by The Alchemist
The Infinite Daisy Chains are becoming one of D.C.’s hottest psychedelic pop bands. From meeting at a rehearsal in a dimly lit garage, to tying the knot fives year in marriage, Ian Dandridge and Kristina Westernik-Dandridge have started creating some extremely unique sounds. Kristina specializes in the violin, vocals, and Ableton push, while Ian focuses on the guitar. They are also both experts in music production and this has allowed them to continue growing their sound. They work together with the team at Day Off Recordings, who help them with the logistics of the creative process. They also have been teaming up with photographer Gopi Raghu to help with their creative image. We interviewed them below.
What first got you into music?
Kristina (K): I look up to my dad so much! Ron is not only known for regularly singing in church, but I discovered he would blast music out of his convertible car speakers with the and sing along. Witnessing these moments as a kid was a somewhat embarrassing, yet impressionable experience. This sparked the idea in me that whoever made these musical recordings which was playing out of his car stereo possessed a supremely mystical skill. I realized music had the ability to move people even to the point where my dad was compelled to belt mix while stopped at a red light alongside other cars. I was fortunately encouraged and supported by my family to pursue music starting with the violin first when I was ten years old. From then on, music became consciously part of my life.
Ian (I): My parents put me in piano lessons from as early as I can remember so playing music was just a regular part of life for me growing up. I learned to read sheet music and play countless songs, but after a few years I started writing my own chord changes which I found to be a lot more fun. Around the age of thirteen, my older brother taught me a few things on his guitar and started getting really into it. It was way easier to learn the music I actually listened to on guitar rather than piano, so I soon became obsessed with learning all my favorite songs. Many of my good friends were musicians at that age as well so jamming with each other was always just another fun activity to do. I started a band with some friends in high school and started writing original music, and I’ve basically been involved in different musical projects ever since then.
How did you first start developing your music career?
(I): I started playing gigs in blues and rock bands when I was 18 which gave me experience playing with a variety of musicians and venues. I’ve always loved improvising on guitar which made it a lot easier to sit in with different bands and meet musicians. Through this network, I began teaching guitar at the Global Music Academy and ended up learning a wide variety of music to teach my students. I also completed a World Music Minor at George Mason University and began working in promotions at a few iHeartMedia radio stations during this time which gave me a good look at the music industry as a whole. After spending the majority of my twenties working in these different roles, Kristina and I decided to create our new project, The Infinite Daisy Chains, as a platform to apply all our musical skills and knowledge we gained over the years.
(K): I started professionally gigging in wedding chamber ensembles as a violinist when I was 14. After college, I met Ian in a local rock band. Like Ian previously mentioned, we would also go on to work together in radio promotion for iHeartMedia (DC101 and BIG100) but ultimately left those positions to create our own music. While performing in local bands, we simultaneously started working on composing and producing our own songs together in Ableton over the past few years (very badly at first). Now we are at a point where we are finishing our tracks and can play several musical roles simultaneously in The Infinite Daisy Chains. It’s refreshing to have equal creative control over our own project so that we can steer it anywhere we choose. It motivated us to start up our own business, Cache Music LLC, for our music production, sound design and entertainment work.
What is the most challenging of your creative process?
(I): We think the most challenging aspect of the creative process is finishing tracks. It’s easy to act upon an initial spark of creativity, but actually committing to a final version of a recording is very difficult.
Any side talents?
(I): I’m a capable recreational soccer player. Like music, I’ve been playing soccer for as long as I can remember and have never stopped. I’ve been playing in the DC Zog Sports league for about six years on the same team with some good friends, excited to get back into it next year when things open back up.
(K): We enjoy playing tennis together with family for fun! Ian’s been playing for many years, but I am a beginner tennis player in a local USTA league. It’s nice to have a physical outlet, something that gives me a break from a lot of mental processing endured throughout the day.
Who would you most like to collaborate with/what music artist do you most admire?
(K): Kevin Parker and Jay Watson of Tame Impala are our favorites. We met them randomly at the Moog Factory in Asheville, NC last year. They are super chill, so humble, yet crazy talented. Watching Jay “muck about” on a Moog One, while Kev was examining Keith Emerson’s modular synth, while we were next to them testing out an unreleased synthesizer was a surreal experience.
How much do your surroundings play a part in your creative process?
(K): It’s so crucial. We find it is important to have safe spaces not only in your physical surroundings, but also mentally and spiritually as well. Otherwise, if you are unable to cultivate safety, it’s difficult to focus on creating anything especially when you’re just trying to get by and survive.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
(K): We work on vocal exercises in the shower. These raucous sounds we make in the shower range from raspberries to the tune of Harry Styles, “Lights Up,” to lip trills to the tune of Pink Floyd’s, “Wish You Were Here.”
What is the best advice you have for artists in the very beginning of their career?
(I+K): Here are four tips for new artists that come to our minds: 1) Trust your ears. 2) Seek mentorship from those with more experience and skill. 3) When you collaborate with others, try to communicate openly to establish healthy, professional boundaries such as: requesting to set up either a contract or split sheet upfront to determine royalty percentage splits. 4) Bands come and go in the scene, so try to keep learning and growing from each opportunity that comes your way.
What does being from the DMV mean to you?
(K): To be from the DMV means we are lucky to be in a vibrant, diverse community where music is an integral part of the culture. Right now more than ever it’s important that we work to preserve the culture by contacting local legislation to save our local music venues and local nightlife economy. We recently discovered more information of how to take action by visiting www.saveourstages.com/
Favorite food spot in the DMV?
(I): We are partial to the food trucks throughout DC. So many wonderful cuisines to sample! We recommend the trucks located on D St. SW or in Chinatown. You can check out their locations on www.foodtruckfiesta.com.
What’s next for you?
(I+K): We are celebrating the recent release of our latest single, “Memory Lane.” We plan on dropping a new song on September 18th thanks to Day Off Recordings, followed by some more musical surprises in store this Fall. Stay tuned and for more updates give us a follow on our social media pages for the full details.
Their newest track, “Memory Lane” has become one of our favorite tracks here at Alchemical Records. The Infinite Daisy Chains sound continues to grow, while still sticking to their Tame Impala influenced roots. We love the combination of production and sound of this track, and we know you will too. Check out the track below.
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I’ll Explain Later is a sentiment that Nico has fully embodied on his quest to design the world in which he wants to live in, all while undoing the negativity around him. This state of mind is fittingly the name of Nico’s forthcoming album. A year and a half in the making, Nico allowed himself time, space and clarity to write I’ll Explain Later, with the intent and fervor he required.
Raised in Prince George’s County, MD, a predominantly African Raised in Prince Geo American community directly adjacent to Washington, DC, Nico was a witness to the unsightly truths of the economically weakened communities. With many people never expecting to ever find a way out, Nico refused to be complacent and watch the people in his city live a life absent of hope. At age 16, Nico made a commitment to use his talent for poignant writing, in conjunction with the musical brilliance the DM conjunction with the musical brilliance the DMV-area is known for, to go find hope and opportunities to bring back to the communities that shaped him into the man he is today.