Lo-fi pop duo Dayliites (aka producer Paces and country-pop artist CLOE TERARE) have just released their debut mixtape, Ghosts, and it's a long time coming. First introducing the collaborative project in 2020, the pair have fought to bring the mixtape to life, and it's been well worth the wait.
Individually, the pair have made a name for themselves through creating pop-adjacent music that's lush and cinematic; Paces in the electronic realm, while CLOE TERARE also incorporates elements of country and R&B into her music. When creating Ghosts, the pair swapped polished sounds for more lo-fi (yet no less intricate) soundscapes, perfect for a late-night drive, or a road trip to get away from it all.
To celebrate the release of Ghosts, we spoke to Paces and CLOE about how the project came together, as well as how they've experienced the last couple of years. The chat is a sobering reminder that, just like you and me, sometimes artists' lives are flipped upside down too. Support your favourite artists, especially as the world starts to somewhat return to 'normality' - it can be hard to always truly know what's going on behind the scenes.
Firstly, congratulations on the release of Ghosts! It’s a project that’s a couple of years in the making – I’d love to know about the moment you both met, and how that turned into the making of Ghosts?
Paces: Thank you! I’d been making these cute lo-fi instrumentals for fun at a time when I was feeling a bit exhausted with the current direction of my Paces tracks. It dawned on me that it would be fun to find the right singer and turn this into a group project.
I floated the idea with a bunch of different singers and auditioned quite a few but just never quite found the right fit. Then my friend Gav Parry (CLOE's manager) sent me some of her demos. I was so psyched, CLOE was perfect for Dayliites. We had a few FaceTime chats and were both really keen so we just dove right in. I’m so grateful that it ended up being CLOE.
CLOE: Mikey (Paces) was introduced to me by my manager as he was looking for an artist to create this project with, after I sent a demo back we decided to meet at my mum's place which was kind of a halfway point between my home in Toowoomba and Mikey’s home in Pottsville. The first order of events was Mikey and my dog (Midas) creating an inseparable bond for the day, and then we were ready to create some music.
Writing-wise, I had a few core ideas that I wanted to base the songs around and Mikey was so open and encouraging of everything I came up with, so it was super easy and effortless bringing all the tracks together. It was increasingly difficult to keep Dayliites afloat with the things that were going on in the world and in our personal lives, but I think the project is so special it was worth the wait, and I’m so proud of Mikey for his persistence to continue with its release.
Listening to Ghosts, it sounds like there’s this push and pull of the past and the future in the songwriting. What were some of the references you both used when creating the songs for the project?
Paces: Yeah absolutely. From a production point of view, I was pairing crusty lo-fi old-sounding instrumentals with super crisp polished vocals. I think every good song has the element of contrast used in some way, and that’s what I based the sonic identity of Dayliites on.
CLOE: I think it maybe comes across that way because I wanted to write in a particular scenario-based way and keep similar mental imagery for each of the songs so as far as references, I used a mix of my own experiences, experiences from the perspective of my friends or people I knew, and imaginary scenarios that are unique to the Dayliites world.
I also took some inspiration from Lana Del Rey and Doja Cat while I was writing too. I think the Ghosts title really embodies the feeling of looking back on the memories or people in your past and feeling like those old memories and people are like Ghosts now.
We’ve seen many artists launching projects/releasing their debut singles throughout COVID, and the uncertainty that comes with that. Given that the project’s beginnings came in 2020, and it’s now 2022, do you feel you view the songs on Ghosts differently now compared to when you both first made them?
Paces: To me, they’re like a time capsule. My life was so different when we made these songs. I was living off music, playing lots of shows, travelling for songwriting sessions all the time etc.
Since then I’ve gone through a family break-up, I’m no longer living off music, I’ve gone on meds for depression and anxiety, I have a regular job that I dislike, I barely have any time available to spend on music. Things have changed so much. I was living in a bubble when we created Dayliites. That bubble has burst and I’m in a much less chill place now. When I listen to Ghosts I flashback to how excited I was listening to the finished songs in my car the first time.
CLOE: Over time I love the songs and the project more and more and feel like if I still love it after listening back so many times and even performing them a few times at my shows, it must be a very good sign. Going through so much over the past two years makes me so proud to have Ghosts finally coming out, I feel like we have both overcome so much to be where we are now and in a better place to release. Mikey has worked incredibly hard to pull this project together and realise the vision and it's all paying off.
CLOE, you've spoken before about the musical background of your family, and Paces mentioned that you two recorded demos for the project in your “parent’s loungeroom” – was there any family feedback provided on the demos for Ghosts that influenced the direction that the project took?
CLOE: My family instantly loved Mikey and the project, especially because I was new to the music world. They were very excited for us and so grateful he gave me the chance on such a large piece of work. They loved the project's songs and told me it was so fun to loiter around the house while hearing the music come together. My little sister sat with us and helped us come up with some lyrics and my boyfriend also brainstormed a few words we couldn’t quite pin down. There was lots of support and feedback from the family.
Paces, the video for Boyfriend features footage of a road trip, and listening to Ghosts, it’s not hard to imagine the project soundtracking a sunny road trip to somewhere you’d rather be. Personally, where do you think listeners should first experience Ghosts to get the most out of the music?
