I have just retouched surface from a wonderful, dreamy musical journey. And I have taken with me a tidbit for you: Daisy McCrackin. Reading her biography is already inspiring – like an adventure – always on the search for the deeper, spiritual meaning. And that shows in her music. Beautiful as a flower. Deep as life can be. In 2008 she did a filmic collaboration with Stefanie Schneider, and the soundtrack “Till death do us apart” marked her first musical release. A year later her debut EP The Rodeo Grounds was being released. We most certainly can´t wait to hear more of her! But for now we had the pleasure to speak to Daisy about her wild years, her influences and she reveals to us that despite her dreamy music she is a daredevil…
Your music is touching and beautiful – it simply got under my skin. It sounds soft, sensitive and dreamy. Is that how you would also describe your personality?
Thank you very much. To answer your question, no, that’s not my personality. People think of me as fiery, tough, and funny. A daredevil. Maybe that is one reason I do music, to tap in to another side of myself and be vulnerable. I have a soft, sensitive side but I don’t show it. I hope I am dreamy. I certainly feel a lot of emotion. And I have a wild imagination.
So I read on your website: “ …she nabbed her GED at 16 and headed up to Northern California to live on an ashram and immerse herself in her spiritual studies.” That sounds like a hell of an adventure – especially considering your age at that time. Can you tell us some of your memories of that time? And what was the biggest inspiration that you took from that experience?
From an early age I was searching for meaning in life, connection, something profound and true. I wanted something more than I had found in school, I had a feeling I was missing something about life. I became very drawn to a teacher named Adi Da Samraj and I had begun to seriously study his books. My parents had studied with him in the past before I remember. So there was actually somewhere to go- to the Ashram where I saw Adi Da Samraj and got to live in an Ashram culture, on a sanctuary similar to the Ashrams in India. An Ashram is different from the regular world because rather than exist to satisfy the ego it is purposed solely to spiritual practice, to understanding yourself. It was intense. I have great memories of it. I cooked in the kitchen for about 200 people, vegetarian food of course. It was not glamourous, but I was so happy! My friends and I would run off in afternoons to swim in a small lake on the Sanctuary. I found it to be a wonderful co-operative community where the arts are practiced and treated as a sacred act. I made a lot of great friends who I am still close with and it was a healing, powerful time in my life. Best thing I ever did.
Later on you lived at Rodeo Grounds arts collective in Topanga Canyon, an artist community living by the beach, picking up painting and maybe the place where you finally felt that music had to be the way, is that right?
The next best thing I ever did. You are an astute interviewer! I lived in an Airstream trailer a five minute walk from the beach- what more can I say? Lived there with a dear soul mate James, and we painted all day and had a fire outside every night with couches around it and lots of friends. That is where I started song writing, playing for groups of people and making up songs on the spot for laughs. I got over a lot of fears and pushed my limits, sort of came into myself.
It seems that you have searched, travelled, wandered about a lot- have you arrived now?
If I said I have arrived, I think that would be artistic death for me. Arriving sounds like stopping. I feel I am only beginning. And in a practical sense I really am- I have a lot of work to do to become the artist I want to be.
But actually, in other areas of my life, I do feel I have arrived now. I just got engaged to the man of my dreams. So that is also a beginning. I feel I have landed. With him I feel I have a home in a way I never did before.
My twenties were very chaotic and full of sharp ups and downs. Now I am learning to be more free, less tortured. Everything that happens does not need to feel like the end of the world or like I might secretly be a great genius. That used to worry me. So I am less manic now.
Are you still painting as well?
I stopped years ago when I could see that I am not really a painter. Then I started to do something once in a while if I get an idea. I have made paintings for my fiance as gifts. Just recently I set up a space to paint in the garage here in Topanga and since then it has been boiling hot down there – we’re in a heat wave. I am not a painter first, it comes behind acting and music, so I always approach it with a lot of humor, frustration and I have the thought, “I should be doing something else right now.”
Who are your musical influences?
That’s always a hard question. If I say Billie Holiday, that makes me also think of Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Ray Charles and on and on. The answer would be so long! And I don’t sing jazz or blues, but the first songs I wrote were very simple blues as I was trying to teach myself and listening to a lot of Billie Holiday. Everything from Johann Pachelbel to Eminem is an influence. I really love Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Janis Joplin, Tom Waits, Pj Harvey, Leonard Cohen, Gillian Welsh, Bob Marley, Loan Baez, Jimmy Cliff, Elliot Smith, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, The Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Eddie Brickell, Ottis Redding, The Kinks, The Black Keys, Nick Cave, Nirvana, Mia Doi Todd, Alain Johannes and my wonderful friends Lissie, Jen Turner, Henry Wolfe, Harper Simon, Tamarind Free Jones, Aura Bakker. Each for different reasons – the singing, lyrics, sound or a sensibility. Sometimes only one album, even one song has impact. I think all the music I have ever heard influenced me somehow. Perhaps the ones I loved were ones I was already trying to do. I can’t listen for long if I don’t understand. I need more music now actually!
What is next for you? Are you writing on some new music? And are you planning to come to Europe soon for some live shows?
I am writing new music, always. I have a batch of new songs that are really exciting for me, a new direction. I would love to come to Europe but I do not have it scheduled right now. I need more support before I can come because it is expensive. It’s tricky because I am still unknown and I do everything myself. I have to raise the money to record new songs, release the songs, promote, then I could come on a tour. So, if I get a record label or investor.
Next I think I would also like to do acting again, after not doing it for seven years. I am trying it out and it’s so fun, I have found the joy in it again. I am also starting in a great writing class. I always write so much, and now I see it can’t all be used for lyrics, some of it wants to be poems or comedy. As you mentioned, I left school very young, but I am always learning. If the classes in school were like this I would have stayed. This is an exciting time to for me, to explore and expand.
Last time you laughed? Last time you cried?
Ha! I laughed just now at this question because it’s a funny, good question and I just laugh all the time and make people laugh as much as I can. I cried yesterday because I was tired and someone was gruff to me unexpectedly and I felt embarrassed. I sleep better after I cry.
Interview by Sigrun Guggenberger