I am very glad to have been introduced to Barrie, a new Brooklyn dream-pop band that's debuting one of my favorite singles of 2018 to date today. Titled "Tal Uno," listening brings me very viscerally back to awkward high school dances: the synths shimmer like disco ball lights reflecting off foil decorations, and the hazy vocals cast a romantic film over everything. Considering it's their second single ever — their first was the equally dreamy "Canyons" — it sounds like they've had years to perfect their sound.
But in reality, they've not been playing together that long — just about a year, and their origin story is a bit unconventional. The five members — Barrie (vocals, guitar), Spurge (keys), Dom (drums), Noah (guitar, synth), and Sabine (bass) — hail from all over the world: Baltimore, Boston, upstate New York, London, and Brazil, seemingly meeting through happenstance. Quite literally in Sabine's case; she was recruited through Tinder. Wanting to know more about how they managed to find one another and create with such a clear vision, I reached out to them via email — and, with healthy doses of self-awareness and wit, here's what they had to say.
How did the band come together? I heard Tinder might've been involved?
BARRIE: I moved to New York because our first manager [and] friend, Joe, found my songs online. He suggested I move to Brooklyn to meet Spurge and Noah who he knew from the Lot Radio.
SPURGE: Joe approached us with less of a proposition and more of a demand: “You all are musicians and you're going to play in a band together.” Dom, who had recently moved to New York from London, came through a connection to Noah.
SABINE: I moved to New York from Berlin because I was looking for a more striving music scene. When I first arrived, I was using Tinder to make “friends” and meet people. I found this profile that had a note saying “Are you a Girl? Do you play Bass? Want to join a band?” Bass wasn’t my first instrument but I swiped right anyways. They had really cool pics on their profile too. I am really happy to have met these incredibly talented musicians that are also now my great friends. I must say, I am really lucky in Tinder.
NOAH: It all came together very naturally. It was like the band already existed and we just didn’t know it yet.
What was the process of auditioning people via Tinder like?
NOAH: We didn’t audition anybody per se. We found Sabine and never did it again. We deleted Tinder, threw the phone in the ocean, changed our names, and made a blood oath to never speak of it again unless in response to a FADER Q&A.
SABINE: I was probably sitting on a toilet when I swiped right.
What's story behind "Tal Uno?"
BARRIE: Lyrically, kind of a version of the Dandy Warhols' “Bohemian Like You,” kind of tongue-in-cheek. Musically, it's built around the Tal-U-No-LX plug-in and the bass line.
NOAH: We had planned to change the name eventually, but nothing felt right, so we looked at each other and were like, “welp.”
SPURGE: It has an 80’s prom feel to it. Picture high schoolers all dressed up drinking punch and overly excited to hear announcements from the principal. Very John Hughes.
I know "Tal Uno" is just your second single, but is there a specific sound or vibe you guys want your music to channel? Any specific artists/bands that you guys admire?
BARRIE: It's a wide range. What's cool about being in a group this eclectic is how we deliberately want each other to pull from influences and run it through the filter of this band. Taking the relevant pieces from each of our favorites to expand the sound.
SABINE: I think Barrie’s music is something you can listen to and always enter on that right place you want to be. It’s delicate but also joyful and has the right amount of energy in it. Influences are not just musical, I think it’s more like a state of being.
DOM: I think that music in general is coming out of a phase of judging itself by these harsh standards, analyzing [or] labelling everything, because there was a lot of creativity based on homage and wearing your influences as a badge of honour. We really respect Men I Trust and Major Murphy based on their live personality and songwriting.
What's the band's songwriting/creative process like?
BARRIE: We’re relatively new to creating together, so we’re still figuring it out. Generally I write the songs, and as we learn it as a group, we figure out new textures and parts. That process then plays into producing and recording.
DOM: The band has been informed a lot by jamming together in Brooklyn, even before we booked any shows. We enjoy thinking about the details of the live performance which has been more stripped back and spontaneous. It helps us keep the music moving forward.