Paces: Yeah, it’s funny. We always intended it to be late-night music, but it totally suits that as well. My main goal from the beginning when I first started making music was to create songs that people would sing along with on road trips. So I guess some of that energy seeped into this project as well.
Paces, when talking about the production for Goodbye, you highlighted that it’s “totally different” to what you’d create when making a song as Paces. When you’re creating music, how do you define what realm a particular piece of production sits in – is there a point in the process where you’ll label it as a Paces track/sitting in another world, or does that come once everything is done?
Paces: It’s usually very early in the process. For these ones, I was deliberately trying to make the least Paces-sounding tracks possible. That’s why I was playing with lo-fi effects and acoustic guitars etc. Usually, the core idea of a good song can translate to whichever production style you like. So if I have an idea for a Paces song, I’ll start out using a Paces-sounding palette of sounds, whereas Dayliites was an exercise in getting away from that sound.
Paces, the project is being released as part of your label, Off Leash Records – I’d love to know more about the experience of starting your own label, including having a place to shine a light on artists like Health club and Kayex?
Paces: It’s been a really positive experience for a few reasons. Firstly I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons by being involved in the label side. But more than that, it’s been super satisfying to shine a light on some up-and-coming artists.
Health Club is one of my best buds and I was involved in the songwriting on two of those songs, so it made sense to keep it in the family. When I launched the label I was hoping to do it full-time, but then COVID happened and the music industry turned to dust so now I don’t have as much time to spend on it. Hopefully, that changes one day though.
CLOE, you recently released your debut EP, Burn Book (2018 - 2021) - a project that draws from Mean Girls, while containing elements of country, pop and R&B. We're seeing country and pop music share more in common than ever thanks to artists like Lil Nas X and Orville Peck - why do you think the masses are falling back in love with country music?
CLOE: I grew up having country music as a large influence in my life, especially my grandfather who was a country musician and had it mocked by lots of the kids that listened to ‘cool’ music haha – so having elements of country in my project was something I had always spoken about with my manager (Gav). I wanted to have that personal twist in there, but I always knew that it might not be easy to translate to the world of music I was in.
I actually recall a conversation with Gav where he said “maybe we could put some country into the songs and make it sound cool”, and I said “I don’t think we can make country cool”, and I’m glad I was wrong. When I heard the Lil Nas X songs and also Working Bitch by Ashnikko, it gave me confidence that maybe our spin on the country fusion thing would be more understood too. I think it’s just a new refreshing take on something so classic. I’m glad that the masses are seeing the beauty of it one way or another.
Paces, as a producer, you’re no stranger to collaborating with a range of vocalists. When you’re looking for an artist that’ll suit a song, what are you looking for – do you have a solid idea of what the vocals for the track will sound like, or do you keep as much of an open mind as possible?
Paces: I usually narrow it down really tight. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time ya know? So if I’m looking for a soft breathy vocal I wouldn’t send a track to someone whose main strength is belting it out.
CLOE, you've mentioned previously that you're looking to build up the live music scene in Toowoomba - I'd love to learn more about your vision of what that plan looks like when it comes to fruition?
CLOE: After moving here, my boyfriend (who grew up in Toowoomba), told me that the live music scene here used to be massive. However, it's withered down due to lots of changes here, both politically and due to complaints, as the city is so close to residential areas. With lots of factors influencing the venues and the ending of events like Easterfest, it took a toll here and I think it just got too hard to foster that scene.
I’m thankful to be talking to a few people working with the council to resurrect more of that scene here through building infrastructure for live music and connecting with the local artists here (and bringing acts in from elsewhere). I’m starting with a few hometown shows and connecting with other artists here on a smaller scale, but I think in the future making use again of the huge spaces and beautiful landscapes that we have here for large music events again would be a great start.
Because I’m curious, I have to ask – do you believe in Ghosts, and why/why not?
Paces: Haha maybe. I’ve experienced one really spooky thing that I can't explain, but I can’t be certain it was a ghost.
CLOE: We spoke about ghosts a lot when Mikey was asking why I wrote the lyrics “Ghost me like an echo”, and although it sounds spooky and mysterious, I was actually just inspired by a game I play, [League Of Legends], that has a character called Ekko, who turns into a ghost and can warp time. As inspired by fantasy and sci-fi as I am, I don’t believe in ghosts, probably because the only one I’ve ever seen is Ekko’s.
Finally, what’s on the horizon for you both over the next 12 months, both solo and as part of Dayliites?
Paces: Once Ghosts has been out for a while I’m going to start releasing some new Paces music. I have 4 songs finished. They’re mega different from my previous sound. I feel like nothing matters anymore so I’m just going to release them and if it turns out that anyone likes them, cool, that’s a bonus :).
CLOE: I’m working on my own music as well as Dayliites, I’m still evolving and exploring as an artist so I’m enjoying the collaborations and writing as it comes up and looking forward to creating new music. I also have lots of live shows coming up which is very exciting, I’m hoping to be able to incorporate both of these worlds into my shows.