Interview with Remi Aguilella of Daughter: "We became more aggressive-sounding"
Drummer Remi Aguilella might hail from central France, but he certainly doesn't sound like it. From what I made out from his muffled chatter in a phone call from Tokyo — where Daughter was playing at last week — he sounded very, very British. It could be attributed to the fact that he's one-third of the English-language band Daughter — also comprising of Londoner Elena Tonra and Swiss Igor Haefeli — but the Frenchman explained that he has a tendency of copying accents. The trio met while studying music in London, forming the indie folk band in 2010. With two EPs and a studio album, If You Leave, to their name, they'll be releasing the 10-track LP, Not To Disappear, on 15 January. Last October, they debuted the LP's first single and music video, Doing The Right Thing.
Aguilella himself is classically-trained, having dabbled in jazz in the past. As Daughter's drummer, he supports Tonra's haunting vocals with a more aggressive-sounding edge — a change the band is looking forward to.
I know you get asked this a lot, but remind us again — why are you guys called 'Daughter'?
Elena came up with the name and she felt like it was something that went really well with the music and with the lyrics. Obviously, she is also a daughter herself. So yeah, it's just something that worked well.
Daughter's always been considered as a pretty dark band with dark themes. Is it an enjoyable process to dig through all of that?
I would say it's maybe almost a therapeutic process. You know, we try to be as honest as possible so it just happens that all of us have pretty intense, dark minds whenever we start writing music but we're all kind of pretty fun people to be around, I say.
How do you think the sound has changed since you guys started in 2010?Definitely a lot more electronic and actually also electric. Now there's a lot more pedals involved and lots more electric guitar and you know, playing the songs live from If You Leave and the two EPs over and over again to a bigger crowd, you naturally start playing them louder and more intensely. I guess this is kind of where we got the idea. But you know, we didn't really think about it but when we started writing the songs for the new album, Not To Disappear, that's when we became more aggressive-sounding maybe.
Tell us the themes surrounding your new LP Not to Disappear.
The recurring themes seem to be the different ways in dealing with loneliness — whether it's leaving your mind, memories or being with other people and feeling lonely. That seems to be a theme that keeps coming back on our album.
Do you guys get lonely on tour?
It's a pretty weird process. You play in front of a big crowd and then you go off stage and yeah, it feels...it can feel pretty lonely at times and especially when you're away from friends and family and loved ones.
Earlier, you said Daughter's more aggressive-sounding now. Is this what we can expect from the album as well?
I would say so. And then hopefully when we start playing them live, it'll be something that makes sense, rather than just trying to be aggressive for the sake of it. We have a fourth musician who helps us bring the songs to life. Her name is Lucy. When we recorded the album, the three of us wanted to make sure that we try to bring all the different ideas that we have to a live setting.
Who are your music crushes right now?
Whenever I get asked those questions my mind tends to just goes blank. Personally, I've been really into the new Sufjan Stevens record. Oh, I'm excited to see Bon Iver's new album. I've never seen him live, so I hope that we'll get to see it. Chvrches — their new album is also really good.
What's your favourite song from the work that you've done?
It's going to sound cheesy but I don't think I have a favourite. It's all going to depend on my mood. There are songs that I'm definitely happy made it on the album. This time round, we had to choose songs that we felt would make a sonically good album and created a theme — rather than a bunch of different songs put together for the sake of it.
So tell us, how cool is it being a drummer?
[laughs] Pretty good. You're at the back of the stage and you can do your own thing and usually people don't look at you, which is fun. I really like being in the back. I don't like being the centre of people's attention on stage. And I bring something out that's pretty important to the live setting. It's really fun. I wouldn't trade it for anything else.
Daughter will perform at Neon Lights on 28 November from 9 to 10pm at Fort Canning Park. For more info, click here.