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Byron Bay hippie-country trio The Buckleys take us through their debut album ‘Daydream’

We take you inside our favourite new albums with the artists who made them. We're sitting down with Byron Bay hippie-country trio The Buckleys to chat about their debut album 'Daydream'.

There is a natural chemistry that exists when musicians have been playing together for a long time, and it becomes hard to ignore when they’ve been playing together their whole lives. This innate harmony flows through every minute of The Buckleys’ debut album Daydream.

Comprised of siblings Sarah, Lachlan, and Molly, the trio have been making music together for as long as they can remember, taking over stages around the world with their brand of “hippy country” – a term coined for the blend of country, Americana, folk, funk, rock, and pop The Buckleys craft.

Their debut album Daydream is a love letter to, and reimagining of, what country music can be, it’s foundations laid in their home of Byron Bay and crafted across ten days in their home away from home, Nashville.

Across its 12 tracks, you’ll find touches of nostalgia for past decades like the ’60s and ’70s, wrapped in a modern Americana-folk-pop package. Produced and engineered at the skilled hands of Chad Carlson – who has a stack of Grammy wins including Album of the Year and Country Album of the Year for Taylor Swift’s Fearless – it’s clear why Daydream has already scored four Top 5 Australian Country Airplay singles.

It’s wild to think how far The Buckleys have already come. Almost a decade ago, The Buckleys’ career started to take shape when they ended up in the finals of Tamworth Country Music Festival’s busking competition. Fronted by then-11-year-old Sarah, they were invited to perform on the festival’s main stage. 

Then, just four years ago, they pooled every bit of money they had to make their dreams of performing in Nashville come true. That trip became a huge catalyst for their career, performing shows and turning some very important heads across the city.

This year, with touring put on hold, the trio performed to four million people around the world during their virtual world tour, adding another outstanding achievement to their mantle.

We sat down with the trio – Sarah, Molly, and Lachlan – to get the inside scoop on how The Buckleys brought Daydream together. Check it out below.

The Buckleys Story

From the beginning

Sarah: “We’ve always played music because we grew up around so much of it. Our dad is a musician, so we started going to his gigs very young and hanging out, falling asleep backstage or under the drum kit while he’d be on stage to thousands of people at a festival, playing drums or piano.

“We were so lucky to have those experiences, and I think we fell in love with it all because we saw how fun it looked. To see people having such a great time, making memories in the audiences and the band/artist having just as much of a good time doing what they love – it’s a really special thing so I think initially that was a big part of why we started wanting to play music.”

What you’ll hear

Sarah: “We’ve been described as ‘Hippie Country’ which is just what people coincidentally started calling us after hearing our music – without us ever saying it or even knowing what it was.

“Especially in Nashville, when people would ask us what our sound is it was hard to explain because we never really fit into a particular box. ‘There’s country, some rock, pop, a bit funky here and there etc,’ but when people started calling us ‘Hippie Country’ it felt like it summed everything up and we embraced that term.

“It captures all of the things we do and love, and gives us the freedom to really create what is authentic to us, whatever that may be or what influences are feeding into it.”

Influences & inspiration

Molly: “We were exposed to many amazing artists from quite a young age so we definitely have a big range of influences that inspire us to want to create great music and push the envelope, such as Eagles, ELO, Kasey Chambers, Keith Urban, Blondie, Stevie Wonder, Hall & Oats. 

“We pull inspiration not just musically, but style wise I have one big Pinterest board full of outfits worn by some of our style icons, so when I need some outfit inspo that’s where I go.”

Inside the creative process

Molly: “It was such a milestone and an amazing experience. Even just being in Nashville and recording a debut album was a crazy concept in my mind because it’s such a dream come true for us.

“We came in with so many ideas and so much inspiration, Chad Carlson our producer is amazing at taking all those in and making it all into one cohesive body of work that really captures who we are as artists and people. The experience was also completely different than when we were recording singles. We were able to throw a lot of different flavours into each song and really create a journey throughout this record.”

Lachlan: “Writing processes are a funny one. My process definitely changes a lot and it varies on how the original idea inspired me to write the song. It may start by jamming to a certain drum groove, hearing a vibe on the radio, or a random song that Sarah or Molly are humming around the house.

