While most kiwi band's music sound great through the kiwi summer, Daily J manage to craft tunes fit for any season. Daily J are the five-piece indie-psych band based in Auckland. The band consists of brothers Jayden, Jonny and Jesse, alongside brothers from other mothers Cody and Rick. Pulling inspiration from artists all the way from the rock legends Kings of Leon, to more psychedelic acts like Mac Demarco, Empire of the Sun and Tame Impala - their music is a clash of passion for music, loving psychedelic indie rock. Each song is its own concoction of sounds, anywhere from dreamy electronic synth, to sweet and summery guitar riffs – it is safe to say that any song of theirs will have you grooving along.
"We played at an art exhibition, and to be honest the whole thing just turned into a Daily J show. Nobody was really looking at any art..."
The boys pack into my lounge, their manager Sez joins us too – probably to help keep the lads on track with their interview answers. It’s a full house. Daily J started off with three brothers, Jayden, Johnny and Jesse. Based in the small South Island town, Blenheim; the trio say how they grew up in quite the musical household. They began playing music together, and decided to make the move on up to Auckland after thinking they may be getting too loud for their parents to bear all the time. This is where they met the band’s drummer, Rick. Eventually, the group would meet Cody along the way. Together, they are known as Daily J. Before the formation of Daily J, the boys were all over the place. Rick was studying graphic design at university, and was in another band for a little bit. Similarly, Cody was studying audio engineering, and had been bouncing between a few bands already. Jonny and Jesse were fresh out of school. Meanwhile, Jayden was a beekeeper in Blenheim. “So, that was a bit different! He chimes in, “I loved it, but needed some change... I prefer this.” he says laughing. Saz jumps in, “I met Rick at a show we were putting on in Ponsonby, and I asked him if he wanted to be in a band... I played him the first few seconds of a Daily J song and he was instantly keen.” and that in itself shows the magic found in the band’s music. From the very start of each track, you are hooked in.
The first time the band remember really clicking was their first practice together. Rick brought a box of beers with him, which apparently ticked all the boxes. "It was good, straight off the bat we felt a connection.” he says to me, with the band all nodding. This chemistry has stayed with the group the entire time, and you can really hear how the band are tuned into each other perfectly. On each Daily J song, every element blends together with ease. “I guess for me it was really important to meet people who were on the same wavelength with music taste, which I hadn't had as much... so that was the first thing that I really liked.” Rick admits he had tried to find this with quite a few people and bands before, but just hadn’t found it - it just didn’t really work. Even though they were really good musicians, it just wasn’t the same vibe. “I didn’t know if it would ever happen, so I just kept playing on my own. But then with these guys... we all gelled, which is important when we play together. Our sound and ideas flow quite nicely.” Jesse adds, “It helps a lot with making music, being on the same page.” the band all nod in agreement. “We have very similar ideas when it comes to music so there isn’t a lot of arguing.” Jayden says how he believes it was all a little bit of fate... he recalls Rick telling him that he remembers drumming in high school, telling himself “One day I’ll be in a band.” he continues, “He really had been preparing for this band without realising it.”
Their first gig was on the infamous Karangahape Road, a hot spot for live entertainment in New Zealand. “We were stressed as fuck” Jayden says, quickly followed up by Rick, “I had a whole set to learn in about a week or so...” As the guys start to steer off topic slightly, Saz chimes in, telling me that for the band’s first show, they were asked to play at an art exhibition. “To be honest the whole thing just turned into a Daily J show. Nobody was really looking at any art.” she says laughing. Following up, I ask how it feels to go from shows like that, to selling out venues across the country. Keeping it short and sweet, Rick simply says “It’s pretty sick, yeah.” the rest of the guys laugh, accepting that perfectly said answer. Rick thinks, before telling me that he doesn’t get quite as many nerves as he used to. Now, the boys have quickly become a live spectacle, selling out shows all across the nation. Whether it is a concert venue, or a full-on summers festival – Daily J bring an electric energy like no other. And when I say spectacle, I mean spectacle. For their most recent show, the boys all had their faces painted – offering some interesting visuals for the audience. This most recent Auckland show was a major sellout event – quickly selling the first batch of tickets, followed by another sell out once some in high demand tickets were added. Still riding the wave of hype, they decided to add a few more tickets, which sold out in eleven minutes. The boys admit that in the past, there have been a lot of shows where they weren't even sure if they would sell one hundred tickets, yet now they make it look easy to sell out venue after venue. “It’s been awesome to see the audience follow us and grow, now it's become more of a sellout event, especially in Auckland.”
The band have their sights on the future with some exciting stuff in the pipeline. Aside from New Zealand shows, the band are hoping to head across the ditch to Australia when the world is a little less crazy. Until that happens, the Daily J are set to release some more music shortly as they build their way to their next new album. For now, the band were excited to share that they are pressing their impressive 2020 album ‘Venus Ate Mars’ onto vinyl. It is one I will be stoked to add to my collection. The album is a perfect blend of everything the band has been building since their earliest days. Spending the last few years masterfully creating the dreamy psychedelic soundscapes that they have become known for, whilst skillfully mixing it in with their own unique spin on kiwi summer soothers. I can assure you this won't be the last time you read the name Daily J, and it won’t be the last time their distinctively infectious tunes bless your ears. Daily J are on a steady rise, and certainly won't be slowing down any time soon.
Listen to Daily J's fantastic debut album, 'Venus Ate Mars' on Spotify below:
Daily J are featured in Tenner Magazine's 'Discover' issue - available to pre-order now!
Words by Oli Spencer
Photography by Oli Spencer