For Tatiana Hammond '15, Music is a Family Affair
Her folk group, Daisy House, is a collaboration with her father, Doug.
When Tatiana Hammond ’15 went home to Long Beach, Calif., during winter break of her first year at Haverford, she wasn’t just kicking back until school was starting again. Instead, Hammond and her father, Doug, started a band: Daisy House, which just released its fourth album, Crossroads.
“I was an untrained 18-year-old, and my dad said, ‘I’ve got this song idea—it’s really folk-rock, and I imagine Sandy Denny singing on it,’” says Hammond. She’d always sung along to Denny’s vocals with iconic 1960s British folk-rock band Fairport Convention, so she took up her dad’s challenge. It took three weeks, recording all day every day, for the duo to complete “Ready to Go.”
That song appears on Daisy House’s 2013 self-titled debut record, which features Hammond singing lilting melodic parts over the beds of instrumentation that Doug, who is a professional musician based in Southern California, recorded for a dozen tracks. “My dad’s the genius who writes all the songs,” she says. “When he was 12 he got his first guitar, and music has been his religion ever since.” (Her mother, Jamie Hammond, is a dancer and the founder of Pony Box Dance Theatre, whose logo is based on a drawing Tatiana made as a child.)
After that first session, Doug would have new recordings ready for Hammond to sing on whenever she came home from college. The 10-song Beaus and Arrows followed in 2014, and after graduation they quickly fell into a rhythm of recording, refining, and releasing their music: Western Man came out in early 2016, followed by Crossroads in January 2017.
“I’ve gotten a lot better at singing and have developed my own sense of how I imagine a song should sound in the end,” Hammond says, noting that over time Daisy House has become more of a collaboration between her and her father. “And it’s a whole lot more fun—I think you can hear that in the last two albums especially.”
Hammond, who is now 24, lives in the south of England with her husband and teaches math at a local school (she majored in mathematics at Haverford). She travels to California often to work with her father on new material. The recent Crossroads is the most mature Daisy House record to date, and Hammond says the band has evolved from its folk-rock origins to a more modern sound—albeit one that still radiates the sunshine of ’60s-era California rock.
“Folk is an excellent founding principle, in the sense that it means you make sure the lyrics are compelling and articulate, and that the song itself should be good enough on its own to listen to acoustically,” she says. But now Daisy House’s music is expanding from the folk-driven approach. “We’re no longer insisting on having old English string instruments twinkling throughout our songs.” Indeed, Crossroads is full of up-to-date electric guitars, keyboards and driving pop rhythms.
Hammond says that the changes to Daisy House’s style upset some original fans, but she sees that as part of the price of progression: “The freedom to make whatever kind of song appeals to us has made the process and the albums more exciting.”
Hammond and her father have posted each of their albums online via Bandcamp (daisyhouse.bandcamp.com), and that global platform has created a fan base that extends way beyond the band’s native Long Beach. New York-based music magazine The Big Takeover praised Daisy House’s “pure pop that could have come straight from the 1960s,” and hundreds of people follow the band on social media.
The band is set to play the OC Fair and the International Pop Overthrow festival in Los Angeles this summer, and Doug Hammond is busy working on a new set of songs for the next Daisy House release. Tatiana doesn’t know exactly what to expect from her father’s musical imagination, but she’s clearly her collaborator’s biggest fan. “As each song comes on, you don’t know what you’re going to get, but you know it’s going to be good.”