Grids & Dots with Daniel Handaru

by the partae
Where are you currently based? We're all based around the inner-west of Sydney City. How did Grids & Dots form? We were originally sort of an art project between myself and Carmen Minikus, before going through a number of different iterations over the next few years few years to becoming the band we are now. I feel like we've really just found our feet (and our sound) over the past year and a half or so. What's been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been so far? Like everyone else, our live shows came to a grinding halt as the world turned upside down in Feburary or March, but I think we were really lucky in a way as we had already just booked in recording and mixing time for our debut EP and we were able to get a lot of done just as the restrictions came into place. There was some down time as we isolated like everyone else, but we've still managed to keep moving! How did you first start playing music? Myself and Carmen first started playing together in a flat share near Chinatown about six years ago, coming from completely different musical backgrounds. She was a classically trained pianist, and I was a guitarist more used to playing in noisy post-rock types of bands. We somehow found some kind of connection in each other's music, but it really took shape when Carmen started playing guitar. We haven't looked back since. Your new single 'The Great Divide' is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting? I feel like the sound of the song really sits in that pocket of being dream pop, with the reverb-drenched guitar and floating melodies, but it definitely has a driving element to it coming from the rhythm section which makes it sort of an uplifting tune and stops it from being too melancholic, I think. The songwriting itself was influenced by personal experiences of people you care about or used to care a lot about who have become physically or emotionally distant to where you can't find them anymore.  How did you go about writing the single? When I was writing the initial melody and structure, I definitely thought about having Carmen becoming more involved in the singing and writing process and trying to harmonise together. I have always loved bands who used multiple vocal harmonies drifting in and out with each other, like the Byrds or maybe Teenage Fanclub, and I really wanted to try some of that approach in our music. The song was actually still unfinished when we brought it into the studio, and our producer, who is a great songwriter himself, helped give it a few finishing touches. We taught it to the rest of the band on the spot and ran with it. Where and when did you record/produce? Th EP was recorded and produced with Wayne Connolly, at Hercules Street Studio in Surry Hills. The main instrument and vocal tracks were recorded in early March, and then we added more overdubs and layers when we could over the partial lockdown months, before going in and starting to mix everything in the months afterwards. We're still mixing the EP now actually, but hopefully it will all be done soon! How did you approach the recording/production process and who did you work with? Some of these songs had actually been ready for a couple of years before we went into the studio, so they had been demoed a few times already, and we were dying to get them out there. Then there are a couple of songs like the Great Divide which are really new comparatively. We worked with Wayne, whose production work with a number of Australian indie-rock bands we were really big fans of, as well as admiring the bands he himself had played in as well. What do you most enjoy about writing and playing music? For me writing music is pure catharsis. Some people just need some kind of outlet for their happy / sad feelings or else they go a bit nuts, and I think that I am one of them. I write a lot of stuff in the songs that I sometimes find difficult to say. Then there's just the thrill of playing the music to an audience, with some people who you really care about playing with you, and literally creating something out of nothing with them. Nothing can beat that feeling, really! Who are you listening to at the moment? I've been obsessed with Ruby Haunts latest album for about half a year now. Black Marble are another go to band of mine, and I've recently started listening to an old Alt-rock band from 80s New Zealand called The Clean. They were on that amazing Flying Nun record label and the music is just fantastic. What do you like to do away from music? I'm a digital designer by trade, and I like photography and reading a lot, and occasionally playing retro video games. We also go out camping a lot in summertime. What's planned for the remainder of 2020 going into 2021? We have a new single which is a cover of a song by Nick Drake out next month through Scenic Drive records, and then our debut EP will be out early next year. We have an albums worth of material we're writing now which we hope to record in Feb or March next year which we are literally so excited about. Favourite food and place to hangout? One of my favourite restaurants is a small Italian place on Cleveland St. in Darlington called Kindred. Just a super nice local atmosphere and the best food. Our favourite place to hang out and chill is the dog beach behind the main strip in Rose Bay! ‘The Great Divide’ is out now! Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Triple J Unearthed

Where are you currently based?

