Interview: Daisy Chain’s Kyle Barnes and Jarred Tibbetts Talk New Album

Hardcore music can be uplifting, throwing you out of your malaise as though the record itself has come to life or the band have materialized before you, and that’s what the Los Angeles group Daisy Chain capture on their new album, The World Is Not Spinning.

The album is an April release from Vitriol Records, and Daisy Chain share members with other groups including Mossbreaker and Graf Orlock. On The World Is Not Spinning, Daisy Chain break through the metaphorical wall like a punk band clinging to a wrecking ball, and on every perceptible level of the record, they sound remarkably cohesive, which intensifies the jolt. Each element of the sound, from the pummeling guitars to the deep bass and beyond, gets chances to not just shine but soar, furthering the energetic lift.

Listening to this album and somehow not feeling moved would be like preparing for a vacation, packed suitcases, cleaned car, and all, and then just sitting in your car outside. That’s not what we’re doing here!

Monikers suggesting passion and positivity generally apply. Riveting, exhilarating, like a moving roller-coaster ride out on the open highway — that’s where this record operates. The galloping guitars certainly seem rooted in punk and hardcore, and Daisy Chain expand on this foundation with utterly catchy hooks, sketching out instrumentals to which it’s easy to fist-pump along.

To really internalize that concept of moving and pushing the physical and, one might say, mental body into expressing the furious joy and vivacity of being alive brings you somewhere refreshing, and The World Is Not Spinning is here to help. The forward movement is quite consistent, and Daisy Chain build out their sound with some fuzz that, as it’s presented here, evokes styles of rock music that wash you with a feeling like a headache lifting.

Below, check out what vocalist Kyle Barnes and drummer Jarred Tibbetts have to say about The World Is Not Spinning, from their interest in staying positive to the influence of hip-hop from the ‘90s and ‘80s.


The World Is Not Spinning is very high-energy. Do you feel like you guys intentionally cultivated that energetic and catchy vibe with this new album from Daisy Chain?

Tibbetts: There’s a lot of heavy shit going on that we were all dealing with as a society. And we didn’t want to make some really super heavy, depressing record. We wanted to kind of keep things light but still talk about some issues that we feel are important, like within society. There’s some songs that Kyle wrote that deal with gender roles and equality and stuff like that, and commercialism — all that kind of stuff.

I mean, my goal when we were writing the music for it was just high-energy. Just wanted to do something a little bit different. I don’t really hear a lot of bands that kind of sound like us right now, you know? And we’re kind of — as Kyle will point out, I’m sure — paying homage to bands of the past that didn’t take themselves so seriously.

Barnes: Definitely. I think big influences. During lockdown, obviously we also had no idea what was going to happen — like no live shows were happening. We didn’t know if it even made sense to make a record, like if we were ever going to play the record live. All that stuff was very up in the air and questionable. And I think that listening to Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe, Van Halen, Big Star — all those big, loud-sound bands. Obviously like [Black] Sabbath: that was kind of what I got inspiration from. And I definitely think that the way that the record evolved in my brain as far as lyrics, and obviously the music kind of matched it, was I wanted it to be like, okay, we’re a stadium rock band; we’re like a big band, you know? We’re playing these big stadiums with people chanting and singing along.

That’s where I went. I also was listening to a lot of hip-hop. A lot of like Lord Finesse, Big L, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, all that battle rap hip-hop from the ‘90s and the ‘80s where basically they always talked about how they’re the best and how everyone else sucks. I like that flair. And I’ve always thought that there was a parallel between hip-hop and punk. I like the flair of hip-hop, and I like the flair of glam rock and also the era of stadium rock. So that’s definitely where I went with the lyrics. And that was definitely a huge inspiration. I wanted it to feel light and fun, and like Jared was saying, there’s a lot of good bands out right now. I think that there’s good music coming out. But I definitely think that people follow these cyclical trends where one band kind of hits it on the head, and then all of a sudden everyone kind of sounds like that.

Or at least that’s hot, so that’s what’s being pushed. At least in my head, I was like, I have no idea if this will ever happen again. Might as well kind of go for broke and do something kind of outta pocket and out of the norm and see how it goes.

There certainly are a lot of negative things going on in the world, and while we know they’re there and won’t go away, it can also be important to make space for yourself.

Barnes: The name of the record, The World Is Not Spinning, was also about like, what the fuck is going on with the pandemic, like all the crazy stuff that was happening during the lockdown. I mean, I feel like I don’t even need to talk about it. Everyone knows what happened during 2020, and it’s just, it was really rough. So that’s what it was kind of like, is like — the world’s not spinning.

We’re not moving forward. All we’re doing is regurgitating the same shit that especially America in general has dealt with for hundreds of years. Whenever you think that we’re finally progressing or moving forward with stuff, you’re always reminded of how not progressive we are in some ways. That gets lost too. We live in L.A., which is for the most part pretty progressive. California is a pretty progressive state, and you forget that there’s just so much other crazy shit going on within your own country that feels so foreign. And I think that’s where “the world is not spinning” came from, and that’s where some of the song subjects came from too.

