By Steph Ormond
Alongside her studies in Drama at the University of Manchester, Daisy Harris has lovingly and long been involved in song-writing, instrumentalism, and producing music at home since her early teenage years growing up in Scotland. In an online conversation with Interview, Harris reflects on her love for music, sources of inspiration, and her latest song, ‘A24’ which dwells on memory and heartbreak in the story of arduous early relationships.
“I make music from a variety of genres, but I would say that the main one is shoegaze-infused pop, inspired by artists from the 90s that I grew up listening to. Essentially, I write, record, and produce my own stuff – so that’s kind of my vibe. When I was 14, I moved to a new school and all my friends hung out in practice rooms. Until that point, I had learned a couple of instruments through music lessons but thought that I naturally wasn’t good at it since I still couldn’t read music after five years. But when I was hanging out with my friends, one of them turned out to be a self-taught guitarist and suggested that I try it out. I did so and picked it up quite easily so I began writing songs at that age.”
Not only does Harris play the guitar, but she is also a multi-instrumentalist. She also plays the banjo and ukelele along with being a singer. “A lot of my songs are from my early teens so, I was a completely different person at 14 and 15 than I am now. I just got hooked, and I’ve been doing it ever since. I would say that my songs are nostalgic for me personally. They appeal to a sense of music that I found people weren’t making so much anymore. There are many lesser-known artists who use a 90s style sound that we don’t talk about very much such as The Sundays and Mazzy Star. In my opinion, they have had a massive influence on today’s music. So, I primarily draw more from those 90s influences.”
Unsurprisingly, Harris does not shy away from implying the state of her teenage years and using the 90s sounds as inspiration for ‘A24’.
“It is a heartbreak song – about a time in my life when I was sad about someone, but I wanted it to be fun. When I told stories about that time, I was made them funny and reflected on when I was a dramatic teenager. Using this, I wondered how I could put that kind of self-awareness into a song. Afterwards, I began listening to even more Alanis Morrissette and Natasha Bedingfield – these female artists who had made hilarious ‘tongue and cheek’ songs. So I wanted to make a song that sounded like that. I took some existing melodies that I was working on along with these artists to make this jangly 90s to early-2000s sounding piece – put it all together? I got ‘A24’.”
Usually, the phrase ‘A24’ is associated with the independent entertainment company, most well-known for its churning out of unique indie films. Likewise, Harris explains: “Since I also study films, I sometimes wonder whenever I watch an A24 film, do I actually like this or do I appreciate their works because I feel as if I should? Subsequently, this reflects the relationship dilemma that I wrote the song about. This idea of do I like this person or do I like the version that they are presenting to me? Are these films good or do they have numerous things within them that we are conditioned as drama and film students to believe are the best qualities within films overall?” These questions have been the basis of my song.
Accompanying Daisy Harris’s newest single is a short music video seemingly filled with ironic quips and cynicism relating to the art of film-making. “For the video, I wished to do a homage to movie magic – what you see on screen versus the reality behind it. Student film-making is one of my favourite things in the entire world. The way that people will make massively complicated rigs out of bedsheets and they can end up with a shot that is extremely impressive, yet you can almost laugh at how simple the process actually was to get it. For example, at the end of the video, you see me passionately screaming into the wind, but it soon pans out to be me holding a hairdryer to my face. It links to this idea of illusion versus reality – the creation of something great when its processes are fraudulent.”
“I’m so busy with uni at the moment but I would absolutely love to do more live music next year. Perhaps some more open mics and openers similar to ones that I have done in Manchester. Plus when I was in Scotland, I did a bunch of stuff in Glasgow and I hope that soon I can do way more. So keep your ears open on my socials.”
You can find Daisy Harris on Instagram @daisyharrisuk.
Illustration: Anna Kuptsova