The Blues And Greys’ Lindsey Waldon On Jazz and Punk Influences + New EP ‘Bright Lights’
If you’re a fan of MTV’s 'Awkward' or happen to pay attention to songs on TV commercials, you may know the Blues And Greys. But there’s a lot more to them than their single ‘Bright Lights,' and their debut EP of the same name (out now on Wednesday Records) showcases the sound that’s earned them comparisons to Lana Del Rey and Lorde. We caught up with lead vocalist Lindsey Waldon via email to find out about how being the daughter of a working jazz musician influenced her sound, as well as how it feels to hear her music on TV.
Why did you decide to call your band the Blues And Greys?
We tend to write songs with mood and atmosphere, and the name seemed to embody those things.
How would you describe your sound to someone who's never heard your music?
Mystical flow jams with a hint of apathy.
I’ve read that you grew up as the daughter of a working jazz singer, which led to you learning to play classical piano, trumpet and bass. But you also became a fan of punk rock at the age of 12, after your sister introduced you to it. Which style of music has influenced your music more? Or have they been equally influential, in different ways?
Jazz definitely influenced me more musically, but the punk enhanced the desire to be in a full band.
You met two of your bandmates when you moved to Santa Barbara for college, correct? How did you meet them? Were they your classmates, as well? How did you start making music with them?
I started making music with Jon and Thom about two years ago, when we were introduced through a mutual friend. We are the three original members of the band. The other three I've actually known for over four years but didn't ask them to play with us until recently.
Thom and Jonathan had prior experience being in bands, but this is your first time fronting a band. Did it make it easier on you to have musicians with band experience to work with? Did they give you any memorable pointers when you started a band with them?
They have been musical gurus for me. It's been a wonderful experience working with people who have been doing this for a while. They have definitely helped me grow as a musician and songwriter.
What is your process for writing and recording something like your new EP?
We try to figure out what it is we want to write about, whether it be an experience or a feeling. I personally like writing my songs about particular people, but Jon has helped me to expand on my writing content. After that, we get a basic idea of an instrumental structure and go to town on the lyrics and melody.
Have you been pleased with the reaction the EP has received so far? Is it what you’d anticipated?
I am pleased to say it has been nothing but a positive reaction for the EP so far. I had no expectations because you never know what people are going to like. The music scene is a gamble; you put all this effort into an album and have it be either welcomed with open arms or rejected.
How did it feel when you first heard your music in TV commercials -- Subaru, Budweiser, etc. -- and on MTV’s 'Awkward?' Is that anything you’d ever hoped to achieve? Or was it a total shock/surprise?
I was really excited to hear our music on TV. It's one of those things when you've signed the contract and you know what it's for but you are still in complete shock when you actually hear it for the first, second, third and fourth time. It definitely never gets old.
You also have a solo project, Little Indian – is that still an active project? How is it different to the Blues And Greys (aside from being a solo project)? Is it important for you to have two musical outlets?
The Blues and Greys currently are my main project. Little Indian was a lot of fun, and I got to play some pretty amazing shows, but it's nothing like TB&G. The band has allowed me to express myself in ways I wasn't able to with Little Indian. I will play shows if asked as LI, but right now, I've put that project to bed for the time being.
You played your first live show with The Blues And Grays about a month ago, correct? How has it been playing live as a band?
It has been a really special experience. It's really fun to be on stage with all these people I care about and enjoy writing music with. We all have a truly unique connection. I can't wait to play more shows.