At 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening, a breathless Whitney Flynn answers the phone. In 24 hours, her band Days N Daze will be celebrating the release of its seventh full-length record, Crustfall, its first in four years.
The album-release party at White Oak Music Hall will see the group performing for and partying with local fans before they depart on a long tour through the U.S. and into Canada.
“Hey!”, she says cheerfully once it has been established that I am not a bill collector or telemarketer. “We are mastering this one song right now. After we’re done, can I give you a call?”
Such is the life of one Houston’s most underrated bands: Impromptu, open and willing to put in work up to the 11th hour for the sake of good tunes. Days N Daze’s music has been described in countless ways, but it remains hard to categorize. Ask the band, and they will tell you they enjoy being classified as "bipolar punk," since their music encompasses so many highs and lows on record.
Blending punk, folk, ska and thrash, the band creates a beautiful cacophony that is both profound and catchy, giving listeners the option of contemplating song lyrics or jumping into the mosh pits that inevitably form during live performances.
It makes for quite the fun, messy party.
Flynn calls me back not 30 minutes later, this time with vocalist and guitarist Jesse Sendejas on the line. He tells me he has successfully completed the track he was mastering earlier.
“Right now, we’re sitting in my dad’s room where we record,” Sendejas says. “Sorry if we’re off our game. I’m just really stressed out because we’re supposed to be releasing this album tomorrow, and I’m still mastering it.”
“We finished recording it today,” Flynn adds. “We finished writing it and recording it today.”
But despite how busy they are, Flynn and Sendejas don’t sound tired. In fact, they sound excited to talk about their music, which they have come to embrace as fundamental to their existence.
“It’s such a big part of our lives, as a coping mechanism, to write,” Flynn says. “So [songwriting] is a pretty consistent thing.”
“When we’re on the road, I don’t have time to sit down with my guitar and put a song together,” Sendejas says of the songwriting process. “So I’ll jot down these little notes or send texts to myself, and I’ll record melodies on my phone.
“Touring is such a whirlwind,” he continues, “so when I get back and sober up, then I can sit down and everything I wrote on tour hits me. That’s when I can put a song together.”
Sendejas and Flynn have been writing together for so long they aren’t afraid of any idea being ridiculed by the other. They have managed to forge the kind of openness that can only be achieved in long-term relationships, the kind that endure for decades.
Flynn’s musical background consists of piano lessons at a young age followed by marching band starting in junior high, while Sendejas is a self-taught guitarist whose father instilled in him a love of music from an early age. [Ed. Note: Sendejas's dad is indeed Houston Press music writer Jesse Sendejas Jr.]
“The first thing I ever played was drums,” he says, adding that his father taught him how to play the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” when he was still just a kid.
Days N Daze’s unique sound happens to have been a happy accident, according to Flynn, who says the group wasn’t trying to create or adhere to a specific genre when they began playing together.
“We definitely fell into it.”
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“We just kind of do what we want,” Flynn says through what sounds like a smile. “We record everything ourselves; we book everything ourselves; we manage ourselves.”
“And we do nothing else,” Sendejas interjects with a chuckle.
“And we’re OK with being broke,” Flynn concludes with a laugh.
Days N Daze's album-release party for Crustfall is tonight at White Oak Music Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m. For more tunes, see daysndaze.bandcamp.com.