We sat down with indie-electronic dance band Gemini Club for an exclusive (and hilarious!) interview about their up-coming EP! The dynamic trio consisting of Dan Brunelle, Tom Gavin and Gordon Bramli have been tearing up the scene in Chicago for over two years now and show no signs of stopping. In addition to talking about their EPs, we discovered their favourite live performances, unforgettable moments with fans (including pouring beer on female fans!) and who would play them in a movie made about the band. And did we mention that Tom’s Mother joined us for the interview? With the latest release of their infectious new single “By Surprise”, they’ve got us anxiously anticipating the release of Here We Sit, their latest EP which will be released in April!
(Bestfan): Can you give us a brief history of the band?
(Dan): Sure, lets see, Tom and I went to a college together, we both had just been playing in bands and writing songs and stuff since we were kids and got together. We actually were in a band together before this … that fell apart and then we just started making dance music initially and ended up with a full record or EP really, our first EP “Future Tidings”. Then at that point we hadn’t played a show yet but wanted to take it live and so we brought Gordon in who is a DJ and I have a pretty big interest in live electronics and software performance and things like that so the three of us just got together and figured out exactly how we wanted to preform it live and then just turned it into a regular live electronically supported band and that’s pretty much how we got here.
(BestFan): For music fans that aren’t familiar with Gemini Club, how would you describe the type of music you create?
(Tom): I think we are a pure mixture of the sounds and production of electronic music but its arranged in recognizable pop structures in some cases or in most cases, so I would say that would be the beginning point.
(Dan): I really think of computers and synths and samplers and everything are more than just tools for the techy kids but you know something, they are really expressive instruments and I really think especially on the rest of our new record, not so much in “By Surprise”, but in other songs that we like to take electronics and try and find their breaking point. We try and find where we can find improvisation and some rawness and some real sincere performance in the way that people would review electric guitar or classical instruments and the like. We are a traditional rock band given the tools of a dance producer, you know, and that’s really how we approach it. We are not trying to calculatedly construct beats and sound design; we are trying to make a more visceral rock band type experience with those tools.
(BestFan): You just released “By Surprise” and it has been charting pretty well on HypeMachine! How has the reception been to your latest single?
(Tom): Well its one of those things you just don’t know going into it. I think we are thrilled at this point at the way it is doing and I think it’s going to continue to grow. We’re releasing a video for it coming out in the next two weeks of a montage of footage of us over the years of us playing shows and hanging out and goofing around. There will be another surprise video that will come out as well. So, I think there’s a lot of momentum still for this song before releasing the next single, which will be soon, next month!
(Gemini Club): Yeah!
(BestFan): Is the track about anyone in particular, or any specific event in your lives?
(Tom): “By Surprise” is very interesting. Dan had done a remix for a band called Vanish and I went to the studio and I heard what he was working on and I immediately liked it and wished that it was our song so when we were in the practice space I began to sing the first verse and pretty much came up with the lyrics and the melody and the chorus of the first verse right there on the spot. But the funniest thing was, in the second verse you notice the chord changes are different and the melody hasn’t changed and we had a live on the air radio show at North Western University and I still hadn’t figured out what I was going to do for the second verse whatsoever… melody, lyrics, none of it, I had none of it figured out. So here we go on a live radio show broadcast to God knows how many people and I remember there being a moment before the second verse came on I was just like “alright, now or never” so I just kind of went for it and really there are certain moments where you are singing or creating music where you can feel yourself dialing it in and I felt really dialed in and we got a copy of the recording when we finished up the performance and we listened to it on the way home and we were like “oh ok, that’s just the second verse”. It has been that way and has not changed from that initial performance until now. But to answer your question, there isn’t anybody particular in mind, I think that’s a general statement “I met you by surprise” and I think it can be viewed in its own light, in any personal way, for me it was obviously about somebody personal that I had met.
(BestFan): “By Surprise” is from your seven-track EP “Here We Sit” which is due in April, what can you tell us about the album?
(Tom): Well, first off it’s due out April 17th which is very exciting.
(Dan): Our real guiding statement was, we were coming from this kind of remix after remix state of the band where it was really kind of becoming something smaller than what we intended it to be. The remixes were doing well but we’re not bedroom producers, we really think of ourselves as a band and we want this record -and I think it will- to help define us not as something that sounds like a collection of samples and software instruments but something that’s recorded in a room, with space and people banging sticks on drums and picks on guitar strings. There are extended -just like what Tom was saying about “By Surprise”- just about every song has in one way or another come out of an improvisation or some last minute sort of gamble on our own creativity, and that’s not something that is really part of the bedroom producer process. So we have a song called “Casini Mission” and it’s 4 minutes of an improvised arpeggio synth solo and then another song called “Show Your Hands” where Tom has another extended vocal improvisation and there are larger, more human ideas than you would expect from a band known for remixes.
