An Interview with Jesse Sendejas of Days N’ Daze

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Logo-Preview-2-1.png

Days N’ Daze are an American indie band dubbed “Thrashgrass” for its blend of Folk, Punk, Ska and Emo music. In 2020, they’ve released their latest record which is titled Show Me the Blueprints and it’s some of the most energetic and fun music I’ve heard in some time. It’s awesome to see that the indie scene is a vibrant as ever. In regards to their latest album, I believe in time it will be looked back upon as yet another classic within the genre. Today, I’ve got Jesse Sendejas with us. He’s a great guy and I truly enjoyed getting to know him a bit better, as well as learning more about Days N’ Daze. If you would like to learn more, you can head over to the band’s website here and via Fat Wreck Chords website here. Once you’ve done that, give this interview a read. Enjoy.

Days N Daze's Jesse Sendejas talks favorite music, TV & more of 2020

Andrew:
Jesse, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. It’s been some year, hasn’t it? What have you been doing to keep your mind off the ever-raging dumpster fire?

Jessie:
It has been some year, indeed. Here’s to some relief in 2021. I’ve just been tryin’ to keep busy. Idle hands, ya know? Playin’ stream shows, recording some new stuff for my other project, Escape from the ZOO, started messin’ around with some paints and piano. Other than that, just enjoyin’ the time at home with the family.

Andrew:
Tell us a bit about your backstory? How did you get into music?

Jesse:
My folks introduced me to the staple Punk bands, The Ramones and the like, when I was a kid, and my tastes kept evolving from there. When Whit and I moved from our hometown of Houston to San Marcos, Texas, we started writin’ songs on an acoustic guitar. My family had gotten me to stave off the boredom of life in a small Texas college town, and we just never stopped!!

Andrew:
As a writer, who are some of your earliest influences?

Jessie:
Those aforementioned “staple” Punk bands were definitely early influences, and when we first started writing songs in San Marcos, we were listenin’ to a lot of Pat the Bunny, Kimya Dawson, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Leftover Crack, so those artists probably come through a bit in our first handful of tunes.

Days N Daze – Fat Wreck Chords

Andrew:
Tell us the story of Days N’ Daze. How did the band come together? What is the origin of the name?

Jesse:
Well, ya already know how Whit and I started playin’ music together. Just to avoid idle hands while we were livin’ in San Marcos. Meagan and I traveled together for a bit, and she would play washboard while we busked, so when my sister, Marissa, who was our original washboard player, decided to focus a bit more on her solo stuff, we asked Meg to keep the beat, and she’s stuck with us ever since. Haha. We didn’t have a gutbucket player for a show in Houston one night, but we brought along the washtub bass anyway. Geoff hopped on the bucket and never left!! So, that’s the origins of our current lineup.

The name is literally the first thing we thought of. After Whitney and I had written three or so songs and learned a few covers, we wanted to play a show at a coffeehouse down the street from our old apartment and figured if we were gonna play a show, we should have a name. Days N’ Daze was the first thing that came to mind, so we just went with it.

Andrew:
Days N’ Daze put out a new record in 2020, Show Me the Blueprints. Tell us more about the new record. What was the inspiration?

Jason:
SMTB is a collection of songs Whitney and I wrote over the last three or so years, and it really just documents the highs and lows, the lessons learned, the struggles, the failures, the feelings, and the growth and change we’ve experienced since we released Crustfall in 2017. It’s pretty introspective, and deals heavily with themes of addiction and mental health.

Andrew:
As songwriters, how do you keep things fresh and stay inspired?

Jesse:
On the few occasions that I really wanted to kind of force myself to write somethin’ I’ve just tried to consume as much new art as I could—podcasts, books, zines, movies, music, etc. I just kinda crammed my head full of ideas, sounds and visuals I’d not thought, heard or seen before, but I don’t think I usually go out of my way to look for inspiration. There’s a lyric in our song, “Wholesale Failure” that goes, “And I welcome writers’ block with wide open arms because if I’m not writing, I’m happy. Writing is just an escape from the day to day tragedy I find surrounds me.” and that seems to hold up. I don’t know. I try not to force it. I know the future holds song worthy events and feelings, so I’d rather just hold my tongue and bide my time ’til a song just kind of happens.

Show Me The Blueprints. | Days N Daze

Andrew:
Where can we find your new album and what formats is it on?

Jesse:
Show Me The Blueprints is available on vinyl, cassette, CD, and digitally at fatwreck.com. It’s also on Spotify and iTunes and all that.

Andrew:
How do you feel the band has evolved since your first album, We Never Said It Was Good? How have you progressed as you’ve gone along? What have you learned?

Jesse:
We’ve definitely learned some things in the last 12 years!! Obviously, we’ve gotten a little better at playin’ our instruments as anyone would after a decade and some change. Workin’ with John Carey, Fat Mike, and Baz on Show Me The Blueprints taught us a ton more about recording. Before SMTB, we always recorded ourselves, and we didn’t really have any clue as to what we were doin’. So we picked up some invaluable tips workin’ with them.

We’ve become very well acquainted with the ins and out of touring. When we first hit the road, we would just show up at shows that were already happening and ask if we could hop on the bill or just play out in front of the venue. Now, we actually tend to have a schedule in mind when we pile in the van.

We’ve just grown as a group of people as well. I feel like we’ve gotten better at maintaining an open line of communication. We more deeply understand each other’s struggles and strengths, which makes everything easier, especially on tour when everything becomes kinda amplified.

