Meet Daily J, the New Zealand Indie Psych Band Made For Summer [Q&A]

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After starting off as just three brothers in a shed doing band practice in New Zealand's sleepy South Island town of Blenheim, Daily J has since picked up a couple of extra fellas, growing into a five-piece indie psych band residing in the country's main center of Auckland.

Jesse on synth and sax, Jayden on guitar and lead vocals, and Jonny Paul slappin' the bass are the three original brothers, who are now joined by Rick Everard on drums and Cody Wilcox on guitar, making up the Daily J we chat to today. 

Combining years of musical knowledge and a shared passion for soft psychedelic indie rock, they've recently found their groove. With subtle hints of pop electronica, floaty synth-laced melodies, and delicate guitar blends, Daily J has carved themselves a niche that's proving popular, particularly on the summer festival circuit.

The response to their 2020 debut album Venus Ate Mars far surpassed the bands expectations, "Left Me Like Summer," the lead single from the album, has clocked up close to two million streams and counting. With the success of the debut album and having a couple of releases ready to go, Daily J are in the midst of locking in an Australian summer tour for the year to come. It's going to be exciting to see where the future takes these five ambitious and just downright lovely gentlemen.

Recently they performed at a Ones to Watch showcase in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), New Zealand, and we were lucky enough to pester them into telling us what's behind the luscious locks of one of New Zealand's must-see summer acts. 

Ones To Watch: Alrighty lads, bit of an intimidating set up we're operating here. Five of you across from the singular me, so who are the brothers, who's the blonde dragon, and who's the Juney boy?

Daily J: Haha yeah ah right, so yeah, you've got us three as the brothers: Jesse, Jayden, and Jonny. Obviously we got the blonde dragon over here (pointing towards the wavy luscious locks of Rick) and the Juney Boy in the back (Cody to his mother).

So you guys started from humble beginnings in Blenheim, now based in Auckland, how was growing up and creating the band down there? I feel like someone’s garage was getting a workout?

Yeah, the whole house was shaking with the bass and guitar. We soon realised the parents were getting sick of it and had to get out of there, moved up to Auckland and gave this music thing a bit of a crack!

So while you were growing up in Blenheim, did you go through any local music comps that helped you get to where you are?

Yeah, Jesse and I [Jayden] started out together as a saxophone and guitar vocal duo, did the Rockquest, and a little stint on New Zealand's Got Talent, actually. There's a video out there somewhere on Youtube, don't look it up though haha! 

Obviously from there you moved on, released some singles and an EP. Listening back, can you see the growth that you've made as a band from those early days?

Yeah, man, obvious contrast. It's fun listening back to our first demo and seeing the progress. It was awesome to work with Joe Faris recording the Venus Ate Mars album. It was cool just to see the music go that next level.

Venus Ate Mars, your debut album, released at the end of 2020, how was that? I mean that was perfect timing for summer and luckily enough here in New Zealand we had a decent summer festival run. Was it amazing to get that out to the people, playing it live?

Yeah, timing couldn't be better! So cool to play some shows with some fresh material, and really show what we've been working on for a while.

Speaking of playing at festivals. For someone that hasn't seen you live, what does a Daily J live performance look like? 

We like to dress up and have a bit of fun, get a bunch of props, make it like a proper show for everyone. Have a bit of fun, create a mood, get the crowd feeling the tunes!

So the album's out, summer festival run complete, few shows lined up in May. What else is in the pipeline for 2021 and beyond for Daily J?

New songs, planning on releasing some singles soon, and hopefully another body of work before next summer!

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