The second time was charmed for Daphne Guinness — at least in the recording studio.
The Irish fashion designer has set an April 20 release date for her sophomore album, Daphne & the Golden Chord; the video for the first single, “Talking To Yourself,” is premiering exclusively below. Guinness entered the glam-flavored project working again with longtime David Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti and feeling much more confident than she did making 2016’s Optimist In Black.
“The conventional wisdom was not to do a second album so quickly,” Guinness, who made the album using analog tape at Grove Studios in Chiswick, England, tells Billboard. “I was told in no uncertain terms you should milk the first album for all it’s worth. And I’m like, ‘No, that’s not the point. There’s so much more to say!’ It was so obviously there. I knew there were layers and layers I hadn’t explored. I didn’t want to wait.”
Taking what she learned making her debut, Guinness was fortified for Daphne & the Golden Chord with a regular band and greater familiarity with the mechanics of making an album, from songwriting with cohort Malcolm Doherty to production techniques. “I’m a nut case; I like compression, I like flanging, I like phasing,” Guinness notes. “So being able to do a second album on analog and being able to do it with a band and with someone (Visconti) I respect and admire so much and has done so many of the great albums I grew up with, it’s like getting a Ph.D, like getting an education. It all came together and took off, and it was a joy.”
Guinness also came into Daphne & The Golden Chord in a more positive frame of mind. Where Optimist In Black was inspired by the deaths of her brother as well as of Bowie and fashion cohorts Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen, Daphne & The Golden Chord is “a lot happier. The other album was more of a poet in an ivory tower. I needed to get my mental state back. This one I felt more freedom and could just concentrate on trying to get the balance right between the sound and make it sound fun and groove and accessible. It’s an adventure.”
“Talking To Yourself,” according to Guinness, started life while she was recording Optimist In Black. “I was in a very, very, very bad mood that day,” she recalls. “I would never try to do anybody harm, but we all have those moments where you just think, ‘Fuck it!’ We’ve all been in those situations with narcissistic kinds of people who just don’t listen to a word we say, talking to someone who doesn’t actually think about anybody but themselves. It didn’t take me long to write it; It came out very, very fast.” The video, meanwhile, was filmed in the apartment of director Luca Pizzaroni, who used a green screen to put Guinness under a microscope for the clip.
“He’s a very old friend and has a real vision,” Guinness says of Pizzaroni. “He’s an absolute artist and one of the most uncommercial people I’ve ever met in my life. You never know what he’s going to say, but what he does is authentic. He’s one of the most interesting characters around.”
Guinness is now hoping to take Golden Chord on the road after the album is released. “I have such a nice band,” she says. “The band on the first album were all really great, but they were all parts of other bands. Now we’re proper family, so hopefully we’ll be doing live performances and things in the States and Europe. You can definitely play these songs with a band of five people and they sound tight as a set. You don’t have to have 24 strings and all those things we used on the album. They sound good as rock n’ roll songs — in fact, you can play them acoustic and they sound great, too.”