The Durham siblings never aimed to form a band; they simply began playing songs at a local pub for the fun of it. The siblings—Kitty, Daisy and Lewis—were eventually asked to play a festival. Without any band name to offer, the promoter wrote “Kitty, Daisy & Lewis” on the poster. The name stuck.
The London-based band, anchored by the songwriting, multi-instrumentalist Durham siblings, recently released its third album, the plainly-titled Kitty, Daisy & Lewis The Third.
Their music is better left unlabeled, an inspired hodge-podge that celebrates musical history while reinterpreting it. Each album is like a lovingly-crafted quilt, stitched together from scraps of blues, soul, reggae, swing, R&B, folk, rock and more.
“We grew up with lots of different kind of music,” says Lewis. “And now, we have different tastes in music individually. as we all write songs, all of our different tastes and flavors are combined into one.”
The sibling’s parents, Graeme Durham and Ingrid Weiss—both veterans of the music industry, who raised their children on a steady diet of music—now join them on tour, playing guitar and double-bass, respectively.
In their time recording, they’ve been repeatedly praised by a grab-bag group of famous fans that includes David Lynch, Chris Martin of Coldplay and even the late Amy Winehouse. Their new album is both a continuation and an expansion of their now-signature sound.
“We try to make every album different from the last, to keep it moving,” Lewis Durham explains. “But we try to keep a root in solid musicianship.”
For The Third, the band converted a derelict Indian restaurant in London into a spacious studio in which to record. It layered the songs, added stray bits of percussion from gongs, hand claps and coconuts. It even brought in a string section to achieve the sound the group wanted, one so rich it reflects its decision not to use digital recording techniques.
“We never decided to record without digital tools,” Kitty clarifies. “It’s more a case of deciding what we do want to use, and the sounds we want as opposed to what we won’t use.”
The striking blend of genres is at least partially due to the band's collaborative songwriting process, helped along on its latest album by an old family friend working alongside them as producer—Mick Jones, formerly of The Clash.
“We had to be careful at times because we are all so involved, and too many cooks can spoil the broth,” says Lewis. “I’m not sure anyone really knew how it was going to turn out.”
With the successful release of The Third, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis has witnessed the latest in a series of major growths in its fanbase. Social media, Lewis says, plays a big part in its success, but the band members do their best to focus on the musical side of things.
“I think if people see that you’re into what you’re doing, they naturally come to see and hopefully become fans,” he says.
The live shows offer an exhilarating demonstration of their talents for multi-instrumentalism, though their latest album has a few orchestral flourishes that can’t be replicated on stage.
“The studio is a great place to make the impossible possible. I like being able to bend the rules and warp time,” says Lewis.
The band is currently in the middle of a continent-hopping world tour to promote the album, including dates in Canada, Japan and throughout much of Europe. Once the tour finishes up in its hometown of London, it looks forward to getting reacquainted with its studio, in preparation for another album.