Bandit Blotter: Days N Daze’s Whitney Flynn on the DIY struggles of losing everything

When a band goes on tour, there’s the potential to see humanity at its greatest. Whether the venues are massive stadiums or tiny basements, there’s the chance to witness people basking in their shared, undying love of music. Unfortunately, there’s also the potential for some rat-bastard to screw everything up. When that happens, there’s nothing left to do but to pick up the pieces, take stock of what went missing, and try to learn some lessons for next time.

Today, on the highly awaited, second installment of Bandit Blotter, I had a chance to talk with Whitney Flynn, Trumpeter and Vocalist of the Houston folk-punk outfit Days N Daze. After a bit of back and fourth, she managed to take time out to talk about their terrible experiences in Cheyenne, as well as their new GoFundMe campaign that will not only let them recover, but break ground in a whole new continent. You can read the interview below, and if you want to help out, check out their GoFundMe here.

Dying Scene (Supermartinguy): Hey Whitney, thanks for chatting with me. How long have you been back in Houston?

Whitney Flynn: I’ve been here for about three or four weeks now, and I leave next week again. I’ve just been booking for My Pizza, My World, and Europe, right now. Days N Daze is also recording our new full length, so I’ve been doing that for 6 hours a day, and booking 4 hours a day. Just trying to get everything ready before hitting the road.

That’s intense! So how is the new album going?

We have about six tracks completely done, and a few that are still halfway recorded… we have a lot more to go. We haven’t released a full one since 2013, just because we haven’t really been in town to record. This time, we’re hoping to put out a pretty big CD; I can’t say how big just yet, but we’re just going to record all of the tracks we have written and see if we can make something worth while.

And what’s going on with the upcoming European tour?

We’re doing a lot of the UK, but we’re also doing Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria, Croatia, France, and the rest is in the UK. Pumpkin Records is booking the whole thing and getting all our merch for us, and being fucking awesome. Zack from Blackbird Raum connected us with them, and I sent one FB message and Matt Martin, who’s going to be our tour manager was like “yeah, I’ve got you!” and within a week later he had a map and everything set out.

That’s fantastic! So, on the topic of tours, let’s talk about went down in Cheyenne last May?

It pretty much has fucked us over to this point. A lot of people offered to do GoFundMe’s and stuff, but we didn’t want to because we thought we could recover. But now we’re in so much debt because we pretty much had all our savings stolen from us.

Jesus! How did it happen?

It was really fucking weird, because we sleep in other people’s houses all the time, and we slept at the place where we played, which was a friend’s house. After it happened, I was kicking myself because I’d gone to sleep early to get up early and go to the bank to deposit all the money that we had in our locked box and get our van fixed. I sleep with my purse over me, and my purse was off of me, near my backpack, and my wallet had been stolen. Everyone was like “Whitney you’re just being dumb, you probably just lost it,” but then everyone looked, and was like “Oh, my headphones have been stolen; oh, my electric toothbrush is missing; oh, our medicine box is gone!” We went into our merchbox, and everything we had was gone. Just from me, they took $700 that had come from an Indiegogo I had done to get us our tour van; that was money that was supposed to go into fixing my van, and also to mail our perks. So, even to this day, a year later, I’m still slowly mailing these perks for people that donated to help us get that van. So it’s never-ending! I ended up leaving for 2 weeks of that tour because I was just broken. But I have a really big dog now, so no one can fuck with me while I’m sleeping.

Did Days N Daze keep playing without you?

Before that happened I’d never missed a show in seven years. For those two weeks they played the shows without me, but I was still running the tour and talking to promoters and making sure everything was going smoothly for the show; but I just couldn’t mentally do it, and I don’t ever want to play a show when I’m not there.

Was there any kind of follow up?

I reported my passport and my money stolen, because all of my identity was gone, but the cops didn’t do anything, there’s nothing that they can do. I’ve heard some hearsay about people coming back from Cheyenne, to San Antonio at my friend’s house, and that they had a ton of cash and were racing down to Mexico, but that’s a rumor.

That’s some serious heist shit!

Yeah, I mean it was a few thousand dollars – they took everything that we had – and they knew that if they stuck around…  Cheyenne kids are crazy, I love ‘em to death, but they’ll get them!

So what kind of support did you guys get from the wider folk-punk community? I know Paperbag Music donated a lot of their profits to you guys, and Night Gaunts dedicated a lot of money from their album.

It was awesome! What we did get went towards finishing the tour, and we were okay with that. And our merch person, Kelly – who’s, like, the most incredible person I’ve ever met – she fronted all of the merch that we had from the Leftover Crack tour and the Night Gaunts tour, and part of our GoFundMe is going to help us pay back what we owe her. Hopefully with it we can get all of our stuff out to Europe and get out of debt… and shit.

Are you doing anything else to raise funds, other than the GoFundMe?

So I’m selling my van, which is really silly because I’m still sending people money from getting the van. We need $20,000 which is a shit-ton of money, but that’s just what we need, and I’ve been doing fundraising shows, and Kelly’s going to be doing some Fundraising for us, making some limited edition merchandise.

Given these harsh circumstances, what made you decide to go through with the tour?

We’ve wanted to get to Europe for years now, and it was supposed to be last year, but Night Gaunts hit us up, and then Leftover Crack hit us up, and then, after the robbery, we didn’t have the funds to even remotely try to get out there. This year I was looking at our calendar, and was just like ‘we’ve got to do it! How many years are going to keep going by because shit always happens?’ And if you let that get in the way, you’re not going to be able to do anything, you know?

If the GoFundMe doesn’t pan out, is there a contingency plan?

Basically what’s going to happen, is what usually happens… we’ll just make it work. As long as we can get our flights and our passports, we’ll just figure it out from there, I guess. We’ll just have no merch, and just have to wing it like we’ve done for all these other tours, because we leave with nothing in our pockets and go from show to show. Our main goal is just to tell our story, and say what we have to say to as many people as possible, and shirts are the last thing as far as music goes.

Coming out of this crisis, was there ever a moment where you thought to yourselves, this would be easier to handle if there was some kind of label to support you?

We doubt ourselves constantly. I’ve just sat there and looked my life, and what other people have told me, and wondered ‘am I an idiot?’ But then what’s the fun in it? Every single part of our band, we feel it. No one else is telling us what to do, no one else is writing on the CDs, it’s just us and our community. And I think it’s worth it. For this next CD, we have friends who run smaller labels, and we’re not going to sign to anything, but just do distribution, because we’re only able to do so much. So if we can send our stuff to other people who can distribute for us… I already do 4 or 5 different distributors around the world that I just send big packages to, and they sell it from there stores or websites, but I’m going to be looking into a lot more of them, so we can have, all around the world, a hundred different DIY places, where people can get our stuff. We won’t have to go through a label, we can all just be one big, giant label. I don’t know. I have a lot of ideas.

Going off that, you guys have been around since 2008, so online platforms of sharing music have always been available. Do you think you could have formed this vast community before the internet?

I don’t know. We owe a lot of what we are able to do to the internet. But, when me and Jesse were first starting out, we had our 4-song demo and we would go to the grocery store and literally pass out our mix tape to people, and go to BestBuy and hide our CDs. I mean, we’ve been touring forever, and I remember our first tour was 3 months, and we had just three shows actually booked for us; beyond that we would go to shows that were happening around town and just knock on doors and go ‘we’re acoustic, we’re a three-piece band, can we play before or after the show?’ And a lot of the people that we knocked on doors to are still our friends now, who still book for us now, which is insane. I MISS THOSE DAYS!

Moving forward, is there a way to prevent things like the Cheyenne incident?

You can’t. It’s just a roll of the dice. I’ve got my dog now, but you can’t stop people from doing what they want to do. Nowadays, I’m not so trusting, and I take full measures to make sure we’re okay. I was pretty ignorant last year thinking ‘this is my friend’s house, things will be ok!’

So, I guess my last question is, how do you feel about leaving to play on a different continent?

I’m excited! Our first show is Boomtown, and there’s, like, 50,000 people going and I’m like ‘Why did we make THIS our first show?!’ We’ve been touring the states for years and years, and I know every place, how far it is, and how many miles from every place, you know? Going over there, I’m just anxious. I hope no one hates us!

 

Whitney’s side-project My Pizza, My World is currently on tour throughout the Southwest, check out the dates here. Also, keep an eye out for further dates from bandmate JE-C’s project Chad Hates George, here.

 


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