Doah’s Daydream, the San Diego band that pioneered the term “island grunge”, a unique glam-rock-reggae musical genre, is on the rise! As Doah explains, “island grunge fuses elements of hard rock, punk and Hawaiin island pop reggae with powerful vocals” and that is exactly what music lovers should expect to hear when bumping Doah’s Daydream, especially the newest single “Hey Boy” which will be out on all streaming platforms on Tuesday, 2/14. The six-piece band has worked hard over the years to solidify its distinctive sound and uplifting message. Read on to find out more about Doah’s Daydream.
Can you introduce the members to us? Who are you guys?
- I’m Doah. I’m the lead singer, the songwriter, and the band leader. I started Doah’s Daydream four years ago. I’m born in Seoul Korea, grew up in Oahu, HI but live in San Diego. We all live in San Diego now. I’m the hardest working but also the partier of the group – only after the show though, of course! The long-haired mustachio man is Chris Libera. He’s played lead guitar with us for two and a half years now. He’s from New Jersey and is obsessed with Red Hot Chili Peppers. On drums, we have PJ Sweeny. He’s played with us for a year and a half now and is originally from Syracuse, NY. Fun fact about PJ, he loves gold jewelry. Doug Shaffer is on trumpet and rhythm guitar and honestly anything else we need him to play. The guy plays everything. Literally though [laughs]. He’s from Philadelphia. Peter Merritt is from San Diego and has been playing bass with us for about a year now. He’s a big teddy bear. Cristian is from San Diego too. He plays keys and is the newest addition to Doah’s Daydream. He’s a chef with an amazing wife and two beautiful daughters! We are a force, that’s for sure.
How did you all meet?
- I met Chris first through a mutual musician friend and I met PJ through Blaine Dillinger from HIRIE. Ironically, Doug and Peter were recruited by PJ. Cristian is the last to join. He was introduced to us by a mutual musician friend. But Chris, PJ, Peter and Doug all work together at Guitar Center in La Mesa [laughs].
Where did the name Doah’s Daydream come from?
- Doah’s Daydream came from the fact that music was something that I only use to daydream about. This is my mission to turn my daydreams into reality. But I also want to inspire others to do so as well. I want more than just music. I want this band to have a mission and a purpose. We want people to hear our music and chose self love. So we all can live our daydreams.
Have you come across any challenges being the only woman in the group? How are the guys supportive, in terms of this?
- I am very lucky to have my guys. They have been nothing but supportive of everything I do. In the beginning, I did struggle to find band members that had the same drive and vision as I do. I had my fair share of people coming and going. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry, I have to fight harder and really prove myself. But also, I can use that to my advantage also so it’s all perspective. I’ve always been very independent and hard worker. We all push each other hard because we collectively really care about our growth. It’s easy to when we have so much mutual respect for one another.
What does music mean to you?
- Music saved my life over and over again. I grew up in a very physically and verbally abusive household. I remember just crying my eyes out and listening to music in bed to comfort myself. Singing and playing music kept me sane from the chaos I was dealt at a very young age. That was the only thing I was somewhat good at and liked. Life went on and I became an adult, getting a normal corporate sales job to make my parents proud and I finally landed what I thought was a dream job, working for a medical device company. I was working 13-hour days for 7 days a week and it led me to experience the most severe depression and suicidal thoughts. Luckily, I used that to help me redefine the definition of success and happiness. That time of my life really helped me find my way back to music and helped me get back up from the lowest point of my life. Music is my savior. It’s something I can’t live without and owe everything to.
Who are your biggest musical influences and why?
- I have a hard time answering this because it changes all the time. Currently Beyoncé, Harry Styles, Dirty Heads and Little Stranger. But, you know, Aretha Franklin is an artist that I can listen to all day and forever. When I listen to her live recording of “Amazing Grace”, I still cry and I’ve listened to that song like a million times [laughs].
You have a new single dropping next week, can you tell me about it? What’s the message? How was the creative process? Any interesting recording stories?
- “Hey Boy” is about someone I dated that I knew I shouldn’t have. I knew we weren’t compatible at all but continued going back and forth expecting a different outcome. I finally had enough and I wrote this song to put some closure to the toxicity. I was replaying in my head the many times I would try to express my feelings to this person and he would just not respond and really just didn’t have much to say. I wrote it out of frustration and anger about how stupid this boy is and with the intention of reminding myself that he is still a boy and not a man but also feeling stupid myself for going back so many times. I was fortunate enough to work with Jeff Neisen and Jeff Bates at Kona Town. They are an amazing team to work with and I am so happy with how this song turned out. I can’t wait to share it with everyone!
How involved is everyone in the songwriting process? Is it difficult to collaborate creatively with everyone?
- I do most of the writing. I am an emotion-based songwriter so I usually pick the producer who I feel would best fit for the song. The band is starting to really find their stride and we do have a couple of songs that are coming out where they are more involved during the recording process which is amazing. We all work very well together! We all know our strengths and weaknesses and we all complement each other and we are only going to get better.
How do you know when a song is done?
- Hmm, this is a really good question… you just know!
You’ve had some member changes over the years, how has that impacted Doah’s Daydream? How do you feel about your current members? Are they here to stay?
- Member changes are so tough. Sometimes it can impact the band terribly or sometimes it can be the best thing for the band. It really depends. I had to make some really hard decisions to part ways with some in the past. Whatever the reason is, it’s never easy. But everything happens for a reason and we have to move on quickly. I really love my band right now and we sometimes argue but it’s more like we are family – We have grown tremendously over the last year together and as individuals. We are all here to stay! I am very lucky!
What can someone expect from a live Doah’s Daydream show?
- They can expect to be inspired and loved! We pretty much put our hearts and souls on a little platter for people to indulge! We put on a great show, that’s super high energy, uber passionate, sexy, empowering and emotional but powerful! We love connecting and vibing with the audience so you can definitely expect a lot of interaction! You have to come to see and feel it for yourself!
What are some of your goals for Doah’s Daydream? What do you hope the future looks like?
- Our goal is to release an album this year and a few music videos. Also, we want to tour places we have never been to before. We are so ready to play more festivals and fewer bars. We live in a content-driven world so I am focusing more on that this year. My goal is to collaborate with other artists as well! Our future looks bright only because we hustle hard and we don’t take no for an answer. So watch out! We coming for you!!
What lessons have you learned over the years that could benefit other musicians?
- Oh man, where do I begin? So many lessons have been learned and there are still so many more to learn. I would say stop comparing yourself to others and keep walking your path. I fell into that hole of comparing myself to other artists and it made me waste time on things that were not my authentic self which affected my moral and spirituality. Stay true to yourself, work hard and always stay humble. Don’t go looking for handouts and if you want something to happen, make it happen for yourself. Everything else will fall into place.