If you’ve stuck with us for some time, you must have noticed that we are creating a fairly strong front of Daughters psycho fans. There is no need to deny it, it is better to quote an old saying – “A year without an interview with one of the Daughters members is a wasted year!”
About a month ago that I was able to talk with Nick Sadler, guitarist and brain of the band. Nick is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist. We talked about his life and plans, making of Daughters’ latest album, mental health and perks of constantly being on tour.
It’s been some time since the tour ended and I was wondering if you had time to reflect on everything that happened with you and the band last year.
My personal life kind of spiraled out of control just a few days after we got back home, so I really didn’t have time or even mental space to really reflect on last year too much. To be honest with you, I really don’t want to think about it. It was a really long and stressful year for everybody. So, before my personal life started to look like a pit of misery, I really tried to put some distance between me and everything that happened. So I could rest. But at the same time I am trying to put some new songs together, some kind of followup…
Are you telling me that you are working on a new Daughters record
Yeah. I started working on some stuff last year, ‘cause I wanted to get ahead of it. You know, not to waste too many years… we are good at wasting a lot of time. So we’re kind of hoping this time not to let go of all the nice things that have shown up in our lives ‘cause of the last record. We can make an interesting album that we really like, but we can do it faster than normal – that’s the goal.
But Lex is doing his solo album… wouldn’t it be an obstacle for the band?
I have no idea what he’s doing. That guy just does whatever he wants. I think it goes without saying that Daughters is our priority. He’s probably doing that record for a lot of reasons. So he could have something creative as an outlet that is just his, but also something that is supposed to keep him busy – writing lyrics, thinking creatively, perhaps touring and hopefully putting in some extra income. This guy has a full family to take care of, unlike me. There are a lot of reasons, but I’m sure he would agree that Daughters is the priority overall.
How did the pandemic situation interfere with your plans? I know you wanted to move to New York.
I’ve been trying to move to LA or NY for years. Since YWGWYW brought me a little financial freedom and a little more time than I had in years, and because my plans seem to go ass up I decided to pull the trigger and just go. Initially it was going to be LA, because I wanted to know less people and I had a job scoring for television up there. But NY is so much easier to do… It’s closer, I’m only four hours away. I could drive there every weekend, look for apartments and hang out with my friends. … so it is kind of a no brainer to pick New York.
So I had this place in a nice part of town, the roommate was cool… Then Covid came along and the roommate decided not to sign his lease. He resigned, packed his things and left New York. So he sort of made that decision for the both of us. But it was a wise decision and I probably won’t try to move to NY at all this year because… you know. Everything is a little up in the air. It’s hard to know if corona will start to get bigger later this year… so I just have that postponed. The only real plan that I have is just to write music and try to enjoy my life. Corona hasn’t really interrupted this… noo that’s not true. Corona has completely interrupted that stuff (laughs)
It’s hard to be creative at this time, isn’t it?
I can’t do anything. It’s hard to stay creative and focus, I know some people have the same issue. I happen to be in that camp. I am not writing very much. It’s hard, it’s difficult. I don’t really know why this moment in time is making it hard for me to make things. I am making things but it seem rather unfocused and bring absolutely no joy (laughs)
When we talked earlier, you said you have lyme disease. What is it exactly and how did it affect your health during last year of touring?
I have chronic lyme disease. We don’t know when exactly I got it. I have some suspicions that I have had it since my late teens/early twenties. Mostly because my primary symptom is exhaustion. I’m pretty tired most of the time. Waking up well rested is very rare for me. I’m used to it, but doing something like going on a tour for thirteen months with Daughters really highlighted that part of my life. On a tour you have far less control on how you manage it.
When you are on tour there is some predictability but it just far less of course, in addition to waking up tired, you don’t have to spend the day and the night focusing on a set. Last year, depending on which tour you saw us, we were playing 60-70 minutes. And if you happened to see a good show, we all moved around quite a bit… and all the flights, especially when you go to Europe to do all the festivals you are flying a lot… on one hand it’s a total luxury but on the other hand it can be quite tiring.
