Negative Gemini is American songwriter, singer, and producer Lindsey French known for her contemporary take on electronic indie and her experimentation between genres. After moving to Brooklyn in 2014, the Virginia native released her self-produced album Body Work via her own record label (100% Electronica) earning early comparisons to the likes of Hope Sandoval and Gwen Stefani. With its unique blend of underground dance beats and pop hooks, Body Work quickly found itself the darling of many music publications, garnering critical acclaim from everyone from Tiny Mix Tapes, Nylon, and The Fader, to most notably full features with interviews on both Bandcamp Daily and MTVnews. The album was a huge success and hit number one best selling vinyl on Bandcamp upon it’s release, which quickly sold out. It was #21 on Gorilla vs Bear’s Best Albums of 2016 year-end list.
1: Steve Jobs’ last words were “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
2: The reason the taste of artificial banana flavoring and artificial banana flavored products doesn’t taste like bananas is because it is based on a type of banana that was wiped out by a plague in the 1950’s.
3: There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth, but there are more atoms in a single grain of sand than there are stars in the universe!
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
My contemporaries, favorites of the past. Sometimes I forget what I like about music, a lot of it is terrible. But then I find someone that reminds me of how good it can be, and that inspires me to be creative. I like the possibility of being able to create a song that I would like to hear. I like a lot of music from the 90s and the 60s. Genres that I feel influence my music range from American singers and songwriters from the 60s like The Beach Boys or Roy Orbison, to techno, shoegaze,rap,alternative and rock from the 90s, hypnogogic pop.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I was always into music, my older sister had really good taste in music so I lived through some 90s gems bc of her like Nirvana, Hole, The Smashing Pumpkins, NIN, Green Day, Fiona Apple, Sublime, basic stuff but when you’re a child you don’t necessarily get exposed to that kind of stuff as it’s happening, when it’s still brand new.
When I was 14 in Virginia, in the US, I started taking guitar lessons and learning how to play and sing songs I knew. Then my friends and I started a band, we played some Weezer covers but sometimes originals. I started writing my own songs and I would record them at songwriting camp or at a local studio built for teens, I think it was free. But really, it started when I was in fifth grade and learned the flute. I played all through middle school in the marching band. I can walk while holding an egg in a spoon flawlessly. I think from the start what attracted me to playing music was the zen like meditativeness of it. It’s a very relaxing way to occupy your mind and your body.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Elliott Smith – Either/Or
Blink 182 – Dude Ranch
Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat To Earth
No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom
(That’s not entirely accurate, I probably forgot some things)
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
This will be my first time in the city. I’ve only heard what my friends who have lived there or visited tell me, basically people just talk to me about how awesome or crazy Berghain is, and that’s where I’m going so that’s cool!
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Dune – it’s a Mediterranean restaurant in Los Angeles, where I live now, the best sandwich I have ever had in my life, I shouldn’t even call it a sandwich because it is so much more.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I would work with animals somehow, to help them like at a wildlife reserve or some kind of sanctuary. Its a funny dream to one day have my own husky sanctuary or a sanctuary for mistreated and rescued farm animals. Who knows. I just really love animals and feel so sorry for how we are ruining this planet for them. I’ve got more sympathy for them than us, they’re an innocent party.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I bought a cassette by my friends’ band Anemone. They’re from Montreal and they are amazing.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
the thought of collaborating gives me anxiety. The idea of working with a musical hero of mine is nerve-racking, I would never do it. But if I make or play music with other people, they’ve got to be my friends, I have to know them, otherwise where’s the fun.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
The best shows I ever went to were when I was like 16. back then, they were like religious experiences for me, I almost can’t relate to that feeling anymore because I’m so jaded. But when you’re a kid everything is for the first time. I used to go to house shows and a lot of punk/hardcore/screamo type shows when I was in my formative years, so I feel like that kind of a performance was ingrained in my brain as what is normal. Hanging from rafters screaming and then jumping off a balcony to crowd surf lol! Everything very extra all the time.
But I did just recently see Weyes Blood play at House of Vans in NYC, and that was a performance that really touched me, she is just not of this world in terms of her voice and her songwriting. My favorite show that I’ve ever played was probably a very small party I played for the students of Bard College in upstate New York in the states. Those kids were just serious about partying. They broke my projector and I didn’t even care because it was so fun.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It’s pretty important, because I only write songs as I’m recording them, and I couldn’t do that without my computer. But at the end of the day, I’m writing songs much the same way that someone sitting at a piano would. My piano just happens to be inside the computer. All of the fun stuff happens in the production of the song, what kind of effects, what kind of mix, so yeah I guess technology is super important for my music, but it’s not the most important thing. I’m not as interested in technical stuff as I am in just writing cool music. It’s not about doing something technically cutting edge or difficult for me, it’s just a means to an end.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Yes, I have a brother and also a sister, who just last year died very tragically. My brother has two bands in NYC, one called ‘Teen Body’ and another called ‘Flossed in Paradise’. So we’ve always been in the same boat. We play a lot of shows together and sometimes he plays in my backing band. My sister was one of our biggest cheerleaders. She was always standing right up front for every show she came to, including one just two days before she died, she bought me a Jell-O shot. She was likely the most creative one of us all, although she may not have realized that. She is missed dearly, but I try to make her proud still.
Negative Gemini headlines Kometenmelodien on Thursday, 4th October 2018 at Berghain Kantine.
Photo © Casey Doran