‘Daisy Jones & The Six’: backstage with the TV band everyone’s going to be watching

Sex, drugs and Amazon Prime Video – meet the on-screen hellraisers about to tear up telly

When Sam Claflin and Riley Keough were first cast in the all-singing, all-rocking ‘70s music drama Daisy Jones & The Six, neither of them could actually sing. They can laugh about it now on Zoom, cackling their way through our interview about the new Prime Video series, but at the time it was a major concern.

“After they hired me, I remember [the producers] saying: ‘OK, well Riley has a long way to come,’” says Keough. “So whoever we hire [as her partner] will have to be a great singer to balance her out.” Claflin jumps in: “And then they went for me! Idiots!”

Based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s best-selling 2019 novel, the show follows a Fleetwood Mac-esque band that implodes at the height of their fame. Keough plays Daisy – the fast-living frontwoman of The Six. Claflin plays band co-founder Billy Dunne, a rustic trucker type with a strong jaw and even stronger temper. They butt heads in the studio, but the resulting songs (and sex afterwards) make it all worthwhile. Unsurprisingly, Claflin says he and Keough hit it off from “the first eye contact.”

“Daisy Jones spirals out of control…”
–Riley Keough

“We just laughed through it,” he says. “We had a joint singing lesson quite early on and at that point I had imposter syndrome. I thought, ‘I shouldn’t be here, this is terrifying. I’m so nervous.’ Then Riley walked in and they immediately got us to stare at each other to try and find that romantic connection.”

“It doesn’t take much for me to turn really giggly,” adds Keough… giggling. “But then we sang and I was thinking, ‘Oh yay, we’re both awful!’”

Watch the first episode, which hits streaming on Friday (March 3), and you’ll think Keough and Claflin have been performing together for decades. Their voices twist and turn around each other in perfect harmony, elevating the already stellar folk-pop bangers written especially for the series by American songwriter Blake Mills (with starry collaborators including Phoebe Bridgers, Marcus Mumford and Jackson Browne). ‘Aurora’, the fictional album which zooms to the top of the charts in the book, is now an IRL record – cut in several stressful weeks at iconic California spot Sound City Studios. The standout single, ‘Regret Me’, is a bluesy barnstormer, stuffed with catchy hooks and an instant earworm chorus. It’s surprisingly good – and no one is more surprised than Claflin.

Daisy Jones
CREDIT: Prime Video

“There was no way that they could have put our voices together and known that they could blend in that way,” he says. “But I remember thinking, ‘Oh wow, actually it’s not as bad as I thought it was gonna be! There’s something there!’”

“I’m so proud of how far we’ve come,” agrees Keough. “The band as well: they were all musicians already but they were doing things they’d never done before. Will [Harrison, who plays guitarist Billy] was playing lead guitar and he’d only played rhythm before. Seb [Chacon, drummer Warren] played drums but he hadn’t in a while so he was kinda rusty. Josh [Whitehouse, bassist Eddie] had very limited experience on bass. And Suki [Waterhouse, keyboard player Karen] had never played piano.”

All those mentioned above play their instruments on camera for real – and believably as a legendary rock outfit. A lot of band-based movies and shows put on a good front, but there’s little actual musical talent behind the empty posturing. Daisy Jones & The Six are different. So, without further ado, let’s learn a little more about TV’s hottest new band…

Daisy Jones
Riley Keough as Daisy Jones. CREDIT: Prime Video

Daisy Jones, lead singer

Played by: Riley Keough

What they do: “Daisy is a young woman who falls in love with writing songs. Then she meets a band who need help with a single they’ve written and ends up joining them [full-time] because the song is a hit. But It soon spirals out of control when she gets caught up in a love triangle…”

Inspired by:Joni Mitchell – I watched a lot of concert footage from the ’70s [to learn about] the interactions, movement and dialect.”

Signature prop/set: “Sound City Studios – it was really special. The details were mind-blowing. We’d spent so much time there recording the album [‘Aurora’ by Daisy Jones & the Six], and then we got to take it back to 1970s when we filmed there later.”

Best bit about being Daisy: “The research – Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Led Zeppelin, Leonard Cohen, Cher, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac. I took a lot in!”

Sam Claflin
Sam Claflin as Billy Dunne. CREDIT: Prime Video

Billy Dunne, guitarist and vocals

Played by: Sam Claflin

What they do: “Billy forms a band called The Dunne Brothers in Pittsburgh which becomes The Six after hiring a female keyboardist. He has big dreams of becoming a rock star but due to a small addiction problem the band fall on bad times. With the introduction of Daisy Jones, they start to reach some bigger heights…”

Inspired by:Bruce Springsteen – it was his style and how he moved on stage. [Channeling] Brucey is really bloody hard to do when you’re British!”

