Growing Up With U.K. Indie Act Daughter

19_DaughtersPhoto: Courtesy of Daughter. Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
"I've got mixed feelings about youth," says Daughter front woman Elena Tonra. "I wish I'd gone back and been younger in my head than I was." It's a statement you don't expect to hear from someone in their early 20s, but there's certainly a weight and nostalgia to her band's music that matches the sentiment. Founded by Tonra, the London three-piece released its first full-length album — the beautiful If You Leave — earlier this year. We caught up with Tonra as the band was bussing to Boston to talk recording in the country, grappling with death, and mixed feelings about her younger years.
Pressing Replay
"We made the album not really knowing how it was going to be live. We recorded everything in a sort of environment where it was just layering ideas, so we hadn't played any of the songs live before releasing the album. We had to relearn songs that we had already written, and we have a fourth musician with us [on tour] to help recreate the sound of the record. To me, [the live show] sounds slightly bigger than it does on the record."
Away From It All
"For the album, me and Igor went to quite a remote part of England in the countryside. It was quite nice to be surrounded by the beautiful countryside — there wasn't really anything around, so there weren't any distractions at all. It was kind of cool to be very, very isolated — it was just us. We were staying in an old chapel that had been converted to a holiday home that people could go to. I think they got kind of freaked out when we arrived with all these instruments and recording gear. They were like, 'Oh god, who are these people?' [laughs]. We just holed up there for two weeks and wrote half the songs on the album."
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Junk-Shop Jumper
"I go off by myself quite a lot. If we have any free time, anywhere, I'll just go for a wander. I'm a bit of a fiend when it comes to vintage shops. I like to rummage around any vintage or thrift stores. I think it's nice to have something unique from a different city. You can remember, 'Oh, I got this necklace there.' It's nice to have memories attached to the things that you wear. I just got a jumper — it's really cool. It looks quite Icelandic. It's got a specific pattern, and it's really heavy; it's a really thick knit. I got that in Madison. I haven't had the chance to wear it here, but when I get back to London, I'm going to need it. I'm planning ahead. I love it."
Lost Youth
"As an early teen, I felt a bit lost. You're trying to find out who you are. You move schools and [meet] different people and kind of lose touch of who you are. I went through phases of sadness and kept to myself a lot. My parents are amazing and my family is amazing — I'm really lucky. For me, going through youth is positive, but there's a sadness and a smokiness to it."
Growing Up
"We're not invincible, even at the age of 18. People of your age can die – they can. And, at the time, I didn't really think about that. I was like 'We can do whatever we want. We're 17, 18.' It's crazy how you don't realize these things until they happen to other people and then it completely absorbs you."

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