Interview: DON BROCO

At their Bedford gig, on the first of Feb, we managed to snag a wicked 15 minutes with Rob Damiani from DON BROCO.

As you may have guessed from my last review, the gig was absolutely epic.

The interview starts from 16:17. Here’s the transcript:

  • N: Nica – our reporter
  • R: Rob Damiani
  • T: Tom “Tommy” Doyle

N: I’m here with Rob from DON BROCO, how does it feel to be home? Is it really weird to speak into a microphone that doesn’t have any sound outside of it?

R: Yeah! Oh no, no no, the question, how does it feel to be home. I mean we’ve been home the last few weeks so,

N: It feels good?

R: It was nice getting back for Christmas. We were kinda busy touring kinda until midway through December. We got back, kinda had about three days to get our Christmas shopping in. And yeah, got to chill out for Christmas, and I guess the start of this year has all been,

N: Go go go?

R: Yeah, go go go, leading up to the release of the new album. So we’ve been in Bedford for the past month I’d say, but we’ve just kind of been working so hard trying to, you know, finalise everything for the release. So we haven’t had a chance to chill, but yeah it’s nice to chill. And it’s nice to play Bedford, we haven’t played Bedford for a long time. So that’s the more kind of special thing, because we very rarely get to play here.

N: And do you feel like there’s more pressure because it’s your hometown, or do you feel comfortable here? Like, happy to be back?

R: Yeah, I’d say it’s kinda more exciting to do this venue because, we do play Bedford – we don’t get to play much but we do still try to come back like once a year, or, you know, every two years – we’ll play Esquires, which is our…

N: The slightly smaller venue?

R: I’ve got to say, that’s like our favourite venue.

N: Oooh!

R: No disrespect to the Corn Exchange. We’re sitting in the Corn Exchange right now, but Esquires is where we played our first ever show as a band. It’s where I saw my first ever band, it was really our home and our, I guess, our

N: Where it all started?

R: Yeah. It was just kinda where we hung out as well, and we’d go there to see our friends’ bands play, and, you know, there’d always be something going on there in Bedford growing up. And they’ve got some really sick gigs there now as well. It’s really got a new lease of life recently, and had some amazing bookings, and yeah. Kinda sad not to do it, but we’ll do Esquires next time! But we thought we’d mix it up cuz we’ve kinda done it four times… in a row… and um, we’ve never played the Corn Exchange as DON BROCO. I think we played here many many years ago, would have been under a different name supporting The King Blues.

N: What was the original name?

R: Um, I think we were called Club Sex back then.

N: Okaaaaaay [laughs]

R: We’ve had one or two names, we were called Club Sex back then. We were kinda the same band. I think we had just started playing Thug Workout, so we still had that as a song. But that was about it. And yeah that show was really fun, but if you’ve ever been to Bedford before, if you’ve ever been to the Corn Exchange before, it’s not traditionally a music venue. They’ve got a lot of plays, and comedians come through here, and it’s a good location for that.

N: Like a town hall? It has that kind of a vibe!

R: Yeah.

N: So are there any places in Bedford that you used to have band practice and things like that, like a lot of nostalgic areas that you would have started as a band?

R: We still practice at our practice base that, yeah, the band formed in back when we were like 13.

N: You were thirteen when you formed!

R: Yeah, the music centre on Tavistock Street, that’s Bedford’s, you know, best – well main, and maybe only – music shop. But we’d always hang out there, we’d go by after school.

[N: Sorry they’re sound checking upstairs!
R: [laughs] ]

R: So we always go back to Music Centre and, you know, try all the stuff out, and play guitars that we couldn’t afford and all like that. And yeah, that’s been like our practice space forever, and we still practice there now.

N: It’s good to keep it, you know…

R: Real.

N: And wholesome! So, Technology has been in the making for a very long time – since 2016? The first release came out in 2016, first song.

