Entertainment, Interviews, Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

Q&A with GEMS

photo courtesy of GEMS

photo courtesy of GEMS

GEMS is the newest creative vehicle for Clifford John Usher and Lindsay Pitts, formally formed in August of 2012. Their sound is dreamy, lush, hypnotic, melancholic pop. Previously the duo went by the name Birdlips, and had a more acoustic driven, organic, though equally gorgeous sound. Both incarnations feature beautiful vocals and highlight harmonies, nestled in layers of lush sounds. GEMS will be playing this Wednesday, March 6th, at Rock & Roll Hotel along with Ex Cops and Dead Professional, before hitting the road to SXSW. (* note- due to inclement weather, this show has been canceled.* )We Love DC got the chance for a brief chat with Cliff this past week, and here’s what he had to say.

Alexia Kauffman: So how did you you first start playing music?

Clifford John Usher: Well Lindsay and I met in Charlottesville, Virginia, I guess it was in 2007, and started playing in a college band that we had, and that band broke up after school, and we started Birdlips then, just the two of us. And then this new band was started this past August. We had known that we wanted to start a new band for a while, so it was kind of a progression.

Alexia: So what brought about the whole metamorphosis into GEMS?

Cliff: It was really a variety of factors, I guess. We did Birdlips for over five years, and I think the last year and a half of Birdlips we were pretty certain we wanted to do something else. I think we just wanted a clean break. We wanted to kind of start over in a lot of different areas, and not feel like we were obliged to keep playing old material. We didn’t want to feel constricted by what we had done in the past, I guess. We knew we wanted to do something louder, more electric. We wanted to get away from the whole folk association that we kind of had in Birdlips. It was hard, you know, even at the end of Birdlips we were doing something that I don’t think was really folk at all, and we still felt kind of trapped by the folk or psych-folk genre. So that was a big part of it. And we just had been playing more with electric guitars and with different recording techniques, so it kind of just made sense to us to start a new band. We’ve also been playing with a drummer. Which all the shows we’ve done as GEMS so far we’ve done with a drummer. Although the string that we’re getting ready to do- going down to South by Southwest we’re just going as a duo. Continue reading

Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Submerge 2012 shows/happenings 11/16-11/17/2012

GEMS, photo courtesy of GEMS

Two shows happening this weekend are part of the 2nd annual Submerge, the tail end of a nine-day flash “art happening”. From their site:

Submerge 2012  is an ‘ode to the District,’  an art exhibition and creative art space that will pay homage to the town of its creation; Washington DC. Submerge, the exhibition, will be a “group exhibition” uniquely created from a collection of solo-exhibitions. Participating artists both emerging and mid-career, were presented with the unique opportunity to craft a cohesive concept and body of works in what amounts to micro-installations and exhibition, organized under one roof. As a creative space, it will play host to a number of creative and cultural happenings to fully complement and augment this cities colorful identity.

No Kings Collective will will transform this temporary space on the historic H Street Corridor in an unusual mash up of art and culture. Submerge will surface at this project located at 700 H Street NE. Submerge will be a well curated, transformative environment, one that will cater to the expectations and curiosities’ of the novice and the experienced onlooker.

Friday, November 16

Get Fashion will showcase local designers and vendor retail pop-ups from 6-11pm, live musical performances from 9pm-2am, H Street only food vendors, local DC brews, and artwork featured in the Submerge exhibition.

DJ starts at 6pm – Music starts at 9pm…

Featuring performances by:

Margot MacDonald
DJ Skim

This event is free and open to public.
FB Event page

Young Rapids, photo by Kate Bentley – Passenger Photography

Saturday, November 17

All Things Go x Listen Local First x DC to BC

All Things Go and Listen Local First and DC to BC help curate a night of music during the Submerge artfair in the temporary gallery and music venue on the historic H Street Corridor.  This is a great chance to check out some fun, exciting sounds in a cool and temporary space. Saturday night’s show will feature live sets from Turning Violet Violet, Dance For The Dying, Young Rapids, BRETT and Body Language. The night will also feature DJ sets from Nacey of Nouveau Riche and DJ Spicoli. The event will start at 7PM and go until around 2AM. Tickets are $12.

This event is Ticketed. Tickets available here.