Mindie Lind has a timeless voice. She has a silky, sultry, smokey sound that transports you to the place of dark night clubs, cigarette smoke and charm. She also fronts the new Seattle band Inly. KEXP caught up with Mindie to see what was up with the new project, what singers inspire her and how Cafe Racer has inspired her to sing.
There is something so classic about the five songs on the Inly EP. Can you explain how you composed these songs, what were you thinking about when writing, both in your own life and historically?
Here we were thinking our songs were totally weird! Glad to hear you’ve picked up on something familiar!
I write the tunes and then bring ‘em to the band and we work it out from there. For me personally, This EP came out of falling and hurting my arm last year and not being able to move (because I also have no legs so a hurt arm is really not so mild). I was pretty stuck for a few months during what people were describing as the prettiest Seattle summer EVER! Writing music was basically the ONLY thing I had to do. As a result, I think a lot of those songs ended up being pretty melancholic, especially “Bumblebee”, which is me directly speaking about the accident. “Mississippi Misfit”, on the other hand, I wrote before the accident, and the song really began to hold a lot of meaning for me. The lyric, “Don’t do her any favors”, came out of traveling around with my buddy Andre (who also has no legs). We’d go all over town on our skateboards together and people would always ask if we needed help and we just hated it. But after getting hurt, that line seemed a little silly because I basically needed an entire community of favors to get through that.
Who do you listen to for inspiration in your songwriting? Who were you listening to that summer with after the accident?
I spent my summer listening to a bunch of country, basically. Roger Miller, Boswell Sisters, and these friends out of New Orleans called, The Deslondes. I was really pulling from the poppy songwriting style of Roger Miller, the killer sad harmonies from the Boswells and the rootsy twang of The Deslondes. Plus, of course, Corespondents! I still can’t believe those guys are my buddies now, I’m really a massive fan! Having two of those guys in my band… I really try and leave a lot of room for that sound to pull through when composing the songs. It’s so pretty and melodic, I love it. Also I was living with a bunch of Balkan musicians at the time, so I made sure to let some of that Eastern European sneak in – I am obsessed with the joyful celebration of sadness those folks embrace.
You’ve spent a lot of time at Café Racer over the years – how has that place affected your music?
Man, I never would have made music if it wasn’t for Racer! Firstly because, sure, its a bar, but Racer has always been about the music for me. It just felt odd to go there without songs to share… not to perform, but to give, just as all your other friends just did. I’m really glad I wasn’t intimidated by all of the talent coming out of that place, because I very well should have been. I mean, the open mics would probably be a pretty sweet ticket today! Shana (La Luz) used to blow my mind with how weird and raw she gets when she plays, I’ve never seen anything like it. Christian and Luke (Thousands) used to sing these old barbershop numbers from sheet music. I remember crying one time from that pretty stuff. That was back when Lonesome Shack was just Ben, and he had a weekly. Corespondents and Cast Iron Maidens, also had weeklys… I was always there. It totally became my home, except better than the home I grew up in because it was chalked full of misfits who were swimming in talents and alcohol abuse!
I would go there and play these acapella songs (that was before I learned to play piano). They must have sounded silly but everyone was so supportive and interested by it so I kept trying.
So after the shootings happened… I was hugging 3/4 of the Corespondents boys. We were all crying I think it was Olie who said, “I feel like we all need to go make some music… together” It was very intentionally not like in that Seattle way, where you say, “Let’s do that… sometime”, but more like, “We are gonna go do this, like right freakin’ now” – We’d always talked about writing together, but after our friends died there was no question there would be no more waiting. We wrote our first song together for Drew and Joe, called “Clown”. It’s not on the EP, but Inly still plays it we hope to put it on or upcoming LP.
You’ve been singing and playing a while around town, but only recently released music. What has it been like to be so patient, creatively?
HA!!! Patient!! No way! I think the other kids in Inly would laugh at that description! I am wildly impatient and quit pushy with this stuff! I have not been patient, but now with a few years behind me, I am seeing that having some time to grow with only a few witnesses to stuff I was creating (with projects like Gravey Grime Girls and Girlz Nite Out) was pretty necessary! I needed to have a few years to figure out performing, and writing and collaborating and all that stuff.
The short answer though is: We’re just broke, we’ve always been broke. Getting songs out with no money is a huge mystery to me. Free takes longer! It just does.
On “Hard Times” you end a line by saying, “My troubles are here for me.” Can you talk about what that bit of language means to you?
That whole song is about my orphan identity: no momma to see the life I’m living, no papa to seek. The right and wrong I’m doing is mine oh mine to keep. I got hard times but they are here for me to take care of, they are there for me to get stronger from and finally, they are my own, I can’t really put them off on my family. This song is really heavy lyrically, and for me, personally. I get more emotional about this song than any other when my head ain’t right. But it’s so upbeat, musically, so its weird. That’s where some of that Balkan celebration of sadness comes in – the middle part of that song attempts to break down some of the sadness with some Klezmer-like joy!
Is there anything you’d like people to know about you better? Something you wish your friends knew about you? Something you want to tell strangers?
My friends already know too much.
Strangers: Check yourself! Wheelchair is not a symbol for help me. Knock it off!
In general I’d like people to know about Inly and also that I am a huge advocate of crip culture!