Tibbetts: We wrote I want to say like most of the record, probably like Winter 2019. And we were getting ready to record, and then the pandemic happened, lockdown happened, and we actually did — we released two singles before, in like 2021. And we recorded before we actually did the principal, like the recording for the record.

One of those songs was “Tarnished.” And that was kind of a lot, like a heavier vibe lyrically I think. I don’t know if Kyle did this intentionally or if we did this intentionally, but we released two songs that were going to be on the record as singles before the record, that if they had been on the record, it would’ve made it not as fun of a theme. It wouldn’t have been as light. I think we did a really good job of trying to balance — like not making the entire thing a huge bummer, because that’s kind of how we were thinking. That’s how I was feeling, at least. I lost my job, and it wasn’t certain what was going to happen, if we were even ever going to play a show again.

Barnes: Like Jared said, most of the songs were done pre-lockdown, and then lockdown kind of postponed everything. We ended up recording everything obviously way later. Lyrics were weird, because I think initially I had some ideas for lyrics for new songs. And then during the lockdown — I don’t want to say I lost where I was going with the lyrics, but I think I just kind of started writing down all these little tidbits and ideas and stuff. And then I don’t think I really had most of the songs even locked in until we started recording. Jared and the rest of the band — we would sit down, and then I would just go with what I had, and then, if it was locked in, they were like, alright, cool. But if there was other stuff, it was fun to do it in a more collaborative way in that way. I think the recording process was very therapeutic and fun in a weird way for all of us, because I think it gave us like, oh, okay, maybe this record will come out; maybe we will do stuff with these songs. So that was kind of cool.

[…] And it’s funny too, because we recorded ’em December ‘21, so the full songs have been done for a year and four months. So this, the record coming out is also really therapeutic, at least for me because I’ve been so stoked on it. But like, it’s been a secret basically. I’m so excited that people are actually hearing it, because in my brain everything’s been out already forever. And then I forget like, oh yeah, people haven’t heard any of these songs. It’s pretty cool.

Thinking back if you can to the original songwriting process, are a lot of the songs we hear pretty close to their original form? They sound so immediate.

Barnes: I think that this band’s been cool, because I think that we’ve always been really solid with communication. I don’t think that anyone’s ever thought that their idea got lost in translation or completely obliterated by everybody.

Tibbetts: When I joined the band, I came in with an idea, because I knew we all have very similar musical tastes, right? Like Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, Mötley Crüe, all this rock music that can have a pop formula at times. I came in and I wanted to help guide in the arrangements. Like, hey, let’s try to follow a more traditional song formula, of intro, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus — something like that. Everyone was super receptive to that. For this record we really dove headfirst into really trying to write, like Kyle was saying, a big, stadium rock record that could appeal to a broader audience, right? Just the formula of the songs, not even necessarily the lyrics or the riffs themselves. Just like, oh, that’s a recognizable chorus, and that’s a catchy, hooky — stuff like that.

Barnes: The big thing I think me and [Tibbetts] instantly agreed on is I want to be a pop band, disguised as a hardcore band. I wanted it to be pop, rock, even pop like ‘80s, The Jesus and Mary Chain, that type of stuff. Like My Bloody Valentine, even a little Oasis, and then grunge, like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains. Those bands were very pop, but also, they were heavy. That was a big thing for me. I wanted it to be catchy, choruses, and I think The World Is Not Spinning was us just going for that, no holds barred. Basically almost abandoning the punk/hardcore formula, and being like, we’re a hard rock — whatever the fuck we are, punk, hardcore, whatever, but let’s just go for the pop shit.

Having cultivated the elements you’ve described in your music, do you think you’d be into doing something like a stadium tour?

Barnes: I think that’d be pretty damn hilarious. I would love to play a stadium tour, if I wanted to lose a bunch of money and make a bunch of people uncomfortable. I mean, I’m super into that. Ultimately, I think that — I’m not going to say that we wouldn’t make sense on a stadium tour. It’s just a lot of things would have to slide into place for that to happen. Growing up playing in hardcore bands, going to hardcore shows, I’ve always been obsessed with the more intimate the venue, the better. And weirdly, still to this day, I think that the small, intimate venues with all the amps, nothing mic’d — if the acoustics in that room are decent, it’s not like a giant warehouse with 18-foot ceilings, those are some of the best shows I’ve ever been to. But I’ve also gone to the bigger shows with everything mic’d and professionally mixed and everything. And that also sounds insane.

[…] Like Jared was saying, coming from hardcore, it’s: scream as loud as you can, hit the drums as loud as you can, turn the amps up as loud as they’ll go, you know? And even after being on this planet for 38 years, Jared’s like, hey, why don’t you try singing with earplugs in, because it helps you gauge where your voice is at. Because I’m just so used to: scream as loud as you can until you can hear yourself over the music coming out of the amps. I guess that works in hardcore, but then with these songs, obviously I’m trying to do different stuff. And even on “Across My Mind” and stuff like that, where it’s actually singing, it’s like, oh, I had to unlearn and rewire my brain as far as what’s important and what I need to pay attention to.

Photo courtesy of Jason Palacio.

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