Grids & Dots chat Nick Drake, camping, and their new music with Wayne Connolly

Who better to interview Sydney’s shoegaze connoisseurs than their producer? Grids & Dots and Wayne Connolly dive into their influences, aspirations, and their summer-ready tunes.

Grids & Dots are on a roll, delivering all the tracks we need for a sun-soaked springtime. Fresh off the release of their bright new single The Great Divide and with an updated Nick Drake cover on the way, it looks like there’s no slowing down the Sydney trio.

In among their packed release schedule, the group sat down with producer and founding member of Sydney bands Knievel and The Welcome Mat Wayne Connolly to chat through their music and what’s in store for the group.

grids & dots interview

Wayne Connolly interviews Grids & Dots

WAYNE: How long have you been playing and making music together?

DANIEL: Carmen and I have been playing music together for about six years in a couple of different iterations of bands. She started out playing keys and synth though, before learning to play the guitar. We also took a year or so break while she went and lived in Berlin. I guess the sound has really come together for us in the past year or so. We found our drummer, Pat, after our old drummer, unfortunately, had to leave after helping us to record the EP. Pat has fit in with us like a glove.

WAYNE: Your next track is a cover of a Nick Drake song, but includes some sections you composed yourself. Did you have to contact his estate to ask permission to change it?

DANIEL: Yeah, we have a single coming out next called Hazey Jane, which is a cover. I contacted the Nick Drake Estate about recording and releasing it very nervously! Actually, they were honoured that we wanted to do a cover from one of my favourite songwriters. The lyrics are so beautiful in this song, but we changed it from a folk tune to whatever genre it is that Grids & Dots happens to sit in right now.

WAYNE: What are some Australian acts that have inspired Grids & Dots?

DANIEL: One of the biggest reasons I was so keen to work with you was your great work with the Underground Lovers. I hadn’t even heard all of their albums, but what I had heard reminded me of New Order and My Bloody Valentine, which is such an amazing combination. The Go-Betweens are a band I first heard as a teenager late one night on Rage, and I really haven’t stopped loving their music ever since. Really perfect songs which, to me, somehow have such an Australian-ness about them as well. I always thought that if I could play in a band which sounded like a noisier version of The Go-Betweens, that would be perfect. There have been so many great Aussie indie rock bands, but Mere Women are one band right now that we always listen to when they have something new.

WAYNE: How are you coping in this pandemic year? Have you had to change your plans?

DANIEL: Yeah, we were actually only just getting tight and learning to play live well as a band together when the pandemic hit and turned everything upside down, so it definitely affected us in that way. On the other hand, it did give us a chance to focus just on recording the EP with your kind self and getting into bringing out every detail of the songs in a way in which we might not have if had been focusing on other things as well.

WAYNE: When was the last time you played live?

DANIEL: It was at the Botany View Hotel in Newtown in February, supporting our friends The Astrals. I remember thinking after the gig; wow, we finally sound like a band now, and I thought we were just getting started. But, little did we know it would be the last time we played in over half a year.

WAYNE: Have you got a film clip planned for Hazy Jane?

DANIEL: Yeah, we filmed it just this past weekend with a very talented crew put together by Genevieve Kaiser, who directed some of Huck Hastings’ film clips in the past. It was an absolute riot and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. I think it will be hilarious. She is such a talent, very focused, and we can’t wait to work with her again.

WAYNE: Am I correct in thinking that you enjoy camping trips? How did that come about?

DANIEL: Ah, we love camping trips! We live pretty close to the middle of the city, so any chance we get to take long drives and get away from it, especially as the weather warms up, we take it. Going out there with friends, especially where we can’t get phone signals; the stars are clear and we have nothing else really to do but talk and cook food for each other, that really refreshes us for when we do come back into the city rat race. Reminds us that there’s more to life.

WAYNE: You have a pet dog named Wilco, are they a big influence? If you had a cat, what would you call it?

DANIEL: I can’t really tell if Wilco is a big influence on us or not, I’d say probably not! But, they have put out such great albums, so diverse, and what a songwriter. There was a time when we had the song Impossible Germany on repeat in our car. But honestly, it’s just a very cute name! If we had a cat we would call it Thurston and he could help detune my guitars.

WAYNE: Your new single is out on Scenic Drive, how did that come about?

DANIEL: Well, we’ve been working with an amazing producer called Wayne and he is actually starting a great new Australian indie-rock label, supported by a digital distribution service Believe. We’re lucky enough to have been asked to put our next single after The Great Divide (the aforementioned Hazey Jane) out on it and we’re super excited about that opportunity.

We’re actually playing a show with a band signed to Scenic Drive called The Nagging Doubts on Oct 2nd at the Lord Gladstone Hotel in Chippendale, as part of their Bloom party events. We can’t wait to see them and I really think it’ll be a great night!

Grab your copy of The Great Divide here. Check out Wayne Connelly here.