Days N Daze, a DIY folk-punk act from Houston, recently released a new album CRUSTFALL on March 23. They’re also on a national tour, and plan to keep traveling throughout the spring.
A few hours before their show at the Sound Hole in West Philadelphia on April 15, I caught up with vocalist/instrumentalist Jesse Sendejas and washboards Meagan Melancon for a quick interview and photoshoot.
What was it like recording CRUSTFALL?
Jesse: Fun. We started a year and a half ago. The third track, “To Risk To Live,” I wrote three years ago. We put out Rogue Taxidermy and then put out a bunch of splits with our friends, instead of putting out a full-length. If we were to condense all that, we probably could’ve put out a record or two. A lot of hanging out in the closet at my folks’ place in Texas.
Meagan: For hours on end.
Jesse: Losing my goddamn mind.
How is this record different? How has your sound evolved since Rogue Taxidermy?
Jesse: I would like to think it’s recorded a little better, but I might not have gotten better at what I do. In my opinion, the lyrical content hits a little closer to home for me. Since we’re older now, terrible shit happens. Unfortunately, it gets worse and that’s the feel for art… tragedy.
What are some themes that come up lyrically, or even melodically?
Jesse: Diction, depression, death, existentialism. Anything that would lead to a mental breakdown or the need for a psychiatrist visit. Family, though, is a big one we never really got to touch on before. We don’t like cops or nazis. It’s not that political, though, I guess other than the couple anti-police songs.
What kind of music (genres, albums, bands) were you listening to while recording?
Jesse: Any Watsky album, the Palmer Squares. A lot of hip-hop, not really any folk at all. The new Leftover Crack album and Night Gaunts. Those are probably the big four.
You mentioned you collaborate with your friends.
Jesse: We have Scott Sturgeon from Leftover Crack on one. That was fucking crazy for us. It was surreal. I’ve been listening to that dude’s music since I was like 13 and then he was just in my parent’s closet, recording. It was so weird and nerve wracking.
Meagan: 10 years later.
Jesse: Damn, it really comes full circle. We have Joey Steel from All Torn Up, who we actually did an interview with.
Meagan: In New York.
Jesse: Dispatches from the Underground is his podcast.
Meagan: He’s really sweet too.
Jesse: Juicy Karkass from Portland is in the first track. I said like, ‘Could you just take like eight bars, write a little hip-hop deal over it?’ And then [Jesse Markus] shoots back 16 bars of fucking gold. And Freddie Boatright, he was our original gutbucket player; he’s in a band called Sidewalk Slammers and Radio Flyer. If I’m forgetting anyone, I feel like a fucking asshole.
Meagan: I believe that’s it.
[Jesse Combs of RCI, not mentioned above, wrote the lyrics for “Self-Loathing.”]
What are your favorite songs off the new record?
Jesse: I’m partial to “Crustfall.” All of our families are so supportive. I’ve been trying to write a song for them forever and it never clicked without sounding cheesy. I hope I got it. I think I got it.
Meagan: I like “Self-Loathing” the best. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.
You toured through the Midwest and just got back from Montclair, New Jersey. How has the tour been so far?
Jesse: It’s been good. Meagan just met up with us actually.
Meagan: Yeah, I just hopped on in Boston because I was sick for a couple of weeks.
Jesse: My little sister, Marissa, who is our original washboard player and now plays in Cheedarbox and Latter Day Sweetness. She has solo stuff, but filled in for Meagan for a few weeks.
Meagan: She fucking killed it.
What’s the weirdest or funniest experience you have from a tour?
Jesse: That’s a good one! That’s really hard. The first time we met Sturgeon was weird. We backed him for an acoustic set in… KCMO? St. Louis?
Jesse: In both of those places. I had to pick him up from the airport. I was sober and shaky and freaking out. We had to play all of these songs. There’s some really bad ones.
Meagan: That’s what my brain went to. There’s so many. We had to dodge firecrackers.
Where was that?
Jesse: Skatopia in Rutland, Ohio. It’s a…
Meagan: 88 acres.
Jesse: It’s 88 acres of skatepark and insanity. No police. It’s awesome.
Are there cities you enjoy visiting in particular?
Jesse: Denver is always super fun. Seventh Circle is rowdy.
Meagan: I have fun in Washington, if we’re talking about calmer places, but New York City, I like it because it’s wild.
Jesse: Oregon. Montreal is awesome.
Meagan: In Europe, I think Germany and Austria are incredible.
Jesse: Hamburg is great.
Do you have any news or announcements you’d like to mention?
Jesse: We’ve got side projects. My Pizza My World I think put out something pretty recently. Me and Veronica are in a band called Escape from the ZOO, that just released an album call KILLACOPTER that I’m proud of. We’ll be on tour forever, for the rest of our lives. If you don’t see us this time around, you’ll see us next time around.
Keep up with Days N Daze here.