“I feel that the way it’s changed depends on what I’m listening to. I remember ‘back in the day’ there was a time when Sarah would write a song with Molly and I managed to somehow channel the style of a totally opposite genre, potentially turning it into a southern rock jam or something.

“We all have different tastes and come at music from different angles, but at the same time, really understand each other. I think that’s what keeps our creative process exciting and constantly evolving.”

Tell us the story

Sarah: “There are a few themes throughout the album, but I would say one of the key themes is freedom. Freedom in our music in particular, because with this record we really just went for it without thinking too much about what box or category each song would fit in.

“We just wanted to give each song exactly what it needed to be the best song it could be. There are a lot of different flavours on this album which we love and all of them are completely us. That kind of artistic freedom is really important to us a band.

“‘Woodstock69’ is a song that reflects on a time in music we really love and represents all of that. ‘Breathe’ is another one that I’d say has an underlying message of freedom.”

Down memory lane

Molly: “The experimentation stage was great. The songs really come to life at this stage and some of the tracks turned out completely different than our initial idea which is amazing and I love.

“‘Leave Me Hanging On’ was one of them. It’s one of our favourite songs on the album and it definitely turned out completely different to what we were expecting – in the best possible way. The incredible musicians who played with us on this record really gave that song, in particular, a whole new life. The band played a big part in making this album come to life.”

Kicking goals

Sarah: “This moment right now [is our biggest achievement]. Releasing our debut album is so massive for us in every way. We’re so proud of this record as songwriters, as musicians, sonically.

“It’s exactly what we dreamed of our first record being and to record an album in Nashville in a studio where so many of our idols and legends have recorded their albums, it’s such a big accomplishment for us. It all really is a ‘daydream’ come true.”

Overcoming struggle town

Molly: “The first thing that comes to mind is this pandemic. We’ve never experienced anything like this, artists aren’t able to go out and work, do shows, or connect with people through live performances, so it’s been a challenge for everyone to adjust so suddenly. However, we stayed focused, excited and positive about music which has really kept us going. We feel really grateful to be able to share this album at a time when people need music and art the most, and we all need to be there for each other.”

For the love of music

Lachlan: “Making music, for us, is something that just makes us feel good. Playing to others as well as being on a stage with the audience, groovin’ out and having a good time never fails to fuel and inspire us.”       

Say it in a sentence

Sarah: Daydream is “the sound of your rock’n’roll daydream as you sit on your backyard porch in the countryside breeze – taking you on a wild journey through the backstreets of your mind, while never losing the feeling of home.”

Essential Listening

The Buckleys – Wild Honey

Sarah: “I wrote this song in Nashville a few days before we recorded the album and unintentionally, it seems that while I was trying not to eat a lot of sugar during that week (because I am such a sweet tooth) I subconsciously without noticing until later had started writing all of these songs about sugary things like ‘Wild Honey’. There’s another song called ‘Glad You Did’ that references “cinnamon sweet” and if you listen through the album – well, you know where some of those sugar references are coming from. I cracked up laughing when I realised ‘Hmmm there’s a quite a few references to sugar in these songs.’ Art really does reflect life.”

The Buckleys – Crazy Like You

Lachlan: “This is a song that started with the drum groove, which is that classic boogie beat. I love boogie bands like Thin Lizzy and remember when I was at a festival last year, a boogie drum beat came on and the crowd of 10,000 people immediately started jumping up and down. I quickly pulled out my phone and wrote down these exact words, ‘Write a boogie song ASAP!’ This song’s all about the rhythm.”

The Buckleys – Leave Me Hanging

Sarah: “I wrote this song here in Australia on this half-broken dusty keyboard we have. I don’t know a lot about piano, but I started writing a few songs on there for something different (as I usually write on guitar) and found it really fun not knowing where the chords are supposed to go and what notes are ‘supposed’ to follow each other because I just would play random chords and see what sounded good with no preconceived ideas. I love writing like that – it’s pure experimentation. This is a song I wrote like that. It’s one of my favourites on the album, I just love that old school groove.”

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