After a roughly two-year hiatus, instrumental outfit Native Daughters played its first gig in February and was ready to hit 2020 head on.
And then we all know what happened: the virus.
Facing a lack of gigs, the band decided to record some music. Always a band that uses two drummers, live and in the studio, the group decided to try something different and track both drummers simultaneously.
“Previously in recordings, Tom Chagolla would go first, and then I would record my tracks second,” drummer Colin Madden says. “We set up both drum sets and miked both drum sets and recorded both at the same time. If one of us messed up, then we both had to redo it.”
For the record, Madden confesses he was responsible for more do-overs than Chagolla.
“There was at least one song where Tom was like, ‘Dude, if you make me do this again...,’” Madden recalls. “It was mostly playful, but it was definitely me who messed up more than he did”
The recording sessions netted the band's upcoming EP, Ultimo Capo, set for release later this year. It offers up three tracks of instrumental music somewhere in the neighborhood of Explosions in the Sky or Russian Circles.
Madden says that eschewing lyrics can make it hard to classify the genre, because each listener hears the music differently. The group's not telling any stories, and many of the song titles are jokes. So make what you will of it.
“One of the things about this band is, if you’re in a bad mood, you can make it angry music,” Madden says. “If you’re in a happy mood, you can make it happy music. … It’s tough to say what you’re getting out of this, because I think people experience it differently.”
As for getting to see Native Daughters in 2020? Hope springs eternal. The band is playing two sets at the Oriental Theater on November 21 as part of the venue's Safe Sound Series. The group will donate half the proceeds to promote the Save our Stages Act, a federal relief effort proposed by the National Independent Venue Association.
Bassist Gene Martinez says it’s important for Native Daughters to offer its support, because so many venues, big and small, are in danger of going under as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Martinez works for AEG and Live Nation, so he’s seen the effects firsthand.
“I was able to get unemployment from it, luckily, but a lot of people haven’t been as fortunate,” he says. “Save our Stages, for me, is definitely something close. I’d like to give back any way I can.”
He adds that he would like to see live music receive as much attention from politicians as professional sports.
“You seen NFL and baseball and NHL,” he says. “I’m sure they've been given a lot of money to survive during these times. I wish that we would see the arts get more of that funding.”
The Oriental's Safe Sound shows are designed to adhere to state and local regulations regarding the coronavirus, so capacity is limited, and staff sanitizes the venue in between sets.
“Playing in standing-room venues, you expect to see it packed with a bunch of people attending and having a good time,” Martinez says. “The crowd vibe will be a little different. I don’t think it will be any different for us, as far as performing and putting on a fun, high-energy show.”
Native Daughters is forgoing the traditional opening act and opting for a standup comedian. Why not? It’s 2020. We could all use a tight ten. The comedian, Patrick Richardson, is a friend of the band.
“He’s hilarious,” Madden says. “During the beginning of the pandemic, he was killing me on Instagram. We all had a lot of extra time at home. He was making good use of his time and keeping me sane during the beginning of it.”
Native Daughters plays at 7 and 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 21, at the Oriental Theater. Tickets are $15. The band's new EP is due out soon in association with Metal in your Diet Productions. Check out the band's Facebook page for more details.