Signature prop/set: “Billy’s guitar – they gifted it to me when we wrapped and it is now my prized possession.”

Best bit about being Billy: “The attention to detail – I remember there was a noticeboard in Sound City that had these little adverts – ‘looking for a guitarist’. Getting to drive the cars also blew my mind – from the Six’s early beat-up ‘shaggin’ wagon’ to the tourbuses. Every aspect of it was really really exciting.”

Karen Sirko
Suki Waterhouse plays Karen Sirko. CREDIT: Pamela Littky/Prime Video

Karen Sirko, keys

Played by: Suki Waterhouse

What they do: “Karen is the only girl in the band until Daisy Jones comes along. She’s the badass Brit that they need, the ultimate cool girl. She’s an insanely talented keyboardist but also goes on a very emotional journey and has a love story with another person in the band.”

Inspired by:Christine McVie – Karen Sirko is English on-screen so obviously I looked at Christie. An absolutely legendary woman. I was completely enamoured with her.”

Signature prop/set: “The outfits – they were fabulous. We didn’t get to take any home, which is still a sensitive subject.”

Best bit about being Karen: “The music – we had collaborations from Phoebe Bridgers and Marcus Mumford – and Ethan Gruska produced some of the songs. When I found out all these people were involved, I was blown away. I think we’ve created an album that sounds like it was from the 1970s but is also completely unique.”

Daisy Jones
Josh Whitehouse as Eddie Roundtree. CREDIT: Prime Video

Eddie Roundtree, bass

Played by: Josh Whitehouse

What they do: “Eddie’s reputation is that he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He’s dissatisfied with the way that life runs in the band. He wants to be the frontman deep down and he has some jealousy issues with Billy.”

Inspired by: “Jaco Pastorious – he was innovative and big at the time. I watched a bunch of videos for research.”

Signature prop/set: “Eddie’s bass – I remember one day when the Fender truck rolled up and we were just like ‘phwoah!’ They gave me a new bass to work with in rehearsals and I got so attached to it. I never actually use that bass in the show but that’s the one I kept after we wrapped.”

Best bit about being Eddie: “Encountering new things – it’s a great part of acting, I feel like you get introduced to stuff and then you come away with a fresh appreciation of it.”

Warren Rojas
Sebastian Chacon plays Warren Rojas. CREDIT: Prime Video

Warren Rojas, drums

Played by: Sebastian Chacon

What they do: “Warren has the opposite issue to Eddie. He’s always just trying to have a good time. He’s got big baller energy. He’s just happy to be here. “

Inspired by:Ginger Baker – he’s an iconic drummer, an iconic personality. If you watch the band Cream, he was always at the back on the platform going crazy. He was like an animal.”

Signature prop/set: Warren’s drumsticks – he only plays with timbales sticks [which originated in Cuba]. They have no heads, just two butts. I got so used to them that I can only really play with timbales now!”

Best bit about being Warren: “Learning about rock – I grew up on Latin music, a lot of Brazilian funk and disco. Going on this journey and playing rock music, which is very steady, was new to me – and really interesting.”

Daisy Jones
Will Harrison as Graham Dunne. CREDIT: Prime Video

Graham Dunne, lead guitar

Played by: Will Harrison

What they do: “Graham is Billy’s little brother. He’s kind of the peacemaker in the group – half-way between Eddie and Warren.”

Inspired by:Lindsey Buckingham – he can’t be ignored. There was a lot of fingerpicking stuff for me to play on this show and a lot of that was inspired by him.”

Signature prop/set: “Graham’s guitar – it’s his Fender Stratocaster. It wasn’t the one that we ended up using too much in the show, but I do still have it and it’s one of my favourite guitars that I’ve ever played.”

Best bit about being Graham: “Being part of the band – I think Daisy is gonna offer a window into each of these characters so that you really feel like you understand the band on a greater level.”

Daisy Jones
Camila Morrone plays Camila Dunne. CREDIT: Pamela Littky/Prime Video

Camila Dunne

Played by: Camila Morrone

What they do: “Camila is the light and heart of this show. She’s Billy Dunne’s wife. They have a long and very beautiful life together which has a couple of bumps in the road, but she has a strength that prevails.”

Inspired by:Ali MacGraw – she had this earthy, hippy kind of essence. Her look was very specific to the ’70s too with the heavy, one-length hair.”

Signature prop/set: “The clothes – I had almost 100 costume changes. There was this gorgeous leopard-print outfit with a little neck-scarf.”

The best bit about being Camila: “The lifestyle – being a rock star in the ‘70s there was so much more freedom. You didn’t have to have this constant awareness that everything you do at any moment might be recorded or written about. Therefore they probably had a lot of fun in the ’70s – the drugs, sex and rock and roll. There’s something less mysterious today about being a celebrity.”

‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ premieres on Prime Video on March 3

More Stories: