Following on from the release of their stunning debut single 'Mama' at the very start of the pandemic, London-based outfit DAAY have now returned with their long-awaited follow-up 'First Light'.
Channelling the rich and psychedelic attitude of acts like Glass Animals and Tame Impala, 'First Light' makes for a wonderfully warming return for the group. With a bold and vibrant aesthetic running the length of their latest cut, this new arrival sees them embark on a fresh and delectable psych-rock journey.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with Alex from the band to find out more about his origins and what has inspired him most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
Most definitely the treble recorder taken up in recorder club before school on Monday mornings. It completely opened me up to the possibility of expressing yourself through an object that makes noise, especially in a constructive environment away from the non-believers. The finger positions indelibly marked in my brain, I can still do an imaginary scale, under the table of course.
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
As a teenager the first CD I bought was The Dum Dums and Now 47 and I was really into nu metal greats like Korn and Limp Bizkit, I was inspired by the incorporation of genres and especially of hip-hop. There are albums that stem from conventional genres that change you, one of these albums was definitely Nevermind by Nirvana, everything after that sounded contrived and underwhelming. Then I’d get glimpses of what the universe can really be when I would hear Lemon Jelly on XFM while getting ready for school, this started what I now call a bedroom boogy. You can find my own Dancing In Your Room mixtape here.
Then there was a big change after I went clubbing for the first time and realised genres can be boring and totally made up, and you can be into or make any music you want as long as you care about what you’re doing. A lesson that’s been reinforced since watching most of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
Without a doubt it’s Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by the Rolling Stones.
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
A ritual might appear if I was able to lock myself away and actually get on and finish the million songs I’ve started. For me it’s about quantity and persistence, the style and all that has a life of its own that you develop a relationship with. Last time I checked we were great pals but it’s a fickle ordeal. It expects you to be 100% honest with it otherwise I don’t think you develop. The break through moment is when you realise what the song is actually about, or what it’s trying to communicate, then you can really move forward as a songwriter. Whether it’s an abstract idea or feeling, or a specific point. There is no way of knowing when this might happen, so trying to capture it early usually allows for maximum songwriting development before time comes bounding along and solidifies it in a recording or a habit.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
I’ve been getting into Robert Wyatt from Soft Machine’s solo music, and it’s been moving learning about his story. I also fell into the Jar of Flies album by Alice In Chains which I found through a friend’s post which I’m grateful for, especially the song ‘Whale and Wasp’. Other than that I recently bought Ege Bamyasi by CAN which came as a green vinyl which was cool, really great album and I’m a big fan of Holger Czukay’s solo work. Lastly in the early hours of new years day 2021 I was excited to listen to Kurt Vile to help send me to a dreamy sleepy place and was reminded of his brilliance.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
All my songs are inspired by the amazing people I’ve luckily had by my side throughout ‘my life’ as they provide me with the stimulus for my own reflection.
What has been the funniest or most unusual moment in your career so far?
I remember supporting La Femme at The Garage in Islington with my old band and being reluctant to smoke backstage because we didn’t wanna upset people. Grudgingly smoking outside with my band of Japanese rockers we strolled back in to find the green room in a haze of smoke with La Femme somewhere in the mist talking excitedly, we were ignored obviously.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
If I opened for Julian Casablancas’s The Voidz I probably wouldn’t make it on stage cos I’d be drunk in the audience with my clothes off having forgotten I was first on in wild anticipation.
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
As an eternal wonderer it’s possibly the hardest question to answer,. I’m big into all the arts, so I’d try my luck as an actor if I was to start again, but I’d be wary of turning out as a telesales man. I like writing and performing too and I’ve performed a few open mic nights in London with some experimental comedy material which got some laughs and got me very high, my favourite comedian who does this is Andy Kaufman. For me the most important thing in life is to explore the line between what’s real and what you make up to satisfy yourself and others.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
No-one cares about your music. After this I realise fans start to emerge from the cracks and they really do care. This helps me appreciate the process and keeps me from acting like a general musician arsehole, everyone knows those guys. This way I can keep true to a vision I’m trying to realise whilst learning to let go along the way, and as a band we are focused on doing exactly this. I’m fortunate enough to have found my gang who are all truly talented and inspiring. Also working with producer Nathan Ridley on these first tracks has really cemented this idea. He’s a talented guy.
DAAY's new single 'First Light' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.