Musical Duo Gems Are Living For The Future
Last year, the musically enlightened started buzzing about an alternative meets electronic duo from Washington DC, GEMS. Composed of multi-instrumental vocal talent Lindsay Pitts and fellow musical talent Clifford John Usher, the release of their last EP album Medusa put them out there as the latest underground talent to watch. This year, in collaboration with the creative genius of BRTHR, a video for their hauntingly beautiful track “Sinking Stone”, featuring the ATL Twins dropped and suddenly, Gems wasn’t so underground anymore. Here we talk to the band about the newfound fame, working with BRTHR and what comes next.
Tell us about sinking stone? What is the song about?
We always have a bunch of songs that we might be working on for months before they come together and other ones that come together quick. You always think you can make a formula but it never works. Every song we write it’s always like the first one ever. Sinking stone came together really fast. Lindsay had written the skeleton and I made some guitar chords and the bridge really fast. It was done in a matter of days. All of our songs are very personal. We write songs for each other. It’s like a diary.
What about your new album?
We kept that theme of extremely personal writing for the entire album. Sonically we have been pushing things a lot more. Don’t want to spoil too much, but it’s a big step forward for us with experimentation. Lyrically it’s very similar though. We are always striving to make something emotional and one thing we talk about a lot is existential longing, striving for something you can’t quite put your finger on, that is something we appreciate in music.
What was the inspiration for the video?
We connected with BRTHR for that video a year and a half ago and we did a bunch of brainstorming and just sent them things that we liked. They have a cool style, so it was very much a collaboration. It’s cool to see someone else’s interpretation of the music but the style meshed well with ours.
What has been the general reaction to the video? Have you gotten a lot of intense commentary on it?
Not really, we are in such a different place now from that video. We’ve been under a rock for the past few months working on this new album so we never even really read any reviews!
Talk about the past year, what have you been doing since the creation of that video?
We have done a few tours this year and it’s always interesting to take the music out on the road and perform in different venues. We toured with Tycho, Classics and Hundred Waters. The acts are so different. Classics is dancey and Tycho is more electronic than what we are used to. It is helpful to set out on the road and play new songs. It definitely shaped this album recording because it puts music in different contexts. For us the biggest thing was wanting to be bigger and louder and over the top sonically. In a big environment you have to be more dramatic to come across well.
You guys evolved from a pretty under the radar duo to now being one of the most buzzed about bands on the web, how did that happen for you?
We met at the end of college and started playing together and we have been in a few different bands together and just started getting together and working on music all the time.
It’s a bunch of small moments but being an artist you are always thinking ahead and moving toward something. We are always thinking about the future, you are always trying to grow, you have to have your head a few months ahead of where you are. There’s a constant frustration of being not where you want to be, it can be hard to appreciate what you have. We finished the next album and now we are working on other new music. We are looking forward to putting out a full length album, touring, releasing new things, working on a bigger, better live show and continuing to grow.