Interview: Daughter

“I am terrified,” Elena Tonra admits with a nervous laugh. “It’s going to be really quite insanely big. I almost can’t think about it.” About to play the biggest headline shows of their career this far, Daughter are certainly feeling the heat – but it’s a pressure they’re certain to thrive under. “It’s a weird thing,” the frontwoman describes. “Once you start playing, you almost lose the sense of the room. You can go out there and be absolutely terrified, but once you’re in the music, everything sort of fades. It just becomes the audience connecting.”

With the release of ‘Not To Disappear’ in January, Daughter rose to dizzying new heights. Crafted from intricately woven layers of melody and sound, the lyrics echo hauntingly above, exposing intense emotion to chilling effect. “All of our songs tend to be very personal, they have been forever,” Elena states. “But weirdly, it’s not weird to sing these songs to a room full of people.” Performing to their biggest crowds yet, the ability to convey such sincere emotion so openly is part of what’s brought them to where they are today.

“There’s something to be said about your guts knowing what they’re doing,” Elena asserts. “I was editing out things that I thought were too personal, or too gross,” she recalls. Finding the confidence to create from their own truths, Daughter’s music obtained a newfound resonance. “After a while, I realised that, actually, it’s best just being honest – sometimes brutally honest. It’s scary, but it makes what you’re doing so much more personal and truthful.” Personal truth is something Daughter continue perpetuate in everything they do.

It’s been nine months since the album was released, and the songs continue to resound with the same poignancy with which they were first written. “There are songs where at the time I wrote them, I felt one way about them, then on reflection you start to feel differently,” Elena considers. “I guess it’s because of how you come at life differently.” The times may have changed around them, but the underlying fervour of the tracks remains the same. “When you look back on it, it’s almost like you’re looking back on a different person,” she continues. “It still means something because it was you, but you’re just not in that place any more.”

It was evident right from the start that this record was something special. The nerves that the group felt on the run up to their first release were diminished, replaced for the most part by excitement. “The first few shows, straight after the record had come out, we could see that already people were singing along,” Elena recalls in amazement. “It was weird. People already knew the words!” she exclaims gleefully.

Three seasons later and ‘Not To Disappear’ has embedded itself in the hearts of fans worldwide. The shows this month are a celebration of everything the record has come to mean to anyone who’s heard it. “We’re hoping to have a few more elements to the show – maybe we’ll make it a bit more of an event,” Elena teases. Refusing to divulge anything further other than “if we can organise everything in time, that would be awesome,” Daughter are keeping their cards close to their chest.

“When we first started playing it was very minimal,” the frontwoman describes. “We didn’t have very much going on. Now I think we’ve become super obsessed with the sound, and with making the show sound really good.” Creating richer layers of sound, using bolder instrumentation, and designing brighter lighting, the band have built their live show into a sensational experience. “We’re trying to create an atmosphere,” Elena expresses.

With the shows almost upon them, Daughter might insist that there’s “no plan as of yet, obviously,” but they’re already starting to focus on what might follow. “I’ve got a few things jotted down that have been so neglected,” Elena reveals. “When we’re touring there’s just not enough space and time to really focus on writing. I would love to do that really, just go into hiding, get into a bit of a quiet space, and write.”

Hoping for more dates in the new year (“if we could try and find the balance”), the future may be bright, but it’s the moment they’re in that matters. “We haven’t really played anything like these shows before,” Elena remarks. They might be headlining in front of their largest audiences yet, but all the group hope for from their shows is that “whether there’s twenty people, two hundred, or two thousand, it feels like a safe place after all.”

Taken from the October issue of Dork, out now – order your copy here. Daughter play London’s Brixton Academy tonight, Thursday 27th October.

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