Leicester based indie band Dayflower shed their candy coated skin during the recording of their most recent offering, Double A-side Seeing Up/Neverfriend. Well known for their honey-dipped melodies and mallow soft vocals their latest release marked something of a grungey departure for a band as notorious for their candy-festooned club nights as their Heart Shaped Tambourines.
Looking at the two songs in isolation, Neverfriend is an uptight, dirty, smear of a drone which pushes Alex Clemence’s ‘lost-boy’ vocal so far beneath its surface as to give it a subterranean feel. By contrast, Seeing Up rises steadily through an abstract siren-filled soundscape flavoured with Asian nuances and awash with multi-layered dream sequences, until finally arriving at a crescendo of 3D starburst proportions.
Aside from being purveyors of the finest wines made from the grapes of wooze, both Messrs Clemence and Dhonau are also highly regarded for their loquacity and wordsmithery. So, it makes the earthiest of common sense to look Dhonau-wards when seeking context to anything Dayflower.
Having recently released a visual accompaniment to Seeing Up, David very kindly took some very valuable time out, to give us some background to the song, how it was recorded and the aesthetic behind the film.
“The basic demo for Seeing Up predates Dayflower. It was one of the first things I showed to Alex (Clemence, vocals, guitar) soon after we met.
I recall thinking that the range and tone of Alex’s voice would suit a reverb-drenched, early ’90s Creation sound perfectly. As we chatted, it was not long before our shared love of My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain et al became apparent. So his vocal melody came very naturally.
We took the chance to absorb ourselves in the studio process and really experiment with sound. The recording features an assortment of drum machines of different vintages, analogue and digital synths, classical woodwind, guitars that sound like household appliances and . . . actual household appliances.
I found a way of combining a few guitar effects pedals to create the noise climax at the end, which sounds like a choir of demonically possessed vacuum cleaners. One listener interpreted the swirl differently and remarked: ‘I feel like I’m spinning down a drain. In a good way’.
While Chris (Merriman, Dayflower’s guitarist) was setting up his equipment up to record, his washing machine was spinning in the next room. I wandered off to check how loud it was it was and took a handheld recorder with me. It’s somewhere there in the finished mix.
The song was first released in September 2016, along with Neverfriend, on EDILS Recordings. We officially called it a double a-side, but inevitably the lead track Neverfriend received more attention – all very welcome, including Fat-Cat uploading the track to their featured demos site.
It would be fair to say that Seeing Up is less immediate, with none of the linear complexity of Neverfriend. The whole thing is built on just a handful of chords and becomes a kind of sonic mantra, growing vertically rather than horizontally, with textures layering themselves upon one the other, seemingly to breaking point.
We thought making a video for the song would add depth to the experience of listening and might gain the song a slightly wider audience. The way the video begins establishes a fractured dream logic, in which the viewpoint drifts, disembodied. As with the music, the camera is in an almost constant state of motion be it horizontal, vertical or cyclical.
Aesthetically it explores the abstraction of landscapes and people seen at unusual angles and distances. When point of view is altered the familiar can instantly become alien.
In fact, that’s one way I could sum up our sound: pop music seen slightly askew.
There are also cameras dipped in honey pots and stuck the inside of spinning tumble dryers.” – Words, David Dhonau.
Dayflower, aka a good natured argument between The Smiths and The Stone Roses (did it ever end, and if so, who won?) is Alex, David, Chris and Simon. Their next single, Sweet Georgia Gazes, is set for release in early June so keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page.
The band’s next Candy Dust club night which includes Emperor X on the bill, will take place in The Cookie (Leicester), on 30th June, full details here.
You can download Seeing Up (along with Neverfriend) via the Edils Recordings Bandcamp page.
In the meantime, you can watch some stunning drone footage patched with images of neon-pop psychedelia and shots of a few familiar faces, in Dayflower’s lush video for Seeing Up, right here. DervSwerve