Andrew:
Tell us the story of how you ended up with Fat Wreck Chords.

Jesse:
Whitney knows more about how everything fell into place, but from what I understand, Scott Sturgeon of Leftover Crack showed Fat Mike some of our music, he dug it, and that was that!!

Interview: Jesse Sendejas and Whitney Flynn of Days N' Daze

Andrew:
Let’s talk more about your style. You guys often get lumped in with Folk Punk, but you’ve called your style “H-Town Thrashgrass.” Can you expand on that for us? How did you develop your sound?

Jesse:
We just wanted to play Punk, but amps, and drums, and all that is pricey. It was cheaper and easier to travel with an acoustic guitar and a washboard. Only issue is your options, sonically, are a lot more limited without pedals and different drums and symbols, so we kind of just did what we could with what we had.

Andrew:
Let’s switch gears a bit now. Tell me your thoughts on the current state of the music scene these days? In your opinion, what’s it like out there for an indie artist?

Jesse:
Seems like it’s easier than it’s ever been to record and release your own music, no? I mean, just having access to the Internet makes everything light-years easier than it must’ve been back in the day. There’s a plethora of music lessons online to help ya write some tunes, then ya pop over to Sweetwater and find some decently priced recording equipment, maybe troubleshoot a few speedbumps with some YouTube tutorials, and once ya got somethin’ recorded, ya just throw it up on Bandcamp and share the link on some social media site. Livin’ in the future.

Andrew:
Are you into vinyl? Taps? CDs? Or are you all digital now? Where do you like to shop for music?

Jesse:
Pretty much all digital and vinyl these days. The last few albums I bought were off Bandcamp.

Photos of AJJ, Bridge City Sinners, Amigo the Devil and Days N Daze at  Neumos on Dec. 21, 2019 | Vortex Music Magazine

Andrew:
What are a few albums that mean the most to you and why?

Jesse:
1. Fuck World Trade – Leftover Crack

I’ve listened to this album front to back more times than I can count. The compositions and lyrics have been hugely influential in my writing, and there’s not a bad song in the bunch.

2. Cardboard Castles – Watsky

Watsky’s another artist that’s heavily influenced some of my music. Listening to Cardboard Castles is just such a positive experience. Whenever I’ve needed to spark some renewed confidence in myself and my abilities, I throw this one on.

3. All Killer No Filler – Sum 41

Sum 41 was the first band that I felt was like MY Punk band, if that makes sense. They were my first Punk show as well. My folks took my sister and me to see ’em at the Engine Room in Houston, and it was fuckin’ awesome. I was ten when AKNF was released, and it resonated so perfectly with my budding angsty rebellion. My first confident steps, baby steps though they were, on a long ‘n windin’ musical journey. Shit, if it weren’t for this album, I may not be answerin’ these questions right now!!

Andrew:
Once COVID-19 is finished with us, what’s next for you?

Jesse:
Mainly just can’t wait to get back to playin’ live shows!! The stream shows we’ve done over the last few months have been a blast, but it’s still not the same. The feeling of a crowded venue buzzin’ with energy-packed with people all there for the same thing. Nothin’ like it.

Andrew:
Last question. You’ve been at it for a long time now. Looking back, how much satisfaction have you gotten out of it? What are some of your fondest memories? What advice would you have for young artists?

Jesse:
Haha, I guess it has been a minute, huh? It’s also been immensely satisfying!! When I think back on the last 144, or so months, I see a million mistakes, most of which were worth making. We kinda jumped into the deep end every chance we got, and I think that was a good way to do it. I thank my lucky stars every moment of every day to have had the chance to play songs I love with people I love, in places I never thought I’d get to visit, for people I’m just so happy to have met!! It’s surreal.

Some of my fondest memories over the years are those of the little moments in between the big eventful ones. I mean, there’s nothin’ like bein’ on stage in front of a buncha folks, screamin’ a song ya wrote at them, and havin’ them scream it right back in your face. That’s just an unrivaled kind of elation, but the times I think back on the most are the more seemingly inconsequential ones. Pullin’ over in the middle of a long drive through the northwest to stretch our legs, get some fresh air, and splash in a little river beyond a rest stop. Or wakin’ up to a gorgeous view from the porch of someone kind enough to let us crash at their house after a show in Dolceacqua, Italy. Just those moments ya get on tour when it really hits ya that you’re just out in the world with your loved ones doin’ what makes y’all happy. So, I guess my advice to an artist would be, if makin’ art makes ya happy, then go for it!! Like, really, go for it!! If ya want people to see your art, show it to ’em. If ya want people to hear your music, play it for ’em. Play it everywhere ya can to anyone who’ll listen for as long as you’re havin’ fun doin’ it.

Leftover Crack and Days N Daze Interview Each Other

Interested in diving deeper into the work of Days N’ Daze? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interview

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. After losing his life-long vinyl collection in 2014, Andrew began his vinyl collection from scratch again when he met his future wife Angela in 2015. Andrew’s love of music only further blossomed as his collection spanned all genres possible. After amassing 5,000 albums, Andrew knew it was time to finally follow his dream, and thus, Vinyl Writer Music was born. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict, for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island with his wife Angela and their four cats, Oliver, Patrick, Charlie, and Kevin. Andrew works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night. Andrew is also the admin of several Facebook groups dedicated to music.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: