Daughter’s Elena Tonra interview: ‘It’s unfortunate that I attach my work to feeling sad’

Where indie people band Daughter’s initial album was shrouded in metaphors, their heavier follow-up saw frontwoman Elena Tonra let her guard down and exit from behind the literary study. “I feel quite sturdy within the incontrovertible fact that I will write things that create Pine Tree State look vulnerable,” she aforementioned at the time. On her new solo album, though, recorded below the appellative Ex:Re, Tonra lays herself thus blank that you just feel as if you have to be compelled to look.

“I see your fingerprints on social unit things I’m simply too unhappy to the touch,” she sings on “Too Sad” over knotty electrical guitars. “I feel your skin on kinsmen I’m too unhappy to f***. If I might write you back here, it might be my best work.”

Chronicling a breakup she went through a bit over a year agone (Ex:Re, pronounced “X-ray”, could be a play on “regarding ex”), the album didn’t bring anyone back – however it’d simply be Tonra’s best work anyway. Having found acclaim because the lead singer of female offspring, that she shaped in 2010 with bandmates Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella, Tonra has stepped out on her own and poured out her soul.

“This album’s created of plenty of things I haven’t aforementioned to the person,” she admits, alert on the seat of her cosy, littered London studio. “These square measure deeply personal stories that I’ve for a few reason simply determined that i want to inform everybody.” She says this with amusing. Dressed tired black, she usually qualifies intense, melancholic thoughts with a giggle – maybe out of awkwardness, or in a shot to reassure Pine Tree State.

Tonra sees the album – that was written over the course of a year in an exceedingly method she compares to vomiting: equal components unpleasant and cathartic – as a group of letters she was too frightened to really send. She started writing it as before long as she complete her relationship wasn’t saved. “Because it created Pine Tree State thus deeply upset that it absolutely was undoubtedly done,” says the 28-year-old from northwest London, “I assume that was the time i used to be like, ‘OK, i want to simply alter this wave that’s currently here.’ it absolutely was simply to do and swim out.”

When the album is discharged on Fri, those “letters” are detected not solely by the person they’re regarding, however by anyone else United Nations agency cares to concentrate. “I hope they’ll be received knowing that they’re from a special time,” she says, “and knowing that I don’t feel those things any longer. particularly the anger. i actually wish the person to understand that I’m not that bitterly angry any longer.”

There is so a magnitude of anger on the record. At times, like on “Liar”, the fury is directed at her ex: “Tell the reality, you egoistic light-weight / Too late, too late, you liar”. Elsewhere, she’s angry at herself. “I raged through, wine-wasted, s**t-faced, solo”, she sings on the hopeless, uncomfortable “New York” atop wailing, almost-off-key strings.

That song was written when a visit to the America, throughout that Tonra found herself growing covetous of the settled domestic lifetime of her friends. “Their life was moving on and that they were growing as folks,” she remembers, “and i used to be like, ‘God, why am I such a drunk mess? That’s all I will do. Go and find drunk.’ It felt like i used to be stuck. i used to be sinking myself into one thing that I might have tried to fight.” She catches herself. “Well, f*** it, i used to be in this state. truthful enough. I’m not gonna feel guilty this.”

On “Romance”, whose muffled beat seems like being one area off from a party you would like would finish, Tonra’s decide to realize comfort in an exceedingly alien backfires. “I thought of another the total time”, she sings, “who would have not stared Pine Tree State like that / See, he saw Pine Tree State as a personality’s / This one thinks I’m a slaughterhouse”.

“It’s particularisation an evening wherever intimacy felt quite cold,” explains Tonra. “I was needing to realize one thing in somebody that wasn’t there.” quickly, she became uncomfortable in this person’s presence. “It will simply be in an exceedingly look,” she says, “that causes you to want, ‘Actually, I simply wanna go. I don’t understand what that look is, however that look doesn’t create Pine Tree State feel revered.’ As before long as your body starts to assume concern… I don’t understand what it’s, it’s strange, however you have got to concentrate to that.”

It didn’t take long for Tonra to acknowledge that Ex:Re couldn’t be a female offspring record. Before her last relationship, she dated the band’s Swiss-born guitar player Igor Haefeli for many years, however they stony-broke up simply before the discharge of their 2013 debut album If you allow. it might sure enough have felt a bit odd, then, exploring the aftermath of a breakup in such intimate detail with another former man. however that’s not it. “All the female offspring songs square measure personal,” she says, “but it simply felt like another level. i used to be like no, this is often an excessive amount of, this is often like handing Igor and Remi my personal diary and being like, ‘Have a flick through guys! Let Pine Tree State understand if there’s any smart stuff!’

“I simply felt nearly a touch like, ‘No one bit them’,” she continues. “It felt like I had to inform this story the method I required to. Otherwise i’d lose one thing on the method, and so I can’t recover from it.” There’s an interruption. “I’m still not f***ING over it! however I’ve done my best.”

Tonra is pleased with the finished record, however throughout the method of creating it, she’s had one lingering concern. What if she deliberately destroys her world so as to jot down regarding it? “I’ve been attempting to analyses my very own behavior,” she says quietly. “When you see things cycle spherical, which slightly harmful element… Why is it that once things go well, suddenly they begin dissolving very quickly and so they end? Is that simply life, and that’s what happens? Is that my doing?

“It’s simply unfortunate that I attach those experiences to writing. If I’m attaching my work to it, to feeling unhappy, then i’m wondering what proportion is Pine Tree State going, ‘Set that flaming thus you’ll quote it.’”

She starts to laugh once more. “I very f***ING hope not. I simply wanna be happy.”