to writing songs. I wrote my first song about unrequited love sometime around 1992. I was in three bands that really formed my musical ideas, one that took it not-too-seriously and two others that were a bit more serious. EEG (now known as The Vegas Nerve ) was were I learned to be in a band and just have fun rocking. Then I played in a national touring band (we toured the nation at least once…so that counts) called Pushstart Wagon, and my wife and I performed under the name Friction Bailey.
I didn’t start embracing my geek songwriting flag until I was a middle school teacher. Sometime around 2007 I wrote a song called Unicorn the Other White Meat based on a T-shirt I found online. it was freeing and my students loved it because I wrote it in class live. (I work in the computer lab at school teaching computer applications, animation, and video editing).
Speaking of silly songs, you released an album of them last year, yes?
Yeah. my album Super Silly Songs for Singing and Awesomeness and Stuff came out on physical CD last year and was first created in 2011. A lot of those songs were born during FAWM’s of 2008-2012…and live in my classroom. You can hear my students singing on some of the songs.
One of the songs on the album is one I wrote for an imaginary show called Power Pony Super Squad. There’s a video too! I hope the show comes to life – any animators out there looking for a new IP?
You’ve also written songs for film and TV. What has that been like?
Really, I got my confidence to write quickly and for specific listings by writing for the FAWM.org challenges for the last 5 or 6 years. I transferred that knowledge and skill to writing for film and television. I have recently had songs placed on The Mindy Project and an ABC News Special with Chrisitane Amanpour. It’s fun to write music AND get paid. It’s like having your cake, eating your cake, and then finding there’s more frosting left that you can lick off. It’s that good.
How do you find the TIME to do all of this? Dont you have a wife and kids? And, like, a job?!
Yeah. It can be challenging at times, but I’ve found that I always have time to do the things that are most important to me. I have to make a conscious choice sometimes to turn off the TV or Facebook and just head back into my studio and get to work. It doesn’t take much prodding though because I really love music!
I also make conscious decisions to NOT play music and just be with my family too. So, it’s a constant balancing act.
I tend to wake up earlier now while everyone is asleep and start sketching out an idea early in the morning. Then, in the evening I may finish an idea or record it to solidify the structure.
You’ve just launched a Kickstarter campaign for your upcoming album! Can you tell us about it?
Yes! So, I will be releasing my album, Songs in the Key of Minecraft (yes, the title may sound similar to another really amazing geek album out there…). The goal of the campaign is to raise enough to finish mixing, mastering, printing, and distributing the CD and also reward those supporting the campaign with other fun incentives. I plan to do a few wacky things during the weeks of the campaign to keep it interesting, but ultimately, I just want to release an album of songs that are super fun and that I’m very proud of. Even the most ridiculous songs are still great! (imho)
Why did you choose to focus on Minecraft specifically?
I chose Minecraft because this past February I had been playing Minecraft with my son for several months. I was totally immersed in Minecraft at the point when the songwriting for FAWM started, so I decided to go ahead and write an album’s worth of songs.
Do you have a favourite song?
My favorite songs right now are probably two from my new Minecraft album: “Minecraft, You’re My Best Friend” and my first full fledged rap song, “Mine Crafty”.
Debs says: It was amazing performing with you in the summer when the two of us met in person. Do you do a lot of live shows now?
At this point in my life I’ve dialed back my live performances to almost 0. I wouldn’t say I’m opposed to performing live (and I had a great time performing with you this summer on the song we wrote 15 minutes before we performed!) BUT my priorities in life now are more focused on songwriting and recording. When you asked “How do you find the TIME?” I would say it also comes down to cutting lots of stuff out. I cut live performance out so I could be home with my family more AND focus more on writing and recording.
Before we end, we also know that you’re also a huge Miyazaki fan (yay, “No Face Song!”) What’s your favourite movie?
No Face Song!! I sure hope you and Errol record that some day. I think it would sound great coming out of your faces! 🙂
Although its tough to choose a favorite Miyazaki film, I think Spirited Away will always be one of my favorites because it was my first introduction to Miyazaki’s work. Its hard to describe the first time you see a movie like that. I hadn’t really watched anything like it up to that point, so it totally blew mind. The worlds he creates are simply amazing and beautiful and the characters and story are so unpredictable and interesting and engaging. I was just blown away. Spirited away. Ha!
A lifelong lover of music and nerdery, Mr. Gee likes to bring it old school and new school. The Kickstarter campaign to support his upcoming 14-song album, Songs in the Key of Minecraft is running now and ends on Sunday, February 9, 10:00pm EST..
You can find him in all the best places, on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, and on his website.
Thanks for the lovely interview, D&E.