Daughter (band)

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Not to be confused with Daughters (band).
Daughter - SXSW 2012 - Ron Baker 1.jpg
Daughter at SXSW in 2012
Background information
Origin London, United Kingdom
Genres Indie folk, alternative rock, ambient
Years active 2010–present
Labels 4AD, Glassnote
Website www.ohdaughter.com
Members Elena Tonra
Igor Haefeli
Remi Aguilella

Daughter is a European indie folk band from England. Fronted by North London native Elena Tonra (b. 15 January 1990), they were formed in 2010 after the addition of Swiss-born guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella from France.[1] They have released two EPs and one album, and are currently signed to Glassnote (North America) and 4AD (UK/Europe).[2] After playing the local London circuit, they toured supporting Ben Howard around Europe and have since played headlining tours around North America, Europe and Australia.[3]


Of Irish-Italian parentage, Elena Tonra (b. 1990) was raised in Northwood, London, with her older brother, Kieran. Through her Dublin-born grandfather she experienced traditional Irish music from an early age. Her interest in music began when she received a copy of the album Grace by Jeff Buckley.[4] After being bullied at school she used writing to "deal emotionally with life". Changing schools at the age of 12 had a great impact and since then Tonra writes "about things I feel difficult talking about in adulthood”.[5]

Tonra began her career in music, performing acoustic shows under her own name around London, she found that this "didn’t suit me at all. As a musician, I’m self-taught and felt I was restricted by my abilities".[5] Haefeli attended one of the acoustic shows that Tonra was performing and found that "she had this power which drew everyone in".[4] Originally from Neuchatel, Haefeli also attended London's Institute of Contemporary Music Performance where he met Tonra during a songwriting course.[6] They began performing together with Haefeli adding electric guitars.[5] After their first demo started word of mouth on the band, Daughter self-released their debut EP, His Young Heart, on 20 April 2011, recorded in Haefeli's bedsit.[7] Later that same year, they released another EP, The Wild Youth, on 2 October through artist-led Communion Records. The latter EP earned praise from British website For Folk's Sake who described Daughter as "one of the unique sounds in the pop landscape today."[8] BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens also invited them to perform a Maida Vale Session for his show.[9]

Tonra and Haefeli became romantically involved and the guitarist insisted that they "keep our couple life and our band life separate, [because] I don’t want Elena to stop saying things in her songs that are personal [as] songwriters need to be expansive and they need to be unafraid”.[4] While Tonra concurred with "Igor doesn’t question my lyrics. He regards what we do as an art form. He certainly doesn’t try to rewrite my words. I never tell anyone what my songs are about, not even him. I feel they are direct enough, anyway. They aren’t especially obscure".[5]

In 2012, shortly after headlining a 700-capacity show in London, Daughter announce their signing to UK label 4AD. Speaking of this, Elena commented "we couldn't be happier to be working with 4AD, a label that has released so many inspirational records and whose ethos we hold in very high regard. It really is a privilege."[10] Their first single proper, "Smother", was released in October of that year. It was playlisted by both BBC Radio 1 and 6Music, while being awarded Single of the Week by long-time supporter Huw Stephens.[11] In December 2012 the band appeared on the David Letterman Show prior to the release of the record, which Tonra described as "perhaps (...) a cart-before-the-horse situation".[5]

If You Leave[edit]

The band released their debut album, If You Leave, in March 2013 (May in Norway). Charting at Number 16 in the UK, it was also received favourably in the press; "An album as beautifully conceived as If You Leave is one you follow from start to finish, riveted by the story it weaves and the emotion it bleeds. And in these digital days that feels like a remarkable achievement" Drowned in Sound said in their 9/10 review,[12] while The Fly in a 4/5 album review said that it's "word-in-the-ear intimate and mountain-range massive".[13] Daughter also won Independent Album of the Year for If You Leave at the 2013 AIM Independent Music Awards in London.[14] The band began a lengthy tour in support of the album and recruited Luke Saunders as an additional live-member to ensure the material could be reproduced. As Haefeli explained: "He plays everything we can’t play, which is keyboards, bass and some more guitar. We were really happy with the result. It took quite a while and a lot of rehearsing, but we are really happy with how the songs sound live". The band also use a number of vocal and guitar effects to achieve this sound live.[7]