It’s hard to say how it affects touring other than that. It’s a pretty big deal, but there were many times last year where I questioned whether or not It was affecting touring at all. Because the touring last year was so uncommon and not conducive to a healthy eating lifestyle in so many ways I couldn’t tell if it was just practical, how much of it was just a Lyme, how much of it it was just my ability to manage anxiety or depression.
I was following you for 5 days straight and I almost died from exhaustion. So I really don’t know how you managed that for the whole year.
It just seemed like a perfect storm last year. For the many years that I’ve been touring I felt like it was the hardest time to be on a tour. It was probably because Daughters found itself suddenly in a position of a headlining band which comes with a lot more responsibility and a lot more work. When you open for somebody else, you have less questions to be answered, less press, you don’t have to be in the venue for as long as the headliner. As a headliner we have to be there at 11 am… It’s a long day to be in one place. And then even if you have a bus that’s just a whole lot of people crowded into a tiny space. I’m used to being alone, so that could be a factor as well.
Last time I saw you it was fall. And we’ve been to Europe like four times last year in different waves, but that fall tour specifically I really had a bad time for most of it. For anyone who saw us in the fall and might have caught a show that wasn’t particularly good I want to apologize. For whatever reason that tour was a lot harder for me to just put on a smile and do these performances. There were just many nights where I could go out there and just play the guitar. You know, it was a particularly exhausting one. It just seemed to go on for ever and ever and it was weird.
Yes, I could see you were really exhausted on that last tour. I saw Daughters on every tour in Europe and every wave had a completely different vibe. In April you were really happy but insecure, the festivals tour was amazing, I think you were at the prime time of your touring. And the fall one was harder for you, I could see you were exhausted.
Yeah. It was really weird because… no one likes to hear me talking about this, especially not when you are living it in real time. But last year came along all of these cool things, you know, our band got a little bigger, we met a lot of nice people, performed with so many groups I could only hoped I might appear in some regard. It was just a cool year for the entity that is Daughters.
But it also brought up so many strange… I call it “the Daughters curse”. (laughs) It just came with all these weird hardships that didn’t need to be there. There were a lot of different things that’s been going on behind the scenes that were unnecessary and were making it a little harder. By the time we hit that european fall tour, that’s exactly what it felt like. I was completely exhausted. It felt like we started that tour and I was just out of my mind-tired. And the other thing about last year that was interesting is, if you were paying attention, you probably noticed that we cycled through a lot of band members.
You did! You’ve played with Chris Slorach from Metz, John Huss from WarsawWasRaw and Monika Khot.
Right now there are only three of us that tour. Everybody else is someone that we hire and everytime that happens I have to teach them how to play all of that material and I have to organise all the gear, set up all the different tones and explain all the changes and things like that, which means a lot of rehearsal time for me specifically. I was all too ready to be away from this european tour and then we did one more month in the States with HEALTH, Show Me The Body and SRSQ.
And because I knew it was the last one, you could tell everyone was really tired but for the most part of that tour I think we were able to get through it and you know, like i said, there is always something with Daughters…
Right at the beginning of the US tour that closed out the year Lex injured two discs in his spine on the second or third show, so he was at diminished capacity for pretty much most of the tour. So if you saw us on that run and you thought he was good it might be interesting to find out he was pretty badly injured the whole time. It’s things like that… On the first Daughters tour in the US I broke my foot and had to play the other half of the tour with a broken toe. I was on a lot of painkillers and I drank a lot so everytime we got out there you couldn’t tell my foot felt like a swollen mushy puddle in my shoe. Daughters got really pushed last year and because the group grew so quickly at that time we were on unfamiliar territory pretty much the entire time. So there were a lot of growing pains pretty much all the time.
