Daughters’ Alexis Marshall has something to say
There are many adjectives you could use to describe Providence, R.I.’ s spaz-rock outfit Daughters. Noisy, chaotic, perhaps even annoying. Boring, however, probably wouldn’t make the list. Unless you happened to be Daughters frontman Alexis Marshall, who, after almost two years of performing songs off his band’s most recent effort, 2006’s Hell Songs (Hydra Head), is ready for something new.
“They’re holding up better [than the songs from Canada Songs, Daughters’ first LP],” Marshall says. “But lately, I’ve been singing them, and I just have no interest in them. I’m bored with them. It gets tiring playing the same songs over and over again.”
Anyone who’s caught a glimpse of Marshall’s mercurial stage demeanor (clothing is sometimes optional) shouldn’t be surprised to hear that he’s not one to stay stagnant. Reared by a hippie mother, Marshall had an eclectic musical upbringing, having been exposed to country and folk music courtesy of his father, and New York hardcore and thrash via his older brother.
“I just always enjoyed music and there was never a point where I didn’t want to hear it, or I didn’t want to play it,” says Marshall, who remembers climbing trees in his back yard and singing Michael Jackson and Billy Idol songs. “I didn’t know it was something that I could actually do, or that it was even an option.”
Unfortunately, monotony can sour even the most torrid love affairs once the realities set in.
“We’re playing this every single day,” Marshall says. “We sleep in the same hotel rooms, we live in a van, we have to smell each other’s shit. It’s awful.”
Luckily for Marshall, there is relief in sight—as far as the music is concerned anyway. Daughters has been crafting new material, and Chicoans with adventurous tastes in music will have the opportunity to hear what the group has been working on when it plays Café Coda on June 11 with progressive metal act Russian Circles, with whom Daughters will be touring the U.S. with through early summer.
“We’re playing four new songs on this tour,” Marshall says. “I’m just waiting to get through the set to get to those songs as opposed to thinking, ‘Here’s another great song from an older album.’ “
This out-with-the-old mentality is reflected in the progression Daughters made from Canada Songs to Hell Songs. The former is a 10-track aural assault that lasts just 11 minutes. Hell Songs doesn’t stray too far, though it manages to be twice as long and shows the group creating songs that are less volatile, a trend Marshall hopes to continue with their new material.
“We had a lot more structure with the last record, and we wanted to try that a little more—try verses and things like that and see if we can actually write a song,” Marshall explains. “We’re trying. We don’t know if we’re doing it right, but we’re trying to do it, and it’s a lot of fun trying to figure it out. We can’t listen to The Beatles and write songs that sound like The Beatles. We could, but that would be artificial.”
Marshall admits the songwriting is taking longer than he thought. However, he seems to revel in the challenge.
“It’s really tough right now, because I’m trying to write things, and I’m not sure how happy I am with them,” he says.
In the past, Marshall admits that he “used to be able to scream nonsense,” and still sell the band’s songs. This isn’t something he’s able to do with the new material, nor would he want to.
“I can’t really fake my way through,” he says. “Now I’m really singing, so I have to have something done. It’s weird, but it’s so much nicer to actually be saying something.”