Q&A: Noise rock band Daughters discusses latest album, tour

The band Daughters at its March 19 show at The Sinclair is pictured. (Geoff Tobia Jr. / The Tufts Daily)

The Providence-based noise rock band Daughters made serious waves last year with its latest album, “You Won’t Get What You Want” (2018).  Sticking to a powerful formula of hard-hitting drums and abrasive guitar riffs, “You Won’t Get What You Want was a standout project.

The record was met with acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound and YouTube critic Anthony Fantano. Before heading abroad for their tour, the band performed at The Sinclair in Cambridge on March 12, where the Daily spoke with singer Alexis S.F. Marshall before the show.

The Tufts Daily (TD): What is your favorite part about performing live for an audience?

Alexis S. F. Marshall (AM): The exhibitionism, I suppose. I like just being with people, interacting with large groups of people, strangers. I don’t like to do it in my personal time, so being able to do it while we play just has this exhibitionistic quality to it that I enjoy.

TD: You guys released your first-ever music video for “Less Sex” earlier this year. What was the idea behind the visual for that song?

AM: [Daughters’ drummer] Jon [Syverson] played the recording, pre-mastered for [guitarist] Jeremy [Wabiszczewicz]. He was the original guitar player for Daughters when we started in 2002, along with Nick [guitarist]. He’s been in LA filming and all this business. So, he got the song, and sort of absorbed it and couldn’t get this imagery out of his head, and sent us the storyboard that he had. We said, “Yeah, this seems cool” … Aesthetically, what he was doing was really interesting, and it fit well. So we flew out to LA, and we recorded out in the desert and in some soundstage in LA for about two days. We got very sweaty … It was probably 110 degrees in the desert, and it was August.

TD: Where was that?

AM: We went to film that just outside of LA to shoot the head-in-the-box scene … Then we drove maybe another two hours way out into the desert, I didn’t even know where the hell we were. And it was just unbelievably hot.

TD: I can imagine.

AM: Yeah, and I was wearing a suit. So I was just cooking, man. It was fuckin’ rough. 

TD: I mean, you got the music video, though!

AM: You know, it was actually really fun. I’ve never acted or been directed, so it was pretty cool to just have that experience. I actually enjoyed it, as stupid as it feels, especially the soundstage software; music is playing, people are looking at you, and you’re just pretending, lip-syncing. It’s very awkward. But Jeremy did a really good job, he was a good director, he made everybody feel pretty comfortable, so it was easy.

TD: Now, asking more questions about you specifically. You had your first book published in 2017, “A Sea Above the Pains of Our Youth.” How does writing for a book compare to writing and performing song lyrics?

AM: I feel like anything for the band really needs to not be so personal that it’s specifically mine and doesn’t belong to everybody else in the group. I wouldn’t go on some sort of political or sociopolitical tangent about my feelings on this or that or the other subject, because it should represent everybody, or everyone should be able to relate to it. So [the book is] definitely more of a narrative, or perhaps … something more ethereal and heady when I’m writing for the band. But when I’m writing for myself, it’s just for me. It’s an experience that I’ve had in my life — that I’m trying to work it out, not even understand it, just sort of discuss it. So it’s for me, I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s opinion on it, or if I’ve offended anybody. It’s just mine. It’s vastly different from writing for the band.

TD: Certainly. I wanted to ask about the album cover art of “You Won’t Get What You Want,” but I’m wondering more out of personal curiosity than anything. What exactly is the album cover art?

AM: Jesse Draxler, Nick [Sadler] was familiar with his work, but our friend Casey [Gleghorn] … manages Jesse. Casey pitched this to him, and it was brought to our attention that he was interested. So we talked to Jesse, and he made all these faces, he sent us maybe a half dozen. Some of them were a little too much like a skull, and I think we liked this one because it has these very alien attributes to it. That’s Jesse’s style, if anyone is familiar with it enough — it’s very human and alien simultaneously … He’s got a great … vibe and I really dig what he’s doing.

When we got the stuff from Jesse, we were originally actually just going to use everything, similar to the self-titled record where we would have rotating album covers, where you could put any of those faces on the cover. We thought we could do the same with this, but we realized it was just too expensive to have it. So we just simplified it this time, and just went with the one we picked, with the strange alien face.

TD: What is one thing that everyone needs to know about Daughters that a lot of people might not know?

AM: We’re really good.  

TD: I mean, that’s true.

AM: For years, people didn’t know, and didn’t pay attention. I think, with this record, we wrote a great record, I’m happy that it’s gotten all the attention that it’s gotten. I think we deserved it. I’m not trying to be an egomaniac … but I think we made a really good record, and I’m really proud of it. I think that everyone should give it a try. You might like it.

TD: Thank you so much for your time and good luck on your set!

AM: I appreciate it!