Interview with Daisy Grenade

This week, we jumped on Zoom with Dani and Keaton from the bubble grunge / pop-punk band Make Your Son Famous! We discussed their experience working with some legendary artists, including Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy, Alex Suarez from Cobra Starship, and Spencer Smith from Panic! at the Disco. We also delved into their background in musical theatre, their first impressions of their bandmates when they met, how their star signs reflect them as artists, and how the studio versions of their songs are shaping up to be quite different from their live versions. We also touched on their thoughts on TikTok and the movie Jennifer’s Body. Finally, we got a sneak peek at some of their upcoming plans as we head into 2022.

Note: This interview was conducted before “Make Your Son Famous” changed their name to “Daisy Grenade.” We’ve changed names accordingly.

What is your star sign, and do you feel it represents you as an artist? Why or why not?

Keaton: I’m just gonna go ahead and say that I think that Dani and I are basically the most quintessential versions of our star signs. I’m a Leo and she’s a Capricorn. Last night, for instance, is a really good example. A friend of mine came out for drinks after we had rehearsal. And someone was like, “Who’s the leader of the band group chat?” and Danny immediately starts to look around to see who we’re gonna say everybody was like, “Dani, she’s Google doc queen.”

Dani: I am Google doc queen.

Keaton: You can talk about yourself now, I just thought that was funny.

Dani: Oh, wonderful. I’m definitely the organizer and the planner, I handle that side of that stuff so we can be creative. I handle the outside so the creativity can occur. I’m also very creative.

Keaton: Me being a Leo is exemplified in the way that I just began to talk about Dani and not let her talk about herself.  I’m the one who wants to do crazy shit. And she’s always like, we can’t do that because logistically that’s not gonna work.

Dani: It’s a good balance, for sure.

What was your first impression of your bandmates when you met?

Keaton: We were all kind of friends before we were bandmates, so I feel like that changes things.

Dani: I thought you were cool. I wanted to be your friend.

Keaton: I thought you were cool too. I couldn’t tell if you were… We met during a musical, and if you guys know any people that do theater, it’s one of two sides. You can either have a musical theater girl who’s cool. Or a cool girl who did musical theater. You were a cool girl that did musical theater, thank God. And then the boys are like… we kind of knew them adjacently. Our bassist, oh my god. When we first started rehearsing with him, I thought he wanted me to burn in hell. I literally was like, what is his deal? He is a neuroscientist. He double majored at Michigan in neuroscience, so he was just stressed out. We just figured he’s kind of like that sometimes:

Dani: And he’s also the biggest goof in the world.

Keaton: Nothing is actually bothering him, and if it is, he’ll say something. He’s just zoned in. I thought that about Pete too when we first met him. He’s our drummer. I kind of thought he hated us too. But he’s stoic jazz boy. I think he just thought we were crazy, kind of.

Dani: He’s just very stoic. He loves us.

Keaton: And he has fun too. The most animation we get out of him when he plays is just a little tongue out here.

Dani: My first impression of our guitarist was him sitting alone in the center of a rooftop party with a party hat on.

You guys mentioned that you have a background in musical theatre. What comes more naturally, writing songs or performing?

Dani: I think we both have really, really great stage presence. We have a lot of fun. We’re not scared to do weird shit and be crazy, which is a lot of fun. And we love being onstage and performing. It’s been cool. For me, at least, this is the first time I’ve been in a band and not been doing musical theater. To perform in a different setting, it’s very freeing, it’s very different than being in a show. Obviously, we have a little more room to do whatever we want. And I started just writing music not that long ago.

Keaton: It came incredibly easy to her.

Dani: I didn’t realize it at the time, but I realized it later, that I was using acting skills to write songs from specific points of view. I was like, “Oh, songwriting, I’ve never done this, what’s gonna happen?” And then I just…

Keaton: I think you are better than that. She writes from not her own perspective very often, which I think is so interesting. I actually find it more interesting.

Dani: I got nothing going on to write about!

[Laughter]

Keaton: I think a lot of people can’t write outside of a shitty situation happening in their bedroom, which I think is totally cool. I don’t know if I could express how I was feeling in that moment in a song in the same way. But I think sometimes when you see somebody do that it can get relatively masturbatory onstage, it becomes about you instead of about sharing. I think that’s cool. I think the performance aspect is very helpful, and has helped us in our songwriting as well.

Dani: You can really control a whole narrative.

Keaton: I feel like what we’ve been doing lately a lot is building a world, building conceptually. The people that we work with on our label side are very interested in conceptualizing a larger body of work, which we’re very interested in as well.

Dani: Instead of just throwing out songs.

