For all of those who think the indie dream pop is dead, Barrie is here to prove you wrong. With the 2018 debut singles Canyons and Tal Uno followed by a tour around the United States, Barrie has solidified their status as one of the best up-and-coming bands in America.
Barrie originally started out as the project of Barrie Lindsay herself but quickly picked up momentum as she was joined by her now band members Noah Prebish, Sabine Holler, Spurge Carter, and Dominic Apa. Now, the five-piece band is continuing to put their musical differences to work, sculpting familiar pop sounds with more abstract textures and soundscapes. The result has been a string of dream pop singles teasing their full-length album release, set to debut on May 3rd.
Despite it being 2019, the age of pop stars, rappers, and solo artists, Barrie reminds us that it’s still cool to be in a band! Music, after all, is entirely about collaboration—working collectively to produce something beautiful despite artistic differences. Below, we talk to the members of Barrie about their music, band dynamic, and the importance of honest communication between members.
There’s word that Barrie is one of the most multicultural bands in the Brooklyn indie scene today. How did you guys all meet and how did the band get started?
Barrie Lindsay: “Originally, we met through Joe van Moyland, who was managing me at the time. He introduced me to Spurge and Noah, who were working at the Lot Radio in Greenpoint. Noah and Joe knew Dom, the drummer from Is Tropical in London, and then we found Sabine on Tinder.”
Sabine Holler: “I just swiped right.”
This project started as your own project, Barrie, and has taken on a very collaborative nature as it grew. What would you guys say the creative process is like now?
Spurge Carter: “We all are pretty blunt in regards to what we think is tasteful or not. Barrie is already a phenomenal creator but like anyone is limited to her individual perspective. Her opening up her ideas to be filtered through us has stretched the sounds of the record beyond what one person would make.”
What are the individual strengths of each player? How does that add to the overall process of producing and recording?
BL: “Everyone in the band is a great writer and producer individually. Dom is an incredible drummer, Sabine has a beautiful voice and guitar abilities, Noah is a talented producer and synth head, and Spurge has great creative/production taste and judgment.”
You guys probably get asked this a lot, but Tal Uno is one of your earliest singles and one of my favorite songs (ever). What’s the history/writing process with that song? Lyrically, it’s a little melancholic, paired with 80’s prom style synths…
BL: “Thank you! I wrote it in early 2016; I downloaded the Tal-U-No LX synth plug-in and that song was the first thing I wrote. I was living in Boston before I met the band, feeling kind of isolated and frustrated trying to get my music project off the ground.”
What are each of your favorite songs to play live?
BL: “I think Geology.”
SP: “Chinatown has really good live energy.”
SH: “I think Clovers is one of the most special moments in the set.”
Dominic Apa: “My favorite is Chinatown, too.”
You’ve been on tour for a while now, and are going to Europe next month! It’s probably both very trying and very exciting. How have you all treated spending so much time together? How do you keep morale up?
BL: “We check in with each other and talk about our feelings a lot. Also, you have to make an effort to eat real food and get outside.”
SP: “We’re all pretty good at individually tapping out, taking walks, having a cry, etc. The dynamic is very familial, so even if we’re all fried and annoyed, it doesn’t feel permanent. That’s the vibe with the label, too. We’ve been very focused these past two years on our goal of getting the project off the ground and grew pretty comfortable with each other quite fast, so it’s been nice to learn more nuanced elements of everyone’s upbringing and worldview at this stage of the group relationship.”
DA: “Little mushrooms keep my morale up. I also go into a weird, zen, non-human state on the road. It’s also, as a British person, very important for me to take the piss out of people, and the band abides that a lot. They see it’s my oxygen.”
SH: “The tour was really important to improve our live show chemistry. I think it’s important to respect everyone’s space and individuality. I think we did a good job, we all get along really well.”
In the same vein, but not as commonly discussed, what are the downsides of touring?
BL: “It’s exhausting. It’s a lot of sleeping on floors, carrying gear, driving, and you have so little time and space to yourself. But I’m so grateful to be doing what we’re doing and so thankful to be doing it with my bandmates. But also, the music industry is fucked up and musicians need to be paid better!”
SH: “It feels like living on the edge; it is really fun, but also emotionally and physically exhausting. You do question yourself the reasons why you’re doing it several times, because the rewards are often too abstract. But the experience is definitely enriching.”
Any rituals you have before shows?
SP: “We started to meditate and state intents for the night, both individually and as a group.”
SH: “We warm up our voices and practice harmonies a lot. It helps us feel confident and prepared to go on stage. We talk to each other a lot too, often trying to make sure we’re in the best state of mind to perform.”
DA: “If I can help it at all, I take my shoes off. It really makes me feel connected and present.”
What have you been listening to on your own time?
SP: “Tierra Whack, Sea Moya, Toro y Moi, Francis Bebey, Cautious Clay, Ariana Grande, and lots of ambient music like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Jonny Nash, and Gaussian Curve.”
SH: “Holly Herndon, KÁRYYN, Laurel Halo, Sedona, and boygenius.”
DA: “A lot of our friend’s label Sacred Bones.”
After all this touring, what’s next for Barrie?
SP: “Our album’s out May 3rd! So all this touring is momentum towards that. For summer, hopefully all of us will be writing and developing ourselves and each other. We all have a nice community of music friends in the city, so it’ll be time for the pendulum to swing the other way and after constant motion we’ll all want to settle for a bit to create, travel for pleasure, etc.”
SH: “I’m excited about the album release. Besides that, touring is really fun. I love being in a different place every day.”