You don’t have to be in a funk just because it’s (feeling like) Monday. Instead, get funky.
TrunkSpace brings you another edition of Musical Mondaze. This time out we’re sitting down with the Nashville-based punk trio Daddy Issues. Their new album “Deep Dream” is due to hit May 19 on Infinity Cat Recordings.
We recently chatted with Jenna Moynihan (guitars/vocals), Emily Maxwell (drums), and Jenna Mitchell (bass) to discuss being a rock band in a country-focused city, their favorite track off the upcoming album, and using the power of message in music to impact listeners.
TrunkSpace: The band is from Nashville. The mainstream view of the city is one of country and singer/songwriter scenes. Is it it safe to say that other genres are able to thrive there?
Moynihan: Yeah, definitely. Since we all moved there about five years ago or so, I think we immediately found out that there was a really great DIY punk scene and a lot of rock music in Nashville.
Mitchell: When I started to go to school there, there were a few months were I would sit in my dorm room and then I figured out that there were basement shows going on around town and that’s where I met a ton of my friends and figured out about music in Nashville.
TrunkSpace: Is it harder to get noticed within the city itself just because all of the focus is on country and singer/songwriters?
Maxwell: I guess so. I think people, like tourists and stuff… the general idea of Nashville is still the country thing. Within the city, if you’re living there, people are more cognizant of the rock section of it, but people coming through town, they don’t necessarily know that that exists there.
TrunkSpace: And a lot of the rock clubs are set off away from where most of the tourists hang out, correct?
Mitchell: More or less. A lot of the tourists will hang out in downtown on Broadway and go to the honky-tonks and that’s the kind of bubble that they get trapped in. A lot of people will talk to me and be like, “Oh my gosh, country music, right?” And I’m like, “No, it’s rock.” It’s definitely both, but I think there are two bubbles that you can definitely get trapped in.
Moynihan: I think we could all agree that the Americana singer/songwriter scene has gotten bigger.
Mitchell: I’ll agree with that. And it’s gotten more accepted.
Moynihan: Before we wouldn’t end up at a singer/songwriter kind of show. Now we find ourselves at those kind of shows a lot more and they’re happening at a lot of the venues that a lot of rock music happens at. It’s always going to be changing.
TrunkSpace: And the city itself has been changing dramatically. It just seems to be spreading out and growing at an incredible rate.
Moynihan: Yeah. Definitely.
Mitchell: It feels very full right now. (Laughter)
TrunkSpace: When it comes to booking the band, do you find club owners putting Daddy Issues on bills with other female-fronted bands who may not necessarily fit with you guys sound-wise, as opposed to bands with sounds you’d be better suited to share a stage with?
Maxwell: Sometimes. I think it used to be more that way and now there’s a more conscious view of that kind of situation. We’ve been playing with a lot of really incredible bands, disregarding their gender.
TrunkSpace: It just always seems unfortunate that a band of women becomes a “girl band” as opposed to just a band.
Moynihan: Yeah. That happens all the time. We’re proud to be girls, but I think… with the people we’ve been working with, especially lately…
Maxwell: They’re fantastic.
Moynihan: Yeah. It’s cool actually. Maybe we’ll be booked with a certain type of band, but it’s because they’re also just socially aware.
Mitchell: They’re inspiring people and making a positive social impact, so it’s cool to be able to be a part of that as well.
TrunkSpace: When it comes to social impact and having something to say, it seems like bands and artists aren’t as afraid to speak up recently. Have you noticed that as well?
Moynihan: Definitely. And just from being a smaller scale band… and then learning that one person was inspired by something that you said… it’s important. We all realize that it’s important to say stuff and a lot of bands are realizing that too. No matter how big your fan base is, just impacting one person’s life is so important. You can’t really stay quiet.
Mitchell: Yeah. You’ve got to say whatever you can because you just never know who’s listening.
Moynihan: Yeah. Even though, sometimes we don’t think the world’s listening.
Maxwell: Everybody’s kind of had a dark day and it’s nice to know that you could be there for that person, for another person, on that dark day.
TrunkSpace: And that’s the beauty of music. It can affect people in ways you never think possible.
Moynihan: Exactly. It’s cool to be a part of that once we realized that.
Maxwell: Yeah. To be able to contribute to that kind of thing.
TrunkSpace: And with the social media landscape that we’re all operating in, you must know pretty quickly how a song can affect someone.
Maxwell: Yeah. We just put out a single the other day called “I’m Not.” That was about… inspired by, some difficult things that I’ve dealt with in my life and we’ve got a lot of Tweets and Tumblr messages and Facebook stuff very quickly of people saying that they really liked it and thanking us for writing it because they felt alone and finally it felt like someone understood them. It was really nice to be able to have that connection with them where people felt like they could contact us. Just to know that we had actually done something to help people…
Mitchell: Yeah. I think keeping an open dialogue between us and our fan base is hugely important because it allows us to all learn about each other more.
TrunkSpace: On the reverse side of that, do you ever hesitate to put too much of yourself into a song?
