I used to go on tour a lot. Spent time with a lot of fucked up/shady/rad/weird characters that were on tours more akin to prisons letting out criminals between the hours of 10pm and 5am every night than they were to “professional musicians” on the road being, well ..professional. During those hazy years, I really couldn’t tell you of a band that was as bizarre as Daughters, they had an air of equal parts miserable and annoyed. I kept going back and forth on whether I even enjoyed them as a band, or even as people, so (and I admit that I was pretty much an asshole back then) I ignored them on that tour, chalk it up (at the time) to dudes being immature, move on. Funny thing is, I would pop their record in from time to time and remember how good they could be, how much “potential” they had. They had a mean swagger and disjointed appeal that at times was part the Birthday Party part early Napalm Death, so color me a sucker for that kind of thing. Fast forward to this year and the release of their new record “Self Titled” on Hydrahead Industries, which sees a quantum leap in sound and song writing, gone are the 60 second blasts, in are pounding, structured, groove-laden jams that ebb and flow with the closest thing to the old “AmRep” sound that I’ve heard in a long time. Daughters does almost exactly what you’d expect (or at least what I’d expect): they implode and call it quits. We interviewed Nick Sadler to help shed some light on why bands break up when they’ve finally hit their stride.
Buddyhead :Now that you’re removed, from writing, recording and being a member of Daughters, and you’ve released a record that many people (myself including) would call your best and the sort of “coming of age” of the band, how does it feel that it’s basically over?
Nick : I have mixed feelings about it. its sad that the band fell apart as this record was being released because I do believe it was a sort of coming of age recording, but that it was only a peek at what was to come. Writing this album felt like a dusting of cobwebs for me and as though we were stepping into a territory that was fresh and exciting for our band; at least that was my goal when i made it. On the other hand, its great to be away from the stresses of the band. Daughters was a band that provided me with some really great memories and took me around the world, helped me make some great friends and allowed me to do what I’ve always wanted to do with my life. I feel extremely grateful to have been able to work together with dudes that I’ve known for a long time in a band I felt had integrity. I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to write and record our last record as I am extremely proud of it, especially in the context and history of the band.
Buddyhead: Are you bothered that you won’t get to perform this record in a live setting?
Nick: We performed at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence as a “secret” one off show where we played most of the songs off of the new album and i was really happy with how it went. I’ll always be bothered that this album wont be fully performed live; it’s a shame. I think the songs sounded great live, were fun to play and listen to, and filled in some of the gaps that i thought we were missing in our live show. Just some heavy, fast, noisy rockers, that you could move to. i was anticipating some rowdy tours and sore necks.
Buddyhead: As I’ve told you before, I was on a tour with Daughters years ago, that you weren’t on obviously, and I had been the one responsible for placing you guys to on that tour and I was kind of in awe of something that had nothing to do with performance, I felt that the band had a sort of a gloomy vibe..almost like a black cloud that followed them, on stage and off, it felt miserable. Looking back would you describe the band and the vibe around it as such?
Nick: That’s a great question that I wish would pop up more. No one has asked that yet and I could talk about different ideas of it for days. I feel that the “black cloud” that loomed over daughters was one of our greatest assets as a live band. It was easily one of the unspoken elements that fueled our band and live show and that, to me, made us stand out. I’m not sure what exactly brought that cloud out with us, I guess just a collection of bad attitudes. For a while I thought of daughters as a necessary exorcism in our personal lives; it was something aggressive and challenging that was musically tense, that was a way for us to sort of work out stresses and negative energy through our live show, but those ideas really were born from years of playing in that setting and trying to rationalize it afterwards. It’s cheesy, but that black cloud was pretty complex for me, because i had a hard time allowing myself to believe it was there. I just wanted to make songs in a band and have it be fun and easy; daughters was not easy, and I’m actually very proud of it. I’m glad that it was a difficult band to be in because it makes me feel like our little successes as a group were not just handed to us and that we worked and sacrificed for them. it felt good to get out there and play the way we did as well; it relaxed me in some ways. I have a friend who came to one of the last Daughters shows who hadn’t seen our band since we were kids. We headlined a show with great bands who did really great jobs at setting a fun vibe over the course of the night, the crowd was really into it, and my friend told me that from the back of the club he watched us walk out onto the stage and create an immediate negative tension over the room. I think there is something good to be said about being able to create that type of shift in energy; especially as a rock band. How many bands are there who cannot command any sort of presence at all?
Buddyhead: The record had a serious style change, and one that Alexis described as “kind of disappointing”, were you conscious of taking the record into a different direction or was it “just how things end up”?