During the first two months of 2014, the band travelled to the Far East and Australasia for a number of headlining shows and as part of the St Jerome's Laneway Festival.[7] In April, Daughter supported The National on six North American tour dates,[15] while they also announced the release of a 4AD Sessions EP, a collaboration with composer Joe Duddell. It consists of five tracks performed live at Portmeirion with an eight-piece ensemble that was also filmed.[16]

In popular culture[edit]

The band's song "Youth" was played in an advertisement for the Tour de France on ITV4;[17] The song was also featured in the U.S. television shows Mistresses and Grey's Anatomy, as well as in a commercial by Norwegian airline company Widerøe.[18] "Youth" was also used in Skins, series 6 episode 8. The song "Touch" was used for the Teen Wolf episode "Motel California" in the third season. The song "Youth" was used for an episode of Arrow; "Crucible" in the second season. "Youth" has also recently been used in the BBC drama 'In The Club' and in an advertisement for the upcoming BBC1 drama series 'Our Girl'. The song "Still" was used for a Hollyoaks advert during 2013. The song "Medicine" was used for a BBC One Drama promotional video that first aired in October 2013.[19] The song "Medicine" is played towards the end of an episode of Person of Interest called "Death Benefit", and towards the end of season one, episode eight of Red Band Society. The song "Amsterdam" was used in an episode of Reign.

Additionally, their song "Smother" was used in a BBC One TV trailer for the three-part mini series Death Comes To Pemberley, which first aired in December 2013.

A remix of "Home" by Jon Hopkins was featured on the soundtrack to the British film How I Live Now, which was released on CD in October 2013.[20]

Shallows was used in the season finale of The Originals Season 1.


Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]


  • "Smother" (4AD, 2012)
  • "Human" (4AD, 2013)
  • "Youth" (4AD, 2013)


  • Elena Tonra – vocals, guitar, bass guitar
  • Igor Haefeli – guitar
  • Remi Aguilella – drums, percussion


  1. ^ "Feb 2013 interview" Tom Lamont, 'One to watch: Daughter', The Observer, 24 February 2013
  2. ^ "discogs entry" Discog.com listing
  3. ^ "songkick entry" Songkick listing of tourdates 2010-now
  4. ^ a b c "Scotsman interview" Aiden Smith, 'British band Daughter on matters of life & death', Scotsman on Sunday, 3 March 2013
  5. ^ a b c d e "Irish Examiner interview Ed Power, 'First Lady of Nu-Folk' The Irish Examiner, 4 March 2013.
  6. ^ Campion, Freddie. "Artist of the Week: Daughter’s Elena Tonra". http://www.vogue.com/. Conde Naste. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Musicfeeds January 2014" Rachelle Beaven, 'Daughter Talk Laneway 2014, Incremental Success & Album Number Two', Musicfeeds (Australia), 24 January 2014
  8. ^ "Daughter – The Wild Youth". For Folk's Sake. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Daughter in session at Maida Vale". BBC Radio 1. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Daughter Sign to 4AD". 4AD. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Killers live, Daughter on the phone, Huw lookalikes". BBC Radio 1. 16 September 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "Drowned in Sound Album Review". 
  13. ^ "The Fly Album Review". 
  14. ^ "AIM Independent Music Awards 2013". 
  15. ^ "Daughter to support The National". 
  16. ^ "4AD pressrelease" Daughter 4AD Sessions Announced, 8 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Daughter "Youth" for Tour de France 2012", Newsitem, Universal Music Publishing Group, London, 27 June 2012.
  18. ^ Wideroe – Grandpa's magic trick – english version. Widerøes Flyveselskap. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  19. ^ BBC One Drama Promo. BBC. 6 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "How I Live Now (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 

External links[edit]