Days N’ Daze: Punk is a Movement and a State of Mind
Folk punk furies Days N' Daze discuss life, touring and politics
Everyone’s favorite DIY folk-punk extravaganza Days N’ Daze is just releasing their new record CRUSTFALL and we couldn’t resist the urge to interview them for DIY Conspiracy!
What’s the story of Days N’ Daze? Do you refer to yourselves as musicians and what are your personal aspirations in punk music that drove you to form Days N’ Daze and its sound?
Whitney Flynn: The story of Days N’ Daze is just two kids who were stuck in a town they hated and started playing music to pass the time. We never expected to actually have people listen to it but over the years it’s become me and Jesse’s life.
Starting out we wanted to form a punk band but we didn’t have the funds to buy the equipment. All we had to work with was an acoustic guitar and a trumpet so we had to just make it work. I think both of us consider ourselves musicians, Jesse is self-taught while I was in the marching band in high school. I think growing up our biggest influences would be Leftöver Crack and Neutral Milk Hotel.
Is there such a thing as folk-punk? To what extent does the political and folk music of the past could be connected to modern day DIY punk music and subculture?
Jesse Sendejas: Folk-punk, in my mind, is just punk you can play in a parking lot or on the street the same as you’d play it at a show. DIY punk/folk-punk definitely takes a lot of subject matter from traditional folk music. A lot of folk punk tunes deal with travelin’, addiction, depression, heartache, and disdain for authority figures/political systems. The only difference between then and now really is the tone and speed of the music.
Whitney: I think politics and the folk punk scene definitely go hand in hand. Our culture is greatly dependent on community and making environments that are all inclusive. With that being said we are a product of our past political progression and music backgrounds.
Do you feel that bands like Days N’ Daze or Blackbird Raum are contesting the current style and sound trends so pervasive in hardcore and punk music today? Do you think that what you’re doing is changing the state of punk and political music in general? Do you want it to?
Jesse: I can’t speak for Blackbird Raum, but as for Days N’ Daze I think we, at least when we began, were trying to emulate those styles/trends. I think maybe, though I feel unintentionally, folk punk could be curving the path that punk’s been set on for so long in that it takes resources to get a band together (drums, amps, practice space) but with folk punk any kid can go grab a cheap acoustic guitar and start a project.
Whitney: Music over the years, in every genre, has some sort of transformation or evolution of its sound. I feel like our band and others like it play a role in the change in perception of what punk is considered. Whether that is a good or bad thing would be up for opinion.
How does the everyday life looks like for a bunch of punx like Days N’ Daze? What constitutes being a punk or a dirty crusty kid in such a messed up world? Is it a threat, is it a lifestyle, are you a bunch of hippies or what?
Jesse: Wake up (usually hungover from the show the night before), grab some food, answer facebook messages and emails, get everyone together for practice, end up just drinkin’ beers n hangin’ out for a few hours, finally get around to runnin’ through the set, pack up the van and head to wherever we’re playin’ that night.
Punk to me is just that state of mind. Wanting to do your own thing regardless of what other folks think. Bein’ true to yourself. The whole crusty thing is kinda more of a fashion thing in my opinion. Not to talk down on anyone or anything, I mean I rock the dirtshined jeans n’ cut-off shirt n’ all that, but it’s just not as meaningful a thing as punk, ya know? Punk is, to me, a movement and a mindset. The dirty crusty kid thing is kind of an offshoot of that.
Whitney: On tour I wake up, drink my coffee, clean out the van, get back to my emails, practice our set, keep up to date with booking our tours and keeping in contact with promoters, drive to the next show, drink a few brews and play a show. I agree with Jesse where punk is a mindset. It’s how you live your life. For us it’s about writing, playing music, and keeping with morals of not being an asshole. I think our lifestyle is a threat to the “All American Dream” of going to school, getting a “good” job, getting married and having kids. We break away from the photocopied life and that scares people. Doing what you’re passionate about, traveling, and not being cornered into what everyone else wants you to do constitutes this culture we have thrived in.
How does the band operate when it comes to money, recordings and booking tours abroad? Did you ever expect it to get so popular and how do you deal with having shitloads of likes and comments on Facebook? What’s different when booking tours and shows when you’re playing acoustic in comparison to typical hardcore, punk and crust bands?
