Musical Discoveries: Obviously you have a great career aside from music. Is music a new interest for you or something you have always done?
Daize: Well, I have been a fan of music since I was a little girl. When I started surfing I also started playing guitar and writing songs. I put a band together a little later and put out an album. After that I met Ken Tamplin, who is the producer on our next album. It has just kind of gone from there. I have always been a fan of music though and always loved it. It's a great way to express yourself.
So the writing and performing bit is new to you then?
A little. I have always performed for my friends and played in coffee houses and things like that but really I started doing it a lot more about two years ago. I love playing live. It's such a great feeling.
So what's a better rush then, surfing or performing in font of an audience?
It depends. Surfing is more like a meditation and a way to get back to life not being so hectic. It's like a way to center yourself. Unless the wave is big, then it's a rush! Performing in front of people though feels really really good.
You mentioned that you have another album. Was that a different producer and stuff?
Yeah, that was a totally separate thing. It was even a different style of music. The first album was more of an acoustic jam session. The producer worked really hard to get it to sound the way it does because it was from a jam session. This album I'm working on now is a lot different. It's a lot more energetic. It's more rock and roll/arena rock.
After the first album, what made you decide to pursue a different direction musically?
Well Ken approached me and we had talked a bunch about what he wanted to do and what I wanted to do if we were to work together. We were kind of on the same page in that we both wanted to do something with a little bit more energy that would be outside the box.
Basically if I had continued in the acoustic or pop style, you already have Norah Jones and Jewel. I mean, everyone has really already done everything. No one's doing hard rock/classic rock though and that's something that we always fall back on as good music you know? We both decided that this would be a good way to go. Music needs something live with lots of energy that is not so inside the box.
Were you disappointed with the first album then?
Oh no! Not at all. It was such a great learning experience for me. I loved everything about it. I listen to it even now and I am just amazed that I even got a chance to make a first album, you know what I mean? I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with the producer and musicians that I got to work with on that album. They really helped me to mature as a performer, as a singer, and as a guitar player. I don't regret any of that in any way.
The new songs that you have been working on with Ken, what's the plan for those? Are you looking for a label deal or is it something that you want to be independent?
We are still thinking about that. There are, of course, a lot of different ways to do it. We just want to be smart about whatever we do. There are consequences when you sign with a label but there are also consequences trying to do it yourself. As the album gets closer to finished then we will have to decide exactly how we want to approach it.
How involved are you in the songwriting process?
We do everything 50/50 as far as the writing goes. When it comes to the production, I like to just sit back and watch Ken work. He's amazing and you can learn so much by watching him. So, he and I do everything together basically. One of us comes up with a basic idea and then we sit down and toss around how it might work, like if the bridge needs to be a little harder or something. It's pretty cool because he's an awesome writer. It's cool to work with someone who is that genius at what he does.
Since you have a successful surfing and modeling career, you obviously don't get to the top of anything by letting someone else control you. Is this 50/50 writing thing something that is between you and Ken exclusively or is it something that you would do with any producer?
I think that I would have to cross that road if I came to it. If it was something where I couldn't get inspired to write songs then I would probably cross that road. I'm not against it but at the moment Ken and I really click at writing together. Every song we write together is better than the last as far as I'm concerned. I guess that it's one of those things that I wouldn't be able to say until it was right in front of me.
Hard rock/classic rock isn't always known for being and extremely personal style of music. That said, how personal are your songs to you?
I think that as a person I'm extremely personal. I'm the kind of person that gets down to business right away; there isn't a whole lot of fluff I guess. I think that music today isn't personal enough. It seems like so many artists are writing songs that no one can identify with. I try to be really personal with my songs. I think that almost every song on the album is probably more personal than it sounds. Usually whatever gut-wrenching thing I am going through at the moment winds up in a song. It's like writing is the perfect fix for it.
Do you ever step back and think that maybe you want to rewrite some lyrics so that you don't have to relive the experience every time you sing them?
No, not really. I think that part of the beauty of it is that you can re-live it. You can be instantly taken back to that moment, even if it's a painful one. That's a really powerful thing. I act as well and that's one of the things I really love about doing that. You can re-live something that someone else has experienced. You can hear a song or see a scene from a movie and be taken back to when you were 5 years old and then you remember a distinct smell or something. That's such a beautiful thing. I do sometimes sit back and say, "Okay, maybe this is a bit too heavy. I'm not sure people will relate to it. Let's try and make it less complicated." (laughs)
Your music is really positive. What kinds of things do you feel it's important that you convey with your music as a whole, not necessarily with individual songs?
Maybe just that people's problems are curable. Music is such a freedom of expression. There are times when I had just broken up with a boyfriend and Sarah McLaughlin saved me you know? (laughs) Or other times when I was surfing and AC/DC took me to the world championships. Music is like a friendship; it can help you through bad times and help you succeed in other times. I just want people to befriend the music and let it affect them.
Whenever someone tries to start a career in something other than what they are famous for, certain questions immediately come up. First off, do you feel that you are taken less seriously because you are known as a world champion surfer?
I haven't really had that experience yet. People have seemed maybe more interested because of that. There aren't really any surfers that in music, except Jack Johnson. If I were like Paris Hilton or someone like that then I would probably have a harder time being taken seriously by some audiences. At the same time, someone like Paris Hilton might be taken into the industry easier because of who she is. I haven't had anyone write me off because of that yet.
What about being female?
Definitely being female. I grew up surfing though and I was the only white kid in all Hawaiian neighborhood. Growing up like that you learn not to be like that. You do what you do and you show them that you are who you are and that you aren't going to let them push you around. While still respecting who they are of course.
Do you feel any sort of obligation to be better at what you do than a male artist would be?
Not really. I just have fun with what I do. I get asked that question a lot with surfing because it's a male dominated sport. If I was so caught up in girl power and being better than males at whatever then I probably wouldn't be where I am at today. I have just always had fun and surfed with the big boys and played guitar with the guys who are really good.
For me it's a fun way to just be yourself and it's not really about "I have to be this because the girls need to take over!" I'm not really into that. I just do it because I love it and I have always been kind of a tomboy anyway so I have always just done what my heart wanted to do. I totally believe that we are all created equally and I'm all for girls doing what they want to do but I'm not all about girls ruling the world or anything.
You recently got a pretty nice pickup endorsement from Dimarzio. That's a pretty big compliment to your abilities.
Yeah! There are all kinds of things happening. It's really neat. I am the first girl to ever get an endorsement from them. Honestly the surfing thing has really really helped, much more than I thought it would. When I first became successful in surfing there were only three or four other girls doing it and it didn't really phase me then either. I thought it was cool but that's about it.
I think that men are probably better surfers than women because in general they are stronger but, like I said, I think that women can do whatever they want. It's the same thing with music; I have never met a female guitar player that is as good as Jimi Hendrix. (laughs) I am just blown away to be able to be in the place that I am now. It's very cool.
Because you have so many careers going on at the same time, how does music fit into it at this point?
Right now it's definitely taking the front seat. I am done with surf competitions for this year and I'm not doing any photo tours this year like I have done in the past because I want to focus on getting this album done. I'm never going to stop surfing and I'll go back to competing as soon as the record is done. When I started surfing I didn't really think that it was going to be something that could pay the bills.
Now that I am doing music I never thought that it would be like this. I have to pinch myself sometimes because I'm surprised that I could make a living doing this! (laughs) It's really really cool to be able to make a living doing what you love.
That's about all I have. Do you have any particular parting thoughts?
No, I don't think so. I think that we have covered a lot of stuff. Thanks!