While it's a strange experience interviewing a person about a band that they're no longer in, it is also an interesting one because they can paint a unique – albeit slightly biased – picture of the music. This was the case with Nicholas Andrew Sadler, the former guitarist and vocalist of Daughters, who had recently left the band at the time of the already booked interview. Now in Fang Island, the nostalgic Sadler chatted with Punkews contributor Gen Handley about the trials, tribulations and recent album of his former band, while attempting to navigate the Fang Island tour van from the SXSW festival in Austin to New Orleans.
So the Daughters' self-titled album was released in early-March, how would you describe the sound? Itâs getting really good reviewsâ¦
I would say that itâs getting closer to where Daughters could go and closer to where I thought we were finding our own voice. Itâs like, if you were to take what Daughters has done in the past and add a thick, almost hip-hoppy rhythm section underneath everything. Itâs faster and more manic and frantic, but itâs also heavier with a lot more groove and low-end to it. I figured out we needed that by touring endlessly off of Hell Songs and becoming really sick of playing that album, especially in larger venues. That album really doesnât work in larger venues in a lot ways because itâs just a lot of dizzying, high-pitched sounds, which can get lost in a large room. I started to really crave a low-end, stronger rhythm section for our band - that was the goal I had when writing the record.
Who was involved with writing the record?
Essentially, it was me making demos for three years at the house and then taking songs, song ideas and some riffs to the practice space to hash them out with Jon (drummer). This album really caught up with us. People were getting a little older, the whole band was extremely poor from touring over the years, so life outside the band really caught up with us and it became hard to really do anything. Iâm very proud of this record just because we were able to make it, you know? It was a real struggle.
Was it so much of a struggle that you left the band? Is it true that you left Daughters recently?
Sort of. Itâs a hairy situation in that we made the record and some time in August last year, our singer Lex (Alexis Marshall) and I got into a bit of band argument. It was pent-up energy that built up over the years, which came out. Funny enough it was over Gmail where itâs much easier to air out any bullshit for both Lex and I (laughs). So we got in this argument and Lex decided he had enough and quit the band. So that put us on, what we decided, a hiatus. I continued with mastering the record and hashing out the artwork and I even worked with this artist, Dave Fisher, on a trailer video. I was essentially trying to keep the band alive for who-knows-what, you know? Maybe I was hoping Lex would come back or maybe in few years we would start playing again. Eventually what happened was I moved to Brooklyn, released a Fang Island record and Lex decided that he wanted to come back, but that I should be out. So basically the band just dissolved - not everyone was into playing with Lex, while not completely willing to dismiss the band.
From my perspective, I donât think Iâll ever play with Daughters again - Iâve been through way too much stress and Iâm in a way better place with writing and being in a band with Fang Island. With the new album, I think we ended on a really good note with Daughters and if Lex carries it beyond that then Iâm happy for him and thatâs cool. So I didnât really leave, the band just fell apart. In some way, I guess I was kicked out by the guy who quit. (laughs) I donât know where that leaves me or the band, but Iâm using that as an excuse to step out officially.
Thatâs such a strange situationâ¦
Yeah, itâs ridiculous.
Alright, so about the band you might be inâ¦
â¦where did the name Daughters come from?
That came from our original lineup in our seven inch days, which was Lex, Jon, Pat Masterson, myself and a guitarist, Jeremy Wabiszczewicz, who cracked the name. I donât know where it came from, but he came up with it and it was Daughters before we even started writing anything.
Something that struck me right away with Daughters are the interesting song titles - like, "The Unattractive, Portable Head.". Can you talk about how you came up with that one?
Youâd have to ask Lex about that one - Iâm actually not a big fan of the song titles off the new record. Iâve actually come to hate a lot of the song titles on that album, but at the time, some of the other shit was kind of funny and clever to me and flowing with pop culture or whatever culture we were involved with at the time. It made sense to me then, but songs like, "Pants, Meet Shit" or like, "And Then C.H.U.D.S. Came" and stuff like thatâ¦I donât know, song titles is not a good subject for me to talk about.
But on the other hand, I think the lyrics on "The Unattractive, Portable Head" are really sweet and I think they really match the music well. I think itâs one of Lexâs best moments on that album - Iâm really proud of how that turned out.
So Iâve read descriptions of the Daughters sound as being math rock or mathcore. Do you agree with that title?
