Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Interview: Daisy Harris

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with singer-songwriter-producer Daisy Harris in anticipation of her new single ‘Good Fight’.

We discuss Daisy’s slower, more thoughtful return to music and the beauty of consciously making that decision, as well as the niche inspiration for ‘Good Fight’. 

We also talk about Shakespeare, Pride month, fashion, wild swimming, and how all of that is intertwined with Daisy’s music. As I learned about her various stylistic influences, I only became more eager to discover how that impacted ‘Good Fight’.

Congratulations on your first release of 2024! How does it feel to be returning to the scene?

Thank you! I was really fortunate to land my dream job this year so I’ve been really busy with trying to get this single out. But securing my dream job has made this release feel a lot less urgent compared to last year when music paid a lot of the bills with gigging, Spotify payouts, etc,. I’m very lucky to be in the position where I have the choice to release music on my own time now, instead of working three different jobs which felt quite frantic. I’m hoping this track will inspire and reignite a slightly stronger sense of that urgency though, so my music feels less like a hobby and more like a creative outlet again. 

Why was ‘Good Fight’ the right song to release first?

It’s a really fun song. I released a really fun song last year during Pride month called ‘Your Girlfriend’ which is probably the poppiest song I’ve ever made, and I wanted to release something celebratory during Pride month this year too. ‘Good Fight’  is part of a bigger project and some of the other songs are less fun - there’s absolutely a place for those songs but I wanted to create something that I could dance to. Because I also have the luxury of time with these releases, I want to make sure that everything is as close to perfect as it can be, and it just so happened that ‘Good Fight’ was closest to perfect whilst I’m still polishing other things.

You mentioned that ‘Good Fight’ will be part of a bigger project - is that perhaps an EP or album? 

Yeah! There’s gonna be an EP. I released my first album ‘Tornado Dreams’ in 2022 which I now feel slightly lukewarm towards as it feels a bit embarrassing, but doing that amount of work was necessary to get to the stage where I’m at now in terms of production skills. After that, I really wanted to do another full-length album, but instead, I ended up making two EPs (‘Forest Girl Rock’ and ‘Fish Tank’). Then I wanted to make a third EP, ensuring all three were really cohesive and sister albums in a way. That’s been really fun because I get to transition between visuals, colour palettes, influences, production, and I can really explore what I like to make without committing to a whole album of one theme or style. So, ‘Good Fight’ will be featured on the third upcoming EP.

You’ve said previously that your main sonic influences range from 90s pop to shoegaze rock and contemporary folk. Does ‘Good Fight’ follow in the same vein or has anything else inspired you over the last 6 - 12 months?

I’m glad you asked because I'm really enjoying Towa Bird at the moment. There’s been a lot of discussion recently where lesbian music has been labelled as “cringe” and I think that's really reductive as it dismisses loads of amazing artists and she’s one of them. She makes pop-rock driven songs that are so addictive and she’s a great songwriter. Towa really played into the writing of ‘Good Fight’ because her music is so sexy, playful, lighthearted, and snarky, and it's fun to listen and sing along to. Recently, she’s been linked to Reneé Rapp as they’re dating and touring together, but stylistically, I don’t think they could be much different. It would be nice to see them treated as different entities. Towa has a song called ‘Drain Me!’ which, as a lesbian sex song, is the opposite of common misconceptions that lesbian music is really sanitised. Don’t get me wrong, I do think there’s a place for the sweet and romantic stuff, but something about that being the only angle can feel a bit infantilising. So, I admire that artists like Towa Bird and Billie Eilish’s new album are featuring more adult-sounding lesbian music. 

Your Instagram post describes ‘Good Fight’ as a song where “you’re not sure if you wanna kiss or kill them” - can you expand upon this contrast at all? Or the main inspiration for writing this track?

The inspiration came from my time at university during seminar debates. I noticed in several seminars there would be certain girls who were a bit posher than me, but equally outspoken and academically gifted. As we sparred a little, I couldn’t work out why these girls irritated me so much. Then in third year, I saw one of the girls walking into the seminar and I was like “wait, I have a crush on her” - having them as my ‘rival’ actually made those classes more fun. I was having writer's block and I wanted to write about a really specific situation, for example, having a crush on your academic rival and having a playful song about that.

I noticed you’re also heavily involved in the TV and Film industry. Does that ever influence your music or vice versa? 

I try to keep my careers quite separate because I want them both to equally flourish. I don’t want certain themes in my music to take away from my professional image, but I also think it is important for a young, queer artist like myself to talk about those things. It shouldn’t diminish my ability to express myself. 

There’s definitely a component of film in my music, especially in my songwriting; there are a lot of film references in my music, visuals are really important to me, and I’ve made a lot of my own music videos. I also love Shakespeare and have a playlist of songs by other artists containing Shakespeare references. There’s actually a Shakespeare-inspired song on my upcoming EP called ‘Mercutio’ which discusses gender expression as Mercutio is a very genderqueer character in a lot of productions. I always wanted to play Mercutio in high school.

Are there any other hobbies or interests that sum up Daisy Harris to readers who may be unfamiliar with your work?

Fashion is another big interest of mine, especially in the last year - I love charity shops and vintage clothing, and I love maximalism. The opportunity to style my own outfits for press shoots or EPs and albums has been a really cool part of making music too. I’m also really passionate about sustainability, so it’s important to me that I use second-hand pieces as much as possible.

I also love wild swimming, it's just my favourite thing. I always aim for my happiest and most tranquil songs to emulate to listeners how wild swimming feels for me. I want to infuse those physical feelings into my music.

Having been based in Manchester since 2019, do you have any favourite venues to perform in?

I love Manchester, I feel like I could stay here forever. It’s really different as I grew up in a small town in Scotland and used to be such a countryside person, but now I’m such a city girl. One of my favourite venues is the basement of The Eagle Inn pub in Salford where they host their “Sunday Best” open mic night. It’s a super beautiful, intimate venue, super hushed and quiet, and people go to intentionally find, support, and listen to new musicians. They also have a limit on how many times you can perform each year and it’s attracted people on their travels from Canada, France, and South America etc., so there’s always a varied lineup up too.

Are you doing anything in particular to celebrate the release of ‘Good Fight’ on Friday (21st June)?

My friend’s hosting a Lana Del Rey Summertime Sadness’ themed party, so I’ll be going to that and having a few drinks. Hopefully, that’ll be enough of a celebration. It’s funny now that this is something like the 40th song I’ve released - I’m still very excited and proud of it, but because I’ve done it so often it feels a bit more lowkey than the first few songs.

What does the rest of 2024 look like?

Hopefully, the EP will be out this summer! I’m just waiting on a few more recordings and sign-offs from my collaborators. It’s been really nice to have built that collaborative family on this EP and I just want to make sure it's perfect. I do enjoy being creatively independent, but I’d love to have all live drums on the next album and I’d like to work with my cousin (Davoli) on production more too. 

Good Fight’ is now available to stream on all platforms!

Rachel Feehan

@rachiefee @rachel_feehan

Image: ‘Good Fight’ Official Single Cover

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