Keaton: Having an idea on the whole, basically, just kind of worldbuilding and considering conceptually how everything works together.

Dani: There’s definitely a performance element to what we’re doing. We can’t hide it.

Keaton: Punk is theatre, baby.

Dani: Punk is theatre.

What characters do you like to write from the point of view of?

Keaton: I find myself writing from the point of view of an incredibly nihilistic version of myself.

Dani: Amped up.

Keaton: How I feel in my worst moments sort of becomes a whole perspective, honestly.

Dani: I’m just having this realization right now. I’m writing a lot from my own perception of myself. Which is not really true or accurate to what I am, but if I was me outside of me seeing myself, that’s what I’d see myself as. Which is interesting, now that I’m saying it out loud.

Keaton: I write a lot from a younger version of myself, like my seventeen-year-old self’s perspective. Just because it was a really dark time for me, and it’s interesting to hop back in for a second. It’s more interesting, because I was so off the fucking rails it’s interesting to get back into that for a second but not have it be my life now.

So you guys seem to be big Fall Out Boy fans, covering “Sugar, We’re Going Down” on Tiktok and even getting a chance to work with Pete Wentz. Tell us all about what being in the studio with him was like.

Keaton: Oh man, love Pete.

Dani: It was a dream.

Keaton: It’s awesome. I’m the biggest Pete fan of all time. I mean, I’m a huge Fall Out Boy fan but I’m also interested in him as a person and as a writer. Talking about conceptually, Pete is so big on writing. Most of what he writes isn’t from his own experience. And also just, the best lyrics in the game have always been Pete’s. I wrote a song awhile ago—we work pretty closely with their label. We’re not signed to their label yet but we work pretty closely with their label and with Spencer Smith as well. And he was like, “Hey can you run these lyrics by me before we record this demo?” and he texted me back and was like, “These lyrics sit in a really cool place from a really cool perspective.” It was one of those moments where you need to take a second. I was at work, I was at my stupid job, it was just crazy.

Dani: Hearing feedback from him is beyond everything. Hearing him say, “I really like that song you wrote,” is beyond everything. It’s like, “Oh my god, I can’t.”

Keaton: Sometimes it’s a little bit much. Just because it’s so crazy. Having him in the studio is awesome.

Dani: I mean, he was in the studio but we haven’t been like, sitting down to write a song.

Keaton: He gave us a song he wrote awhile ago for someone else, I can’t remember, and the demo he gave us was very bubblegum poppy. He was like, “If you want to use this, you can, if you don’t, no worries.” And we were like, “Obviously we’re going to use it.” And we got to totally reimagine what it sounded like and make it our own thing, which was super cool.

Dani: That was a collab.

Keaton: He’s the best. I don’t have enough good things to say about him. I think that he is really interested in maintaining integrity in this new wave of pop punk.

Dani: He’s an incredible artist.

Keaton: He’s really interested in the artistry, and really interested in the concept, and all of that, which is I think sometimes hard to find. Big Pete fan.

Dani: Thumbs up for Pete.

Keaton: Yeah, and you kind of don’t realize the scope of what they did, I think, until you really look back on it. I’ve always been a Fall Out Boy fan, obviously, but not in the way of really being like, diving, “Okay, this is what it means.” There is a lyric, I have to talk about this, I’m sorry. There is a lyric in “20 Dollar Nosebleed.” It’s like, “Have you ever wanted to disappear / and join a monastery / go out and preach on manic street.” Which, I was like, “Huh?” and Hannah, our manager, who was our connect with Pete, and very close with Pete, told us there was a band called the Manic Street Preachers, like an old punk band, I’m pretty sure the lead singer just went missing, disappeared mysteriously, and that’s what that line is about. And also tying it back into the rest of the song. It’s just crazy shit. Being able to listen to these songs differently, and know that partly his process of that, and getting that feedback, it’s crazy. The feedback loop we’ve been experiencing lately is beyond. They are the shit, and they maintain and continue to be the shit. I can’t say enough good things about him. And as a person, he’s just like, the best guy.

What are your thoughts on how Tik Tok is impacting the music industry, both from the side of more established artists, and up and coming, more independent bedroom artists?

Keaton: I think there’s really two sides to that coin, I think there’s a really negative side and a really positive side and that it gives people opportunity that would not be there in the past. But unfortunately, I think at this point as well, there’s two roads in the music industry. Either you happen to know somebody, which we were lucky enough to have a connect to a massive label that happened to give a shit about us, or you’re in the Tiktok top 100, and that’s kind of the only way—that’s not true, it’s not the only way. But it’s taken such a harsh turn towards that, just because its more accessible.

