Saturday, July 13, 2024

“If you don’t think a girl can do it creatively on her own then you suck. Die.” – Brown Interviews Daine

Daine is one of the newest and youngest artists on the Atlantic Records roster. In just nine months of releasing music to date, the eighteen year old Australian artist has garnered over 150,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, cosigns from many of alternative-pop’s biggest artists, and has received renowned praise from music critics and fans alike. Daine’s list of high profile collaborations include the likes of Danny L Harle, ericdoa, and Dylan Brady. Largely inspired by the aggressive and community driven hardcore shows she spent her teen years attending, Daine has added a unique punk element to her music that makes her stand out among the greater alternative-pop crowd. You can hear Daine’s unique blend of influences on her new single “boys wanna txt”.  

Evan Stein: How has your day been? How are you today? 

Daine: I just woke up. I never wake up this early so I’m a bit tired ya know. It’s okay though. I actually fell asleep at like 9:00 last night because I had the worst headache so I’m fine right now. 

We’re on opposite ends of the world with you being in Australia! I’m going to dinner right after this interview is over. 

Yeah it’s bizarre. 

Anyway, mind if I get into these questions? Seeing you talk about your favorite music in your interview with I-D, there’s obviously a huge variety. I hear you talk about everything from Jesus Piece, to Ecco2k, to Teen Suicide. Seeing that we’re kind of living in an age where artists like MGK and Juice Wrld are topping the charts with emo songs that just sub a band for 808s, where do you stand on the longevity of emo music?

Older music is the only shit that has substance. Our value for music has deteriorated. When you listen to Beyonce and Eminem, they were a huge moment in the early 2000s. In the same way, emo subculture replicates that idolization but for bands. Watching the Australian hardcore scene collapse and watching emo revival fizzle out made me realize we don’t really have anything left. There’s not much longevity in anything unless we start creating the same music and community we used to have.

Is that something you see more of in the lanes of pop and hyperpop you’re doing now?

Absolutely. The hyperpop kids are fanatics. They’re crazy. But with that being said, I don’t think it has any longevity. I already feel it starting to die out. I feel like I got my hyperpop song out the second before the genre started dying. I feel like our internet trends are like condensed versions of culture trends. The emo rap thing started in 2016. It’s dead. It’s done. It’s over. Hyperpop is kinda getting there. It’s already sounding tired. I’m sorry I sound so pessimistic.

No, you’re good! I’ve been thinking about this recently. Hyperpop started as such a unique thing and blew up because of how unique it was. Nowadays, there’s so much hyperpop out there mimicking what was once a creative sound. The genre has become a bit oversaturated.

It kinda all sounds the same now. My main producer I work with calls it “shit-poo-music” because it’s just a bunch of shit thrown together. When my boyfriend uses too many [100] gecs samples in a song, I’ll be like, “This is shit-poo-music. Use the vocal unpitched. Get rid of the [100] gecs snare. Don’t do that.” It’s been emulated so much that it’s lost its creative value. It’s not special anymore. With my new single, everyone’s just saying, “This sounds like 100 gecs.” “She’s just ripping off 100 gecs.” Like, bro, Dylan Brady from 100 gecs produced the song. It’s so funny that we can’t distinguish the original from a replication.

So being from the hardcore scene, where everything that is being done now is kind of a spin on a sound created  thirty to forty years ago, where do you see differences between that creative adaptation vs hyperpop’s exhausting repetition? 

Hyperpop is almost too interesting and too trendy. That’s why it’s dying so quick. With hardcore, it’s already been going for  thirty or forty  years. It’s proved its longevity. No one’s gonna be like, “That riff sucks,” or, “That hook sucks,” because they didn’t [say that] the last thirty  times they heard it.

Do you have an opinion on this new brand of “inventive hardcore” with bands like Code Orange, Candy, and others like them?

It’s not reigniting hardcore in the way it’s meant to. I wish it was. I wish there was something that would make me see Code Orange as gods, but alas. That VR performance was crazy though.

I get that. Moving along, I know lyrically you frequently delve into spiritually charged topics (i.e. Angel Numbers, 444, Ascension). When did your spiritual awakening begin?

It was around year nine or year ten. I was just a little crazy. I got more interested in esoteric stuff because I was listening to a lot of Terrance McKenna and stuff like that. I just fell down the rabbit hole with veganism and spirituality at the time when those communities were really overlapping. Now I just vibe. Spiritual themes are a dime a dozen in music now but it’s so pervasive in everything. Everyone has angel numbers somewhere in their discography. 

I was thinking about this. There’s almost a combative nature between your belief in manifestation and the sad nature of some of your lyrics. 

I want each song to have an intention when I release it. With my older music, I was in a shitty place and I wanted to get out of school. Music was my way of doing that. It was all about transmutation. The only way to accept negative emotion is to understand it, look at it, and truly feel it. I took that hurt and made it into something productive. 

That makes total sense. This is super applicable to both the hardcore and the emo scene. Like with emo music, the lyrics are sad but in a way that’s cathartic. A lot of people find comfort in the lyrics because they can relate to them. On the flipside, with hardcore, the lyrics are positive and they help people in a completely different way. Do you have a preference, in general, for either of these lyrical styles? 

I know a lot of people who believe in manifestation say, “Don’t listen to sad lyrics. It’s gonna get in your head.” No, it doesn’t work like that. When you accept your feelings and are able to take them in, you’re making room for it to get better. So no, I have no preference. There’s a time and place for angry positive hardcore bangers as well as tearing-my-eyes-out skramz music. They’re both super important.