Moynihan: I think with the last song that we put out… we were just talking about this not too long ago… we didn’t second guess it at all. We did, but it was in the sense of that you’re afraid, which Emily will definitely touch on. But I think for us, it was so honest and true, why wouldn’t you say something like that? Whereas there are so many things that people talk about and bands talk about that it’s almost like, maybe you’re saying it because someone else said it or that the world is doing that, but specifically with a song like we just released, it was something that we were like, “No one’s really talking about this. Of course we believe in this and this is how we feel, so why wouldn’t we put it out?”
Maxwell: Yeah. I mean, I was nervous to do it because I’ve never talked about that topic really before, except with my bandmates and two of my best friends and my brother. But, I thought it was important because I lived a long time with no one talking about that kind of thing, and once I realized that there are probably other people sitting around wishing someone would talk about it… or just try to de-stigmatize it in some way… I felt like if I had the opportunity to do it, I should do it. It was really scary because coming out and saying you’ve experienced something that everybody that you know then reads that and then knows that about you, I wasn’t sure how that was going to play out overall. But, it doesn’t really matter anyway because the important thing is just putting the message out and connecting to other people. It ended up being fine. It was just scary to kind of make that statement for the first time and now it’s done and it’s okay.
TrunkSpace: Was there also a part of you that felt relieved to make the statement and sort of get it off your chest?
Maxwell: Totally. I just told my mom the other day… I feel so peaceful now. I feel really free. I’m so glad that we did that and I’m so glad that we’ve been able to help people with it. It’s had a really positive impact on people’s lives and my life. I didn’t realize how much time I was spending just sitting and thinking about, like, “What would happen if I said something about this? Was the world going to end?” And I guess I was thinking about it all the time. I had no idea that it was worrying me that much, but it was. Once I finally actually said it and it’s out now and it’s done, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. It’s not on my mind because it’s over. So, I feel very calm now and free and good. I feel much better. Better than I have in like 10 years and it’s really nice to feel that way.
TrunkSpace: Often time we always talk about how music affects the listener, but a lot of times we miss the mark on how it can affect those who are writing it, which is absolutely the case with you.
Maxwell: Yeah. It’s so true.
TrunkSpace: So when you look at the album as a whole, what were you guys trying to accomplish with it that you didn’t achieve with your previous release? Was there something that you wanted to try or do that you had yet to take on?
Moynihan: I think we wanted it to sound really good. (Laughter) We kind of rushed a lot of our old recordings, I think.
Mitchell: I’ll agree with that.
Moynihan: So we wanted to take our time and we wanted to make a good-sounding record.
Mitchell: With our previous album, we were still kind of figuring out a lot of things and with this record, it felt really good to be able to translate what we were hearing in our heads into a recording with the help of our producer and the help of our recording engineers. It was a really amazing experience. It just felt very accomplished.
TrunkSpace: When you go into the studio, are you confident that the songs are locked and loaded and ready to lay down, or are they still works in progress?
Mitchell: There was a lot of that this time. It was a very group effort, just trying to figure out what sounded best and what made the most sense and what we liked hearing the most.
Moynihan: Yeah. That’s one of my favorite parts, it’s just every time we go into the studio and once we lay it down, we’re like, “Oh, wow… that’s what it sounds like?” I think it always comes out different than what we originally planned on it sounding like.
Maxwell: Yeah. Definitely.
Moynihan: And that’s why we’ll play things different live because…
Mitchell: We’re still building and we’re still continuing on with the creation of what we want to hear.
TrunkSpace: Is there a track on the album that individually you’re all the most proud of?
Maxwell: I think we all really like “High Street.”
Mitchell: Oh. Yeah. I thought we were all going to have different ones, but that’s my favorite one.
Maxwell: Yeah. I think all of our favorite is “High Street.” We wrote it… actually, it was a very quick thing. We wrote it at a recording session and we needed a song to record and we didn’t have anything so we just kind of came up with it. I don’t know why… maybe the Jennas have something more to add… but I don’t know why we like it so much.
Mitchell: Personally, for the bass, I feel like it was my personal best work. You’ve got to flex the creative bone and it feels really good to flex the creative bone and I told myself when we were doing “High Street” that, “I’m going to flex this.” I think that’s what I’m trying to say. (Laughter)
TrunkSpace: Was it a song where as a band you guys thought, musically, outside the box?
Moynihan: Definitely. I don’t usually play lead guitar things. I pretty much play rhythm guitar because there’s three of us and I’m not… talented on the guitar. (Laughter) But, it immediately starts off with a lead guitar line and I think that was really important and then Emily does some crazy fills.
Maxwell: Yeah. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done on the drums.
Moynihan: We had to laugh because when we went to record we were like, “How are we going to play this?”
Mitchell: (Laughter) “Why did we do this?”
Moynihan: (Laughter) Yeah. “Why did we do this to ourselves, we don’t even know how to play these parts?” But we’ve been playing it on this whole tour with Diet Cig that we’re on right now and it’s really fun every night. Every night it feels better and better, just like any song we ever write and play live. I think we’re just really proud of ourselves that we did something difficult. (Laughter)
Mitchell: We flexed the creative bone!