I found a lot of meaning in meeting people who have really been affected by our band. I ended up having many conversations with people who shared with me that our music, lyrics or both or even just a performance was something that meant a lot to them and that we helped them through tough times and stuff like that, which was so helpful. You know, sometimes I played a show, I felt like I did a very bad job, was in a bad mood and then I tried to go out and talk to people, because now we are at that phase that people wait for us to come out after the show (laughs) It’s not like before! (laughs) I don’t want to take that for granted, so I go out and try to talk with everyone who wants to say hi. And they’ve been able to give me something, they made me feel, even after the worst shows I’ve played, that they turned out to be actually pretty great ones because of these interactions.
You guys gave me a lot too. But I’ve got to be honest. At some point I had enough of Daughters! Interviews, pictures, zine that I made about you… it was just too much!
Haha! Imagine this – by the time we played the first show after any record I knew very intimately every little detail on every record we’ve ever made… hundreds of hours. No fuckin question. And I have to go out and play it over and over again for the rest of my life. I completely empathise with you about being totally sick of Daughters (laughs). It’s one of those things and it’s why it is important to stay creative and try to take risks. One of the elements is to keep yourself entertained and stimulated while you are doing all of these things, because, you know if you fall and you get bored, you are stuck with that stuff indefinitely. So it’s very important not just for the band members but also for the listeners and people who invested time, money and effort into showing support of the band.
I really had a lot of epiphanies last year. I knew the music is the communication and I saw it on so much greater scale. It really made an impact on me how the stuff can affect folks, especially when you consider that we had no expectations for this album at all. We were just trying to put something out. So to see how it affected people in depth… it was fascinating. It was so unexpected. We had to wonder what it is that we did, that subconsciously had such an impact on so many people.
I’m glad it helped you and I don’t blame you for getting sick with this group. When was the first time you saw us last year?
Oh, that fucking show. I almost blocked that show out. Every single time we play Paris is awful. I hate playing there. I wish it would be different, because there’s a lot of good reasons to be there! Paris is a cool place and obviously you want to play, you want people to see you, but there are many restrictions in Paris, and our band is just not suitable for these restrictions. In fact the last time we played there, we played to a sold out crowd in a pretty cool venue, but they have just implemented this new strict sound decibel limit, so the band was so quiet that the applause from the audience was registered as louder on a decibel meter.
It was just so stupid. People in the audience were screaming at us to turn up and I saw a lot of comments after the show on the internet that we were really bad… It just sucks to go to Paris! There is always something like that and the first time we were there, in April, the venue treated us so poorly it was shocking. It was really just an awful experience… Ugh whatever man! I hope someday we will have a better show in Paris for people who understand… you know, in the States we don’t have these kinds of restrictions. You can just show up and tear someone’s head off with volume and sometimes volume is an aspect of a project’s value. It’s just really different for us, we have to reevaluate everything which affects how we feel about music and of course that affects our performance itself. And if you get to the venues that are bad and where the staff don’t give a shit it’s just a perfect storm for a horrible show.
Thankfully for me, as an audience, it was a perfect show! Anyway, let’s talk about You Won’t Get What You Want being scary. It is really interesting, because I never thought about this record in this way too… But one of my friends, when he finally heard YWGWYW said to me: “It sounds like the devil’s music! It’s so scary!”. I was really surprised, because I never thought about this record that way.
Me neither! Maybe it is because I’m just used to how Daughters sound or perhaps maybe because the music comes from me it doesn’t feel quite as scary because it’s mine? You know, it is an extension of myself. But the other thing is I never stopped going to shows of all kinds. We might have taken a break and done different things but I kept going to all different kind of stuff and I actively listen to music that is probably much more scarier stuff so when the record came out and I saw a lot of people comment on it that it seem terrifying to them it just didn’t feel to me at all. I was surprised to see that. And I get it, not everyone’s listening habits are like ours. Our even just mine. But it didn’t sound scary at all! Especially the song Less Sex – I have no idea what’s scary about that one. It’s more urgent than scary, it’s got it dark sexy urgent quality. I can see City Song fucking people up because there is a lot of stuff in there that people don’t normally hear bands do and it is certanly agressive and mysterious I think. But the less you know about what you are witnessing, the more unsettling it seems.
