Sitting with alt-rockers The Stained Daisies in their homely Moreland Road share house, there’s a special kind of warmth that glows from the four friends. It’s the little things that justify the aura. You can see it in the way Aidan “Bartos” Bateman (drums) and Dan Tuite (guitar/ vocals) exchange drags from their respective rollies or how Jack Davison (bass/ vocals) launches himself into the arms of Jayden Hebbard (guitar, vocals) when posing for a pic. These boys love each other. It’s upon this intimate mateship, made up of shared struggles and collective celebrations, that their debut LP, I Love You So Much shines.
8 years ago in the NSW town of Grafton, The Stained Daisies were born from the chance meeting between Tuite and Hebbard at an open mic night before adding Davison and later Bateman to the fray. Not short of confidence, the band hurled themselves into the deep end early on, slowly accruing their signature blues- driven garage rock style on the fly; “We were, more or less, a couple of green kooks early on. But really enthusiastic. For some reason we just said, ‘fuck it’ and started booking shows before we even knew what we were doin’ (laughs). Those first few shows Jack had his back turned to stage and we had some shit gigs where we got razzed pretty hard at country pubs, like when a lady yelled, “I’ve got cancer and you need to stop playing your songs and start playing some covers”. Then eventually we started trying to sing harmonies and play different stuff but back then it was all sheer confidence. I don’t think we gave a fuck (laughs)”.
Driven by the need for something more substantial than what the regional NSW scene could offer, the group relocated to Melbourne. Living in each other’s pockets brought the foursome an opportunity for the band to realise their collective potential; “I think it was a blatant attempt to expand into something better than what we had and to do that we all realised we all had to make it as collaborative an effort as we could at that time. This album was definitely made by all four of us putting our piece in”. A new nurturing environment was fostered, bringing with it healthy challenges, as Tuite recounts; “All of our abilities, in terms of not only playing but song writing, all started to take off around the same time then because we were learning off each other. You were challenged by your friends. When Davo started writing songs I was like, ‘that sounds sick but now I’ve gotta fkn play it’ (laughs)”.
The result of the collaborative sessions for I Love You So Much bore some of the bands most emotionally charged and poetically powerful music. Songs like ‘Frosty’ smashes slinky funk stylings against the cathartic rock cries for “a frosty as cold as my heart”, whilst ‘Disillusioned Youth’ offers a more tender folk ballad, decrying the inhumane actions of political powers in charge. It’s a catalogue of songs that shows the maturity of artists assuming a sound that’s concertedly their own; “With a younger mind we might’ve thought we had to fit into something. Now we just trust each other and embrace everyone’s ideas. It’s about growing as a band, growing as people and growing as musicians”.
Just like the more unified writing approach affected their music, so too did it strengthen their ties as friends; “It helped get things off our chest, much like sitting around and having a yarn about something does. Talking about something which deeply affects you and then having your mates listen and let you know that it’s ok was important for all of us”. As Tuite explains, the tale behind recording the arresting stunner ‘Sit Long In The Silence’ exemplifies music as a catalyst for connection; “We did a few takes and we weren’t getting it and I stopped and said, ‘sorry, I think I’m just freaking out’. Everyone else said they were too, they were like, ‘nah dude we’re all freakin’ out’. We were all a bit shaky and stuff and stopped for a second, had a quick beer, chilled out and got it out in one quick take. Just because we acknowledged how we were feeling”. As Hebbard elaborates, “we all know how much that song means to Dan and the times that were derived from and, I think, in that moment, we were all feelin’ that because we all care about it”.
Much of their music also harkens back to their estranged origins within regional NSW, speaking to how attitudes there differ from their newly adopted home; “That grimy attitude of the country lives in there where things aren’t quite straight, where people fight each other and there’s so much injustice. I feel like a lot of my anger and frustration in songs like ‘Needle In A Haystack’ are coming from a place of getting out of there and still knowing that people are fucking stuck with the racism and sexism there. There’s a blindness about it”. Having moved on from those surrounds, the band feel better for challenging their own views of the world and their role in it; “We’ve been through an obvious journey coming from country NSW and, living in the city, we’ve all grown through a lot of milestones together. In doing so, your perception of the world and how you fit in it changes. I feel like, if you wanna be a conscientious person throughout your life, that should stay with you”.
It’s the closing title track, ‘ILYSFM’ that exemplifies The Daisies’ best. Gathering 10-12 of their “mad crew” after a few drinks around the microphone, it’s got all the heart of an inebriated sing-a-long, whilst pulling on deeper heart strings through the use of a double bass and the tragic beauty of the narrators confessing, “I love you so much that I don’t even love myself now”. Pulled from one of the band’s earliest recordings, it’s a touching way of tying the record together; “We’ve never played it live or anything, but we always talked about it being on our first album. It just made sense because it encapsulates the love for each other and the love for doing it”.
The Daisies’ debut LP is crafted to convey the importance of surrounding yourself with those you love, like nothing else matters; “I think it was just trying to push the point, in the simplest way possible, that we’re doin’ this out of love”. When sometimes all you hear are the stories of bandmates capitulating whilst on tour or breaking down over inane arguments, The Stained Daisies prove the joy to be had from maintaining positive, longstanding relationships; “The band has literally glued us together throughout our whole 20’s. With that has come such a great little time that I couldn’t imagine not doing it. It’s important to always try to maintain the thought of not taking things too seriously though. Don’t let anything get you down in a musical sense because it’s all fun and nothing matters, #nothingmatters”.
And on Instagram @thestaineddaisies