Dani: I think similar to that, I think it’s wonderful that it gives so many people a platform that they would not have been able to have before, and so many incredible artists, the people I find on my FYP I’m like, “Whoa!”. The part that I don’t like is that we’re going to go make a Tiktok in hopes that one of sounds will blow up. Because if we don’t get a sound on Tiktok, how are we gonna get places? It seems like that’s where we are as a society right now, if you don’t blow up on Tiktok, no one cares, which is very… I’m on TikTok all day. I get it. I love TikTok. But that feels a little off to me.

Keaton: What’s scary about it also for me is that it’ll phase out. It will phase out. It will fail, I don’t know when. Five years, ten years, twenty years, whatever. It’ll phase out.

Dani: Bring back Vine.

Keaton: But you better hope you have something that withstands the test of Tiktok.

Dani: We were talking about this with Jacob, and a friend that we write with, a guy in LA, who has a friend who blew up on Tiktok, and we were talking about how his band all have jobs, and we also have jobs, and can’t pay our bills with our music yet. And it’s really crazy to see at what level you have to be at to not work anymore, to just rely on this. Just on music. And he was like, “Or you blow up on TikTok, and make money on views and shit.” It’s like, I think if you think a little too hard about it—

Keaton: Ugh. And we ended the Zoom session like, “Let’s keep writing songs.” So it’s like, we’re obviously in a really very, very fortunate position as well, to have people back us in a way that feels meaningful, and aren’t too concerned about… Well obviously, at some point, they will be concerned about—

Dani: TikTok presence.

Keaton: Or financial risk, or whatever. So we’re obviously in a very, very fortunate position as well. So to have people back us in a way that feels meaningful, but at the moment, that doesn’t seem to be the forefront of what their concern is. So I feel very lucky to have that frame of mind about it, I guess. Long answer.

Dani: We feel very strong.

Keaton: And also, the flipside of that, another sort of negative side of it is unfortunately, these people who are famous for doing nothing, essentially. Which, no shade to them, get the bag, you know what I mean? I’m serious, if that’s how I was making money, then hell yeah. But then you have somebody, and again, no shade to her. But someone like Dixie D’Amelio releasing music that has 35 million streams in 24 hours. It’s just nothing, you know what I mean? It’s difficult. Everyone should be allowed to make whatever they want. But where the money goes, it’s really… it’s just sad, you know? It’s always going to be something, if it’s not TikTok, it’s gonna be something else. There will always be something, there will always be something like that, because music is so… hingent, is that a word? On culture and pop culture, and fashion and all of that stuff. So there’s always gonna be a positive and a negative side to that. So I don’t think people should be too discouraged about TikTok, unfortunately that’s what it is now, and that’s what we’re living in.

Dani: I’m too old.

Keaton: We’re just slightly on the edge of being too old for TikTok.

Dani: Sometime’s I’m on it, and I’m like, “Huh?”.

So Keaton recently tweeted a photo of the emo boy from Jennifer’s Body. As big Jennifer’s Body fans ourselves, what are your thoughts on the movie, specifically relating to the movie’s pop-punk themes? What are some of your favorite songs off the soundtrack?

Keaton: Obviously “New Perspective” is the best song off that soundtrack. Okay, so we work with Alex Suarez from Cobra Starship pretty closely, and we were talking about Jennifer’s Body, and he was like, “Oh… we got a song on that soundtrack.” Looking around like we would know. And I was like, “I don’t know, man, you’re in the band, what are you talking about?” And I looked it up and it’s not on Spotify. You can see it listed but you can’t click on it. I love that movie.

Dani: I’ve never seen it.

Keaton: I absolutely rented it on Amazon the other day. Obviously Colin Gray, the emo boy, is like, the blueprint of the kind of man I intend to be with for the rest of my life. And he does kind of look like my boyfriend. I think that movie’s genius. I love horror movies. I just watched a little thing about how oftentimes in horror movies, someone was examining how violence against women in horror movies is used often, and it’s often like, the other woman trope. Then they were like, “Flipping it on it’s head, let’s talk about Jennifer’s Body,” which was basically essentially saying that women’s attraction to each other ends up being what kills them, because they’re so repressed. It’s interesting. The gay themes are heavy handed. It’s fantastic.

Dani: Okay, I’ll watch it, alright.

Keaton: It’s a cultural reset. But also the music is amazing. Have you seen the “New Perspective” video? Um, Spencer is all I’m going to say. Spencer Smith works with the label and is part of our team. It’s so funny because these men don’t look like what you would assume, what we know them to look like when they were very famous. Well, they’re still very famous.

Dani: They’re just older.

Keaton: And it’s so amazing to me, when I see something, especially Spencer, because he’s so reserved. He’s amazing in that. I feel strongly about Jennifer’s Body. I think our manager is dressing at her tonight for a party. We are big fans of that as well.

You’ve played a selection of songs like “Liar” and “Undone” at your live shows, but we’re still waiting for a studio version. So, what can you tell us about playing these songs live versus playing them in the studio?

Dani: It’s been interesting recording stuff, and then playing them live, to hear how the songs vary from studio to stage, and then being like, “I actually like how that sounded that one night, maybe we should do that when we record it,” or “That was weird, maybe we shouldn’t do that when we play it live,” and stuff like that. Playing it live has definitely helped the songs grow and morph into something better.

Keaton: Probably a lot of what you’ve heard won’t get a studio… like, “Liar,” I don’t know, if it’s even getting a studio version. [Laughs] I don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s been interesting, the whole process of deciding what’s coming out. Because when it was just the two of us, we thought we had an amazing idea of what was gonna happen, and we had this whole timeline.

Dani: My Capricorn self knew what was gonna happen.

Keaton: I don’t know if it was even feasible.

Dani: It wasn’t.

Keaton: In our old timeline, what is it, almost 2022? We thought we would have a full LP out already.

Dani: Which is silly.

Keaton: It’s hilarious and not reasonable.

Dani: The songs that are getting recorded and released at some point are very different than what we originally thought was going to be recorded and released.

Keaton: We’re sitting on a lot of demos at this point, a lot a lot a lot, and they need to be sifted through and decided upon. But it’s been nice to have, I will say, the boys and our band. We’re playing with a fill-in drummer that I think is actually going to end up playing lead guitar in the band, if he will agree to that. But playing with two different drummers, hearing some really different things with them, and deciding what we like better, what we don’t like, whatever, has been really instrumental. Just having their expertise. Our bassist had a pretty successful pop-punk band when he was in high school, so he has some really strong ideas and strong opinions about stuff.

Dani: They’re all incredible musicians.

Keaton: Having them around before when we were deciding on studio versions, they sound very differently than what we play live. We’re still messing with stuff and changing stuff.

What can we expect to see from Make Your Son Famous in the future?

Keaton: Probably a name change. Stay tuned on that.

Dani: Hopefully a couple songs getting dropped.

Keaton: I think the plan, as of yesterday at about 3:45pm, is a demo EP, which I think we’ll be working with Suarez on. I think that’s safe to say. Demo EP, probably early 2022, just because a lot of those are already done.

Dani: Then a cool little drop after that.

Keaton: Which will probably be two singles, an A side and a B side, with some visuals. So those will be much more done studio LA-ass songs we wrote.

Dani: And a big-ass release party, with some other bands hopefully.

Keaton: I think evolving songs from the demo stage is a pretty hard thing to do, not hard as in difficult, hard as in hard. The progression is really cool, and even we’ve seen in the last year, last eight months, is how much can change and how much our sound can change. And I think that’s a really cool thing to have and hopefully we can cultivate the people that care about our music enough to really know what the trip is going to be like.

Dani: I want to drop the demo EP so that when we’re 70 we can record them all in the studio. I think that’s adorable, I think that’s some Stevie Nicks shit. That’s the long game.

Keaton: She’s seven steps ahead of me. I wanna do this crazy, we’re playing a show tonight in about five hours and I really want to do… I have this amazing idea, and she’s not gonna let me do it. Well, I’m gonna try. She’s gonna make fun of me for it. We have this song that we wrote that we’re debuting tonight, it’s called, we don’t know yet.

Dani: We don’t know what it’s called. There’s a lot of blood imagery.

Keaton: In the interim, it’s called “Birthday Cult.” I really want to do this thing where in the chorus I bite a blood capsule and blood spills out of my mouth. I’ve been hanging onto this idea, it has me by the throat. And Dani is like, “No, you’re gonna gag and you’re gonna throw up. And I’m already ahead to where you’re telling me after the show that you’ve thrown up.”

Dani: You’re gonna swallow blood.

Keaton: It’s very Halloween.

Dani: I support you, I just can’t wait to watch it occur.

Keaton: I’m gonna try it, and whether or not I gag and throw up will be interesting. I was talking to the guys that we wrote it with, and they were like, “It’s punk as fuck.” That’s the Leo in me for sure, I’m definitely the risk-taker, I would say.

Check out Daisy Grenade on…

TikTok

Instagram

SoundCloud

Their website!

Special thank you to Dee Struction of Tucson-based rock band Mudpuppy for our new jingle! You can check Dee out on Spotify here.

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