That’s not how I’ve thought of manifestation in the past. I always figured it was kind of one note: “If you’re thinking about a yellow car, you’re more likely to notice a yellow car.” It’s so much more than that though. I think it was Pat Flynn from Have Heart that said something along the lines of, “It’s not about saying everything is okay when it’s not. It’s about accepting that things are not okay, but it won’t be that way forever.”

I remember something like that.

I have to talk to you about your hardcore roots while I have you. Gimme your favorite bands right now?

Fiddlehead is not hardcore but their two new singles are insane. Jesus Piece is incredible. I’ve been talking to Aaron Heard on instagram and what that band is about to do is crazy. Born Free from Melbourne is Australia’s finest. They’re smashing it.

Craziest hardcore sets you’ve seen?

Justice for the Damned when I was like thirteen. That was the first time I ever threw down. My life peaked that day. 

Damn. What’s something from the hardcore scene that you’ve learned that you can apply to your career as Daine?

Musically, hardcore has always had really good bridge sections. I make a point of having that in everything I do. Another thing is obviously the ethos. It’s important to make everyone feel super safe and comfortable. Fuck drugs. Fuck eating animals. All that too.

The moment I was like “Oh fuck. She really is a hardcore kid,” was when I was watching your music video for “My Way Out” and saw how DIY it was.

That was really just out of necessity. It was lockdown and the start of my career. I feel like I still carry that DIY ethos though. A lot of people think I’m over manufactured. I get a lot of comments saying “THIS IS SO FAKE. SOME LABEL EXECUTIVE WHO KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT CULTURE DID ALL OF THIS.” I creatively direct everything. I have a team but I plan everything. No one is telling me what to do. 

That’s so odd. You’re more DIY than most in this sphere of music, I think. You’ve been dropping these songs on SoundCloud since you were fifteen! 

Exactly. They don’t see that I was at hardcore shows in broken down DIY venues when I was twelve. Obviously, people are gonna see visuals with money behind them and see that I work with Atlantic Records and will think I’m an industry plant. I’m still in my parents’ house.

Exactly. What’s something from the hardcore scene that you could apply to your life outside of your music career?

I don’t drink. I’m not a party goer and hardcore has really helped me discover that.

Any word on that collab with Turnstile you’ve been gunning for?

No but my DM’s are open.

I remember reading an interview where you said that, “As a young girl, you’re taught to be timid and insecure but the hardcore scene really threw that out the window for [you Fast forward to now and you’re at the forefront of emo and hyperpop, two genres that historically have been discredited because of their primarily young, female fanbases. As someone who has gone to hell and back trying to prove herself in various scenes, what’s a message you’d like to pass on to any young female fans who feel alienated in their respective genre? What about the haters?

That’s packed. The only criticism that people have for me doing well is the whole industry plant thing. I still do my own shit. If you don’t think a girl can do it creatively on her own, then you suck. Die. To the people who support me, I have no words. I still can’t believe it. I sold sixty tickets in one day to my show the other day. Twelve year old me is crying right now. I had no idea my life would be like this. 

In your field you’re pretty young. What is it like being such a young person in the music industry. 

To be honest, I feel really old. All the hyperpop kids really age me. Like Glaive just turned sixteen. They make me feel so old.

Interesting. How does it make you feel then to come into a scene where you feel so old when you’ve kind of been treated like a kid until this point?

It’s really weird. I still feel like a kid because everyone on my team is twenty seven or older. That’s a cool thing though. It puts me on a level playing field with people I idolize. It’s cool to be able to talk to people I look up to and not feel talked down to. 

Yeah you’ve gotten to meet some really cool people through music. What was it like meeting Matty Healy of The 1975?

I didn’t really meet him. I was sitting with Charli at Laneway and he just walked by. I started crying! One of my managers and Charli were like, “Stop being a freak!” I couldn’t stop though. The 1975 is the one band that hasn’t dated for me. I first saw them when I was 11 and I still have their poster that I put on my wall back then. 

What about Charli XCX? How did you meet her?

We played mini golf in Sydney.

What?! How?! I wanna play mini golf with Charli XCX!

Yeah, she’s just friends with my A&R. 

What has she meant to your career?

She’s been an incredible mentor. I struggle a lot with hate comments and criticism. I’m still at the early stage where I can’t get past them and get angry. She understands that and has been through it all. She’s such a good support and really helps me keep my head straight. It feels great to have someone believe in you like that.

She’s more of a friend than anything then?

She’s a queen.

Personally, as an artist myself, the longer it’s been since I made a track, the more I hate it. It’s impossible not to cringe at some of the songs I wrote for my high school band. In contrast, you’ve repurposed some of the first songs you’d ever written. Tell me about the process of working with art you wrote at 15 years old and how much you’ve grown as an artist and as a person since then.

It was painful. I have to do that a lot. I wrote 90% of my discography when I was around 15 years old. That’s the music my team believes in the most. To me, I’m tired of those songs but they love it. I push through it and having someone like LonelySpeck [Producer] to rejuvenate the tracks kind of revitalizes them for me. It’s painful but the payoff is worth it. 

Coming from a part of your career where you were really doing everything yourself and just uploading tracks to SoundCloud, how have you handled the transition to working with a full team on your music?

I think I handled it really well. It’s given me a lot more confidence than I had before. I thrive when there’s a little more structure and positive reassurance. It’s been great to believe in songs I never would’ve revisited otherwise.

That’s amazing! Last question—What are you growing in your garden currently?

There’s a lot. Let me show you.Picks up her computer and walks to her backyard. We’ve got lemons, broccoli, thyme, basil, and I have a fairy garden! Shows Evan her little fairy garden.

That’s so cute! I love the little mushroom!

It’s so cute. And here are my fish!

Thank you so so much for doing this interview. Any last words or shoutouts? 

Go vegan! Thanks for the chat.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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