Grammatics call it a day with farewell EP and tour
Leeds indie quartet die with dignity
After a half decade of critical acclaim sans commercial success, Leeds indie quartet Grammatics are calling it a day with a farewell EP and tour.
‘We call ourselves the unluckiest band around,’ says Grammatics bassist Rory O’Hara, and they’d probably have a decent claim to the title. After largely positive press in their near half decade of existence and an eponymous debut album released to something approaching acclaim in 2009 (‘eight out of ten in the NME, O’Hara mentions with pride), the Leeds indie quartet have decided to call it a day. Now they’re in the midst of recording one last EP to say goodbye with, its title (‘Krupt’) a veiled reference to the financial troubles which have contributed to their fall.
‘We’ve had so many setbacks,’ says O’Hara, ‘and a couple of line-up changes which have forced us to start from scratch. We’ve had our momentum knocked so many times, but we’ve never stopped believing in what we’re doing. It’s just that it feels like now is the time to put the band to rest in a dignified way rather than struggling on for however much longer.’
Which might all sounds a bit defeatist, until you hear that Grammatics (all in their early 20s, their number currently includes singer and guitarist Owen Brinley, cellist Lindsay Wilson and drummer James Field) now have more ex-members than they have current members. Under the circumstances, Field’s impending move from Leeds to London was the final straw, another upheaval which the group just felt they couldn’t take. Without wishing to pass blame around, O’Hara also points to ‘bad decisions that have been made, that have put is in debt or on the wrong tours, or meant us missing out on opportunities that we could have had.’
It should be cause for sadness, and to many of the loyal followers of the group who O’Hara expresses his gratitude to it no doubt will be, but he emphasises that it’s an amicable split and that the band intend to have a bit of fun on this tour. ‘We’ve got T-shirts printed up which play on the theme of ‘Krupt’,’ he says. ‘They’re kind of… well, you’ll have to wait and see. It’s really important to us that we bring out this EP, though. It’ll be made up of things we were working on for our second album, and we don’t actually have a recorded document of this current line-up yet.’
So just like Glasgow’s late, lamented but split-before-they’d-even-released-their-debut-album The Royal We, Grammatics find themselves in this weird halfway house between being vital and exciting and being all over. A kind of indie music Dignitas, if you will. Grammatics is now something to put to bed, but O’Hara says the band all still remain in love with music. He plans to move to London and study it at college, possibly working with Field again, while Brinley and Wilson are also involved in other projects.
When he looks back on the last half decade, though, what will he see? ‘We’re really proud of our album, and we hoped it could have done much better. But we’re not really a very careerist band, we’re all about sticking to our guns because what we do is kind of unconventional. Everyone said that record was a grower, but the music industry these days demands that you’re instantly accessible and successful. Now bands like The xx or Wild Beasts show that it can still happen, but I guess we just slipped through the cracks.’
Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Mon 16 Aug.