Grammar is the project of 24-year-old Barrie Lindsay. Lindsay grew up outside of Boston and studied music theory and composition at Wesleyan in Connecticut. She formed Grammar her senior year as part of her thesis, where it took the shape of a 15-piece orchestral chamber pop group.
After graduating, Lindsay worked as a studio assistant for the sculptor George Sherwood and continued to write music and score short films. She joined her older brother Jack’s band as a keyboardist. As the band changed members and changed directions, they started playing Barrie’s original songs and became Grammar. She started writing songs geared toward the instrumentation of the band, focussing on electric guitar. After a year, they started playing out in Boston. In June 2014, Lindsay started putting together an EP of new songs, which was self-released last week.
The EP demonstrates that the band’s sound has moved towards darker, dreamier, cerebral pop — always with an emphasis on melody. The texture is warm and full but intentionally sparse.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Lindsay to discuss the EP. This is what she said about it.
When did you begin writing the material for the Grammar EP? ?
Pretty much in the last year or so. Most of it came from the last six months.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
Well, I usually write and record at the same time. There’s no demo stage, so I don’t have the issue of trying to figure out how to flesh out a song. But for the song “Cambridge,” all the guitar tracks somehow got deleted and trying to remember how it went and rerecording it almost killed the song. I’m not very patient.
Which of the songs on the EP is most different from your original concept for the song?
It’s tricky to say, since the songs don’t go through dramatically different stages; the end products are not that far off from what comes out when I first sit down. Sometimes I go into it with an idea, like “I want to write a drum part that sounds like one of those disjointed Haim beats,” but it’s a small piece that guides the rest of the song into something I had no plans for.
Why an EP, instead of doing a full length? Is there a full length in the works?
An EP seemed like a more manageable thing, easier to present and easier for people to digest. And distilling it down to five tracks helped me figure out what I really wanted Grammar to be. But yeah, I’m in the process of working out an LP.
You formed Grammar as part of your senior thesis at Wesleyan. Were any of the EP’s tracks originally used in that thesis?
No, all the songs on the EP were written in the past year, separate from school.
Do sibling rivalries ever pop up in band meetings?
Yeah, definitely. Usually it’s something very dumb.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
We’ve played most live and it’s tricky interpreting reactions, since some songs go for a more somber feel and don’t get obvious-to-interpret responses. But “Head Up” is fun to play live; it finds a good groove.
(Visit the band here: http://ourgrammar.com/.)