Kerrang! is the UK's biggest selling music magazine and the annual associated tour is upon us again. 2015 sees the tenth anniversary of its tour and to help mark this auspicious occasion is the presence of headline act Don Broco.
They will grace the stage in Dublin’s Academy on February 11th as part of the tour, alongside support acts We Are In The Crowd, Bury Tomorrow and Beartooth. I caught up with Rob Damiani ahead of the tour and to chat about Don Broco, the band that is billed as the “bright, brute force in British rock”.
Interested in how the band came to be, I asked how the band was formed. He responded that they “met at school and we have been playing since we started getting ready for exams at about sixteen”. After years of “not so serious” bands in school, Rob tells me that “ when we went to Uni...we thought…let’s give this a bit of a go.”
The name of the band is an intriguing one, so an explanation was needed.
“It’s a terrible, terrible story about how we got our name, unfortunately. We couldn’t think of a name for a long time and my mum claims she came up with the name Don Loco. I don’t know if it was her or just random...maybe hoping we would sound like cool Mexican hit men, or something. We had that name floating around for a while and we didn’t think it was quite right. We were playing football and Simon, our guitarist, had quite a risky tackle that brought him to the ground and he broke his arm. We had to cancel a few gigs that we had.
“We weren’t billed on them because we didn’t have a name, so it wasn’t a massive loss but the good thing that came out of it really was one day at work the week after that, I looked at his cast and was taking the piss out of his broken arm and we and he called him Don Broco, the play on Loco.
“We thought “that will do” We keep telling ourselves we are going to make up a better story. It will be fictitious, but better than that one!”
The band’s momentum is gaining at a rapid pace. Three years ago Don Broco played BBC introducing stage at Reading & Leeds and more recently played the main stage at the same festivals, with a sold of UK tour to boot and now with the headlining the 2015 Kerrang! tour.
“Yeah, it has been an amazing couple of years. It has been a lot of hard work and we put in the graft. There have also been a lot of terrible shows...it sounds very glamorous and very nice but we have done a lot of bad shows before that so it’s so nice to get to play these incredible festivals and headline these big tours, it makes it even more special to do that, so the Kerrang! tour is wicked as we have been fans of the magazine for so long and they have supported us from the early days. To be invited as a young, new British band is a massive honour.”
The tour is twelve dates, and but as usual with artists and musicians, Dublin maintains a special place. “For us this is another thing that makes the tour so special, that we get to come out to Dublin. We have only been once before [as a band].
“We have been before to see friends, because one of our friends live in Dublin and we had the best time ever. It was an incredible few days and an incredible few nights and the people are amazing, but as a band we have only been out there once; it was two years ago.
“The show blew us away too and out of all the shows we did as a support band, you know, some are better than others but we didn’t know what to expect coming out to a city we have never been to before.
“It is safe to say we got one of the best reactions that we ever had as a support act, everyone was so welcoming. When you are doing a lot of touring and a lot of shows and some shows stand out. For us, Dublin was by far the best we had on that tour. We have been gagging to come back and it has only now all has worked out,” said Rob.
It can’t all be fun and games, though. Do you feel more pressure to be headlining a tour with many other acts than to being touring alone as Don Broco?
“Yes and no…we always put ourselves under a bit of pressure before a tour, we pride ourselves on giving our all when we play live so on the lead up to a tour we are always practicing and we know what we are doing and we get the stage show right. The tour covers such a wide spectrum within the genre.
“Being able to do a tour which we wouldn’t normally get to do and headline with such heavy bands. We love We Are The In Crowd, they are the cream of the pop-punk scene and we know without fail that it’s going to be an incredible night, you know with the songs that the bands bring to the table.
“We have played with We Are The In Crowd a bunch of times and they are such a good live act that we know people are not going to be disappointed,” said Rob.
The first album Priorities was in 2012, I continued, and asked about the track Fire from the new album, which was streamed last week.
“Yeah, that’s the first sort of taste of the new music and so we literally finished it last week so it’s wicked to get the new music out so quickly.
“We are in that sort of buzz scenario where we just want to get it out there now but everyone was saying we got to wait. So we just had to hang on so we got to wait a little bit which is good and what makes the tour so good that we can actually play some more new ones from it,” Rob enthused.