No. In fact, Iâve always disagreed with that - even sort of hated it. Weâve always been a kind of calculated band, but not in a math rock way. None of us are classically trained at all and I donât think anyone in Daughters has taken a lesson in anything. The music just comes out that way and itâs always been the nature of the band. Math rock, grindcore, mathcore, hardcore, metal or artrock - thereâs never been an intent there, you know? One time we were called skronk music and we really laughed at that because who the hell wakes up one day and decides they want to start a skronk band?
And we didnât wake up one day and decide to start a math rock band. It was what was coming out of the band members for a really long time. I always felt like it was an expression of the inner conflict among the band members or maybe personal struggles within the members themselves. Itâs really agitated music to me and itâs always been really dark. - I always felt we had more in common with Bauhaus or something gothier like that.
Whatâs life going to be like post-Daughters?
Well, Iâm just hanging out now and things are going really well with Fang Island. In terms of life after Daughters? I donât know man. Iâm really proud of everything Daughters has done and Iâm really sad we canât get along because weâve all known each other for a long time - Iâve known Lex and Jon since before I had sex. Like, I remember some of those dudes telling me about the birds and the bees. We played in a band long before Daughters and it was just an awful, awful band, but they took me on my first road trips and official tours, so I am sad that we donât get along. So life after Daughters? Just keep making music and Iâm working on eventually doing some solo music as well. I keep making jokes that Iâm going to make a follow-up to the Daughters record we just released, but call it, Nick Sadler just to be a bastard or whatever.
So the new Daughters album was released in early March and the Fang Island album was released in early February. What was that like releasing two albums within a month of each other?
Yeah, it was big release year (laughs). I donât know, it certainly makes me feel productive because it took so long for the two albums to be written, recorded and released. There was a period of a couple years when I felt like the biggest bum, living on couches and floors and in spare rooms or in a warehouse in Providence - right now, Iâm staying on a floor in Brooklyn. Itâs really helped me to feel like I wasnât doing nothing. All I can say is that itâs made me feel really productive and happy because itâs all I want to do.
Is it even more rewarding in that the sounds from those two albums are so different?
I feel happy that I can reach past what Iâve done in Daughters and be involved with a variety of different sounds and styles and to have some range. Iâve always said that Daughters is my bad guy band and that Fang Island is my good guy band. Itâs funny because as a person, I feel like I need both. When I was in Daughters, it was always refreshing to have Fang Island and to exercise a positive outlook on life. To go play Daughters would always allow me to exercise some demons in a way. As cheesy as it is, now that Daughters is gone, Iâm looking for an outlet for some aggression in music. I still need to write another record where I can be aggressive, but I also need to make a record thatâs like the classic singy song writer record or something.
Whatâs you fondest memory of Daughters?
Fondest memory? There was a lot of good times and good memories - I donât know. I can say that on every single Daughters tour I got seriously hurt. The donât sound like great memories, but they are. On the last tour I ended up smashing a glass of whiskey on my amp in San Diego and almost cut the tip of my pinky off and ripped open my finger on my guitar-playing hand. For some reason I got a kick out of that and it was kind of fun.
As a group, we all had a similar sense of humor with a lot of potty jokes and black humor. Looking back, Iâll always cherish that as a group we were able to come together make like really inappropriate jokes or stupid dumb bullshit (laughs). When Iâm not in Daughters and making those jokes, I really feel like Iâm on the outside of the realm of distasteful humor - I feel like thereâs a spotlight on me in that sense (laughs). It might be appropriate in Daughters, but is completely inappropriate during all other times.
Whatâs your least fondest memory of Daughters?
Man, there are equally as many not-so-fond memories as there are good ones. One particular crap moment was when we drove from Western Canada all the way to Montreal and it took like three days. That was fucking hideous and a total bonehead idea. Now I know that when youâre in Western Canada, you need to go back to the States where there are populations of humans and then get back up to the eastern side to Toronto and Montreal.
Most regrettably, I wish we could have gotten along better in the end so we could be out there, hitting the road, playing the fucking record. I think the new record is fucking awesome and my heart is totally behind it. I think itâs totally legit. I could go on about itâs artistic merit and about the thought process that lead to what was released. So I wish we could be getting along and fucking ripping it up right now. Actually, our booking dude was trying to get us on a Marilyn Manson tour, at which point, I could of put the guitar down and gone to bed after that - everything would have come full circle. Sounds funny, but when I was a kid, I was super into Marilyn Manson (laughs). Oddly enough, I like him a lot more as an adult. Donât put that in the interview (laughs).