Nick : Sort of both. one of the first things that should be said is that, at least to me, daughters has always been a rock n roll band at heart; Lex even has rock n roll tattooed on his knuckles. The direction the album took can be described as “just how things ended up” because the music i made came from a very natural place for me. One of the several ideas i had in mind was to not over think everything and to allow myself to go with what i felt were good and were simple ideas. If it’s good, then it’s good. At the same time i was very aware of some of the newer elements that I brought into the mix when i made the album. I wanted a faster, noisier album that was built from the rhythm section up, and that was Daughters own version of a rock album. We toured for a long time with on the first two records, and those songs became very tired to me and began to feel soulless. They were very hard to get into in a live setting if you weren’t prepared to get out there and perform and so I was hoping to make songs that could help alleviate those feelings. I mean, a larger more comprehensive list of how and why I made this album the way I did really goes on endlessly; one might be surprised at how much thought I put into this thing, maybe too much. I think it should be mentioned that the things I like and the music I like come from ever changing directions and sources and so the previous albums in some way are influenced by different things I was hearing and getting into then. If daughters made albums quicker, and released more you would have a collection of music that would be even more varied in style. I am perpetually inspired by very many parts of my life, by just about every piece of music I hear, and some of that shows in the songs I write. It’s too bad that Lex finds the album to be disappointing; it took over 3 years to make it, so you would assume that he had plenty of time to step forward during the process to say that he didn’t like something that was going down. It’s disappointing for me to find out he isn’t into the album now that it’s too late. I truly thought I was bringing music to the table that everyone was going to dig, so Ihope one day he can find something he does like about the album or at least the room to look back and be proud of it. I think he should be.
Buddyhead: Have you talked to Alexis since the record came out? or since his opinion became public?
Nick : Not at all. I want to point out, though, that I had no idea he didn’t like this album until I read it in an online interview. That’s the type of relationship we’ve had. Not that much talking going on towards the end.
Buddyhead :What happened between writing the record and it’s release that more or less ended the band?
Nick : Some time has passed now, and I’m not sure that it was just things from this album that ended the band; seems like for some of us it was built up quietly over the years. In a nut shell, Lex and I got into a petty e-mail argument about touring, and not touring that snowballed into a full blown fight over a bunch of other petty crap and he eventually quit. Jon, Sam, and I decided that we would go on official hiatus thinking that this was only a heat of the moment thing and like the many bands whose members quit and re-join we would be out touring for this record in the near future. Lots of time went by and Lex decides that he wants in the band and that i should be out and sets his sights on making that happen. Sam isn’t into it and steps out, Jon is stressed by it all and heads out on the road with other bands, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this new info and am delightfully confused by how silly it is. I think for me though, in the wake of the confusion, no matter what the future brings, that I am just done. It’s too insane and the energy is too negative for me. Dealing with this pointless drama makes such a negative impact on my life and so wherever the name daughters is taken I know that I won’t ever allow myself to work in an environment like that again. I am very serious about music, I make it my life and I want it to be one that I can look back on and feel like my time was well spent and that I was happy; I can’t let negative bullshit get in the way.
Buddyhead: You’ve joined Fang Island now, can you recount the timeline and particulars of how that all went down?
Nick: I met fang island around the time they started the band in school at RISD. I was dating a close friend of theirs and was writing the album that became “hell songs”. Over the next year or two I watched them make a couple of EP’s and play a bunch of house parties and just really started to get into what they had going on. It sort of took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I used to wish they would need another guitar player so I could join, and one day that’s exactly what happened. I joined fang island in 2007 and we slowly worked on music together over the years while I was touring with Daughters. I would bring the music with me on tour for random kids at shows who knew what it was or for the other bands to hear. It’s been going on for a while. I worked on the Daughters album and the Fang album along with some other projects at the same time and recorded back to back. The records were also released back to back with an original simultaneous release date that was later changed.
Buddyhead: Did you help write the new Fang Island record? On first listen to that record, it struck me as an almost polar opposite to the new Daughters record, how important was it for you to have it turn out that way?
Nick : I helped with various parts, wrote a lot of my own riffs to accompany what was brought to the table by others, some leads, some structure work and studio stuff, but most of the ground work for Fang Island songs on this new record came from either Chris or Jason, except for Dorian, which I wrote for a girl I was seeing at the time. In the end Jason was able to produce the most songs that were the most finished and so we went to work on those and recorded them as a way of keeping the band from slipping through our fingers. Fang Island almost wasn’t a band on several occasions because the members had moved to different cities while I was still in Providence. If we hadn’t made it a point to just get the songs we had to the studio and record them with no label backing and no money there wouldn’t be a Fang Island today. The self titled album saved the band.
Fang Island is a complete opposite, but its not intended to be that way. Meeting those guys changed my life and completely shifted my perspective. These guys are all among the best friends i have ever had and are without a doubt some of the best people I’ve met; I’m endlessly inspired by them. This band became the necessary opposite for me and was something I couldn’t live without, and it still is. My presence in the band really comes from the ability to recognize the great ideas and talents the band had and wanting badly to be a part of it and to help refine and add to it with the experience and knowledge I have from years and years of touring and making albums. I’m very happy to say that unlike daughters we all write music on a consistent basis.
It wasn’t really important to me at all that Daughters and Fang Island are different from each other because, ultimately I just like to play, I like great music of any kind, and I’m down to play with just about anyone, making just about any kind of music. I want to grow as a musician and song writer and one of the clearest ways I can see of getting that done is to play with as many different people as possible, in as many different circumstances as possible so that I might challenge myself and learn different ways to play, hear, and understand music and its creative process. That’s one of the best parts about music and art is finding these little bridges of understanding that allow you to get into something you couldn’t get into before.
Buddyhead :If this is the last we’ve heard from Daughters can you describe in a few words what you’d like people to take from your existence as a band?
Nick: if you are going to do something like this with your time, care about it as much as you can. Work hard at it; its not always the case, but you may have to suffer a bit for some good to come out of what your doing. Also, if you can, try to get a microphone jammed in your ass; seemed to work ok for us.