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Q&A with John from Daughters

By Henry Netherland

Henry: I’m Henry Netherland and you’re listening to 90.5 KCSU Fort Collins. I’m here with Jon Syverson, the drummer of noise rock group, Daughters whose last full length, “You Won’t Get What You Want” was released in 2018 to universal acclaim. They’re about to go on stage at the Gothic Theatre here in Englewood, Colorado. Jon, how are you doing tonight.

Jon: I’m alright man.

Henry: Feeling good for the show?

Jon: Yep.

Henry: Great. There was a long break between “You Won’t Get What You Want” and your last self-titled release, about eight years exactly. What was everyone doing in that time span?

Jon: For myself, I started doing odd drumming gigs. Session drumming stuff. And then somehow I became a tour manager. And I’ve been touring the whole time. But just doing other production gigs and stuff like that. Still playing here and there but not as much as I’d had liked. So this is a much-needed change for my soul these days. But yeah I just stayed active in the touring/production field. Nick kept playing, Lex kept playing, everyone kinda kept playing but like life went on ya know?

Henry: What emotions do you try to evoke with your music?

Jon: Well I mean obviously we want you excited live so you can participate, but when you say the audience do you mean live or listening to my record?

Henry: I would say both.

Jon: Okay.

Henry: Both situations.

Jon: Well live, I hope that we excite you enough so you participate because it only works like that. It doesn’t really work if we’re just playing at you. It’s just useless to make. I guess though making the music we want to affect you one way or the other. But we’re not really concerned with how we affect you, we just wanna affect you. You know? And everyone reacts differently. But I think the intent is there’s not necessarily a specific plan in mind. But we try to be gross and pretty at the same time. Does that make sense? Whatever tickles are funny bone gets us going there.

Henry: And how would you describe your music to someone who typically doesn’t gravitate towards darker musical themes?

Jon: I don’t know man. To be honest, I’ve been asked that a few times and I don’t know how to answer that. My aunt Jill asks me, “What do you guys sound like? What kind of band are you?” I mean I could say like rock and roll or I could say you know punk rock and neither of those really describe it, but I guess for somebody that kind of has a little more idea in mind of music broken down. I don’t know man. Noise rock seems to be the easiest thing to go with. I just don’t know.

Henry: How have you personally evolved as rhythmically as a drummer?

Jon: How have I evolved rhythmically?

Henry: Yeah.

Jon: The older I get I guess the more I write. The more practice I’m getting as a drummer. The more I have to use my brain. I refuse to use the same tricks over and over again. So I’m forced to either survive as a drummer that’s evolving at all times or just fail as a drummer and give up altogether. So I’m still learning. I’m still that vulnerable little kid sitting down at the drum kit that I was when I was 13 trying to figure it out. So I mean it’s a constant evolution in that term for this band.

Henry: And what can we expect setlist wise tonight? Will it be more of a mix of your discography or will it be exclusively the latest album?

Jon: It’s primarily the new stuff, but there’s some old stuff in there as well.

Henry: How do you feel about the openers for your show?

Jon: They’re great. They were hand-picked and we’re happy about them. We’re happy they said yes.

Henry: What musical inspirations did you all carry into the new record?

Jon: We didn’t really sit down and discuss with each other. But I mean if you’re gonna, if you know you’re gonna sit down and try to write a record and you’re gonna do it kind of fresh, not rehashing your old ideas, you really gotta do your homework and get excited about music again. And if you can’t get yourself excited, why bother? Right? Cause you’re just gonna fake it and you’re gonna hear that in the music. For me, I went back and I wanted to discover kind of new drummer’s techniques that I never really tapped into. I forget the fella’s name, but he was the Captain Beefheart drummer on “Trout Mask Replica.” He almost does not play the snare drum at all. It was all toms and hi-hats, but it sounded full and you didn’t even notice the snare drum wasn’t there. So stuff like that. Weird disco drummers too. Disco drummers that were jazz guys that were forced to play disco. There’s a difference. From a disco drummer or a jazz guy that got a gig as a disco drummer. Doesn’t really know how to pull it off and by accident, it creates a whole new style. So I just went looking for happy accidents in music. You know what I mean?
Henry: Are there any visual elements incorporated into the show?

Jon: I mean besides us being quite the oddity at times, no I mean like production? Is that what you mean?

Henry: Yeah more production, lights.

Jon: Well I mean we’re not going the Kiss route with all the fire and pyro if that’s what you’re asking. No I mean we use the club stuff. We have a backdrop sometimes maybe. That’s about it.

Henry: Okay. I saw in another interview you mentioned it was difficult to coordinate times to collaborate and practice. Will that still be an issue for the future of the band?

Jon: Yep.

Henry: Yeah?

Jon: Yeah we moved. When the band took a break we just sprawled out into our lives man. I live in Austin. I mean our bass player, Sam, he’s not even on the road with us right now. He’s having a family soon so we have a guy filling in for him. He lives in Rhode Island, just south of Rhode Island now. Nick’s in Providence, Lex is in Pennsylvania, our fill-in bass player’s from Toronto, our fill-in guitar player’s from Los Angeles and the one doing keys and samples is from Seattle. So we’re all over the place man.

Henry: So were you all originate from those various states or were you all originally from Rhode Island?

Jon: Originally we’re from the New England area. The four of us. For Sam, went to college and that’s when we met him up in Providence. But he’s from like northern Virginia, like D.C. But yeah, for the most part, the band was made up of New England kids.

Henry: And what does the future look like for the band? Any upcoming projects besides this?

Jon: To be honest with you, I mean we’re still seeing if we can do it together. We broke up for a very specific reason. We couldn’t deal with each other. So, it’s day-to-day. See if we can get through the touring. The idea is to get to the next record. Get through the touring on this one to start the next one. But also take it slow cause we gotta figure out if we’re gonna be able to do that. So it’s pretty, it can be volatile, you know? We’re old dynamite at this point. So we gotta handle each other pretty easy.

Henry: Alright, and on that note, I’d like to thank Jon Syverson, drummer of the band Daughters, for joining me tonight. For KCSU, I’m Henry Netherland.