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photography DIEGO CAMPOMAR
13 June 2023

daine’s RISE to EMO-POP stardom 

Hailing from Melbourne, daine is a Filipino-Australian singer, songwriter and producer who garnered attention in 2019 with their debut single ‘Picking Flowers’. Following their dreamy emo-trap album Quantum Jumping of 2022—an angst-riddled project mostly comprised of songs written at the age of 16—daine’s subsequent, highly anticipated 2023 EP shapeless (in spite of its title) offers a fully realised reflection of the artist today. 

The video for shapeless’ title track ‘writhe’ (directed by Joe Weird) sees the artist in their most divine form. “Joe Weird happened to choose the Peak District as a filming location for the video’s aesthetic value, not knowing that my family on my father’s side is from that region,” daine explains. “We filmed along, and in, the Dane River, the body of water which my name originated from. It was a spiritual rebirth of sorts. Lots of creative synchronicity. I wanted it to all be quite ‘undefinable’ and ‘shapeless’, so I tried to show off my versatility both in sound and visuals. I didn’t feel pressured to stick to a particular aesthetic, but in a way it still felt cohesive. It’s popstar but it’s Gollum at the same time. It’s everything and nothing all at once.” 

Blending genres and sounds has also been integral to their production process, which draws influences from midwestern emo, hardcore, punk, screamo and pop. Together, they amalgamate to form the innovative and individualistic sound we hear and know. In August 2022, daine’s proclivity for experimenting with multiple sonics was felt with the release of their aptly titled single ‘boythots’—a titillating, tongue-in-cheek club banger that could only begin with the opening line “treat that boy like a slut.” On the fringes of mainstream pop, subsequent tracks such as ‘skin deep’ and ‘smb2l’ showcase daine’s creative tendencies. Of these tracks, daine reflects: “I think the key influence with all my music is just life experience. I was able to create such a pop-emo hybrid record because I was around such strong pop writers and producers in LA last year, as well as producers and writers from bands that I look up to. I felt like I was able to connect with the best of both worlds and bring it together well. Not perfectly, but honestly. It was an expression of my life—not perfect either.”

Before their rise to emo-pop stardom, you could often find daine among the crowd in the many venues and basements of Melbourne’s vibrant music scene, attending acts like Turnstile, Basement and Title Fight. Impressively, daine has cultivated their own unique fanbase who always bring authentic hardcore attitudes to their performances. As daine explains of their audience overseas, “In Los Angeles and New York the crowd energy was constantly high. I saw people spin, kicking and windmilling, like full on moshing, which I had never seen outside of hardcore. It made me feel like I was really onto something, especially within the culture I’ve garnered around the music. I’d never felt so loved by an audience before.”

Having known daine personally for a few years now, it is clear they have always placed great emphasis on spirituality, self-reflection, and care. As a sufferer of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, daine has always been open and vocal about their disabilities. They hope to foster conversations around living with a disability to ensure others feel less alone in their experiences. Consequently, they always create safe spaces for their audience to listen or watch them perform, transcending industry expectations to cater to those who require extra measures and care. “I’ve met multiple listeners with the same conditions as me, and so I always have paracetamol, ibuprofen, spare chairs, salt tablets and electrolytes on hand for anyone who needs it,” they share. “If you’re coming to a show and require any special accommodations, please reach out to me in my comments/dm’s prior, and I’ll try to make sure that you can enjoy the show safely and comfortably.” 

At only 20 years old, and already touted a “protégé” of global superstar Charli XCX, daine is confidently charting their course into the music world. With their exceptionally unique, genre-defying sound and emphasis on wellbeing and community, daine undeniably epitomises the 21st century popstar.


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