Riley Keough & Sam Claflin on ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ and Becoming a Band

Mar 4, 2023

[Editor’s note: The following contains some spoilers for Daisy Jones & The Six.]

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name from Taylor Jenkins Reid, the Amazon Studios/Hello Sunshine series Daisy Jones & The Six tells the story of the meteoric rise and crash-and-burn implosion of the iconic 1970s band, fronted by Daisy Jones (Riley Keough) and Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin). The two charismatic singers are brought together to explore their shared love of music, but while their combined artistry is magic, their personalities clash, becoming toxic for everyone around them and eventually tearing them apart. As their story is recounted directly by the band, through their personal truths and the songs that defined them, you’ll learn how desire and determination, and fame and success, can’t always overcome it all.
During this interview with Collider, Keough and Claflin talked about how nervous they were about the music, putting in the work to sound good while playing live, shooting the final concert, Daisy’s “Gold Dust Woman”-inspired dress, and their favorite performance moments in the series.

Collider: With a project like this, where you not only have to bond as a cast, but also as a band, and you’re taking on this music, and bringing these characters to life from a much-loved book, seems terrifying on a variety of levels. Riley, what were you most nervous or scared about with this, and what was most important to you, when it came to embodying Daisy?

RILEY KEOUGH: Hmm, I think what was most important to me was figuring out where she starts and where she ends, her arc, who she is, and what kind of girl she is when we first meet her, versus at the end when she becomes this different version of Daisy. And I was most nervous about the music because we didn’t sing, Sam [Claflin] and I, before this, at all. That made me nervous. But by the end of rehearsals, I felt really proud of us. I feel like we really put the work in, we were able to play live, and we sounded good. I felt happy about that.

Image via Prime Video

Sam, on paper, you seem like the guy least likely to play this character, considering that you’d never played guitar and weren’t particularly knowledgeable in ‘70s music in America.

SAM CLAFLIN: So, what you’re saying is that I was miscast.

No, I was honestly shocked that you had as little experience with it all as you did. Did climbing to the top of that very tall mountain feel like an exciting challenge that you wanted to conquer? What got you over the nerves of doing all of this?

CLAFLIN: I think the nerves are still very much there within me. Maybe it’s in the book, but someone said, to be a musician, you need to have an ego, and I just don’t think there was one point, when I was listening to my vocals on a song, that I was like, “I sound great. I sound real good.” I’m a perfectionist, so I think the biggest struggle for me, throughout this process, was allowing myself to be proud of myself. I watch the show now and go, “Wow, yeah.” It’s not that I think I’ve given a perfect performance, but I know how far I’ve come on this journey. I have to say that I was gifted with extra time because of the pandemic that we all suffered through. That gave me an extra year and a half to familiarize myself with the guitar and learn the American accent and sing 15 songs. But yeah, in truth, I’d never been in a recording studio before my audition and my musical knowledge of that era was just non-existent. There was a long way to go, but no pressure beat my own internal pressure that I put on myself. That’s the same for every job I’ve ever done. Whether I’m playing a rock star or a pirate, there’s always a lot of pressure that I put on myself.

KEOUGH: Are you saying that you’re your own worst enemy?

CLAFLIN: Yeah, basically, I’m my worst critic. There’s nothing anyone can say, that I haven’t already said to myself.

At least by the time you guys got to do the big concert, did you feel like you had a little more confidence then? Did you feel like you were more of a band? Did you feel like you could live in it and own that moment on stage?

CLAFLIN: A hundred percent, for me. A hundred and fifty perfect. By that point, we’d been doing it for three years, or whatever.

KEOUGH: Truly.

CLAFLIN: We had bonded as a band, and we had figured out the little kinks and movements. Equally, I was so wrapped up in Billy. It gets to the point where, when you’re working on a series for so long, you start understanding the character more than anyone else, including the writer. You’re like, “No, no, no, I don’t think Billy would say this.” We all were just living and breathing it so much that, by the time that we got to that point, no one could have told us otherwise.

Image via Prime Video

Riley, what was it like for you to do that concert and walk out on stage in that dress? That’s such a wow moment.

KEOUGH: That was a really fun moment because Denise [Wingate], who did our costumes, and I had really thought about that dress for the last stadium show. I was sitting somewhere on set and “Gold Dust Woman” came on and, all of a sudden, I was like, “That’s the dress she has to wear for the last show.” I knew it had to be that kind of thing, so I said that to Denise, and then she delivered this beautiful cape and amazing dress. That was a very collaborative moment that Denise and I had, so it was really special to get to help bring that to life. You don’t often get to be this collaborative, in my experience, as an actor.

How different do you think all of this would have turned out, if you hadn’t had that extra time to prepare? Obviously, it’s horrible that we all had to go through a pandemic, but it gave you extra time you didn’t know you’d get to have. Do you feel like it would have felt the same, at all, if you hadn’t had that?

KEOUGH: I feel like we would have had to act a lot more. The confidence that we had, that was authentic, wouldn’t have been there. The freedom and just how well we knew our songs and our music, that authenticity certainly wouldn’t have been there. I think that there would have been a lot of faking it and a lot of crafty camera movement. We would have felt internally nervous, which I think would have shown.

Image via Prime Video

What was your favorite performance, for each of you? Whether it was a quieter moment when you were writing, or when you were in the recording studio, or even just on stage, what was your favorite music performance?

CLAFLIN: You brought up the memory of episode five, when it’s just Billy and Daisy, or me and Riley, writing a song. That whole episode felt so different from the rest of the performances because it was the first time me and Riley had properly worked together. For a period, we were together in this house, in the middle of somewhere in L.A., for what felt like for a few weeks, just exploring a relationship, as much as the music. That was really exciting. Equally, the performance that we did at the Diamond Head Festival, which is the first time Daisy comes and plays with the band live, was exciting. We also had an audience. That was the first time we’d ever played with a crowd. Filming with the crowd, there was something about people screaming or seemingly enjoying the performance.

KEOUGH: There was something about people getting paid to scream that was really electric.

CLAFLIN: It boosted the energy. It felt electrifying . . . that people were paid.

Riley, how about for you? What did you most deeply connect with, in that sense?

KEOUGH: This is hard. There are so many. All the Chicago stadium stuff at the end, in episodes eight, nine and 10, was really fun. There was a crazy adrenaline because we were night shooting and it was really hard. Those two weeks, where we were just up all night and having to perform, essentially, a concert from 7pm to 8am, which people don’t typically do unless they’re overnight DJ-ing, was really hard, and I like things that are challenging. It was also fun because we were switching between episodes and moments. We’d come on stage and it would be episode eight, and then we’d go off stage and prepare for episode nine, or whatever. It was just chaotic and crazy, and I really enjoyed that.

CLAFLIN: You embrace the chaos.

KEOUGH: Yeah. And then, I also really love the scene and the moment when we first sing “Honeycomb” together because that scene was so beautiful to me. It was a fun moment, where they’re singing the wrong lyrics. It’s sweet.

Image via Prime Video

I’m such a big music fan and I love going to concerts. It’s hard to capture on screen what that energy feels like, and not only did this do that, but I just wanted to be in the audience at the big stadium show.

KEOUGH: That’s awesome. That’s the thing, it was just really fun. We got little moments where we’d have an audience. It was always the most fun, when audiences were there.

Daisy Jones & The Six is available to stream at Prime Video.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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