Flannel shirts. Long hair. Doylestown, PA-based quartet Daylight sure has the look of a ‘90s-era grunge band, but it’s not so easy to classify its music. Sure, there are hints of bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam here and there throughout its debut album, Jar, but the band mixes those influences with deeper, alt-rock vibes to create a sound they can their own. We talked with singer/guitarist Taylor Madison about how he makes money while on tour, recording Jar, and incorporating influences with their signature sound. Daylight play with O’Brother, Native, Darto, and Lo’ There Do I See My Brother at Chop Suey this Wednesday (8/28).
I saw that you do design work for different bands. When did that start? I’ve always drawn. I started painting the last few years. Since it’s a little harder to find work and tour frequently, it’s more easy, schedule-wise, to do something like that. Not that I make very much money doing it, but that’s how I make money sometimes. I did a few shirt designs for friends’ bands a couple years ago. It was a weird transition to start charging people.
Have you done any artwork for Daylight? Our bass player, Joe [Kane], and I do all of our t-shirts and record covers; more so Joe because I don’t really use Photoshop. We come up with the ideas together for the most part.
Do you go for a certain aesthetic? We have certain things that we know we like. It’s never like “It has to look a certain way,” but we know what we like.
In a video from Run For Cover Records, one member said you all wanted to finish writing the album before recording. Why not have a few unfinished songs? We did have a few lyrics and vocal melodies that were left open ended, but all the songs were written. The songs come out more naturally that way. You’re only in [the studio] for a limited amount of time so you settle on a lot of things because you’re on a time constraint. I think that’s stupid. Write the record, have it how you want it, then record it, rather than waste the producer’s time.
Did this recording process differ from previous recording sessions at all? Definitely. All the other records, for the most part, we recorded in our guitar player Jake [Clarke]’s basement. This time, we did it with our friend, Will [Yip], in an actual studio. For this one, we recorded a song a day. I felt like everyone was a lot more comfortable doing that.
Did you record each song as a full band? Sort of. So it had a feel like we were playing together, Jake and I would play along with [drummer Zack Robbins] in the same room but it wouldn’t be recorded.
Did being in an “actual” studio add any pressure? No, we’re really good friends with Will, so it was very casual. It’s a little surreal. On the wall, they have Aerosmith records and Bon Jovi and Billy Joel so it’s a really cool thing. It was inspiring because it was cool to know that we were able to record at a studio that was that prestigious.
In that same video, someone said you weren’t sure how this record would be received because it was a bit different from your older stuff. How would you compare Jar to previous releases? When we started the band, Jake and I didn’t plan on being singers. When we recorded our first record, we didn’t know what we were doing, we just put it together. We didn’t really like how it came out. Now as a band, we have a much better idea of how we want our songs to sound. Soundwise, the albums are different, but it wasn’t an intentional “Let’s stop doing this and do this.”
You all wanted Jar to be heavily influenced by bands you love but also have your own feel. Was it difficult to find that balance? I don’t think so. This record definitely sounds influenced by certain bands, but it sounds like a Daylight record. We all wanted to do that rather than “Let’s make this record sound like Pearl Jam.” We just started writing songs, and they sound obviously influenced by certain bands but at the same time, it doesn’t sound too far off from another record we’ve put out.
What’s next for Daylight? We’re touring to the Fest in Gainesville in late October and early November. Zack, gets married after we get home from this tour so we’re going to take a little break after that.
Are you all going to be part of the wedding? Joe and I are in the wedding. We’re all going, obviously. We’re all really excited; it’s going to be a very good time.