“It’s such a waste if you don’t embrace the music you genuinely like,” sighs frontwoman Barrie Lindsay. Sat upstairs at Moth Club surrounded by wooden furniture, patterned carpets and a trophy stand, Clash listens to what the five-piece Brooklyn bunch have to say in their distinct twangy American accents.
Forming around lead singer and songwriter Barrie Lindsay, Barrie was born and bred in New York. Consisting of four other musicians - Dom Apa, Noah Prebish, Sabine Holler, and Spurge Carter - the band began releasing music together only last year. It's been a whirlwind ride so far, and we’ve heard three fascinating singles: the glossy 80s synth-led ‘Tal Uno’ and glistening chill of ‘Canyons’, to the classic rock heard in ‘Michigan’.
Taking things to the next step, they have announced their first album to be out this Friday. On this debut LP 'Happy To Be Here', their multidimensional take on classic pop sounds awake and present, yet also like a dazed daydream. “In making it, there was no set theme but in retrospect I think a lot of it is about moving and transitional,” Barrie ponders. “In some ways it reflects me moving to New York and meeting these people, starting a new phase of life. Like I say, it was never a conscious thing but you can definitely see that thread through the songs. It’s a very New York album,” she shares.
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Largely writing songs late into the night, alone in her apartment, her voice feels appropriately full of possibility and fragility. "Little touches like that really shine through,” she beams.
Choosing Brooklyn as their designated spot, the band seeded from involvement with The Lot, a Brooklyn based online radio station, with members being recruited from various locations. “Spurge and I first met at The Lot Radio,” explains Noah. “There was this guy there called Joe who was managing Barrie when she was living in Boston and came to us like oh I’m managing this singer, she’s going to be huge and you’re going to be in her band and we were like alright!” he laughs.
“None of us were really looking to start a band it just sort of happened. Barrie moved to New York and showed up - we were a band whether we liked it or not. Thanks Joe, wherever you are!” he cheekily grins as Sabine finishes: “For me, it was my second month in New York and l was casually looking for stuff to do whilst being a musician. I was on Tinder and there was this profile that was like if you’re a girl and can play bass we want you to be a part of this band. I swiped right and we met up,” she giggles.
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The fact they’ve all ventured from different places, undoubtably brings contrasting influences to their music. “Everybody has very different backgrounds and skills,” Barrie agrees. “Noah has a ton of synth production experience and Spurge as-well in terms of production. Sabine has her own solo project where she does lots of experimental electronic stuff, then Dom is a really experienced drummer. Especially in bringing a live show to life, it has been a success and more what I could have done if I was just on my own,” she tells me.
“Barrie just writes the songs but after that’s where our experience comes in,” Dom continues. “So for us, the songs are already pretty much done, and we then go onto interpreting it ourselves. It’s interesting and with this being the first album for Barrie and stuff, I don’t think any of us have previously joined someone else’s project or thought of ourselves as people that would be worthy to bring something to the table. I think each of us had to find our own way, figuring out what about us individually that we could give. We all listen to completely different music so when we’re in the studio I’m always amazed at how we agree on things.”
Nodding in agreement, Barrie clarifies: “Although a lot of the songs were already written, we played and rehearsed them for 6-9 months before we recorded the album. So I guess a lot of them grew throughout the process of us playing them,” she says.
“Yeah, it’s very decidedly Barrie’s songs but we act as the background with different elements,” Noah adds, politely interrupting. “It’s all been a bunch of happy accidents which has been a result of people taking different approaches.”
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Primarily being Barrie’s own project, it was interesting to hear how the journey's been for them all as a band. Developing from just one member to five must have been a cataphoric shift for Barrie and her work.
“When I was in Boston I had all my equipment and everything in my apartment, but when moving to New York I didn’t have access to them which ended up being a blessing. This meant I could rely on everyone else to do other parts which is great! In the past I always tried to do everything myself,” she explains.
“Personally for me, I’ve never played in a band before,” Spurge proceeds. “I’ve always been into electronics and stuff. We all make music individually on our laptops as-well so through physical communication it has been really good for all of us to see how we understand things.”
Softly chuckling in the background, Noah notes, “I just want to say for anyone out there thinking about starting music but feels like they’ve waiting too long, Spurge had never played in a band and then two years later played live in the BBC radio studio so you can do whatever you want!”
Collectively laughing as one, Sabine speaks up: “I didn’t know how to play bass before. I fooled them, I was a guitarist really,” she bursts.
Clearly generating their excitement through radiant smiles and titters, Barrie match charming charisma to magical dream-pop - we're lucky to have them.
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Barrie will release 'Happy To Be Here' on May 3rd.
Words + Photography: Lauren McDermott
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