Daisy the Great: “I love a big stage! I love to run around!” (3/9 at The Fillmore w/ The Kooks)

The last time we chatted with Daisy the Great – a NYC indie pop outfit led by Kelley Nicole Dugan and Mina Walker – was in early 2023, prior...

The last time we chatted with Daisy the Great – a NYC indie pop outfit led by Kelley Nicole Dugan and Mina Walker – was in early 2023, prior to their first-ever non-DIY headlining jaunt.  The group had previously toured as support for mega acts AJR, half•alive, and The Happy Fits, playing opening sets on equally mega stages.  I recently got a chance to catch up with Kelley and Mina via phone, and I’m curious to hear their thoughts about their first proper headlining tour, which included a May date at The Foundry.  “It was awesome!  It was so cool… just getting to play for our audience, and play a whole show, and build a setlist without constraints, and build a really beautiful space in that room,” they tell me enthusiastically.

However, later this week Daisy the Great are setting off on yet another run of massive rooms sure to be filled with massive audiences when they find themselves supporting The Kooks and The Vaccines for just over a month of dates, including a March 9th stop at The Fillmore, a fitting follow-up to their last time in town: “The last time we were there, we walked through the main room on the way from the green room, and we were like, ‘We’ll be here next!’, but thought it would be not quite so soon [laughs].”  “When we’re headlining, we’re not always in quite so big rooms… yet [laughs]…  We worked backwards with what we wanted to do eventually,” they admit.  But they do tell me that they enjoy playing a big room, even if they’re not quite yet the main attraction.  “I love a big stage!  I love to run around!” they say, before going on to explain, “The big rooms taught us we wanted to run around.  We both grew up doing theatre and there’s something to doing a huge space.”

Daisy the Great’s headlining tour was in support of All You Need Is Time, their second LP, which dropped in October of 2022.  And Last October they released the follow-up Tough Kid EP, all of whose five tracks have dropped as singles.  Most recently, Daisy the Great released “Time Machine 2 (feat. illuminati hotties),” a remix of an AYNIT track featuring Sarah Tudzin, AKA illuminati hotties (The EP also includes “Glitter 2,” a reimagining of the LP’s lead single.)  “There are two sides to that story: the time travel and the chaotic, angrier side… another side that had more high energy,” Kelley and Mina tell me of “Time Machine.”  They go on to say that they feel as though their collaborative take on the track with Tudzin (who they’re “huge” fans of) helped to highlight these latter elements: “She was just kind of down to chop up that song and make it messier and more emotional in a different kind of way…  We wanted it to feel like a live recording, so we really scrapped everything, re-sang everything, and started from scratch.”

Tough Kid also features a seemingly unlikely cover of Sleigh Bells’ indie sleaze classic “Rill Rill,” which Daisy the Great had been incorporating into their live set for a while.  “I think there’s a crossover spot where it makes sense,” they tell me of their connection to the noise pop duo, before going on to explain, “The performance of that song enabled us to perform in a way we really hadn’t before, so it was really nice to use ‘Rill Rill’ to express that part of us!”  They also admit that the cover may have even inspired one of the directions that their own new music is heading: “Recording that cover unlocked a new writing style in us.”

“I feel like those songs were like the rest of what we wanted to get out with that album,” Kelley and Mina tell me of their recent EP, and also admit that some of the tracks had been bouncing around for quite some time: “Some of them were songs we’d written a long time ago and really liked, but didn’t fit the flow of the releases… like ‘Tough Kid’ was written in like 2017, or maybe even 2016.”  “That was a package that wrapped up the All You Need Is Time era,” they say of the EP, before explaining that they’re certainly ready to move on to something new: “For our next big project, we wanted to start fresh.”

Kelley Nicole Dugan and Mina Walker tell me that there is, indeed, new Daisy the Great music well in the works, and that you can expect to hear three brand-new, unreleased tracks in their upcoming sets with The Kooks.  “We’ve been writing a lot recently.  We took a little break from touring to focus on writing,” they explain of the band’s recent activity.  And while the songs of All You Need Is Time were largely informed by their early years of playing live, striving for the kinds of bigger sounds that characterize their live performances, they say that, for their upcoming music, they may be, “going back to playful, bedroom ideas,” before ultimately admitting, “Anything’s possible!  Anything we want, anything that sounds good!”  I ask if we should be expecting a new album and they explain, “We’re definitely always plotting an album.  We’re never not plotting an album, but we’re just writing to see where it goes right now, but we have a lot of music…  We have a couple more sessions to go when we get back from tour, just to make sure we get it all out.”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.