Jesse: We ask donations for our stuff at shows and for our stuff on bandcamp and lucky for us people really help us out with gettin’ to where we need to be. We record everything ourselves in a closet upstairs at my folks place in Richmond, TX. When we started it was just a single vocal mic plugged into the back of a desktop with an 8-track we downloaded for free.
Now we have a DP-02 8-track digital mixing board and pretty much everything (instruments & vox) are recorded through a Sterling ST55. So movin’ on up, but barely. As I handle the brunt of recording, Whitney takes point on pretty much all the booking. Luckily for me since organization is by no means a strong point of mine. Never in a billion years did I think we’d ever be as well known as we are, not that we’re like a huge band or anything, but it’s still fuckin’ crazy to be able to go to some city states away from where we grew up, sing a song, and have other people sing our songs back at me.
I love bein’ able to chat with folks through the internet!! If someone likes Days N’ Daze, Chad Hates George, My Pizza My World, escape from the Zoo, or any of our projects, I think they should be able to get in touch with us n’ chat n’ whatnot. FRIENDS NOT FANS!!
Playin’ all acoustic is great for tour for a buncha reasons.
- No set up time
- No trailor/packed van
- And most importantly, we can play anywhere. I love playin’ stages with mics n’ all that but it’s a whole different experience playin’ a set in someones crowded living room or partyin’ down in a parking lot.
What’s your favorite experience on tour? Are there any places you’ve visited that operate in such a way that you think it’s a real alternative and a great example that DIY punk could be a vehicle for social change?
Jesse: My favorite experience with tour so far has got to be anytime we get the privilege to travel with Leftöver Crack. They, of course, have an enormous draw so the shows we get to open for them are always suuuuuper rowdy and since we all grew up listening to their music, it’s still super surreal to get to sit down and chat with them in a green room or grab some food before a show. Much love. There are too many to count. We’ve been to so many community spaces, safe spaces, tent cities, etc. that are all great examples of how to begin moving towards an independent, respectful, intentional future. I think DIY culture is definitely a magnificent start to changing for the better.
Whitney: I think my favorite experience on tour was when we went to Europe this past summer. Being able to travel with our music has been the most beautiful thing in my life. The squats and community spaces out there were incredible. The amount of community and activist work that we saw really gave me a broader view on the world and knowledge I could return home with.
What are some important topics you feel passionate about? What’s on your mind recently that you’d like to discuss within the band and among friends?
Jesse: Of course politics in the U.S right now are just a nightmare with the tragedy that is Trump, but even with that on my shoulders, what’s been weighin’ the heaviest on my mind is addiction and mental illness. Last year we lost far too many friends to overdose and suicide. So If anyone reading this is stuck in that rut and needs someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ve all been there so just remember that even though everything may seem completely fucked you’re not alone, you’re worth it, and you’ve got friends.
Whitney: I agree with Jesse 100% on this. Too many friends were lost in the past few years that weighs on me every day. A lot of regret goes into that because of the “I should have done something more” mind set. To reiterate you are not alone, you are worth it, and you do have friends, nothing is too fucked to fix.
How do you think the election of Donald J. Trump will affect the punk community in the next few years? To what extent does fascism take root in America and how scary is that?
Jesse: There’s definitely gonna be countless fuck trump comps that much I can tell ya right meow. It really is horrifying. It really seemed we were progressing as a country and people then with this election we just took a gigantic step backwards for human rights. I’m terrified that the future that awaits us and the next generation is one plagued with intolerance and void of art.
Whitney: What we have seen so far is that with this election it has brought the community closer and we have to really stick together against fascism. The next four years will be a dark period of time for humanity and we all must be united into standing up for our rights and the rights of others.
Any final comments, blasphemies or insults you’d like to pass along?
Jesse: My other project Escape from the ZOO just released a new album entitled “KILLACOPTER” and well be touring all over the states this year.
Days N’ Daze is finishin’ up our first full length in years “CRUSTFALL” and I’m really proud of how it’s coming together so if ya wanna hear it look out for that around April as well as a few lengthy tours!! Thanks so much for pickin’ our brains!!
Whitney: We really appreciate this opportunity and thanks so much for talking with us! 2017 will bring alot of Days N’ Daze we’ve got a year of touring the US and Canada and releasing CRUSTFALL. In 2018 Days N’ Daze will be heading back overseas and I will be beginning the first stages in recording my new solo album, WREN. Very exciting things are in the future <3