Right now I thought that Less Sex sounds a lot like Angelo Badalamenti’s Dub Driving.
I had the ‘Lost Highway’ soundtrack on tape. I remember there was Marylin Manson the Apple of Sodom. And something else… I think NIN?
Of course, how could I forget. This song is amazing. I think because I listen to so many scores and I grew up in a family that really treasured horror movies some of this stuff has just been ingrained. So I think if anything I am attracted to melodic pattern making and the sort of timing of Angelo Badalamenti more than anything. What I tried with this record was trying to give it some mood. And tone. I think with other Daughters records it was more about rockin’ out and not about trying to come up with some things that already exist. But with YWGWYW for me it was all about trying to create a mood and a tone with our music and I think it was like the first time Daughters had put an emphasis on these elements essentially.
The way Daughters works especially with the last record – we were trying to do as much as we could together as a team at first, but everyone moved out to start their own lives and some of us started families, other people dug a little harder into their careers and so it just became really difficult to prioritize Daughters again with these kinds of responsibilities in our lives. That’s why it took so long to make the record. But Daughters has always been me coming up with music that I think is cool and then we’ll have conversations as a group about it or I’ll get to the room with our drummer when we lived in the same city and we’ll sit there together, put our heads together and try to flesh out these ideas as best we can.
You don’t see Lex in this process pretty much at all. You know, he’ll comment on things he wants to do or things he’d like the band to do or some comments on a record we’re making because we try to keep everyone’s opinions and needs in mind while we’re writing. So it’s always sort of worked out that way. But with YWGWYW it was a very extreme version of this idea and then we realised we couldn’t be in the same places together pretty much at all and after a few years had gone by it just sort of became like “okay – I’m gonna have to sit down and just put all of this music together and we’ll just email demos and slowly comment on thing until it will start to look like like a record”.
And you do this for six years. You go to the studio, you record it all and then suddenly Lex shows up you have no idea at all what he’s going to do. Because he doesn’t demo or anything like that. And so the band suddenly is mixing all this music and Lex mixes all the lyrics and it’s like we have two entirely different intents, almost unrelated, you know what I mean?
Not so long ago I had this sort of epiphany. That You Won’t Get What You Want reminds me a lot of Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral. On a concept level they are very much alike. It’s about slowly going insane.
I didn’t try to do a concept record myself but it’s very hard to create a concept with just notes and silences. I don’t know. I don’t watch Lex’s interviews or anything like that so I don’t know what’s his comment on this, but there was no group consensus that we were making a concept record in any way. But as far as NIN stuff goes – Lex, Jon and I have been lifelong-time Nine Inch Nails fans. Since we were kids. To this day I’m still marveling at what Trent Reznor has done. That’s an amazing comparison to us because in some way, on some small level Nine Inch Nails is a part of Daughters. You know, there’re elements of what we do that come from what NIN is doing but It’s something so great, that is already so simulated to the culture, and you don’t even think about it anymore.
It was very funny, because two things happened when the record came out. Everyone was like “this is the scariest record I’ve ever heard”. And I just thought “Well I heard way much scarier music than this”. But I also never thought about this as “scary”. And then on the other hand folks said that this is the record about mental health. That was fucking fascinating too, because I don’t know that anyone in our group did that intentionally but I think in retrospect that Lex and I naturally infused our whethered mental health into this record unknowingly so I guess there is a little subconsius stuff about it. Because the more people talk about it I realise – oh, for sure (laughs) The state of the band members health encased in this music somehow. I guess you can’t really help it.
What are the music albums that influenced your life?
