Daemon & Airdrie Chat About Life, Love and New Single “China Shop”
Canada’s Daemon & Airdrie are more than your average “couple band” penning songs of love and loss. Songwriters Marley Daemon Iredale and Jesse “Airdrie” Thom have survived nearly a decade of actively open relationship, navigating the coming and going of lovers, welcoming intense jealousy, burning rage, overwhelming lust, crushing heartache and unbelievable breakthrough; a journey assisted by years of formal meditation training. This unique combo — deep romantic entanglement and the vastness of open space — is the perfect description for their music, which combines intensely emotional, interweaving vocal lines with relaxed, minimal beats and sparse instrumentation. With their new single “China Shop” recently releasing, we sat down with the duo to talk about the new tune as well their musical inspirations.
Sensible Reason: How long have you two been making music together and what was it that inspired the two of you to form your own group now?
Daemon & Airdrie: We made a band as soon as we met eight years ago. It was a folk trio. When that project dissolved last summer we took the opportunity to start exploring our interest in electronic music and to work on songs that have been specifically born from our partnership, which has always been unconventional. Songwriting, for us, is a reflection of where and how we are growing as people — it isn’t about anything else. These songs reflect the growth we’ve experienced as a couple, navigating the tumultuous, dangerous and rewarding waters of open relationship.
SR: What are some of your biggest musical influences as a duo?
D&R: We live in the woods on a lake. In the mornings we listen to 60s and 70s folk singers on a vinyl record player. In the afternoons we listen to Jamie Woon, Bon Iver, Little Dragon and Portishead. In the evenings it’s strictly Max Richter, Grouper and Nils Frahm.
SR: How would you describe your sonic style to someone who has never heard your music before?
D&R: Dreamy, relaxed grooves with interweaving male/female vocal harmonies and old school electronics, covered in dust, tears and the soft breath of ongoing climax. We call it “ghost pop” because it combines pop hooks with a dark and haunted edge. Also because our gear has kind of been ‘resurrected’ from the grave. As huge fans of soulful electronic music, we choose to create music using the collection of vintage gear we’ve collected over the years — drum machines, synths and tape delays. The sound is ethereal yet pop, dancy yet spacious, trippy yet honest and direct.
SR: Can you tell us the inspiration behind your ethereal new single “China Shop”
D&R: “China Shop” is an ode to the devastating and glorious impermanence of romance. Marley wrote the song about a brief but explosive love affair she experienced. It is inspired by human longing and expresses the torturous feeling of wanting something to stay — to continue — that cannot. It explores some questions. Why is love so painful? What is this bottomless pit of desire it brings forth? If I open to it completely, will it eat me alive, bones and all?
SR: The video for “China Shop” features the two of you simply performing this gripping new track. Was this a purposeful decision to keep the video visually simple and allow the music to speak for itself?
D&R: Sort of. We were both yearning to create something visually simple that still expressed the raw and naked emotion of the song. We’re interested in connecting with listeners human-to-human. We see a trend in modern music towards ever-increasing stimulation, almost a violence being done to our attention. We’re inspired to take things in a different direction.
SR: What could someone going to one of your live shows expect to experience?
D&R: We’ll be playing our first string of festival dates this summer and are eager to share our unique approach to live performance with audiences. We regard the stage as a sacred space where life-affirming ritual can occur. Using projected visual textures, strategic and minimal lighting, our whole arsenal of sound gear and a committed focus on the present moment we create a safe space for audiences to dance intimately with their interior worlds, to hold others more tenderly than they may have previously dared and to awaken and move with the love that supports them. It’ll be fun!
SR: What else do you have planned for 2017?
D&R: Besides festival performances this summer, we will be releasing a new single each month up until December and then letting fans decide which tracks will make it onto our full-length album. That will be followed by a tour down the western coast of North America in Feb or March of next year.