(Tom): We also, in my opinion, view this as a larger statement, a bigger piece of work. It is complex and I think the songs all have a unique life of their own and have their own emotion to them. It isn’t like something where you go into the studio and knock out 5 or 6 in a row and they kind of have the same sheen to them and have the same feelings, they are all, I think very, very unique to one another.
(BestFan): You’re known for live performances which can fill the entire room with sound – which is your favourite track to perform?
(Gordon): I personally, I think my favorite to play live would be “I Can’t Believe You Said that”, we used to close with that.
(Tom): It always changes… My favorite right now is “By Surprise” just because the way it comes in, for some reason it just hits. I don’t know, it’s my favorite right, I can’t tell ya why… That’s just the way I feel!
(BestFan): What’s an unforgettable tour memory you’ve experienced with the rest of the band? With a fan?
(Gordon): When we were at South by Southwest in 2010, I decided to stay late while my fellow band mates decided to go home, and something that I didn’t know about Austin is that cabs don’t really drive at night very often.
(Tom): They don’t drive at all!
(Gordon): So I ended up being stranded in the city and where we were staying was pretty far away from the city
(Tom): Like 5 miles!
(Gordon): And I didn’t know the city well – I didn’t know the directions so I was like “Aw Damnit I’m screwed” so, it was also like seven in the morning, and there was like literally nobody left out in the streets, so I decided to start walking towards what I thought was the main part of the city to find cabs, and then it was late so I was like “I need to take a nap” so I climbed the capital building staircase of Austin and I walked in and I was like “well there’s no cabs so I might as well just nap” so I slept there but people got upset with me because the work day started happening. Then I put a receipt in my hand so it looked like I was reading something – which was ridiculous – and then people were like “you gotta go” and I said “OK, well I don’t know where to go”, so I wandered the streets of Austin until there was enough daylight and movement, and I finally got a cab and got home, and I told my band mates what happened.
(Tom): We were very worried. We also had this thing when we drove down where I would prank phone call towns that had water towers, so if there was a water tower in the middle of the day I would get on my iPod and get the city hall and I would call and ask about tourism… We had a lot of fun, there was like 100 of those calls. Also, we were playing a show in Springfield, Missouri and it was particularly raucous and in the middle of it a girl walks up with two 22oz. Pabst Blue Ribbons that had just been opened and hands them to me and she says “pour these on us”… *laughs*.
(Gordon): That was an awesome show!
(Tom): Which I proceeded to do and it was like putting gas on a fire and everyone was like “AHHHH” I mean it was soo… the fan interaction, that was great! But a lot of time recently, and more so as we have been around for longer and people have more time to spend with our songs, people will come up and ask us about a song meaning for a certain song, or they are interested in how we came up with it and all of those are equal and profound in their own way because you never expected anyone to say “Aw I really love this, I listen to this every morning” and then you’re like “Wow”, you know something you made is something that someone begins their day with.
(BestFan): What can we expect from Gemini Club in the months leading up to the April release?
(Dan): A lot. The second single will be released, it’s called “Cant Believe You Said That” and there’s going to be a gorgeous music video directed by the same team that did our “Future Tidings” video. In addition to that, in the near future we are going to have a music video for “By Surprise”, remixes of “By Surprise” and a surprise YouTube remix of “By Surprise”, so we’re gonna be extending the life of that song and then leading into South by Southwest and then into the release we are going to be turning our focus to the second single and making plans for the third.
BestFan’s Random Questions
If you could be any super hero, who would it be and why?
(Dan): Steven Hawkings… *the band laughs*
(Tom): Batman, you gotta be Batman.
If you won twenty million dollars today, what would be the first things you’d spend the money on?
(Tom): MacBook Pros… thousands of them!
(Gordon): We wreck computers.
(Tom): My mom’s like “you better buy me something”!
(Dan): Tom’s mom happens to be sitting right here…
(Tom): I would buy my mother whatever she wanted!
What were your childhood nicknames?
(Tom’s Mother): TomTom!
(Tom): I guess mine was TomTom!
(Gordon): Gordy, unfortunately.
Finally, if there was a movie made about the band, who would you want to play you guys?
(Dan): Stephen Hawking…
(Gordon): That’s ridiculous, be honest! I’m gonna go all out, I’m gonna say Paul Newman, he’s a good guy!
(Tom): I would have to say Jack Nicholson, he doesn’t look like me but I think he’d do a good job
(Dan): Alright fine, I’ll be Hayley Joel Osmond!
(Tom): You should have Tina Tuner play you!
(Dan): Okay, some genetic cross between Tina Turner and Hayley Joel Osmond!
– End of Interview –