Behind the scenes of Daisy Jones and the Six on Prime Video, with Sam Claflin, Suki Waterhouse and more
Picture it: you’re on-stage and the lights go down. The crowd roar, the band strikes up a bass note, and you’re away.
Welcome to the world of Daisy Jones and the Six, Amazon Prime’s newest show. Adapted from the bestselling novel from Taylor Jenkins Reid, it follows the fortunes of the titular band as they rise to the status of rock legends before falling apart dramatically.
It’s a tale as old as time – well, as old as rock music – and the story of the Six is loosely based on that of iconic Seventies group Fleetwood Mac, which star Sam Claflin says he was acutely aware of when he took the role.
“I grew up listening to them on tape cassette in my mum and dad’s car, on very long journeys – flip, flip, flip,” he says, miming turning the cassette over. “But I saw them in concert in London about ten years ago, and I think, to this day, [it was] the best thing I’ve ever seen.”
In Daisy Jones, Claflin assumes the role of Mick Fleetwood: I mean, that is, the band’s charismatic lead singer, Billy Dunne, who struggles with drug addiction and unexpected fatherhood during the series. As he puts it, “Billy goes on a hell of a journey”.
Along for the ride is Camila Morrone, who plays Billy’s loyal wife Camila; their marriage is one of the two key relationships in Daisy Jones – the other, inevitably, being Billy’s relationship with Daisy.
The chemistry read Morrone and Claflin had to do to get the part was intense, she says. “It was the scene where [she was] trying to get me to hold the baby,” adds Claflin, referring to Billy’s first meeting with his daughter after coming out of rehab. The catch was that the baby in question was a blanket.
“She’s like, ‘Take it, take it’, just looking lovingly, [and there was me] just being scared of a blanket. Yeah, there was a lot of acting required.”
Daisy Jones, the band’s other lead singer, is played in the series by Riley Keough, the grand-daughter of Elvis Presley. While Morrone confesses to being intimidated by Keough initially, the pair describe her as the “chillest, coolest person you’ve ever met.”
“For me, it was nice knowing that I was going on this musical journey with someone who had no musical experience either. She’d never sung before,” Claflin says, then catches himself. Might that be not widely known? “You know, that’s her story to tell.”
He and Keough had to learn quickly: Daisy and Billy are the Six’s songwriters, who lead their charge to global fame with their innovative lyrics. Naturally, Claflin also had to learn to play the guitar, and the features several scenes of them composing together.
“Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing,” he says, when I ask him how he made those scenes appear natural. “I felt like [they] were choreographed within an inch of their life… we were really fortunate enough to witness and watch real-singer songwriters write music.”
Quite: Marcus Mumford, who helped write one of the show’s hit singles Look At Us Now (all the music in the show is original), was recording his album at the same time Claflin was recording the vocals for the song.
“I remember, you know, trying to strum it on guitar and he came in and him and Blake Mills, who is at the helm of music producing, they just started like, coming up with these ideas for this song… [it was] incredible, these two geniuses at work, just kind of bouncing off one another.
“Also we got to watch Blake Mills and Z Berg composing Let Me Down Easy and again, she is so like Daisy in every sense of it. And Blake is a bit like Billy, so it was this opportunity to really sit and watch like a fly on the wall.”
Suki Waterhouse and Josh Whitehouse – who play band members Karen and Eddie – had it slightly easier, as both were already musicians, but even they struggled to capture The Six’s unique sound.
“We had been taught rigorously how to how to play the songs note for note,” Whitehouse says. “So we were miming very accurately along to the music.”
Though the songs present in the show were the official recorded versions, “we always had a live feed going out of all of our instruments. So if somebody [did] like a little cool thing and they wanted to keep it, then they could they could take the audio and mix it into the track.”
“I really didn’t have much keyboard practice at all,” Waterhouse adds. “I had been given a gorgeous keyboard as a Christmas present, just before the audition.” Still, it came in handy for playing keyboardist Karen – Waterhouse had to learn how to master the instrument from scratch, which she now plays on stage during her own gigs.
“I would just constantly be like, wherever we’d be filming, going to a Walmart and trying to find a new Casio keyboard just to be brushing up on,” she says.
“We were all staying at the same hotel in New Orleans. And we all wanted to practice. So we were in these really little rooms, but everyone had [their instruments] – Sebastian [Chacon, who plays drummer Warren] had a drum kit in his room that just took up the entire [place]. When he climbed out of bed, he’d be crawling over a drum kit.”
Karen also has one of the show’s grittier arcs: as a woman in a man’s world, she’s constantly struggling to maintain her independence and build a career in the sexist era of the Seventies. Did Waterhouse, as a performer herself, relate to this?
“I think I’m always looking for what I can overcome in my own life through a character,” she says carefully. “Karen… she knew she had to sacrifice. I think that bled into my own life, immensely. I really love her – even in taking the steps to finish an album and put it out, like I really felt that was like a gift that the character gave me.”
Another key feature of Daisy Jones is the series’ strong Seventies look, which Morrone says made her feel “like a kid in a candy shop.”
“I remember us all standing outside in the carpark, going, ‘Wow look at that car. Look at this car,’” Claflin says.
“Remember in the days that we’re trying to depict, one of these would have been a very bad car – you know, like a Ford Escort or whatever. But just because of the way that they look and the fact they are all vintage there is just a real glamour to it.”
“I’m born and raised in LA so for me to see my city turned into you know, Sunset Boulevard, it’s – I drive on Sunset daily,” Morrone adds.
“And I saw Whiskey Go Go and Troubadour, and I got to see my home – I feel ownership over LA – but I got to see it transform and become something else. And that was a spectacle to watch.”
With the show about to hit screens worldwide (and the accompanying album set to drop too), Daisy Jones and the Six are set to be the biggest Seventies band that never existed.
Now all we want to know is, what does Stevie Nicks think?
Daisy Jones and the Six will air on Prime Video from March 3