Daisy Grenade‘s name completely embodies exactly who they are —girly and ready to blow up.
The Brooklyn pop-punk duo’s new EP entitled Cult Classic is coming August 12, featuring brand new single “Already Dead”, produced by and featuring The Ready Set. PassTheAux.co is exclusively premiering the track ahead of its official release on Friday, July 22. Daisy Grenade will also offer support on The Ready Set’s headlining date at The Moroccan Lounge on Sunday, July 24 prior to both acts playing at New York’s Mercury Lounge on August 11.
EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE of “Already Dead” by Daisy Grenade and The Ready Set
Pop-punk is a subgenre that gets thrown around to describe a number of acts, and for better or worse, it definitely traps artists in a box, often time-stamped and bringing with it a lot of narrow-mindedness. There’s also the misconception that it’s all sad or angry and the sound has been historically super male-dominated. Enter Daisy Grenade, who coin themselves as “power-punk bubble grunge”, their own flirtatious flavor of in-your-face pop-punk that we would like a sky-high scoop of.
“I think a big element of what we do is like really toying with the bratty, school girl sound, which feels really true and I think a lot of what we do is girly but in a way that isn’t stupid”, said Keaton Whittaker. “We really play on our femininity and bratty childishness so a lot of this record is very taunty, kind of like a nursery rhyme. Also, this new single, if you don’t know Jordan [of The Ready Set], he’s the sweetest angel of a person, and we are like nightmares. Our live stuff is really fun and I think a lot of people can get into that side of themselves, it’s very healing. Pop-punk has been so male dominated for so long, I mean girly in almost a gender neutral term. I think playing on that on a punk-pop record is really cool. Femininity is not well represented in these spaces. It’s a chance to be feminine but also to scream fuck. In a little skirt”.
Daisy Grenade co-member Dani Nigro echoed the sentiment, “Anyone can do that, anybody can feel empowered from that side of themselves”.
The spunky ladies have it in their souls and in their veins, this instinctive desire to express themselves and the energy and irreverent attitude that comes through on the tunes has certainly been boiling for a while. Both Whittaker and Nigro are longtime performers, with Whittaker growing up in Seattle and Nigro a native of Long Island, NY. The two met while playing different understudies for a production of Green Day’s punk rock opera American Idiot and they were never really supposed to meet, but they did and instantly connected even though the show was ultimately halted due to the pandemic.
“Covid happened the week of tech. We only actually went to one rehearsal together”, said Nigro. I was understudying and Keaton was understudying, and we were there by chance. We were like, hey you’re cool. We fostered a friendship. Like a year later when we could hang out together, we thought our voices sound cool together. And then we started writing music together”.
The triple-threats are also music lovers for life and as their friendship blossomed throughout the pandemic, they practiced and wrote music together. There was another fruitful moment when Daisy Grenade posted a cover to Instagram and one of Keaton’s high school classmates named Hannah reached out, sealing their fate for years to come.
“My friend Hannah, who I hadn’t spoken to in 10 years, slid into my DMs and asked if I wanted to do a call”, said Whittaker. “She called me and said she worked with a lot of music people and asked if we wanted to take a meeting with Pete Wentz. She was a TV writer and he was the music director for a show [Everything’s Fine] that she did. We started talking to Pete about one-and-a-half years ago and he’s just been really wonderful and has mentored us very closely”.
Hannah vouched for the duo, after listening to only three songs written, a couple demos which Whittaker called “Guitar Band-esque” and now she’s the band’s manager and creative director. In addition to Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz offering his musical and industry wisdom, Daisy Grenade’s EP Sophomore Slump (released in April) was co-produced by Cobra Starship member Alex Suarez.
“Suarez is literally one of our favorite people on planet earth”, said Whittaker. “He lives in New York, so it was a little easier to write and produce but Pete set up a session with Alex and it was just one of those moments where he took a chance on us without knowing us at all because he loved our sound”.
Speaking of the sound, pop-punk has crept back into popular culture, due to a resurgence of 90s and early 2000s music and fashions. With the launch of When We Were Young festival coming to Las Vegas in the fall, the popularity of artists like Machine Gun Kelly and YUNGBLUD, new music from Avril Lavigne, Paramore returning, Bring Me The Horizon making an impact and so many more, it there is a massive hunger for the music, both from fans who are grown to a younger generation of fans popping up. But there’s also some hurt, some anger and uncertainty in the world driving the desire for this music and its culture.
“I think a lot of what’s happening in the sound is like what’s happening politically”, said Whittaker. “I think a lot about American Idiot and Green Day bringing a big first wave after 9/11 and the kids were pissed. And I think the kids are pissed again, and I mean up to early 30s. I think young people are starting to understand that we’re allowed to be angry about what’s going on and everything. I think post-Trump, everyone was like wow, fuck this. I think people have acted in a way of rage that is kind of cathartic. I’m allowed to yell about this, I’m allowed to scream about this. I think that there’s no mistake in when these types of things come around. I think it’s very culturally and politically-motivated. Artists who you wouldn’t expect to make a rock record can make a rock record if it comes from that rebellious place. I think we’re just pissed and we’re starting to really like talk about and yell about it”.
Daisy Grenade looks forward to playing new songs at their upcoming shows, like the giddy, antagonizing “Are You Scared of Me Yet?”, the harmonious, indie-rock leaning “Baby Blackout”, moody, grungy “Real Horror Show” as well as new one “Already Dead” with The Ready Set.
“That whole aspect of having The Ready Set as a part of it is a dream come true, as someone who has been a fan of them”, said Nigro.
“I’m excited for Ready Set fans to hear us and vice versa. As a MySpace teen kid if you mentioned the idea that I’d be playing a show with The Ready Set and recording a song with them I’d be lying”, said Whittaker. When we started writing with Cameron and Jordan of The Ready Set, we almost didn’t take the session during a trip to LA, we were so tired and tapped out. There was no fucking way that I was going to come up with anything more, but we decided to go and it was immediate, like we sound like such incredible collaborators. They just got what we were trying to say and they became some of our dear, dear friends”.
With Dani growing up the daughter of two musicians and pursuing a life in theater and acting and Keaton loving 90s grunge early on and also drawn to musical theater with a Broadway stint as a preteen, these two blossoming flowers were destined to get cute and throw a fit on stage —together. The stage after all is not for amateurs and the duo’s stage presence and magnetic bond is one that is certainly not learned or perfected overnight.
“It’s crazy to think, I don’t think I’ve ever met another person who I think I could have done this with”, said Whittaker. “We talk about it all the time how I just don’t think I could do it without her, without the partnership that we have. We have just been working as a team for so long now. We fill in the gaps for one another pretty perfectly”.
Nigro added, “We are both musical theater kids though, we have been doing it our whole lives. We have been doing it pre-Covid. We both still love it but we kind of found this other outlet that we both enjoy”.
“A lot of our fans and people who listen to our music have heard of us from playing live”, said Whittaker. “I think our extensive performance in theater and dancing and singing, it helps our live shows so immensely. We know how to protect our voices and our bodies and we know how to make it something that’s sustainable, and we go really hard. Being able to do that a couple times a week or every night has to do with the training we’ve had our entire lives”.
Daisy Grenade open for The Ready Set on Sunday, July 24 at The Moroccan Lounge. Doors open at 7:30 pm; tickets are $15.00 in advance, $20.00 at the door.
Words by Michael Menachem
Live images by Alex SK Brown