“There is an excitement to both, hoping for something and being passionate enough to say I am just gonna go for it!”
Strolling around the festivals this summer, discovering new music and having a very good time with friends and foreigners: you finally find yourself already reminiscing about these moments, which will carry you through darkest winter. One band should not be missed during this time as well as right now: DAUGHTER. NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION took the chance to talk to Elena and Igor in private at this years MELT! Festival. Based in London, they released their first album If You Leave this March. I am just going to put this out there: their music is sad. Really sad. But at the same time, it is also glamorous. Elena Tonra is wearing her heart on her sleeve, which is endearing and refreshing.
Elena: What an oddly titled festival for this kind of weather.
Well, it is a straight announcement for every festival visitor. Melting, sweating, dancing, thats what this festival is all about. Are you excited for tonight?
Elena: We are! It is pretty insane that we are playing the stage that we are playing. It’s kinda like “whoooaat”. Hopefully that will be good.
Let’s start with the most obvious question. Your name “DAUGHTER“. Where does it come from? Does it have to do with the special bond between a mother and a daughter?
Elena: I think possibly, subconsciously it is true. I am a very family orientated kind of person. But to be honest it was just something that popped into my head. I didn’t just wanted to use my name, because at that point I was already starting to work with Igor and it just seemed like it wasn’t right to go under my own name. Plus I have done stuff before under my own name that I feel is very different to [what I am doing] now so I kind of suppose wanted to change from that as well. I think it is just a word that relates really well to our music. It took a while to develop into the name. I think that is probably the case with every band. You kinda have to grow into your title as a band. I think it works really well. Obviously being a mixture of a female vocalist and a male musician as well, we are all quite comfortable being under that name.
What are you more excited about, playing at festivals or smaller venues?
Elena: To be honest, for me kind of everything. I think there are both quite different experiences. Festivals you have less control over things like sound for instance or over what the venue looks like. So its a bit more free. But then with your own shows, basically we can do what we want with it for one night. It is just a different kind of vibe. And also the audience at festivals, they necessarily haven’t bought a ticket to see you like the people would have when they come to a show. So both are very different but both enjoyable.
How do you deal with the public reception? Do you read reviews of your album, for example?
Elena: I try not to. I think when the album first came out I said: ”I am not gonna read anything.” But actually you are like: “Oooh I just wanna know”. So I read a couple of things but I really try not to do that. I think at the end of the day music is so subjective and you have to respect the people that say great things about the record but also you have to take into consideration that not everyone is gonna like it, and respect people for even just listening to it and saying “actually this isn’t my kind of thing” but at least they gave it go.
DAUGHTER: “The idea of an ever changing and ever evolving way of working”
What are the bands that have previously inspired you and that inspire you know?
Elena: For the record, we tried to isolate ourselves as much as possible, so we could really focus on what is going on. But as the process went on and the recording and touring, we listened to older stuff. SIGUR RÓS is always a big inspiration. Since coming out of that slightly reclusive album making process, I suddenly discovered bands that probably came out last year but I am like “Ooh, this new band.” Like TAME IMPALA, I was so late on that one! And I really love KURT VILE at the moment. Thats kind of my current obsession.
Please tell me about the process you write your music. Do you write the melody first or the lyrics?
Igor: It starts with writing the words and having a few quite simple chord ideas, and it just builds up from there. When the songs were written, a lot came up in the studio. We didn’t really rehearse any of the songs apart from the songs we were already playing live before. The way the album was made was sort of spontaneously cause we didn’t have an idea of what we were really doing. I don’t think we had a sort of preconceived idea. There wasn’t any plan. It was just like: Oh, this sounds good. Oh, do that. We just kind of chucked ourselves into it.
Tell me, how much of yourself are you putting into your music?
Elena: I think quite vast amounts. The lyrics are definitely from a very personal place. They are not complete word for word accounts of events. Everything is kind of how I feel about certain things or what I am interested in and what I find inspiring. I do really write from my own experiences and what I know of life – which isn’t probably that much – what I write about is all I know.
Your music is quite dreamy, atmospheric and yet powerful. Where are your boundaries, musically speaking?
Elena: I think we have always had this sort of not getting ourselves to trapped into one style or one way of doing things. Even though the album isn’t vastly different from what has come before. It was just our idea of incorporating more electronic elements within the sounds and also the process in which we were writing was different from what we have done before. I like the idea of an ever changing and ever evolving way of working. I think if we would to make exactly the same thing exactly the same way, I would feel disappointed.
Igor: The way we have done things, is a very natural thing. I think we are reaching a point where we are exploring a bit and being a bit more adventurous. We were kind of figuring out what is our comfort zone and now – well in my opinion, we actually haven’t talked about it – we reached the comfort zone- and now it is all about: how do you move on from that.
Elena: I would say not to rule anything out. If it comes about naturally, because we want to do it that way, you do things naturally in order to grow. I am pretty interested in electronics and for me that is definitely an area I would like to explore.
What do hope and passion mean to you?
Elena: The two can often be linked with each other. In music there is an element of taking risks, because you are really passionate about something. For instance, when we started the band, we were acting more actively passionate, deciding: ”Let’s go for it and take the risk. And quit our jobs.” Now we think it was a good idea.
Igor: It could still go wrong!
Elena: Yeah it can definitely still go wrong, but there is an excitement to both, hoping for something and being passionate enough to say I am just gonna go for it!