Gemstone Heist - Under the Influence - Soundblab

Gemstone Heist

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Gemstone Heist is a Liverpool-via-Kentucky (How does that work? I dunno, but it does!) duo who make spectral Americana and swoony indie-folk. I fell for them the first time I heard the gorgeous ‘Let Nature Have Its Say’, whose lyrics (“In the back of a Ford Cortina/ what she saw, no one believed her”) are up there with the best of Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker and Brett Anderson. Think 'This Charming Man' crossed with Glen Campbell's 'Wichita Lineman' and you're about there.

Soundblab collared them to discuss loves, grooves, jams and dreams.

How did Gemstone Heist get started?

Gail: A mutual love of similar music, mostly indie music and a lot of English bands.

How did you guys meet and start making music?

Gail: Because we had similar interests in bands, and I'd written poetry before. We thought we would try fitting some of my words to the melodies Ashley had written.

Ash: Yes, Gail wrote lyrics for a song called ‘Suitors’, it turned out pretty well from there for a first attempt, so we just carried on. I live in Kentucky, and Gail is in Liverpool, we originally started talking on social media etc. But I'd always wanted to go to Liverpool, because of loving The Beatles. So meeting killed two birds with one stone!

What are your influences?

Ashley: The Beatles, a lot of English indie bands. Also late 60s and early 70s bands. Led Zeppelin, also country bands and artists of the 70s.

Gail: Being from Liverpool, I have to say The Beatles! Without sounding like a professional Scouser. A lot of indie bands. And lyric writers like Morrissey, Jarvis Cocker and Alex Turner. I also like a lot of electronic stuff.

What's the music scene like in Liverpool?

Gail: I'm really awful for not going out and seeing the local bands - we are recluses! [laughs] But there's a thriving scene around Sound Food and Drink, for playing decent music. Which used to be the old Le Bateau club - which I miss. Studio 2 on Parr Street is pretty good as well for seeing new bands.

Where does the band name come from?

Gail: We were messing round with band names for ages.

Ashley: Basically [we] cut up a load of words we liked then randomly stuck them together. Gemstone Heist came out as one of the combos. We just liked it and it stuck.

What have you got planned?

Ashley: Getting our first EP finished and released.

Gail: Yeah, getting that done, then hopefully a full length album.

First single we bought

Gail: God, this is tragic. I bought a Jive Bunny record - hangs head in shame.

Ashley: Have never bought a single before, was always albums.

First album you bought

Born in the USA - Bruce Spingsteen

Gail: Pet Shop Boys - Actually

Favourite artist of all time

Ashley: The Beatles

Gail: Haha, we're gonna be cliche corner, but gonna say The Beatles as well, and Pet Shop Boys.

Favourite current artist

Gail: Catfish and the Bottlemen

Ashley: Arctic Monkeys

Favourite period in music history

Ashley: 1960s and early 70s.

Gail: Probably late 80s to mid-90s indie music in the UK, and house music around that time as well

Style icon

Gail: David Bowie and Morrissey. Cos they do their own thing, and have their own identity and sense of style.

Ashley: Lady Gaga, cos she's bold and a bad bitch [laughs]. She does what she wants.

Best gig you've attended

Gail: Arctic Monkeys in Liverpool, few years back now.

Ashley: Paul McCartney gig.

Favourite festival

Gail: Don't have one really, never really been, only to small local ones. Don't think the tent thing's for me.

Ashley: Never been either, want to go to Glastonbury and get some mud on me.

Favourite movie

Ashley: 500 Days of Summer

Gail: Probably too many to mention. Moulin Rouge, Cabaret, stuff like that.

Favourite TV show

Gail: Documentaries mostly and comedies like Peep Show and Raised By Wolves.

Ashley: Little Britain, a lot of reality TV shows, documentaries and The Simpsons.

Favourite book

Ashley: Tess of the D'urbervilles - I like dark, classic books mostly.

Gail: Alice in Wonderland. First book that got me into reading as a kid.

You can check out ‘Let Nature Have Its Say’ here

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