INTERVIEW: Daisy The Great on their tour with The Kooks, new music to come and much more

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INTERVIEW: Daisy The Great on their tour with The Kooks, new music to come and much more

(photo credit: Alistair Barrell)

As Boston truly kicks into the 2024 year of music to come, an act that hit Boston last week, Daisy the Great, is one you definitely need to keep on your radar. While the band formed pre-pandemic, while we were all in our homes, they quickly became one of the buzziest names and lucky for their fans, were able to hit the road as the world re-opened. That first tour? An arena tour. “While we were doing it, we were like, yeah, this is normal. It’s supposed to be like this. And now, thinking back, that was crazy. We were in our rooms, and then we were on an arena stage. We were just out there thinking that that was normal,” said Kelley Dugan about the experience. 

Since then, the band has now been in Boston twice, with a massive headline run last year and now their run with longtime legends The Kooks and The Vaccines! Photos from the gig can be found here, and you can find my chat below with both Kelley Dugan and Mina Walker from the band!


New England Sounds: You’re only about three shows into this tour with The Kooks and The Vaccines. How have these first few shows been going? A little bit of a different vibe opening for these two acts. 

Kelley Dugan: The shows so far have been so awesome. The bands are both amazing, and we are super grateful to be on this tour with them. We’ve played Atlanta, Asheville, and Columbus so far, and all the shows were awesome. And yeah, it’s just been really exciting to get back to touring. We had taken a little bit of a break since last fall after we were headlining in Europe for our record. So we’ve been in a bit of a hiatus moment and have just been working on writing. So it’s also been nice to get out and be able to play new stuff. The spaces are awesome, and the venues have been so cool, so it’s been a nice run!

NES: Then from looking back on that run, you went to some pretty unique places. How was that experience? Was that the first time you guys had gone to Europe? 

Mina Walker: Yeah, it was our first time playing in Europe. So it was really, really special. I still can’t really wrap my head around how people all the way across the world knew the music. And we did go to some places where I was like, I’ve never heard of this place before. Kelley’s laughing at me, it’s not because of the places, it’s because of my lack of geography skills. And I was just like, oh, we’re in a place that I don’t know, and people are singing the words to songs that we’re singing, and that’s very awesome. 

NES: Then last time, I’m in Boston, this is to preview the Boston date. You were here about a year ago on your headlining run. I know you’ve opened for a wide variety of artists, but maybe curating the set. Considering the wealth of material you have, how did you curate these sets? You don’t have that hour and a half. You’re up there for about thirty minutes. Does it change considering the vibe of the bands that are headlining or that you are opening for? How did you kind of plan, maybe for this tour in particular? 

MW: I think we really try to curate the sets, considering the bands we’re playing with and just what we have the most fun playing… Especially with the opening sets, there’s not a ton of time. It’s a thirty-minute set, so it’s like, how can we play a show showing who we are in thirty minutes? Especially because a lot of people coming to the show don’t know you. You also consider the music of the bands that you’re opening for. I think that they have a lot of high-energy rock and pop music. I feel like we definitely made a high-energy set, and we’ve also been writing a lot since we got back from Europe. So we threw in three new songs that are some of our favorite songs that we’ve written. But yeah, that’s been really fun to see how the audience reacts to the new music. Whether they know us or not. 

NES: I know this isn’t a band that started three years ago. You’ve been a band for, I believe, for almost eight years at this point. Considering that you’re both singing all these songs, I’m sure you have to have your heart in it. Maybe in the most recent songs, has the song-writing process changed? Do you always write together, or do you bring your own song ideas? Maybe how has the writing process formed as of late? 

KG: When we first started, we started from,  using songs that we had written separately already. So the first EP was songs we arranged together but didn’t write together. I think as we continued to work together, we continued working and writing with each other. So, this next batch consists mainly of songs that we made together and with our band. There are still some places where we’ll still write songs alone and bring them in. And if it feels like a Daisy song, we’ll bring it in and work on it. But we usually arrange it together, but yes we’ve been writing together a lot. Especially with our band members, Arlo and Monty, over the past few months, we’ve been chilling with them basically every day. It’s been really, really fun. 

