Article by Alyson Samson
GEM is Emily Locke and Josh White. I sat down in Emily’s twinkle-light lit living room to have a chat with them about their new self-titled, 7 song release.
Emily graduated from her ukulele strumming RPM days to partner up with Josh and translate her tunes into electronic masterpieces. Their synth-pop music isn’t all sparkles and sweetness; while the music will get you moving, Emily’s lyrics are often on the darker side. She actually insisted on adding Sailing Away so that the album would have one happy song, “its like one of our only fun songs that aren’t as dark and I hadn’t had a heart attack over all the lyrics, it kind of
just came to me,” says Locke.
The album release was technically on March 27th but it was a few weeks after that their CDs hit Fred’s shelves. GEM recorded and produced the album entirely themselves, when they got ready to record last summer their material had already been tested live many times.
“Most of the songs we had arranged to do live at that point, but they still weren’t quite as fleshed out as they are on the album” White says. For him the best part or the recording process was “making the songs a finished product, and knowing that no one else had their hands in it besides the two of us was really rewarding.”
When it comes to Emily and Josh working together it’s a very natural process, as Josh tells me for him “her lyrics create a world and it’s very easy to create sounds to fit in that world.”
The world Emily creates is one where she wants everyone to feel welcome and to have fun with their music. “We don’t make it try to sound a certain way. So for example, what I really want when people come to our shows or people hear our tunes is to feel comfortable in a way that they don’t always feel … It’s like things that you can relate to but you don’t think about all the time, or things that people go through but you don’t talk about all the time so, a song like My Love, My Love which is super dark, I want it to be weird and I want people to back up from it in a sense … because people relate to that feeling too and it’s hard to be in a situation where it’s okay to feel that way, in a situation where it’s like this is weird, but it’s cool. I want it to feel like that.”
With electronic music, the possibilities are endless but according to Josh “it just kind of grows to be what it is instead of having a certain idea that we’re striving for,” and without trying GEM have certainly achieved a unique sound and blossomed a following of fans around town.
You can check out their tunes online at gemsynth.bandcamp.com or pick up their album at Fred’s Records on Duckworth Street.