R: Yeah. That was really kind off like a one-off song, the start, Everybody.

N: With the cowboy!

R: With the cowboy video, yeah. And that kind of kicked things off really, we just wrote that song. It was the first song we’d written since our album Automatic, and without really thinking too much we just kind of put that out, with no real plan in mind and, you know, we decided that’s the start of the new album process.

N: And get everyone excited!

R: Yeah. I mean it’s just fun to, get to put out and play music, as soon as you’ve written it, rather than wait on it for years and years and years.

N: And then it kinda becomes a bit like, eh, stagnant.

R: Yeah, eventually when it comes out it’s not, well, it doesn’t feel as fresh, or as important to you, as when you’re writing it. That’s when you’re most excited about it. So we did that with a few songs, and we started properly writing the album at the end of that year.

N: So you’ve performed quite a few of these songs already. But of course there are gonna be some songs tonight that you’ve never performed live before!

R: Yeah! The new single Come Out To LA, we’ve never ever played before, so that’ll be a hit.

N: Oh really!

R: Yeah, that’ll be the first time we get to play that, yeah.

N: We had a little [listen of] the sound-check earlier on, sounded great! That’s exciting stuff. So you’re looking forward to see how the cloud – er – crowd, react!

R: The clouds as well! Hopefully not the clouds, cuz that means the roof would fall in. [laughs]

N: In the video for that song, you died right? At the beginning.

R: I died. Kinda before the video even really starts. It’s more the sort of prequel. It was a sad thing to see my own death on screen.

N: It was pretty! Covered in pink

R: Oh the gunge. That was bad. It was really fun shooting that death seen, cuz I get run over by a van, and it felt so ridiculous filming it because they put all of that in in post, and I’m just there standing in front of a camera, flailing around. He was sort of like “jump with your arms out, and look…”

N: How many takes?

R: About ten I think. Just in the hope that they can CGI in a van to make it look realistic enough.

N: Oh I see! Obviously you didn’t actually get hit by a van. So where did that video – where did the song come from? Have you been or gigged in LA before?

R: Yeah, we’ve gigged in LA. We’ve only ever had one gig in LA actually.

N: Did you fall in love with the place?

R: Actually not that time, no. I’d say, we’d been to LA before, and I love LA – the sunshine, all the beaches

N: Skate parks?

R: We didn’t actually get to go in any skate parks. Every time we’ve been it’s been kind of rapid, you know, you’ve only got so much time to fit it all in. But we loved LA the first time, we loved it so much, honestly had the best time going there as first time tourists and first time band. I guess that’s what the song is about. It’s about going to this place that you hear so much about, so much tragedy, and despair. It’s that city of musicians and actors and so many creative people trying to make it, and obviously not all of them can, and everyone’s – you do find a lot of try hard people out there. Because everyone’s trying to hussle and do their own thing, and there is a sadness to it. But we didn’t feel that when we first went there.

N: It’s nice to go with a project?

R: Yeah! We were shooting some music videos, we were being whisked around, and, er, taken to incredible restaurants. With our old label, and they’d like get the label credit card out

N: Nice! Like okay we made it?

R: That’s honestly how it felt. And we had an incredible time. And I guess it was when we got back that all the stuff that maybe we’d been told that would happen, and promises, and these things that we took as gospel – not all of them did happen. And it slowly started to tinge that memory of LA as something that, maybe wasn’t quite as amazing as we thought, because we had all these grand plans that didn’t actually come to fruition. And I still love LA, as a place

N: You have to go back! Make those plans come to fruition.

R: We had an amazing show when we got to play there last year. It was probably one of our favourite shows on the whole tour. I don’t know if I could move out and live there, but every time I go there I think…

N: You could live here?

R: Yeah. It’s the sunshine, the weather.

N: The weather is like the big changer! Right. So if you could master an instrument over night – any instrument – what would it be?

R: I would love to play the piano. I can’t, well I don’t really play any instruments. I used to play the cello when I was at school.

