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Inside the “scary, ethereal and kind of cursed” philosophy of daine

If you’ve come here looking for some tidy labels, boxes, or even genres in which to neatly fit Melbourne artist daine, well, you’ve gone about this all wrong. With her brief, yet effective output thus far, daine has made it abundantly clear she isn’t here to fit nearly into the rigid scaffold of what’s been. Instead, she’s an artist who sees the rigid scaffold for what it’s meant to be – her own creative jungle gym. 

With her new single ‘Salt’, daine has managed to turn more heads than ever before. The song features masterful songwriting, hooks that sink deep into your neurons and, of course, guest vocals from Oli Sykes, frontman for a band so big in this day and age, they really need no introduction at all. 

But don’t get it twisted. This isn’t the usual collaboration – cold, corporate and organised in some record label boardroom. Nor was this a Mr. Miyagi, “wax on/wax off” situation – daine rocked up to the dojo ready to throw down. Indeed, she was invited there to do just that.

daine tells BLUNT of the feedback she’s received so far: “I’ve been so mad getting the comments, ‘How much did you pay him?’ He reached out to me! We were mutuals on Instagram for a few months, and he hit me up and was like, ‘Let’s do a song.’ And I was like, ‘I have the perfect one.’ I thought previously, when I was making the song, that Oli Sykes would sound sick on it. I think I subconsciously manifested it.”

The two began to talk about what they wanted to achieve, and quickly found a common target: “to create this future-emo thing,” which could be achieved via Sykes’ experience and wisdom combined with daine’s innate ability to understand both present and future trends. The creative process between the pair was so democratic, Sykes left the sessions with just as many ideas as he had imparted on the daine. 

“Bring Me The Horizon are going to do so much cool stuff in this sort of world,” she says, “So I feel like it’s a really good segue for not just me into my next few releases, but for Oli into his next releases too.”

So what sort of inspiration can a startup musician pass onto one of the world’s most established? It’s simple: dainecore. As daine explains, it’s not a genre nor a style – it’s a way of life. 

“It’s a funny thing between me and my friends,” she says. “When we see something that’s ethereal and scary and kind of cursed, we go, ‘Oh, that’s so dainecore.’ I would say dainecore is a philosophy. It’s so niche, but I hope it becomes a mainstream phenomenon, that would be really cool. I think with my music, I take a holistic approach – I want everything to feel like a whole separate world. That’s why I’m so picky about the aesthetics that I choose to go with the music.”

I’ve got angry music, but I think it all comes from the same place – just being somewhat alone, somewhat off, somewhat down on myself…”

daine is more than happy to share a glimpse into the machinations of dainecore, allowing insight into her unique and creative process. “I only make music when I really feel it,” she muses. “I know a lot of artists say, ‘Oh, I’m going to sit down and I’m going to try to write a song,’ but I never do that. It’s either I have a song in my head, or I don’t. I start usually with a lot of concepts. I write down a lot of atmospheric words and I try to describe a scene.” 

Slowly but surely, as daine adds to her catalogue, connective tissue is starting to show, threading between these scenes and providing somewhat of a preview of what to expect from a greater body of work – that being emotionally charged stories that knock the wind out of their listeners. 

“I think [2020 single] ‘dainecore’, the emotional intensity in that and the anguish that I channel into the song, it’s the same energy that’s in ‘Salt’. I’ve got angry music, but I think it all comes from the same place – just being somewhat alone, somewhat off, somewhat down on myself. But it’s really easy to channel that into a positive narrative as well.

“I really hope that my music resonates deeply because I get really frustrated with the Top 10 streaming artists on Spotify; there’s nothing in them that relates to me. There’s music by some painfully middle-class or upper-class Hollywood kid, who’s gone from rich to richer by writing music for the sake of writing music. And I go, ‘There’s nothing about their life that is similar to mine.’ I try to make music for the other 99 percent of the population.”

With everything she’s already achieved, there’s no point trying to predict what daine will do next, or where her limit is. She’s inclined to keep her next moves under wraps, anyway – “It’s kind of top secret,” she laughs. But one thing is clear: we certainly haven’t seen daine in her final form. As she teases, “There’ll be a lot more cohesion in my creative identity, I think.”