NES: And I’m sure you can’t say much. I’m sure you’re still in the early days. I know the most recent release was the “Tough Kid” EP, but do you think it’s something where you may potentially do a new record in this year? 

KG: I can’t say too much, but honestly, we just aren’t fully ready yet to say. We have a huge number of songs. 

MW: Like thirty. 

KG: Yeah, we have about thirty done. Honestly, we’ve been touring so much. Like the past few years, we’ve been on and off the road, but when we were off the road, we were getting things prepared for the album and the EP. So, we really didn’t have a break where we were all home and not working on getting music out or making things for music coming up. So this time, we were like, okay, we’re home, we have this Kooks tour coming. We are now home, we have all of these thoughts, all these little notes and these lyrics in our notebooks, that now it’s the moment to let it all just go and get it down. And let it become something. It was really years’ worth of many thoughts that all came out. We want to go back once we’re done with this tour and start to look at what we need. And think about what we want to make out of it. See what songs fit together, but we’re plotting new music in the future! New music will come. 

NES: And you’ve been writing and touring so much, maybe how has that been? The band did start before the world shut down. There are some bands/artists that only started making music while they were in their houses, couldn’t go anywhere. Maybe now, going out for the first time on tour. Maybe some differences that you see now that, knock on wood, live music has fully made its return. When there was a time that we didn’t know if it was going to come back, maybe how has that been? How did that affect the writing process? You weren’t just writing in your houses; you were balancing writing and touring at the same time. 

MW: We never really did an official tour before the pandemic. We had this tour that we booked ourselves; I guess I would still call that official. But it was DIY, something we threw together ourselves, and we had never toured before. It was so fun; it was like summer jams and awesome. But I think that a lot of our music started getting more popular during the pandemic. And that was really, really interesting and strange. And then our first tour ever really, besides the DIY tour, was in 2021. Still during a lot of Covid shit and stuff, and it was an arena tour. Opening for another band, and we were like, “Okay, I guess this is what touring is.” It was wild. We had to wear a mask everywhere and stay in a bubble. It was very isolating. It was very hard. But the shows were awesome, and it was wild to be on these stages. But we also were so out of our element and in our Covid bubble.

Then, we started opening more tours for other artists as the restrictions started loosening up. And kind of just learned how to tour like as we went. It was also interesting, when we heard from other people about touring who had been touring a lot before, it’s apparently super different. But we’ve figured out our way of touring. It’s always the four of us, us two, Matti and Bernardo, touring, and then when we’re headlining, it’s six of us. Where we add Matt and Bri who are also in the band. We’ve gotten pretty good at being able to travel just the four of us. Right now, we don’t have a tour manager. For this tour, we’re just flying by the seat of our pants. We’re our own crew, it’s really fun though. It’s been fun to know how everything works and be on all sides of it. And when we did the headline tour, we also were just the band. 

NES: That must be a little freeing and nice; that way, you learn about how everything works. There’s nothing hidden from you; it’s very transparent. First, it’s wild that your first tour was in an arena besides the DIY one. That must have been insane. 

KG: It was insane. While we were doing it, we were like, yeah, this is normal. It’s supposed to be like this. And now, thinking back, that was crazy. We were in our rooms, and then we were on an arena stage. We were just out there thinking that that was normal. 

NES: You’re just like, this is what being on tour must always be like. Everyone just sits in their rooms. Then maybe to end it, I know it may seem a little cheesy, but if people haven’t seen you before, and it’s a great thing, now it feels like there are a million shows in every city every night. Why Daisy the Great? Why is that a show they can’t miss when it comes through their city? 

KG: I would say we try to make the feel of a show in the room something super loving and super fun. Obviously, we’re on The Kooks’ shows right now, and we are playing some headline dates at the end of this tour. So they can check those out as well, but A, The Kooks and Vaccines are awesome. B, we put on a really good show, and we’re really proud of the music that we’re playing. We’re really excited to be playing the new songs, especially. So yeah, if they want to have a good time, hear good music and make friends that are awesome, they should come.


About Author


Colleen has been writing about music since 2009. Interviewing bands since the glory days of Warped and has continued to do so for now over fourteen years. As well as doing freelance for other publications, the love for everything rock continues today.