N: I used to play the trumpet! We all have one of those.

R: Ha ha ha. But yeah, I enjoyed playing in my orchestra. I enjoyed playing every time we’d meet up, when you first kinda learn, and you just do simple things around. I loved playing with other people, but I did not have the commitment to practice by myself at home. I found that really boring!

N: Well the piano’s good if you’re a singer as well.

R: That’s the thing. I don’t think I would have been able to discipline myself to learn it then, because you’re on your own a lot of the time when learning, or just you and a teacher. And it’s not that group creativity – and I think that’s what I love about being in a band. Collaborating with other people, so if you could just learn that without putting any effort in that’d be amazing.

N: That’s what I’m saying. If a genie came and was like “yes”

R: Yes! If you can play the piano, you know.

N: The world’s your oyster!

R: Yeah, you can do anything. You can write – if you’ve got a computer as well you can program it all in, and you can write anything you want on the piano and play it on a different instrument on the old Mac, and then, yeah, when you need to re-record it get someone else to do it. And yeah, that’d be amazing.

N: What’s the best place you’ve ever played, the best set-up. Maybe it was the green room, maybe it was the audience, or maybe it was the actual stage – the best place you’ve ever played. Alexandra Palace? Sold out

R: That was amazing, but it was still a different kind of experience I guess, because, as your own show, I think it’s really hard, in my experience anyway, to fully enjoy big pressure shows like that. So many people, all there to see you, you feel like you’ve got to put on the best show of your life. And you wanna do that, and you try. It’s hard to enjoy it. It was weird, I didn’t think I was nervous but when I was on stage, you just forget what’s even going on. I can’t remember anything because it just happened so quickly – so excited – and I d love that but there was a show I think, probably, as an experience…. [shouts] Tommy!

T [in the distance]: Verona!

R: Yeah. I think we’d all agree Verona. We played at, it’s an Ampitheatre. An old Roman ampitheatre

N: A Palladio Ampitheatre?

R: A what?

N: It doesn’t matter, I’m doing some architecture. Doesn’t matter! [laughs]

R: Oh okay! [laughs] It was, you know, used for a beautiful big collosseum kind of thing. Like how you’d expect. Obviously not as big as the one in Rome, but everything was intact. Open air. Amazing acoustics, crazy how good it sounded when it’s just stone. Unreal. And we played as the sun was setting, so we walked out on stage, beautiful sunshine, as we were playing and by the time we finished it was kind of night, so we got the full effect of all the, you know

N: Italian romance?

R: Yeah, it was really breathtaking.

N: So, the big day is tomorrow – the release – how do you feel? Totally amped up for the tour? Fit ready to go? Excited? Or all whirlwindy?

R: We never really feel that fit and ready for a tour. That would be a massive lie if I said we were. We always panic.

N: Do you sleep and eat well when on tour?

R: You sleeep really well because you’re just so knackered all the time. I sleep like a baby because, you’re on stage every night, you’re going out all the time.

N: You feel content at the end of the day because you’ve done a good job?

R: Yeah. There’s nothing worse than sitting at home all day on your computer, or being on your phone, and then watching a couple of episodes of something trying to get to sleep and not being able to get to sleep. Because you’ve done nothing all day, just been sat around. So being able to jump around, get tired, it’s great. You sleep really well. You don’t really eat very well though, sandwiches after sandwich, and a lot of fast food. But we try our best. And it normally takes a few days. We’re kind of like geared up for it, and it takes about 2 or 3 days for us to feel like “you’re on tour now”, and to get your fitness back. The first hour or two, it’s such a different sort of exercise. Jumping around on stage. It’s not something you can really practice! We tried when we were on tour. So I think in a few days we’ll be good to go!

N: Good! Well have an epic tour, and enjoy the gig tonight. Looking forward to it!

R: Thank you very much! Thanks for having me!

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