INTERVIEW: Daisy the Great discuss privilege in the music industry and their quarantine EP ‘soft sounds’
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Daisy the Great is objectively the sweetest duo in the indie-rock sphere. Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, the two blend folk-charged harmonies and soft-rock beats to create a distinctive sound. Their bright spirits shone through the phone as we discussed current events surrounding Black Lives Matter protests and the process of creating an EP while isolated in different homes.

Earlier this week, Kelley Nicole Dugan and Mina Walker played a Baby TV livestream and donated their proceeds to the Black Lives Matter Global Network and Black Visions Collective. Both voiced their responsibility as allies to share resources and learn from Black voices in the creative space.

“We want to do what we can to recognize our place in the music industry as white women and recognize how we contribute to the white supremacy in the music industry and what we can do to use our position to help create change and fight for equality…” Walker says.

The two have been doing research on those they collaborate with to ensure they fight against privilege and comfort in what has become the norm in our society and leave space for Black creators to share their works.

Looking back to the beginning of quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic, the two devoted themselves to staying creative and using music to escape the four walls of their bedrooms. Both musicians were quarantined separately, so FaceTime sessions nearing ten hours were especially common. After the first two weeks, demos were pieced together and mastered by their dear friend Jake Cheriff shortly after.

Creating an EP as the world around them was changing taught Dugan and Walker about the value of making something that is both timely and meaningful. The six-song EP soft songs was released on May 29 and features delicate, layered harmonies and hauntingly beautiful tones that make this project an utterly delightful listen from start to finish.

“In the beginning, we really had no plan for anything other than just to write and it was a big comfort for us because obviously everything in the world was changing then,” Dugan explains.

The pair created a sense of normalcy through their writing while they were apart and utilized modern communication and music technology to make their entire EP in the first two weeks of quarantine. Their music gave both an outlet to be creative, even from the confines of their bedrooms.

The stripped-back nature of the project holds great value for Dugan and Walker since they collectively decided to provide a soundtrack to their fans of this period during their lives and show everyone exactly as it was.

Both women opened up to me about how meaning can be lost during the prolonged process of planning a release. Particular songs do not resonate as much when a project is shared with the world after the artist behind them is at a completely different place in life. The freedom of releasing music close to the moment it was created required vulnerability but proved to be exciting nonetheless.

“You can make something very special and very important to yourself [and hopefully to others] that doesn’t really cost anything,” Dugan says.

soft songs was a project of many firsts; the first time Walker played guitar on a record and the first time Dugan recalls warbling into her iPhone speaker to capture her vocals.

“It was really different singing something that was going to be released into my phone, but it also felt so so special because it was so small scale that we could hold it in our hands,” Dugan shares.

soft songs is shortly described as “music to daydream to,” as we envision a world free from racial injustices, but rather one full of love and acceptance.

“I hope that we’re moving toward a better world for everyone,” Walker adds.

Dugan and Walker also provided a list featuring some of their favorite local businesses in NYC. You can also hear their new EP soft songs below!

1. Cafe Con Libros (Crown Heights, intersectional Feminist community bookstore/coffee shop) – https://www.cafeconlibrosbk.com

2. The Honey Pot (plant based feminine care products) – https://thehoneypot.co

3. The Loveland Foundation (provides mental health resources for Black women) – https://thelovelandfoundation.org

4. Ailey Extension (Hell’s Kitchen/Zoom, dance and fitness classes) – https://www.aileyextension.com

5. Brooklyn Tea (Bed Stuy) – https://brooklyntea.com

6. The Okra Project (grassroots initiative to combat food insecurity in the Black Trans community) – https://www.theokraproject.com

7. Bunna Cafe (Bushwick, Ethiopian plant-based cafe/music venue) – https://bunnaethiopia.net

8. Black Girls Code NYC (Chelsea, technology education) – https://www.blackgirlscode.com

9. The Lit. Bar (the Bronx, bookstore/wine bar) – http://www.thelitbar.com

10. Sweet Science (Bushwick) – http://www.sweetsciencebklyn.com

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photo by: Peter Pascucci and Sara Laufer
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