Peter Ricq is a creative work-a-holic. He’s made a career by bringing dreams to reality as the creator of animated television series, as a visual artist and the right brain of the electronic musical duo, Humans.
With his latest project, Gang Signs’ Geist, Ricq is bringing other peoples nightmares to life as dance floor romances.
Though the thick beats and snapshot lyrics may seem to paint the portrait of a modern day romance, the majority of the lyrics on the forthcoming Geist began as adaptations of 1980s horror movie plots.
Ricq explains, “The fly isn’t about Jeff Goldblum turning into a Fly and becoming a murderer, no it’s about Gena Davis’ character trying to love a madman, posing the question “What do I do when the one I love is a murderous monster?””
Not to suggest that Gang Signs is a novelty horror act. This is just one component of an exercise in limitation, a contrast to Ricq’s work in Humans which is built organically as grooves are discovered and developed from he and co-Human Robbie Slade’s sound safaris. “Gang Signs songs are musically conceived on guitar, written and demoed within four hours,” says Ricq. They are purposefully written as more traditional verse, chorus, verse, form and to really make the cut they must make you want to move. While the structure obviously works, how does it translate to the band? Does the soft spoken Ricq rule over drummer Adam Fink, and keyboard/vocalist Matea Sarenac with an iron fist?
“Yes and no,” Ricq laughs. “Adam is this amazing human drum machine that can reproduce all of my sequenced beats to life, but for the album we minimized the hits which has actually made it more difficult to perform and we got to record each element separately, so all of the kicks, snares and crashes, were played one at a time. On the other hand, Matea really wanted to try and write her own lyrics and melody on one of the songs, so we gave it a shot and got ‘Tonight’.” One of the stand out tracks on the album that has nothing to do with cult classics.
So rules are made to be broken? “Yeah of course. Gang Signs was originally going to be my surf rock band.”
It’s a good thing too. As Gang Signs dances between self control/defiance, they have won over fans in hometown Vancouver. Since the debut of their independent releases, every summer has belonged to Gang Signs as they snag the best opening gigs in the city with the likes of No Joy, Operators, Tanlines and Owen Pallet.
Now with Geist, their first label release with File Under: Music, Gang Signs are ready to show the world how the best way to exorcise the demons is on the dance floor. The album is an experience in cinematic new wave, taken as a whole each song builds and flows into the next carried along by Fink’s percussion, punctuated by Matea’s melodies and Ricq’s almost spoken narration. Separated the songs stand tall; “Tonight” channels the call to action of a 90’s dance song over a 2025 holographic club floor, “Mate”’s sampled hand claps morph into the singularities dance party, and “LA On A Monday” is the soundtrack for summers neon lit night drive. You’ll have the chance to invite Geist into your home when the album is released October 2, after which Gang Signs will tour throughout North America.
Gang Signs is: