Sydney outfit Grids & Dots recently released one of the year’s best EPs by way of the stunning What Happens To Friendships?, and today we’re lucky enough to have the band take us through the record track by track.
If you’ve had your finger on the pulse of the Aussie music scene for a while, then the chances are good you’d be aware of Sydney’s Grids & Dots. Noted as purveyors of heart-wrenching indie tunes in the vein of icons like Yo La Tengo, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and even Australia’s The Go-Betweens or My Friend The Cholate Cake, there’s nothing that Grids & Dots can’t do.
Just last week, they proved to us that the wait for new material was worth it, sharing the stunning What Happens To Friendships? EP. Collecting all the singles they’ve released across the last year (2019’s ‘Never Change’ is the only absent track), the seven-track collection is arguably one of the finest EPs you’ll hear all year, with the soon-to-be iconic Grids & Dots sound washing over you like a powerful wave of sound.
Recorded with ARIA Award-winning producer Wayne Connolly (Paul Dempsey, You Am I) at Sydney’s Hercules St Studios, the process ended up taking longer than expected due to clashing with the onset of COVID-19, but the end result was something the group felt extremely proud of.
“It ended up being a drawn out process of sneaking into the studio when we were allowed, making sure all precautions were being met and then slowly mixing the material as the laws relaxed,” they explained.
“It was strange, but in a way it allowed us some breathing room in between sessions to think about how we wanted to sound and figure out the details in an organic, unhurried way.”
To celebrate its recent release, the group were kind enough to speak to us about the EP, giving us a solid rundown as they speak to the creation of each of the stunning tracks.
Check out ‘Dishes And Days’:
Grids & Dots take us through What Happens To Friendships?
‘Dishes & Days’
The opening song on our EP was originally written a couple of years back in a flat in Pyrmont while reminiscing about slow teenage years in the suburbs, with adolescent romance on the horizon and about making plans to get away.
The song starts as a call and response pop tune before it starts to build into a noisy twin guitar shoegazing crescendo, and then falling back into the familiar melodic chorus at the end to add punch.
‘The Great Divide’
‘The Great Divide’ is about the drifting apart of close friendships and how some people can suddenly seem so far away, even though the distance in terms of proximity hasn’t changed at all.
It was only partially finished when we presented the demo to our producer in the recording studio, but he liked it so much that we worked on it and taught it to the rest of the band on the spot, and with everyone chipping in ideas some kind of magic happened here.
Check out ‘The Great Divide’:
A love song for new starts in the exuberance and towering skylines of big cities, about escaping the shadows of the recent past and how love can creep up on you when it’s often the last thing we want or need.
Probably our most upbeat ‘rocker’ from the EP, but still has moments of gentle melodicism in between the angular guitar riffs and thumping beat.
‘What Happens To Friendships In Winter?’
This song was written about a stay in Berlin, Germany with a friend and how sometimes tensions can escalate when holidaying in such close quarters, even in one of the most beautifully messy and exciting places in the world.
This song draws on the Velvet Underground with haunting and pretty vocals and a sinuous lead guitar line, double bass and violin.
This song has gone through a number of variations before arriving here, but it was written about a distant girl who lived in the Blue Mountains but travelled to the inner west to party every weekend. She would always tell us that the air and sky are more beautiful where she is, and that’s why she never wanted to live anywhere else.
Check out ‘Suzy Says’:
‘Someone Mentioned Today’
This was written after an argument and is about the difficulty people can have in staying fully connected with each other and seeing each others’ points of view sometimes. The rhythm guitar is basked in a My Bloody Valentine-inspired reverse reverb, while the lead guitar is drenched with feedback and reverb creating a gorgeous noise-drone which helps guide the listener along the songs’ esoteric journey to a chaotic end.
A reimagining of a Nick Drake song from his album Bryter Layter, we tried to turn a traditional, beautifully haunting folk song into an indie rock pop gem, adding descending scale guitars into the chorus, a blistering middle 8 and a second chorus melody to polish the song off.
We cheekily wanted to pretend as if we wrote the song ourselves, and wondered just how these beautiful lyrics would translate if written by an indie rock noise band.
Grids & Dots’ What Happens To Friendships? EP is out now.