NewTracks New Artist: Geoff Ong

NewTracks New Artist: Geoff Ong

Geoff Ong likes to keep busy. When he is not active taking photos or videos, producing music for or playing with other musicians (like Megan Sidwell, Yasamin Al-Tiay, White Rabbit Black Monkey), he’s writing his own music. With three previous EPs under his belt he’s not strictly new to the scene. He sings, plays the guitar, bass, drums, keys, trumpet, trombone – and occasionally the car horn when sitting in traffic as he jokes. Geoff’s latest material has moved away from soulful guy-with-a-guitar songwriting to a sleek modern electronic pop sound to dance and sing along to. His single Fingerprints, featured on NZ On Air Music’s NewTracks compilation this August and has already garnered some much-appreciated attention from radio and TV nationwide.

What other projects might we know you from?

Good question! I took a break from music for a little while until the start of this year, so a lot of the projects I’ve been involved in have sort of evolved or changed shape since I played in them.

How has your music evolved to what it is right now?

I feel like I have a really short attention span so I’m always bouncing around from sound to sound. I was talking to a friend the other day about how as soon as I feel like I’m getting comfortable in a certain style or genre, I like immediately just want to do the complete opposite of that! So I guess my sound has evolved through just constantly experimenting and never wanting to stay in one place sonically. A big part of me has an overwhelming desire to do a shouty lo-fi indie punk record next!

What makes Fingerprints stand out for you as a single?

I don’t really know to be honest! It just kind’a feels right to me. I have a tendency to over analyse and over think decisions like this one, but lately I’ve been trying to trust my feelings / instincts more. I had a strong feeling that Fingerprints was the song to use as the single, so I was like, ‘Okay sweet, let’s just go with it!’

What is the story behind the song?

I wrote Fingerprints pretty soon after I moved back home to Auckland from Boston. I was feeling weird and displaced, and I started reflecting on the idea of how our past experiences can change who we are and the way we experience the world around us. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing, it just kind’a is. So I wrote the song about that!

What’s your favourite moment, musical or lyrical, of the single?

I’d say probably the first time the drop hits… This is my first song with a drop in it, and it feels pretty good!

Who did you write/record/produce the single with and where? 

So this song has gone through heaps of iterations and changes! I wrote and recorded the first version of the song myself in my bedroom – initially it sounded super, super ’80s, and it was a lot slower and more mellow than it is now. I then met a producer named Anka (who you should definitely check out because he’s incredible), and we started jamming on the song together.

He made most of the changes to the vibe and energy of the song, which are still there in the final arrangement now!

And then finally I sent it over to my friend Phil Levine who works at Igloo Music in LA – he worked on the final production with his flatmate Giosue Greco before doing the final mix and master! So it’s been a lot of twisty turny unexpected changes, but I’m glad the song is out in the world now!

Describe in one sentence what you want listeners to take away from this song.

I would like people to have a bop but also maybe have a think and a feel as well.

In general, how do you work out what song would make a good single?

I wish I knew the answer to this! I used to overthink this sort of thing way too much but I just try to go with what feels best now. I’m planning to release a new single in late September or early October and it’s gonna be a bop!

Can you tell us three other local tunes that should be on a playlist alongside your song.

Chelsea JadeLaugh It Off
FoleyTalk About It
Abby WolfeLonely In Company

Have you had any previous applications that didn’t get taken up by NewTracks? Got any advice for people out there?

Actually, this song didn’t get included on NewTracks on my first application! In terms of advice, I don’t really feel like I’m super qualified to give advice because I’m honestly just fumbling my way through this whole music thing.

Linking up with a mentor is a really helpful step. NZ Musician actually offer some really great artist mentoring services which I would 10/10 recommend! 

How can we find you on social media?


Who did you make the video with?

I made the video myself spontaneously while I was travelling in Tokyo last year! I was walking around and I was like, ‘Oh man everything here just looks so cool – I wonder if could make a music video here?’ I felt like such a dick walking around filming myself lip syncing to the camera and spinning around trying not to bump into people, but I think it was worth it in the end!

Any last words?

Thanks heaps for featuring me in this article! I really appreciate it 🙂

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