Daisy Hamel-Buffa tells me that she doesn't know how to define her band's sound. She defers to her bandmate, Alex Kasvikis, who's called it "loud jazz," but has more recently been describing it as R&B-punk. "I will go off on a tangent and somehow say every musical genre at some point," Daisy says. Whatever it is, it's one that could be more easily explained through a feeling than genre categorization.
Daisy, Alex, Maxx Morando, Matt Filbey and Ben Roswell Salk have been making music together as DAISY for four years. The Los Angeles group's newest single, "Day Off," which The FADER is premiering today, is full of playful piano and instrumentation, built around lead vocalist Daisy's soulful voice. It's a summertime bop-and-a-half that I imagine sounds best blasted through the car stereo. The Internet's Matt Martians actually provided the beat, and Daisy wrote the song about "this very big crush I had on this boy that works at the Trader Joe's down my street and having this unsolicited crush on this guy and does he even know that I exist, and does he notice that I'm obsessed with him," she explains. (Daisy was also on Steve Lacy's Apollo XXI as the sole feature.)
But if the song is about the stressful, obsessive yearning that comes with crushes, it doesn't seem that way. The Seannie Bryan-directed video is a sunny, heart-warming delight, filled with cameos of friends, hugs, dancing, and displays of mutual support. Talking to Ben, Alex, and Daisy over the phone, you get the feeling that that's just real life for them. During our short conversation, they banter and gas each other up, stressing that their goal is always: "all family, all the time." It's hard to imagine anything other than joyful, feel-good jams coming from such a tight crew of friends.
Somewhere on your social media you say you make music for kissing! I like that sentiment, can y’all expand more on that?
DAISY HAMEL-BUFFA: [Laughs] That was something we wrote a long time ago.
BEN ROSWELL SALK: I stand by it for sure.
HAMEL-BUFFA: It's like music that just makes you feel good, but it's like light-hearted and it's fun. I don't know. It's music for kissing!
SALK: Daisy got a screenshot of a text sent to her that someone had lost their virginity to "Way Cool Baby Love." And I'm like, put that shit on my resume.
HAMEL-BUFFA: Yeah, like, we can quit music now. We did the fuckin thing.
SALK: We should frame that.
Daisy, you had a feature on Steve Lacy’s new album, on “Like Me.” How did that come about?
HAMEL-BUFFA: We've known Steve for a while. He sent me that song I think in 2017 and we connected talking about our sexuality together. He sent me that song and was like, "I feel like you could relate to this, I would love to see what you have to say." So I just wrote a little verse. He came back a few years later, and he basically said, “You really said it the way that people need to hear it,” and then it happened, and it kind of happened really fast and it was really fun. We played with him at the El Rey, that was an amazing show. Shout out to Steve Lacy for always supporting.
SALK: That's the goal: all family all the time. All of our roommates are GOAT musicians, and everyone that helps us out or plays horns for us, or helps us in the studio, are just all part of amazing bands that we get to play with, and everyone kind of scratches everyone else's back.
Do you ever draw inspiration from the community you're in and the people around y'all?
HAMEL-BUFFA: Totally. One thing I hear people say about our band is that we have a very L.A. vibe and I don't even necessarily know what that means, but maybe it's something you can hear in our music and in other L.A. musician's music, which is just the feeling of Los Angeles.
ALEX KOSVIKIS: For me it's driving. There's a street called San Vicente and it's kind of this big wide boulevard and it goes diagonally across the city, and driving legally fast down San Vicente bumping a new DAISY mix, it all makes sense.
SALK: When it's all family all the time, you can't help but be influenced by your friends music. Then you just unknowingly created this sound.
Since “Day Off” is about inconsolable crushes, I have to ask: What are y'alls go-to cures for crushes?
SALK: There's no cure for that shit dude.
HAMEL-BUFFA: Yes there is! You kiss them on the mouth!
SALK: That is malignant.
KASVIKIS: I'll have you know that I have a crush that I'm really hoping comes to our show on Friday. We've had a longstanding, I think, an eye contact flirtationship, but we've never met. And then last weekend I finally introduced myself on a dance floor but instead of offering to buy her a drink or something, my words were: "I'll see you on the fucking floor." It was so rough.
HAMEL-BUFFA: What's your cure?
KASVIKIS: I guess this band, sort of. When I'm hugging Daisy and Ben, or any of our other bandmates, I'm like, I'll be alright. Maybe she'll come around, maybe she won't but I'm taken care of in this band.
HAMEL-BUFFA: I find that crushes, they all come to be at some point. Something always happens. I'm having a thing where, I'm dating someone at the moment and a lot of our songs are about this guy and I've had a crush on him since I was 12 and now we are officially dating. You know what? Write a song about. That's my cure for a crush, and you hope they come around 12 years later.
SALK: I'm honestly a let-it-ride person. I think the best love comes from when it's supposed to click so I can't control it too much, I just leave it up to the universe. To let it work itself out. But you know, I'm gonna mack a little bit.