[ECLECTIC ELECTRONICA] "I was playing Grand Theft Auto a lot," says Aaron Dishner, the man behind electronic outfit Gejius (pronounced "Jee-jus"). "Vice City [a level in the crime-based video game] had a really rad '80s station, and Chaka Khan was on it. I was like, 'Oh Damn! I wanna get that CD.' I Feel for You is probably the CD that made me want to start doing Gejius music," the 24-year-old enthusiastically admits. Apparently, guilty pleasures don't exist in Gejius' ambient pop universe—nor do limits on his influences.
As a kid in the 'Couv, Dishner collected Native American stone carvings, but now he hoards a different type of relic: samples—not so much found sounds, but those lifted from other media. As such, his experimental compositions sound like the rival school to the Go! Team's snippet-snatching pep squad. From old '60s recordings to sonic bits from "really good Kung Fu movies" (including the classic Shogun's Ninja ), Dishner's carving out a niche for himself with a hybrid of original orchestration and reprocessed sounds.
Just over two years ago, however, the industrial painter was far from an electronic-music aficionado. Dishner played guitar in hardcore outfit Murder and Destroy while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston. But the tides changed when, like a certain sword was to King Arthur, he accquired Daft Punk's Discovery, the album that opened Dishner up to electronic music. He also mentions the atmospheric sounds of Air and British ambient poppers Zero 7 as early electro-influences, as well as the legendary Aphex Twin. It was a ripped copy of music-arrangement software Ableton Live, though, that inspired Dishner to leap into the act of creation.
Looking into the future of Gejius—a name coined from a one-time linguistic flub attempting to say both "genius" and "Jesus" at the same time—Dishner has the desire to expand more into lyrical and vocal territory, as showcased on his stuttering dance-floor filler "Slip 'n' Slide." He recently began integrating his own shredding talents as well. He deems his hastily completed debut, Black Eyes, a practice round, released just to have something out there. Now he's trying to write songs that rely more heavily on the array of instruments he plays—from piano to trumpet, congas to theremin—and Gejius is evolving into a more distinct sound as a result.
"I'm taking my time," says Dishner. "I don't want to rush it." Then, engaging in some Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure-style air-guitar, he notes that his present direction "sounds more like me—instead of me trying to be Daft Punk or Air."
Gejius plays Saturday, Oct. 13, with Laco$te and IE at the Artistery. 8 pm. $6. All ages.