By Erin Cross
Australian producer and DJ Gem continues to make airwaves as she releases her new single Malibu that promises a utopian dream state and mellow vibes.
Gem is best known for her electro reinterpretations of 70s classics on her covers album the2070s that peaked at #2 on the iTunes electronic charts. It last year saw her nominated for best electronic album and producer of the year at the Independent Music Awards in the US. But this is the first time Gem is releasing an EP under her own name. She admits the idea of an EP is new but the songs themselves have always been a part of her.
"I have so many songs and things of my own and it just dawned on me I should be releasing my own music," she says.
"I think the songs have lived in me forever."
Gem says the main aim for her EP was to step outside genres and to create a playlist to "find new people who are excited by the new age, electro music and blending that genre."
"It's a funny thing because when we make music, we have to pick a box and I'm not sure any music is strictly one genre." she explains.
"I think now we tend to be more mood based. I don't think people go 'I only want to listen to rock music.' I think they go 'I want to listen to my Saturday night mix,' and that's how I’ve approached it. Keeping it in the same mood but multiple genres."
Malibu is a stylish, meditative, retro electro track, buoyed by warm synths and chilled 80s-inspired percussion.
The lyrics were inspired by a 4th of July party hosted by Selena Gomez, which ultimately led to the “by the pool” feel.
“I had this beautiful 4th of July. It was actually a party hosted by Selena Gomez for her musicians on tour...I was in a pool and there were fireworks and it was just very magical.”
The feel good vibe is a part of the song's design. Malibu is tuned to 432hz, the frequency known to align oneself with the universe. Written when she was in a place of gratitude, Gem describes the song as her "love letter to the universe."
"A big part of my project is having all the songs tuned into frequencies that are really good for you," she says.
"It's nice to restore a little a balancing through a little bit of science and harmonic tuning to feel good songs.”
“I’m often in studios where we often think it's cool to be dark. There's a lot of sad songs, a lot of dark songs, a lot of negative songs. As a producer I sometimes feel a bit drained after a whole day of that. Imagine if it was like a festival, a feel good festival and there's only good, positive music. I think that would promote a lot of healing.”
Gem is a big advocate for alternate tuning and her talent as a producer and DJ has led her to be named one of the top 5 female producers in the world to watch by Showbiz Magazine. She’s also been welcomed into the industry via the Grammy NEXT program as one of the top emerging producers for 2020-2021. She admits that this was never a goal of hers but she feels incredibly proud to represent Australia.
“I think the Australian music industry is very supportive and I’ve been lucky to work in really nice studios. I think Australia has a huge amount of talent in all fields, but particularly music...Australia has a pretty good reputation for that,” says Gem.
“I was just really honoured to be named one of the top five female producers in the world. At the same time I can't wait for the female thing not to be a thing. I’d love to see my name on a list of just ‘Best Producers’, any gender,” says Gem.
While she lives between America and Australia, Gem admits that each country inspires her differently.
“In Australia, I'm super inspired by our environment here. I think it's really easy to overlook some of the things we have that we take for granted, things like our beaches, our parks, our trees, our clean air. In LA I get inspiration from people. That's because I'm in the studio, collaborating a lot more.” she says.
“LA has acted as a teacher and mentor to me, the city itself has so many different colours, smells and experiences - the access to inspiration in that wonderful city is vast and plentiful.”
Living in LA has presented her with innumerable opportunities, playing regular high-profile gigs, including The Emmy Awards pre-party and Pride Festival in Miami and NYC. Gem flew back home to Australia to perform at the Melbourne Grand Prix, but the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which luckily saw her able to hunker down and isolate herself here with her family.
"I’m so grateful to be here,” she says.