- Reid Haithcock / provided
- Daughters play Sunday at 89th Street — OKC.
For many fans and critics, Daughters’ latest album failed to live up to its name. Publications and websites including Rolling Stone, BrooklynVegan and A.V. Club named 2018’s You Won’t Get What You Want one of the year’s best releases. Good reviews from mainstream music critics for Daughters’ acerbic noise rock aren’t exactly new for the band, which has released four generally well-received studio albums since forming in 2002, but guitarist Nick Andrew Sadler said he never expects to hear positive feedback from anyone.
“I generally assume that no one’s going to give a shit,” Sadler said. “There’s no reason to assume that anyone would, in my opinion. The music is so different in a lot of ways from music that most people find palatable.”
Daughters plays Sunday at 89th Street — OKC, 8911 N. Western Ave. Pitchfork gave the band’s 2010 self-titled album, released after Daughters announced an indefinite hiatus, an 8.2 out of 10 and called it a “feast to be savored,” but Sadler said the record’s content was still too off-putting to convert critical acclaim to a noticeable increase in fans. Follow-up You Won’t Get What You Want, however, seems to be more popular with new listeners — and, to a certain point, with certain older listeners who previously never seemed to get what the band was doing.
“Most of the time, the records are too harsh or too different for the mainstream journalists to really make a difference,” Sadler said, “but I think this record is just listenable enough. … Even my family, they’re sort of paying attention to what’s happening with this record, and they’re excited about it. And there’s a couple things that they can understand when they listen to it, but I think still, overall, when they hear it, they don’t understand what they’re listening to.”
The band reunited in 2013 and played support on Dillinger Escape Plan’s farewell tour in 2017, but Sadler’s bandmates — vocalist Alexis Marshall, bassist Sam Walker and drummer Jon Syverson — became involved in other projects and moved away from Daughters’ original home base in Providence, Rhode Island, during the band’s hiatus, leaving Sadler to compose much of the music for You Won’t Get What You Want on his own, a situation he found stressful. But Sadler said he finds a lot to be stressed about as he gets older.
“The whole writing process was extremely difficult, and I have less time as an older person and less energy to do it,” Sadler said. “I have several jobs and relationships and other bands that I’m active in around town. I do a little bit of film scoring and music. I’m pretty busy, and trying to squeeze in writing for Daughters was kind of hard. We don’t live in the same state anymore, so I have to write all the instrumentation on a computer, and I send them things to discuss via email or text or whatever. The recording process was stressful, but part of that is just me. I developed a pretty intense amount of anxiety in my 30s for some reason, and so I can’t tell if the process is actually stressful or I brought my own stress to the table like I do with everything else.”
- 2018’s You Won’t Get What You Want appeared on several critics’ “best of” lists at the end of last year.
As he gets older, Sadler said he thinks he might become incapable of playing the full-throttle grindcore Daughters was initially famous for, but the choice to move toward slower, more stretched-out songs on the latest album was inspired more by evolving tastes and influences than tenderness for his aging body.
“It takes a physical toll,” Sadler said. “We are getting older. I’m the youngest at 36, and you have to wonder how much longer we can play music like Hell Songs effectively as we get older. You have to wonder, but that doesn’t really affect the decision making too much. It’s on my mind only because I’m inching closer and closer to death. Otherwise, it’s mostly about keeping up with personal interests and sensibilities. … Your taste grows and changes, and the new things you pick up that you like about music and art or whatever else as you go along sometimes cancel out the things you liked when you’re younger.”
A growing fan base has made touring more comfortable for the band recently, Sadler said, but growing older has made recovery more difficult.
“I used to be able to just jump into a tour and do anything,” Sadler said. “I could be blind drunk and thrashing about or whatever, and I’d wake up the next day perfect. But even if I’m not moving around as much or drinking as much or whatever, it definitely takes me like a week for my body to start getting used to what we’re doing to it. Part of that is getting older, but some of that is also I don’t do any exercises. I don’t take care of myself at all. I think most of us feel that way. We talk about doing things like jogging, but whether or not anyone will actually do it remains to be seen.”
Creating a live show from an album constructed largely via email is complicated, Sadler said, especially since the band’s increasing popularity means more scrutiny.
“We haven’t really toured regularly as a band in a long time, so I feel like we’re still in the stages of developing the live show sonically, and I don’t know that I have a fully formed opinion on how some of this works yet,” Sadler said. “It’s weird because the record has done very well, which means people are looking at us now. So we don’t have the luxury of, like, doing a month and experimenting with a bunch of stuff and having no one really see us fail or succeed at it. Now we have to jump in and just immediately be good at it, which you’d think after 17 years we would be, but we took such a huge break that I have to have some suspicions about it and some apprehensions. But overall it’s going well.”
Despite what Daughters’ latest album title might suggest, Sadler said he does want people to get what they want from the show.
“The concern I have is, like, ‘How can we be the best possible version of ourselves when we go out there?’” he said. “I meet people who travel long distances, distances that I would not travel to see my favorite musicians, to come see Daughters, and I just want to do the best possible job for everybody. I mean, this is what I’m doing with my time, and this is how people are spending the money that they traded for their time. It’s important. I don’t know how everybody else feels, but I definitely have concern for other humans.”
Tickets are $15-$17. Visit 89thstreetokc.com.