We’re all based around the inner-west of Sydney City.

How did Grids & Dots form?

We were originally sort of an art project between myself and Carmen Minikus, before going through a number of different iterations over the next few years few years to becoming the band we are now. I feel like we’ve really just found our feet (and our sound) over the past year and a half or so.

What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been so far?

Like everyone else, our live shows came to a grinding halt as the world turned upside down in Feburary or March, but I think we were really lucky in a way as we had already just booked in recording and mixing time for our debut EP and we were able to get a lot of done just as the restrictions came into place. There was some down time as we isolated like everyone else, but we’ve still managed to keep moving!

How did you first start playing music?

Myself and Carmen first started playing together in a flat share near Chinatown about six years ago, coming from completely different musical backgrounds. She was a classically trained pianist, and I was a guitarist more used to playing in noisy post-rock types of bands. We somehow found some kind of connection in each other’s music, but it really took shape when Carmen started playing guitar. We haven’t looked back since.

Your new single ‘The Great Divide’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?

I feel like the sound of the song really sits in that pocket of being dream pop, with the reverb-drenched guitar and floating melodies, but it definitely has a driving element to it coming from the rhythm section which makes it sort of an uplifting tune and stops it from being too melancholic, I think. The songwriting itself was influenced by personal experiences of people you care about or used to care a lot about who have become physically or emotionally distant to where you can’t find them anymore.

How did you go about writing the single?

When I was writing the initial melody and structure, I definitely thought about having Carmen becoming more involved in the singing and writing process and trying to harmonise together. I have always loved bands who used multiple vocal harmonies drifting in and out with each other, like the Byrds or maybe Teenage Fanclub, and I really wanted to try some of that approach in our music. The song was actually still unfinished when we brought it into the studio, and our producer, who is a great songwriter himself, helped give it a few finishing touches. We taught it to the rest of the band on the spot and ran with it.

Where and when did you record/produce?

The EP was recorded and produced with Wayne Connolly, at Hercules Street Studio in Surry Hills. The main instrument and vocal tracks were recorded in early March, and then we added more overdubs and layers when we could over the partial lockdown months, before going in and starting to mix everything in the months afterwards. We’re still mixing the EP now actually, but hopefully it will all be done soon!

How did you approach the recording/production process and who did you work with?

Some of these songs had actually been ready for a couple of years before we went into the studio, so they had been demoed a few times already, and we were dying to get them out there. Then there are a couple of songs like the Great Divide which are really new comparatively. We worked with Wayne, whose production work with a number of Australian indie-rock bands we were really big fans of, as well as admiring the bands he himself had played in as well.

What do you most enjoy about writing and playing music?

For me writing music is pure catharsis. Some people just need some kind of outlet for their happy / sad feelings or else they go a bit nuts, and I think that I am one of them. I write a lot of stuff in the songs that I sometimes find difficult to say. Then there’s just the thrill of playing the music to an audience, with some people who you really care about playing with you, and literally creating something out of nothing with them. Nothing can beat that feeling, really!

Who are you listening to at the moment?

I’ve been obsessed with Ruby Haunts latest album for about half a year now. Black Marble are another go to band of mine, and I’ve recently started listening to an old Alt-rock band from 80s New Zealand called The Clean. They were on that amazing Flying Nun record label and the music is just fantastic.

What do you like to do away from music?

I’m a digital designer by trade, and I like photography and reading a lot, and occasionally playing retro video games. We also go out camping a lot in summertime.

What’s planned for the remainder of 2020 going into 2021?

We have a new single which is a cover of a song by Nick Drake out next month through Scenic Drive records, and then our debut EP will be out early next year. We have an albums worth of material we’re writing now which we hope to record in Feb or March next year which we are literally so excited about.

Favourite food and place to hangout?

One of my favourite restaurants is a small Italian place on Cleveland St. in Darlington called Kindred. Just a super nice local atmosphere and the best food. Our favourite place to hang out and chill is the dog beach behind the main strip in Rose Bay!

‘The Great Divide’ is out now!

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