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Gem Club [rank: 1802]

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Gem Club are Christopher Barnes and Kristen Drymala of Somerville, Massachussets. Yes, there are similarities with Perfume Genius. The melancholy tone and lyrics. The single male voice. But where Perfume Genius is stark and low-fi, Gem Club is lush and a bit more produced. The pervasive cello has a lot to do with the lushness. In summary, Gem Club makes some beautiful music.



Bandega Interview with Christopher Barnes and Kristen Drymala of Gem Club (November 2010)

Live the memory with Gem Club.

Q: I'm not going to feign objectivity. Acid and Everything is fantastic and "Flax" is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. Please describe the origins of the song and its meaning to you.
A: [Christopher] Thank you. Flax was one of the first pieces I wrote for the EP. It's a letter to someone I love about how I feel this constant pressure to grow and change but I don't know if I actually am.

Q: As a cellist, I love the instrument's presence throughout the EP. Was that an element that was decided upon early on in the recording process? How did you come to choose it?
A: [Christopher] Kristen and I started working together almost a year ago. I got asked to play some covers for an 80s party at the Cloud Club here in Boston. I was really nervous to play there given its history and the fact there were so many other great bands performing that night. So I wrote to Kristen to see if she'd be interested in covering Strawberry Switchblade and Cyndi Lauper so I wouldn’t have to perform alone. From then on we became good friends. She added such a beautiful dynamic to many of my older songs that turned them into whole new pieces, so when it came time to write and record the EP I really wanted her presence and creative input. That, and a piano and a cello are wicked fucking sad and romantic.

[Kristen] I don't know how Chris came to decide he likes cello, but I started playing when I was 10 and have been at it ever since. Cello compliments Chris' voice really well and vice versa.

Q: You've toured a bit close to home, around the Boston area. How has that been? Any particular shows stand out?
A: [Christopher] Boston has a thriving music scene and people have been very supportive here, but Boston is also a strange bird. I think we're still trying to find the right venues and bands to play with. We're very quiet. I imagine we're not the band you want to come see when you want to get shitfaced on a Friday night at some bar. That being said, we've played shows at some really fantastic non-venue venues -- basements, art galleries, living rooms etc.

[Kristen] It’s been great. We did a mini-tour this summer from Maine to D.C.. I'm from Maryland, so playing in D.C. was so much fun. Friends and family came out to support us and we stayed at my parent’s house for a few days, which was a nice slice of home. That whole tour was great though. Maine has such an amazing arts scene that always feels welcoming.

Q: Describe the most enjoyable show you've ever experienced as a fan.
A: [Christopher] Someone brought me recently to see Swans and Baby Dee play at the Middle East. I don't think I'll ever be able to properly convey to anyone how large the sound is that that band creates. It's just something you have to experience. I never want to hear another Swans record again. I just want to live with the memory of the sounds from that show.

[Kristen] I recently saw Dead Western perform and it was amazing. It was an all night show and he went on at 3:00 a.m.. People were getting a little tired and talkative by that point but as soon as he went on we were all transfixed. I don't think anyone said a word once he started performing. His crazy deep voice, face paint, and hauntingly beautiful songs were worth the wait.

Q: Your lyrics stand alone as poetry. Did any Gem Club songs begin as poems?
A: [Christopher] They don't actually start as poems. Though I do get a lot of ideas from film and literature.

Q: Word is that you're working on a new full-length album, followed by a trip out West. What's it going to take to make this rumored trip happen?
A: [Christopher] We are working on the album. It's very formative and everything is new right now. Kristen and I both have the summer free so we're currently looking into how to get out and about. Hopefully we'll see you soon.

[Kristen] I'm very ready to see the West.

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