Awkward Daughter convince

KASHKA TUNSTALL
Last updated 14:01 03/02/2014
 Elena Tonra.

FRESH AND AUTHENTIC: Daughter's Elena Tonra.

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Kiwi fans of fresh-faced British band Daughter will be some of the lucky few to see the trio perform live this year.

Elena Tonra, lead vocals, and Igor Haefeli, lead guitar, talked with Stuff after their debut New Zealand performance last week, and said they would be light on gigs in the next 12 months.

After a full-on year of international touring last year, Haefeli says, they're keen to knuckle down and start working on a second album.

The three-piece - add drummer Remi Aguilella to the credits - last March released their debut album If You Leave, a rich dive into sophisticated lyrics and melody, with layered sound building to atmospheric, heart-rending crescendoes.

The band adds a fourth musician to the lineup for live shows, helping the layered sound translate far more faithfully to the stage.

Down Under for the first time as part of the Laneway festival, Haefeli and Tonra were surprised by how familiar the Kiwi crowd were with their music.

With the 2pm festival time slot in a unfamiliar country, Tonra wasn't expecting the turnout the band received, with young, vocal, physical fans turning up in force to welcome the musicians to New Zealand.

Technical issues interrupted the beginning of the set, but touring has taught the group how to stay calm and collected when things don't go their way.

Haefeli talked about the time the band's gear was left in New York while they were on the way to play a festival in Belgium.

The trio had to quickly scrape together odd bits and pieces from musician friends - pedals, acoustic guitars and floor toms - to be able to go on stage.

Little will faze him after that experience.

For Auckland, the sound hiccups made the band lift their game, he said.

"We were just a bit on edge, but that made us more raw," he said.

After three years playing together, Tonra still felt the band presented a "really awkward" front on stage.

"I don't really think we're natural performers," she said.

"I think even the way we write - and the way we wrote the first album - we don't really jam in a room.

"It's kind of very much like just working on ideas and just enjoying them as they come, and it's quite sporadic."

But with no scripted preamble and wide-eyed wonder from the performers, the live show feels authentic.

Tonra and Haefeli stand on stage looking out in seeming awe at the following that has sprung up around their music.

They still play like the idea of it all is fresh and exciting and electrifying to the core, something that permeates.

"I think we're just trying to be ourselves," Haefeli said.

"I don't feel like any of us feel like our music is a show. It's more like having a moment and evoking things for people.

"You want to know why you are making music - is it to have that moment live, is it to be able to have a record that people will listen to throughout the years?

"As a band, you need to think about that. You need to think how and in which ways you are going to be relevant."

After Laneway and a brief Asian tour, Daughter will go to the Coachella multi-day music festival in the United Statesin April.

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About the same time they will open for The National on a few dates of their US tour.

But after that, it's scaling back and Tonra said they would only sign on to play a small number of festivals in the United Kingdom and Europe.

No dates on when the second album could drop though.

"We're going to take it easy," Haefeli said.

- Stuff

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