Daisy and Alex Dowd’s wedding day involved some of the best in Sydney’s arts and hospitality scenes. It happened almost a year ago at Clovelly’s cliff-top bowling club, with Longrain on food (the brief was “ocean-liner buffet”), and Black Star Pastry and Pasticceria Papa on desserts and cakes. The groom – who owns two of Sydney’s best small bars – arranged the alcohol. Coffee came from Single Origin and cheese from The Stinking Bishops. Brickfield’s Simon Cancio dug out his wild world-music collection to DJ. China Heights Gallery’s Ed Woodley obliged requests from guests to play Sandstorm by Darude. And, fitting for someone whose band once performed at Nick Cave’s Australian ATP festivals, and supported The Dirty Three, the bride walked down the aisle to her friend Jack Colwell playing Cave’s classic Into My Arms on piano.
As well curated as it sounds – it could be a pretty cool festival line-up – the wedding day was really just a big group of friends pooling together and having a party. “It was all mates,” says Daisy. “We are lucky we know so many people who could help us out.”
Alex co-owns Tio’s Cerveceria and The Cliff Dive, and Daisy is one half of electronic duo, Low Lux. She was also formerly the violinist in Bridezilla. They met (properly) four years ago, when Daisy’s then-bandmate, Holiday Sidewinder, was DJing at a new bar: Tio’s. Daisy went to check it out, and though the two had met once or twice before, “that was the first prime time,” says Alex. “He gave me a few too many free drinks,” Daisy remembers; and that was that.
A year later, June was born and the couple had moved from separate share houses to a home in Marrickville, with a cute front porch, eclectic furniture and chickens in the backyard. They enjoyed the creative community as it developed around them, and now many of their friends and favourite haunts – The Henson, Two Chaps, The Vic on the Park – are within walking distance. “West Juliett opened the same week June was born,” says Alex, “which was amazing because when we moved here, there was nothing, really, except Cornersmith.”
While the lifestyle of running night-time venues lends itself well to being a father – Alex can look after June during the day – Daisy has found a way to make music work, too. Low Lux has recently gone from being a five-piece to a duo and, working solely with her best friend Alister Hill (who, as a producer at the Opera House and a freelance copywriter, has equally competing priorities), has freed her from the demands of gigging and rehearsing at hours that don’t suit her lifestyle.
“I’ve done six years of touring with Bridezilla, it’s just not something I want to do with babies,” she says. “So we were cool to create this more online-focused band. We’ll release music and do the occasional special show every six months or so. To take the pressure off and to enjoy it more.” The pair emails music back and forth, “So that when June goes to bed I can sit down and open my laptop and pull out the file and have a fiddle,” says Daisy.
Low Lux is currently working on new material and aims to finish a mini album by the end of the year. In the meantime, it just released a cover of Girls by fellow inner-west band, Royal Headache. It’s an interpretation of the song that turns it from raw garage music into Portishead-style electronica, as Daisy describes it.
Daisy also works one or two days a week as a naturopath at Dr Earth in Newtown (she was studying naturopathy when she and Alex met). Alex is working with the team at Two Chaps to formulate a new night-time venue, and – with his business partner Jeremy Blackmore – will reprise the Deep Purple Pool Hall pop-up bar at VIVID festival.
But all that will happen when they’re not busy with June: making playdough, painting pictures, taking photos and playing with Suma the cat and the chooks, Sandy and Sundowner. There are trips to the park, music and swimming lessons, and feeding Fishy the fish. Daisy and Alex are keen to have another child soon. It all balances well because they can share the load, says Daisy.
At 26 and 28 respectively, Daisy and Alex are still young and have not followed a traditional trajectory. “When I grew up there was a real path that you would go down,” says Alex. “I made a decision not to be a lemming and thought, ‘Well, what’s important in life for me?’ For Daisy it’s not a decision because she’s creative by nature.” “I guess the way we’ve done things is a little bit un-conventional, but we were lucky that when we got together, our values and goals were the same,” Alex continues. “That’s where the real strength is, and we never look back.”