All photos and interview by Rita Plante
I had the chance to sit down with up and coming Indie pop band, Daisy The Great, before their performance at Firefly Music Festival. We talked about forming their band in college, the evolution of their performance style and working with large artists like AJR.
How did you get your start, form your group and figure out your style?
Mina: So we started making music after college. We met at acting school and we were kind of pretending to be a band. In college we knew that we were both songwriters, so we started showing each other songs and arranging them, and that led to us wanting to make a Tiny Desk video submission. So we reached out to some musicians we knew from the music school at NYU and we taught them the “Record Player Song” in 2016 and they learned it in about an hour, and we made a little video and afterwards we were like, “do you guys want to be a band?” Then we just gave the band a name.
Kelley: We manifested the band before the band was a band.
Mina: We were like “okay, we’re gonna make music together, so we’re gonna have a band.” We had no idea what having a band meant or how to go about having a band.
Kelley: We played a few shows with just a friend that plays guitar and then people were like “that was awesome, you guys should have drums,” so we’re like “yeah great, let’s try to find someone to play drums.” We just asked our friend, who’s not a drummer, to play drums and we would be like “can you play this song faster?” And he would be like “no.” Can you play it quieter and they were like “no.” He was like “sorry, I don’t play the drums,” so then we found a real drummer.
Mina: I think over time we just learned how to be a band. It was a lot of learning by doing, and just driven by it being fun. We started it with no expectations of anything, which is a nice foundation to have, and now we’ve doing it for over six years.
What advice would you give to someone in college who’s looking to start a band and be successful after they graduate?
Mina: Make sure it’s fun.
Kelley: If you’re having fun, then you’re doing the right thing. Also, growing up, I loved music and song writing and had a vision of having a band, but I had no idea the steps to make a band, and I think that in doing it the way we did, it really kind of illuminated that there’s no real step other than to just go for it.
Mina: It can feel very daunting, it can feel like you have to be a certain way or be in contact with certain people to be able to be a band. I never as a kid was like “oh this seems like a thing that was an option.”
Kelley: I always imagined that I would have to like post a poster around school that’s just like “drummer wanted” and a phone number, like that was my vision, and I’m happy that it didn’t happen that way even though I think it’d be cool to see who’s interested, because there’s always other people that are like you too, they don’t know what to do or how to start, but I would just say go for it.
How did the Tik Tok Success of “The Record Player Song” effect the direction you took the band in?
Kelley: That was really interesting because “The Record Player Song” was the first song we ever put out, it was our first single ever and the song that we made that tiny desk video submission for.
Mina: It was out for like two years before it went viral.
Kelley: So it was very shocking and really exciting to see a bunch of people suddenly finding it.
Mina: And connecting with something that you made a really long time ago. Like the way that our music has evolved since, and getting back to it was really interesting.
Kelley: But it was really exciting. We weren’t on Tik Tok, when it happened initially, so it was also kinda disorienting because we were like, “what is even going on.” People were sending us links of kids doing POV acting videos about their twin and we were like “what is going on, like what is this,” but it was really fun. We definitely are extremely grateful for everything that it has allowed us to be a part of since then.
So the song kind of started having those moments during COVID, which we were just in our house the whole time and before, we were playing locally in New York. We played some small stuff, then right before fall of 2019, we went on a DIY tour that we completely booked ourselves, we were calling venues being like “hey we’re a band, I swear, please let us play here” and they were kind of like “okay.” It was the type of thing where we were trying super hard to grab a Monday night early somewhere because we were just like, “we’ll do anything.” So we booked this tour, 14 shows in 14 days, loosely packed our driver’s minivan and went on the road.
It definitely has been really crazy to have that experience and then be totally inside for two years, and now on the other side of the deck, we had this internet moment now allow us to be on tour opening for bands that are playing big rooms and being able to be in front of a much larger audience. We’re releasing our next album October 28, and we’ve been playing those songs, so I think it’s really been special to have this old song that is really important to us let us kind of have the space to be playing our new music. We’re really excited about it and to play it in front of a bunch of people, I mean that’s the dream.
Did your collaboration with AJR happen before or after the tour with AJR?
Kelley: Right before, we basically made it and released the collab, and then I think it was that month we were on tour. We got to play the song on tour with them, it was just so exciting, because in our shows we have a lot of peaks and valleys in energy and I feel like opening, you really aren’t expecting so much attention, which I think the audience that AJR has was extremely sweet and really focused.
Mina: Which you don’t always get as an opener.
Kelley: Those places were really large rooms, so we especially didn’t know what to expect, going into it. It was so fun to play pop stars for a second.
Mina: With the collab, we don’t really write songs like that, so it’s fun to have a version of that song that is the kind of the pop radio version in that we can go out and dance.
Kelley: And we would play our set and then go backstage, try to eat some dinner or something, and then be like “what time is it, it’s the middle of their set,” just waiting backstage to go out in front of this giant jumping crowd, like “its our turn to go and be a little popstar,” and we would just run and do the whole thing and perform it, which would just be us randomly kind of running around chaotic on stage, we didn’t have much choreography, we’d just run around and jump around, but it was really fun.
Has that effected how you perform with your other songs in your regular sets?
Mina: I think it definitely has, being on those stages, that was the first time that we’ve used a wireless mic. So I think during the first few shows, we were really nervous and kinda just standing still and performing as if we were on a small club stage that we’re used to. There’s so much space on these stages, so we got so much better at performing because we would use the space a little bit more and learn how to move from space to space when we could, a lot of the time we were playing instruments. It was nice to be able to incorporate that energy into a more indie rock set.
Kelley: The space seems really big and I feel like I’ve never seen something that size. I’d go look at the stage from the back row and I remember doing it at one of the the biggest arenas on that tour and I was like “damn the stage is far away, like I better give it hard, because I can’t see a thing.” If you’re really, really far away, you’re small.
Mina: So when you’re playing in a room with 100 people or 50 people, they can all see your face, so how do you project intimacy when you have the more intimate songs in a larger room? And a lot of times stillness is very powerful too. It’s interesting to find the moments where you do you wanna run around and dance, when it’s actually more powerful to stand completely still. And how do you push that energy out?
Kelley: How do you share without overdoing it and how do you share that with someone who’s in the back row and send it?
What do you want new listeners or people who are just discovering you to know about your band?
Mina: I think I just want people to know we’re releasing an album and that I want everyone to listen to the whole album, I feel like it has a lot and it’s so hard to choose singles and songs to release, some of my favorite songs on the album are ones that are more nontraditional or small and intimate, there’s just a lot of songs on that record and I hope that people listen to all of them, because I think that they’re special.
Kelley: I would say that I appreciate them listening and I think it’s really a special moment to be putting out music and kind of like letting it go and live in the hands of other people. So I would just say, thank you for the opportunity to have that happen. It’s really special to see how it changes the meaning of the song as well, just to see it reflected in other people’s experiences expands it a lot and I am really excited for that moment with the record that’s coming out.