By Ross Darragh – Reporter
Don Broco frontman Rob Damiani talks Game of Thrones, the North vs. South rivalry and new album Automatic.
As excitement builds for the release of their much-anticipated second album, Pluto talks exclusively to the frontman of a band who just a few years ago were playing a gig in Barnsley to a one man audience, that one man being the drunken bar owner who threw peanuts at them during their set.
Now Don Broco, the four-piece rock band consisting of Rob Damiani (lead vocals and electronics), Simon Delaney (guitar), Tom Doyle (bass) and Matt Donnelly (drums and vocals) have built up a reputation as one of the most exciting acts in the country, and find themselves mid-way through a UK tour before concluding the summer on the NME stage at Reading and Leeds festival.
Despite all the touring and album promotion lead vocalist Rob took some time out to talk to us.
“It’s quite hard for us ourselves to put our finger on what makes Automatic feel different from our last album, though there’s definitely been a slight shift. Maybe because we wrote it last summer there’s more of a positive vibe to the songs in both the music and the lyrics. It was also our first time getting to record in a proper studio and the live instruments has given the album a realness we didn’t quite have on the last record.”
Following the release of ‘Automatic’ you’re heading out on a small UK tour visiting venues you first played as a band – do you have any plans in the pipeline for a bigger tour in the next few months?
Yeah we do, though we can’t say anything just yet! End of the year we’ll definitely be playing a big city near you!
Funniest thing that’s ever happened to any of you whilst you’ve been on tour or playing a gig?
One of the funniest things I got to witness was just after we’d finished a show in Birmingham Matt went to the front to chuck his sticks to the crowd, then waving the crowd goodbye completely bailed off the stage. It was dark and he couldn’t see where the staging ended, so it was proper sudden looking like he’d dropped off the face of the earth into a black hole or something. It must have hurt a bit but was absolutely hilarious for the rest of us and everyone watching. Poor Matt.
You are playing Reading and Leeds festival at the end of August, and you’ve played there previously, which one is the band’s favourite?
That’s a toughy. Reading is where we always we used to go as punters before we got to play it and get in for free! Though in our 4 appearances so far we’ve actually probably enjoyed our Leeds sets more because there’s that little bit less pressure and we can just cut loose. I’m saying its 2:2 at the moment we’ll see where we stand after this years!
Assuming you like Game of Thrones, if each of you could pick one character from the show you could be, who would it be and why?
Yeah we’re all big into Game of Thrones. Tom would be Lord Baelish aka Littlefinger cause he’s always one step ahead plus also owns loads of brothels. Matt is Daario Naharis aka Daenerys’ loverboy, a man of mystery and unparalleled discipline and because he luurves Daenerys. Simon is also Daario Naharis, but the 1st smootho actor who played him with the beautiful Pantene Pro V locks. And I’m Bronn aka Jerome off Robson & Jerome cause he’s Jerome off Robson & Jerome.
I saw the band play in Preston at UCLan’s 53 Degrees back in 2013, but since then the venue has closed to the public, do you think more could be done to help smaller live music venues compete with arenas?
I don’t think it’s about competing with arenas it’s about creating a culture in which smaller new bands and artists can get that initial support and then have the demand for enough people to want to see them at 53 Degrees. It’s getting tougher and tougher for new acts to get those initial gigs and build up a fan base that will see them play smaller venues, which would keep the venues open. This is almost a bigger question of where the music industry is going in general as currently it’s only really paying out to massive acts and venues. If the smaller venues all close, and new music makers have nowhere to play and can’t make any money who will be the big arena filling artists in years to come? Deep.
Any tips or advice for those looking to start a band?
Write and record loads of songs and only put the very best one or two up online that you are convinced are incredible, don’t get any naff ones out there like we did! Then keep writing loads more songs and play lots of gigs.
You guys have been to university, and you know that the Midlands doesn’t exist when it comes to the fierce North vs South rivalry (as I found out myself being a Midlander) but what do you prefer from your own personal experiences… the north or the south of England?
Me and Matt both went to Nottingham Uni and felt the sting of that! It’s a shame cause it’s quite fun competition and all that, good bit of #banter. You can’t have a favourite though in reality, the UK is so small and we’re all so similar we all just wanna have a good time.
It’s almost hard to imagine a world without streaming now but there was one and that was when the music industry thrived. Now it’s in the shit and many bands and acts even at our level and above find it very difficult to survive and have to break up. It can be a great platform to get your music heard by lots of people, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into sales or even them coming to a show. As a music consumer myself too on the other hand streaming is amazing! All that music for free yes please!
If there is one artist dead or alive you would love to collaborate with… who would it be?
Finally, where do you guys see yourselves in five years’ time?
Hopefully on a massive world tour after releasing our third studio album to much critical acclaim and huge commercial success fingers crossed!
Don Broco’s new album ‘Automatic’ is available to pre-order on iTunes or Amazon. Visit www.donbroco.com for more info.