Today we’re Making Meaning with Kelly + Lou of Aphid Daughters!
Let’s make some meaning…
MAKING MEANING: THE BACKGROUND
Aphid Daughters is a three-piece from Philadelphia, PA. They describe their music as minimal, post-punk, and (maybe?) post-doom. Descriptions don’t matter much: They play with genre in a DIY kind of way. Decide what they sound like for yourself by listening to Burn the Salt (July 2018) and Holiday (May 2020).
Aphid Daughters’ origin story goes like this: Kelly put out an ad around West Philly that said “femme seeks femme for two piece stoner metal band bassist.” Lou and Kelly ended up jamming, and Oki joined quickly after that. After Oki read about how aphids reproduce in a Russian Doll-style telescoping of cloned daughter nymphs, they became Aphid Daughters. To sum up their band philosophy, they say they are a “dads-playing-in-the-garage kind of band, playing in various basements.” They are chill, and their main aspiration is just to hang out and play songs they like.
Members of Aphid Daughters have a lot creative endeavors in addition to their music. Singer Oki is a writer and poet. They did an interview with Jamie Townsend from 11A Records, where they talk music, Aphid Daughters and poetry. Drummer Kelly is a community herbalist who runs Attic Apothecary and teaches classes on plants and health. Bassist Lou does a bunch of miscellaneous projects. Currently, she is hosting a series of nerdy quarantine talks called Rabbit Holes, and is working on an upcoming submission-based folk-horror zine called Hermit’s Valley.
Get more information about Aphid Daughters and keep up to date by following them on Bandcamp.
Aphid Daughters is: Kelly (drums), Lou (bass), and Oki (vocals).
MAKING MEANING: THE SONG
Listen to the song “Do It Alone” from Aphid Daughters’ album Holiday and learn what meaning Kelly + Lou make:
“Do It Alone” is written and performed by Aphid Daughters. All of the songs on their demo Holiday were recorded and mixed by Christo Johnson (of King Azaz, Yarrow and ooloi). Holiday was released May 2020.
Kelly + Lou Speak
“Do It Alone” captures one of my favorite things about Aphid Daughters. We basically wrote this song in one take while goofing around, joking about being a stoner grunge band but not really wanting to try hard enough to be those kinds of bands. I remember being a little bit stoned and just laughing while we were playing, laughing at how fun and simple it was, how easily it was coming together. So grateful to have that kind of space in my life. – Kelly of Aphid Daughters
One of the only times I’ve ever bantered at a show was to say that I think “Do It Alone” is about masturbating on top of a mountain, which is basically how I picture this song.
Kelly chose to write about “Do It Alone,” though it wouldn’t be my first choice – which makes me love that she chose it more. I’d probably choose a song that we put a lot of effort into writing and shows how we have grown together as songwriters. We started out not even having a comfortable language to talk about song-writing, so we developed our own language together. That process, and finding other queers to jam with, has been really important for me over the last few years.
We always love playing “Do It Alone” and, as a song, it shows how we write. I fool around on bass and bring it as a loop to Oki and Kelly, who are always enthused and supportive. They immediately both seem to find something to do with those riffs. We work with those parts all together, like we’ll discuss, add and subtract parts of songs, and have gotten more structural and intentional about doing that as song-writing. But the process for “Do It Alone” is at the core of what we do, how we create something by playing around together, looping, building up, and laughing.
Oki often writes lyrics on the spot as we go, and sings every line and every song a little different each time. This always blows my mind. Oki’s singing is surreal and evocative for me, with simple lines that open up like a secret garden and say a myriad of different things depending on her tone. Oki makes songs powerful, political, embodied, and can bring up some heavy shit. “Do it alone” repeats as a line, but sometimes the phrase sounds like it’s encouraging, others threatening and ominous, sometimes sexy.
I think “Do It Alone” and all the songs on Holiday take on a heavier meaning during this period of isolation from the pandemic, too. It makes me think about independence as a complicated state of being: how it can be difficult, messy, mixed in with desire for collectivity and connection, and weighed down with past traumas. But maybe “Do It Alone” is also just simple, something…about masturbating in quarantine? – Lou of Aphid Daughters
Thanks so much to Kelly + Lou for sharing insights into the spectrum of their songwriting process and the many potential meanings of the line “do it yourself.” The act of creation can be simple or complex, come easily or with struggle, but it’s always more fun when it happens within a supportive environment. Thank you for making meaning with us.
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