If you live in London, or you live on the “Web Content Created in London” you heard of Daughter. Fact.
The WCCIL (Web Content Created in London) generates from several MacBook plugged to Shoreditch free Wi-Fi bars and spreads throughout the world. It is London-centric even if sometime seems to dream of being Scandinavian o Icelandic-centric. It just makes it more (East)-London-cool.
Daughter are from London. Originally born as a solo project of talented Elena Tonra, it become a trio with the arrival of guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella.
If You Leave is the debut album of Daughter, a record that crowns the music they have been writing and recording for the last couple of years. The flow of links, photos and words that WCCIL uploaded after Daughter first singles, EP make them viral. The usual beginning of the successful indie career then materialised in a long awaited debut. 4AD were the fastest to spot and sign them.
I have got the Daughter virus through the highly infectious WCCIL.
Symptoms are pleasant, it generates continuous listening of the same album. Side effect is the quick arrival of the end of the free Spotify allowance when you are only halfway through the month.
The album slowly (it requires dedication) possesses your body, specifically the mind, you accessories, in particular your wallet, and concludes with a visit to FOPP (or Amazon) with an investment of about 10£. Not too painful.
The recipe is so old that on a superficial consideration it looks incredible such an approach still works. It does.
A miserable girl writing overwritten verses about the end of a relationship and the desire to die? Yes.
It has been done, written, recorded and sang umpteenth times. Yes.
The reason why it works is because relationships end and broke people are always out there willing to alleviate the pain listening to someone suffering with them. Not the same one you listened with your previous relationship, your parents relationship, your best friends end of relationship. We need our music for each of our pain.
Write the right embellished words, keep them general to empathise with most people possible, it will attract crowds of broken hearts.
Winter, the first song of the album, opens with the verse:
“Drifting apart like two sheets of ice, my love
Frozen hearts growing colder with time
There’s no heat from our mouths
Please take me back to when I was yours
And we were in flames, I needed I needed you
To run through my veins, like disease
And now we are strange, strangers…”
Oh brilliant. Does it fit perfectly with your experience? Dicto
Smoother, the catchy single goes…
“I’m wasted, losing time
I’m a foolish, fragile spine
I want all that is not mine
I want him but we’re not right…”
To close with
“I sometimes wish I’d stayed inside my mother
Never to come out”
how many times have you heard a teenager girl saying this?
How perfect is this to close such a song?
To make the end of an ended story, the final lines of the album’s final song Shallows are
“If you leave,
When I go
You’ll find me,
In the shallows.
Lying on my back,
Lying on my back,
Watching stars collide.”
Is that you? Right.
Daughter don’t do anything more than this but, listen to me, they do it very well.
Musically the songs sound soft, sublime, angelic. They don’t rock, they lull.
The first reference that comes to (my) mind is Portishead. Despite Elena Tonra is not Beth Gibbons, there is neither Geoff Barrow nor Adrian Utley around.
Despite we are not in Bristol, we are not in the 90s, Kurt Cobain is dead and the internet was born.
There is not Trip Hop but there is Dream Pop. And there is the XX producer behind them.
And there are broken hearts.
Field Day is a festival in East London. Victoria Park becomes hipsters’ paradise every year and gathers the best of the WCCIL scene over several stages.
I explained why I am not a fan of photographing festivals. It’s hard work and my compulsion to cover as many bands as possible leave me with no time for the music.
At a concert, you shoot three songs and watch the band. At a festival you shoot three songs and go to the next stage.
Daughter were (or was?) playing Field Day 2013. There is the only big clash of the day with, Bat For Lashes, a silly choice by the organisers. Easier for me, I shot Bat For Lashes several times so opted to see Elena and friends live.
Good choice it was. Not only for the incredible light that the sunset brought into the Laneway tent giving me nice “festival atmosphere shots”. Because it was a great set on its own.
Photographers took few snaps during the soundcheck to rush to Natasha Kahn (see rant at photo tip below).
I stayed for the whole three songs, ignoring Natasha Kahn. Then stayed till the end of the concert, ignoring three more bands and the noise of my stomach asking for food.
The concert was brilliant, the live set was (obviously) louder than the album. An album that seem to ask to be whispered when played through earplugs sounded full live and loud.
Daughter was by far the best set of a poor Field Day. With an album mentioned as one of the best debut of the year by literally everyone
Do like me.
The title is intriguing. A suspended sentence invites to stay till the end, if only, to see what happens “If you (don’t) leave“.
With the amount of music streaming online, with Spotify, with podcasts, with any radio there is far more music to listen than hours we have to dedicate to it.
Even if it is not broken, Daughter lulled my heart.
Field Day had a strange photo policy this year. We were even asked to sign it to agree.
In brief in every stage photographers were allowed in the photo pit on a first come first served basis.
With tens of photographers and only 10-12 allowed in the biggest pits, guess the consequence.
When assigned to a festival, journalistically implies covering most of it, surely the biggest acts.
To find (only there) that you will not be allowed to shoot many of them makes the experience pointless.
Why is that? Because the pit was full. Full?
That is the point. I can understand and agree even with the obsessional “Health and Safety” rules in UK but at the condition that these rules are kept similar everywhere.
We, as concert photographers, are used to photograph shows and protect ourselves and our gear in ridiculously tiny and crowded pits or even with no pit at all. We work in the middle of mosh pits and with flying pints.
All the pits at Field Day were way bigger than most I have seen in London’s venues. Laneway and Eat Your Own Ears stages where so big, large, high that a photographer was using a 400mm to frame an artist. They would have not had any problem to host 20 or more of us.
Still I wasn’t allowed in for Savages. I had to ignore Solange (because I was too far to cover someone else) and decided to miss two bands to cover Animal Collective.
You know, you can’t cover Glastonbury without shooting the Rolling Stones and I couldn’t say to have covereds the Field Day without shooting Animal Collective, the headliners.
If the argument is that the risk to be in a huge pit in 20 is high, there is an option. Let the pit open for the full set not only the 3 songs. So that photographers can alternate and everyone has access and ‘security space’.
I haven’t spoken to big rockstars but I spoke to many musicians in the years and I still have to find one that tells me that photographers are a hindrance or a pain.
As a photographer I am tired of being considered as a nuisance by the security. Tired of feeling their only interest is to show their power by getting rid of us as soon as possible.
Without live photos there will not be a live music scene. It is as simple as this.