It is always tough, because my listening habits cycle very quickly. I may think at some period of time that some album is my favourite thing and then a year goes by and I don’t care. I remember actually one of my first memories as a human was my dad blaring “Welcome to the jungle” at me. And I remember at the beginning of the song Axl Rose is letting out that long sort of screamy thing. It made my cry so hard that my dad had to turn the music off.
My dad was always giving me tapes, even if I didn’t want them. It was always guns n roses, metallica, the clash, later on in the 90’s when I was like 12 or so he gave me a Hum tape. He thought Hum was really cool so he wanted me to listen to that.
My mom would get me things related to horror movies so I remember DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince tape because they did a song about Freddy Kruger (laughs) My mother, my uncles, sister and even grandmother are very taken by horror movies so there was a lot of halloween things and stuff like that growing up and that just very much engraved who I am. I’ve been kind of trying to run away from that stuff most of my life but it’s really hard, it’s just in there – doing something familiar and comfortable.
I really liked Smashing Pumpkins and that’s still one of my favourite bands. As we said NIN is something from the 90’s. When I was really young I loved The Doors. Still probably is in my top five favorite bands of all time. I can listen to The Doors forever. The Doors are probably one of the pieces of Daughters puzzle. I know Lex really likes The Doors too so it’s definitely in there. And when you’re into punk it’s not cool to like The Doors but you grow to realise that so many legendary people like Iggy Pop, Nico, Ian Curtis, Danzing etc. totally idolized Jim Morrison.
Tell me what’s going on with your other band, Way Out.
When I got back home I was really looking forward to spending a lot of time with Way Out and making a new record. We’ve been sitting on partially done music for years now. And because Way Out is an unknown band it is a lot harder to find labels that support that. So when we put some music out the music is typically very old by that time.
When I came home, most of my life was becoming quite shitty and Way Out wasn’t so we were practicing a lot and writing new material, played one show and we had some more stuff booked but we had to cancel. I really love Way Out. That’s one of my favorite bands that I’ve been in. Derreck and Anna are like spirit animals for me. We get along on some sort of unspoken existential level. I love that band. I think I always meant to be playing post punk but didn’t really get around to it so when Way Out invited me to play in this band it just sort of clicked. Even playing bass. I feel like guitar is not a natural instrument for me but things like bass and drums, things, that are percussive, you can be sort of heavy handed and meat fisted about it while still doing a good job but I guess I play guitar that way too (haha)
We’re working on new music, I was trying to put all the 2020 into making music but it really hasn’t worked out that way. I can’t see Way Out, we can’t practice. Our drummer Anna is a teacher so it’s very important for her to follow all the guidelines to be as safe and healthy as she possibly can. It’s very important that we all follow the guidelines as much as we can. Of course we’re gonna record as soon as possible.
What instrument feels more natural for you?
I don’t get to play very often but when I’m able to sit behind the drum kit, although I’m not very good and my skill set is limited, that sort of rhythm and thinking about music in that perspective of a drummer seems to come much more naturally than guitar. Guitar has always been a struggle for me. I have to put a lot of time and effort into it, whereas drums just seem like, you know – I sit down behind the drums once a week for a couple of months and all the sudden I’m like pretty damn good. Umm so I really enjoy that. It’s easier for me. Feels less harrowing and actually it’s how I came up with a bunch of the beats that you hear on YWGWYW.
I mean the fact that I am here right now (guitarist) is a huge fuckin fluke. I’ve just always been drawn to making music. It’s sort of a compulsion at this point. There weren’t any career aspirations in any way.
Soo… which band is closer to your heart?
It’s hard to say. I’ve been doing Daughters since I was 19 years old. That would be 20 years in 2022. So of course Daughters it’s sort of a description of my entire adult life in a lot of ways. It’s apples and oranges. That’s what it is. I would say that perversely, although I have only been doing Way Out since 2014 or something, they occupied different or perhaps equal spaces in my heart. They mean different things, and they are different things. But they are somehow as equally important to me.
If you are interested in purchasing my zine about Daughters, let me know! Mail me: agata[at]undrtn.pl, yo!
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