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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