Chris McDonnell is the type of musician who makes other musicians feel lazy. He’s written more songs than even he can count. TransFX, Country Liners, CCFX, and now Daisies are some of his most notable bands, with CCFX producing a beloved hit in “The One to Wait.”
His latest project, Daisies, is fronted by Valerie Warren and features David Jaques also from CCFX. The group is releasing its second album so far in 2019, Daisies 2. The album travels through a wide variety of electronic soundscapes from more melodic, melancholy songs like their opening track, “Life, at a Traffic Light,” and the second signature track “Honey,” to the breakbeat backed, hard-hitting Willy Wonka homage, “Paradise.”
The human element of Warren’s lovely vocals and the warm guitar licks keep the electronic backing feeling personal. The instrumental tracks have a jazzy-feel that differs from the rest of the album, but the backing tracks help them still feel cohesive. This record puts a fresh spin on the age-old marriage of electronic beats and warm and fuzzy vocals and guitars. With the beats just a little harder, and the guitar and vocals just a little softer than what you’d expect.
Chris McDonell pulled himself away from his music momentarily and spoke with The Sesh about Daisies’ latest album and his relationship with cannabis.
The Sesh: How do you crank out so much music?
Chris McDonnell: We crank it out because we’ll make a record, and then it takes a while to put out. So when I send it off, I will have already begun the next thing. Like making new backing tracks. So basically the first one, we had that done for a while, we finished it, probably the summer of 2017, maybe the fall. I had a bunch of tracks saved up that we were going to use for CCFX, and that band broke up, so we ended up using a bunch of the tracks that I’d been demoing out, for Daisies 2.
The Sesh: Tell us about making the new album.
Chris McDonnell: Basically I had a bunch of demos, and then I go to my friend Dilbert, who was in CCFX, and we chopped it up a little and gave it real direction. Then Val came in and sang over the tracks, and we wrote the lyrics together. That’s our process. We started this record with the track Honey, and we kind of wrote the rest of the record to that.
We usually record on tape with our producer Captain Trips. This one we wanted to step away, because we were getting more and more tracks, more and more electronic, so we demoed out everything at my house and then sent them to Cooper Rosenthal, at the Red House in Olympia, which is a legendary punk house for forty years. They record there now.
So we basically mixed and wrote and recorded vocals there but chopped out a bunch of songs. We started with like 20-25 songs and widdled it down. And then we needed one more track because we’d taken out a bunch, and then, after we’d sort of crystalized the album in my mind, I went home and recorded paradise, in one day. I’m proud of the whole album, but I’m pumped how Paradise turned out. We’d already had the vision for the album and Paradise was kind of like the cherry on top.
The Sesh: Is cannabis a part of your creative process?
Chris McDonnell: It’s my break. When I take a break, it gets me back into it. When I smoke weed, I get right back to work for the most part. I used to drink coffee all day, and I don’t want to do that. It makes me feel crazy at the end of the day. Where if I just smoke weed a bunch I’ll just be a little bit out of it and tired by the end of the day. But that’s kind of how I want to feel by the end of the day.
The Sesh: Do you have any favorite strains
Chris McDonnell: I like sativas for the most part. But I’ve been bending, getting hybrids and stuff. I usually get this shake stuff that’s pretty cheap but pretty good. I don’t usually get the nice stuff, it’s kind of lost on me. I’m utilitarian about it. I like pineapple stuff if it’s not too piney like Pinesol, I like tangy shit too. Blue Dream is tight. Some fo the better weed I’ve smoked is Artizen’s Dutch Berry.
The Sesh: What are you into lately when you’re high and want to listen to music?
Chris McDonnell: I’ve been really into this guys’ Youtube Channel called Ambiance. He just posts a bunch of drum and bass from various years. Drum and bass is inspiring to me. It’s good, you can zone out to it if you’re high, or you can zone in.
Fall is the perfect season to get cozy and listen to the nostalgia-tinged Daisies 2. So put on a vintage sweater, smoke some good weed, and put this record on as soon as you get the chance.
Buy the Album
Daises 2 is out September 30, order it on Bandcamp.
See Daises Live
Oct 5 at Dumpster Values in Olympia, WA, with Cyberplasm
Oct 25 at Cryptatropa in Olympia, WA with Behavior
Nov 9 Portland OR with DJ Rapclass