Old meets new in Dacey's cheerful alt-pop
Singer-songwriter Dacey Andrada and her bandmate Justin Tecson are Saroja Coelho's guests on The Intro
"I had a musical upbringing from my father," reflects Dacey Andrada, lead singer of the rising Vanouver alt-pop quintet bearing her first name. "He had all these old cassette tapes that ranged from the Beatles to James Brown. I used to listen — well, I still do listen — to a lot of Motown, funk and jazz."
Those influences and others breathe retro life into the seven postmodern alt-pop songs on Dacey's debut EP, Satin Playground, which has made a big impression since it was released in January.
In addition to Andrada, the band comprises Justin Tecson (guitar/production), Marco Marin (drums), Joshua Akow (bass), and Nathan Chan (guitar). They met and formed their group a few years ago when they were students at Vancouver's Nimbus School of Recording and Media, a "safe space to open up and be who you are," Andrada says.
Andrada and Tecson are Saroja Coelho's guests on the latest episode of CBC Music's The Intro, streaming above, and they explain how the group's eclectic skill set contributes to a collective identity.
"I come from a jazz background — I used to play in jazz band and sing in jazz choir," Andrada says. "Marco, he's more of an indie-rock type of guy; he used to play in a lot of rock bands. Nate is more of a math-rock/metal type of guy. He's got that emo esthetic [laughs]."
Tecson adds, "Josh, he kind of does everything. He comes from electronic music, but he's, like, into R&B and more contemporary stuff now. And I could say the same for myself: I'm into jazz and I came from an electronic music background, too. So, I incorporate that production style into what Dacey is doing."
"It's fusion to me, at least that's how I like to describe it," Andrada says of the Dacey sound. And there's no mistaking the presence of hip hop, jazz, '70s soul, bossa nova, funk and psychedelia in the mix.
Album opener "Sidewalks" begins with what sounds like carefree music from a 1960s sitcom, but the lyrics tell a different story: "I'll stroll/ as I watch you reap what you sow, dude," Andrada sings over a jaunty beat. "I really like writing in juxtaposition," she says. "That's why you hear this happy-go-lucky song, but it's all about heartbreak."
Heartbreak is one topic explored by Dacey. Another preoccupation is weed.
'I'm the biggest pothead in the group'
It's the subject of the band's most-streamed song, "Broccoli's Keeper," which the bandmates perform above. "It's about having to be stingy with your weed because when, like, people depend on you for that reason and only that reason, it's annoying and it's not genuine," explains Andrada.
The song has struck a chord, and was scooped up by Spotify for its popular Fresh Finds: Indie playlist upon its release.
"I'm the biggest pothead in the group," Andrada notes. "I like to smoke, you know, whenever I can, when it's the right time, especially when I write. I find that, like, it definitely does calm me down."
In her becalmed state, Andrada might be inclined to write mellow relaxation music. But, in fact, Dacey's songs are generally upbeat, cheerful and — without exception — in major keys.
The ebullient "I'll be There" is a good example, invoking blue birds, roses and "sweet serenity" while electric piano and a playful guitar solo provide halcyon commentary, some harmonic surprises notwithstanding.
Watch for Dacey's new song, "Love You," in the near future. "Alternative pop, but leaning toward, like, [an] indie-sounding song," says Tecson. "It's inspired by, like, Tyler the Creator, a little bit."