Music Profiles

DAISY Makes Music to Feel Good To

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The band DAISY has an energy that is undeniably sweet. As I walked into the Troubadour in the heart of West Hollywood to chat with the four-piece ahead of their headlining show in support of their third and newest project, S.O.M.E, I instantly felt a sense of welcome as I was greeted, literally, with open arms—singer Daisy Hamel-Buffa, bassist Alex Kasvikis, guitarist Matt Fildey, and keyboardist Ben Roswell-Salk each each hugged me as we got the mutual nerves of a post-pandemic, in-person interview out of our systems. It’s quite easy to feel at home in their land of platonic kisses, matching outfits and genuine sentiment. I was smitten, as I followed everyone up to chat on the couches in the green room, secretly nestled in the rafters above the stage after their soundcheck.

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DAISY’s first release caught my ear in 2018, after a friend of mine added “Way Cool Baby Love” to a shared playlist. The tracks we singled out weren’t bound by genre or theme and DAISY’s breakout song was right at home amongst the lo fi, bedroom pop I favored at the time. This iteration of the band had Hamel-Buffa on keys and vocals, and Kasvakis on bass with a rotating cast of musician friends and collaborators for their backing sound. It’s around this time that Hamel-Buffa began to realize a vision for her band, and started to look outward. “I secretly hate playing piano”, she admits as everyone on the couch next to her laughs and nods in agreement.

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After deciding that she needed more space to grow as a performer, Hamel-Buffa and Kasvikis gradually hatched a plan. After seeing Roswell-Salk play a few times with his own project, Roswell Universe, they instantly knew that he would fit well with DAISY, bringing more complexity to the jazz motifs Hamel-Buffa explored in her early output. He quickly learned the songs within a few rehearsals, and it was a go. “It’s rare that you get four people who are all on the same wavelength,” Roswell says, reflecting on the band’s extraordinarily close dynamic on and off stage. 

Almost a year later, when they found themselves without a permanent guitarist, Fidley, affectionately known as Rat to his bandmates, became the last piece of the puzzle. He was a longtime fan of DAISY, without being fully aware that they were fans of his, too. They asked him to join as their guitarist soon after he moved from Seattle to LA. Then, everything clicked.

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DAISY’s 2019 EP HAVE A SNACK presented a band fully emerged, with a vision of sun-soaked, R&B-tinged indie pop. Swirling, dreamy guitars became a main presence in every song and horns were an integral part of complementing Hamel-Buffa’s vocal melodies. The song structures were more complex and inventive, like standout “Still Here,” featuring a rapped verse with pitched-down vocals. The band toured intermittently to support the record, then came home to rest, work on other projects, and begin an unintentional year and a half hiatus.

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In the almost two years since DAISY’s last release and the start of the pandemic, Hamel-Buffa has snagged solo features on Tyler, the Creator’s most recent effort CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST and Steve Lacy’s APOLLO XXI, and started a clothing line that exclusively features her hand painted designs (sported by the likes of Tik Tok star Addison Rae and Benny Blanco). Hamel-Buffa’s personal creativity thrived during this period of time, but she missed seeing her bandmates in person dearly after a winter spent writing and mixing through virtual sessions. When it was time for DAISY to put together the new project, the challenge was not in making music itself, it was figuring out how to make music in the same room again. 

The band of friends put their heads together and quickly realized that they could safely decamp from Los Angeles to make music in a bubble. One by one, they traveled up to Seattle last August and recorded in a rented house for two weeks. Touring drummer Clayton Krauss and engineer Sam Rosson joined to fill the record out and finish it as soon as possible. “It was a euphoric, dreamlike experience being completely isolated, then all of a sudden being together again,” Roswell describes fondly. The six of them functioned as a family during their stay in the Pacific Northwest, reveling in the bliss of making music in person. The result of DAISY’s Seattle sessions is their third EP S.O.M.E., or SUCK ON MY ENERGY, released in October.

The five songs on S.O.M.E. capture DAISY’s growing range; particularly the single “Eastside”, which conjures visions of humid, midsummer heartache, beautiful longing for a crush and the disappointment of a daydream never coming true. Daisy glides along each motif beautifully, finding intoxicating pockets of rhythm between a call and response melody anchored by horns and shimmering guitars. Daisy’s lyrics are formidable, captivating, and relatable, with images that lie somewhere between fun nostalgia and real, complicated feelings. “I like to put all the feelings about a situation in [a] song – it’s rare that something will just be sad,” she explains, “I’ll also talk about the parts where I was angry and the parts where I was happy. There’s no situation where you have a relationship with someone and you only feel one way about it.”

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SUCK ON MY ENERGY is a much more earnest title than it sounds: it represents propping those closest to you up when they are in need of a friend, a smile, and a good feeling. “We hold each other through shit,” Kasvakis explains. “We all meet at the studio after day jobs, after the other lives we are living, after sitting in traffic for an hour,” he adds. “We’re all meeting in a space to do something sacred, after having interacted with so many non-sacred things.” They love to make people smile and carry that same ethos into the music.

DAISY’s hometown show was their last of their official run supporting S.O.M.E., and everything was beautiful. Their smiles were genuine, as they shared touches across their instruments every chance they got, giddy at the chance to be onstage again, at home among each other. Glitter shining from skin, reflected in eye glasses and champagne flutes. I stood in their glow, swaying, smiling.

Photo Credit: Seannie Bryan

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