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Daughter have come a long way since they formed in 2010. In a short time, the band have risen from local London based band to international fame. With guitars that echo, patient rhythm and raw lyrics they produce tender, fragile and sophisticated music that stands apart from their peers.

Before the band, London singer Elena Tonra was playing solo acoustic guitar shows. She earned a reputation for performances that would capture her audience. However, frustrated by what she perceived in a lack in her own abilities as a single individual and confidence in her own talents she was interested in the idea of working with others.

Guitarist Igot Haefeli had moved to London from Neuchâtel, Switzerland to study. Both attended the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London and they met whilst attending the same song writing course. Having seen Tonra’s magnetic performances he was eager to work with her.

The two started playing together, but now with the added power of electric guitars, and quickly set about recording demos.

They released the EP His Young Heart in 2011. Self-produced, it was recorded in Haefeli’s bedsit. Later that year saw a release of a second EP, The Wild Youth, through Communion Records.

Having received praise from the website For Folk’s Sake, the pair were invited to perform at the legendary Maida Vale studio by BBC Radio 1. Benefitting from such prominent airplay, interest in the band grew and the band were booked for ever larger shows. They were soon to be signed by cult indie label 4AD and began working on their debut album.

Prior to the release of If You Leave in 2013, interest in the band had grown to such an extent they were invited to appear on the David Letterman Show. The excitement was well deserved with the album more than meeting expectations of fans and critics and won Independent Album Of The Year at the 2013 AIM Independent Music Awards. Rave reviews, the band began a lengthy tour to promote the album seeing them play in the Far East as well as America.

They began work on their second album the following year. The energy and excitement of playing live shows extensively has influenced the direction of their music, at times making it more uptempo and giving them more of a rock edge. Not To Disappear was released this year and sees the band eager to hit the road and show it off.

Daughter tickets are on sale right now through Gigantic.

Artist bio

Not To Disappear
Question: just how do you go about trying to match an album as peerless, wholly immersive,
and as widely acclaimed and adored as Daughter’s 2013 debut If You Leave? Simple: up the
ante on every level. Building on that record’s gloriously dark intensity, wracked emotion and
come-hither diaphanous textures, Not To Disappear, the new full-length release from the
London-based trio ��" singer/guitarist Elena Tonra, guitarist/producer Igor Haefeli and
drummer Remi Aguilella ��" is a mighty declaration of intent. Profoundly ruminative and
lugubrious, bold and direct, it’s arguably even more assertive and compelling than its muchlauded
Produced by Haefeli and Nicolas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, The War On
Drugs), Not To Disappear finds Daughter evolving in interesting ways. Recorded in New
York, at Vernhes’ studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, there are the usual intricate dynamics at
play ��" Tonra’s gauzy, fragile voice, delivering powerful, anguished words detailing her inner
turmoil, fusing seamlessly with Haefeli’s tight, melodic guitar sounds and Aguilella’s rolling
drums ��" but the sound, oozing with depth and resonance, feels infinitely richer. It’s properly
intoxicating stuff: Numbers soars and swoops through exhilarating crescendos, as Tonra
recites the song’s mantra ��" “I feel numb/I feel numb in this kingdom” ��" over and over;
and Fossa, like some majestic convergence of Radiohead and Sigur Rós, is possibly one of
Daughter’s most euphoric moments yet.
“A lot of it started with individual ideas,” says Tonra. “Igor would write some instrumental
stuff, and I would go away and write more tracks, learning how to use Logic, and how to
realise something in a fuller way than just guitar and voice. As it moved along it went
through various stages, sounding better and better.”
The signature motifs are still very much in evidence, but there’s a real sense of the trio
opening up to new ideas. Although making the record wasn’t the easiest of rides, co-producer
Vernhes was key in bringing the group out of themselves. “Nicolas was wonderful,” says
Tonra. “We’d been living in London, and demoing and writing here ��" we’re perfectionists,
pulling in different directions ��" so it was really beneficial to go somewhere else to record it,
just for a change of scene. Working with Nicolas was a real injection of energy.”
“I’m a control freak, so it’s hard to let go,” adds Haefeli, “but I found a lot in common with
him, as much in our positive sides as in our faults. He brought a quality of recording that
wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. And he’s just a fun person to be around.”
Haefeli has spoken previously about wanting to expand the band’s sound into increasingly
widescreen realms, and Not To Disappear duly bigs it up; this time, there’s distinctly more
dramatic ebb and flow, as quiet intimacy lurches into thrilling kaleidoscopic expanses,
noticeably more epic and ambitious in scope than the Daughter of just a couple of years ago.
“To me, music is like a very fragile Jenga,” he says. “You move one piece, then you have to
move another piece to balance it. Elena is much more of a ‘pure’ artist ��" for her, it’s always
about capturing the ‘moment’. In that way, we’re polar opposites, but I think that’s what
brings some of the magic to it.”
Magic is right: this time, Daughter feel like an entirely new, different and increasingly
fearless proposition, the alchemy of their music ��" more resonant and emphatic, even louder in
places ��" somehow doubly alluring. They go flat-out and turn up the volume throughout, as
Haefeli’s beefed-up, majestic guitar lines surge and reverberate with renewed urgency and
purpose, cut through by Aguilella’s unflinchingly muscular, red-blooded drumming ��" all of it
gilded by a gorgeous electronic undertow.
The lyrics ��" always Tonra’s domain ��" are more forthright, too, an even more honest
reflection of her ever-questioning state of mind. “Expressing your emotions isn’t a weakness
but a real strength,” she says, somehow empowered, her new-found confidence palpable. “I
think with this album, there’s less hiding. I used to hide a lot of my themes in poetry, but
now, there’s no veil.
“The first song we wrote for the record, New Ways, was like opening another window. The
album title comes from that song, and for me, as the lyricist, it’s an important message. The
older I get, the more I’m saying ‘this is who I am’.”
Not To Disappear has its unexpected bursts of uptempo energy, as on the propulsive stomp
of No Care ��" consciously striving to mix things up, and about as lyrically direct and
embittered (“There’s only been one time where we fucked, and i felt like a bad memory”) as
Tonra has ever been. “I go around collecting memories and feelings, and when I press record,
stuff just… spills.”
“Drifting apart like two sheets of ice” sings Tonra wistfully on Winter (from If You Leave),
and lyrically, it’s an over-arching motif that carries through here, with loss, alienation and
loneliness as prevalent themes. On Alone/With You in particular, she’s brutally forthright (“I
hate sleeping with you/Just a shadowy figure with a blank face/Kicking me out of his
place”), laying bare her innermost feelings and neuroses. “Writing has always been a bit
cathartic for me,” she admits. “It’s almost therapeutic ��" I don’t know how I would be if I
didn’t write.”
Famously guarded about revealing the meaning to her lyrics, the singer remains keen to retain
a little mystique (“I never want to explain things too much ��" what I’ve said in the song is the
most I want to say, and the rest is up for interpretation”), but, emotionally unshackled, she
seems less worried these days about how her words might be interpreted. “It’s a little bit
‘fuck you’ now,” she says, bristling with defiance. “The new songs came out in a way where
my writing was different from before. Initially, it freaked me out because I thought I had
writer’s block, but I realised it was just how my brain was working.
“On this record, I’ve gone to places I maybe wouldn’t have been that comfortable with
before. I guess there are a lot more sexual references, that kind of lonely interpretation of sex
��" I don’t know if many other people have spoken about it that way. But I thought, if my brain
isn’t trying to hide this stuff, then it obviously means I should talk about it. It feels like I’m
being braver, which is liberating.”

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