Rob Damiani, (seen here second from the left), lead vocalist with British rock band Don Broco, chats with Kevin Cooper about the fans reaction to their latest album Technology, the last time that he was star struck, having Neck Deep opening for them and their current tour of the UK.

Rob Damiani is the lead vocalist with British rock band, Don Broco. Along with guitarist Simon Delaney, bassist Tom Doyle and drummer Matt Donnelly they all met at secondary school and formed the band after studying at Nottingham University.

They first toured the country in 2008 and appeared at Camden Crawl and Download Festival in 2009 before supporting Enter Shikari on a short run of shows in 2009. The band’s debut album, Priorities, was released in 2012 and was followed up with Automatic in 2015. Last year they released their third studio album, Technology to much critical acclaim.

Touring as one of the support bands for Our Last Night on their North American and European tour in 2018, they are now embarking upon an arena tour of their own.

Whilst busy touring, Rob Damiani took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.

Hi Rob how are you?

Hi Kevin I’m good man, how’s it going?

I’m very well thanks for asking and before we move on let me thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

No worries, thank you for being interested in what we are up to.

And just how is life treating you at this moment in time?

I have to say that life is good. It’s kind of busy at the minute as you can most probably imagine. We are currently out on tour and let me tell you it was crazy trying to get everything ready. I don’t know who packed the bus but we have bought way too much stuff with us (laughter). In between trying to get everything ready we have also been trying to get a couple of hours here and there practising, and for me I have been trying to learn a couple of new songs which we have never played before and that always takes way longer than you think it is going to take. You play them in the studio, then you record them and then you never play them for about a year (laughter).

It is almost like learning a brand new song. I tend to forget how things go because I don’t really listen to my own music so I find myself looking up the lyrics on Google in order to find out what I am supposed to be singing (laughter). However, I seem to have learnt them all now thank god (laughter).

I have been told that you once had problems with your passport; is all okay for this tour?

(Laughter) oh god, just who have you been speaking to (laughter). Luckily for this tour we were all okay but yes, you are quite right, that has happened to us before. We were heading over to France once and it actually turned into one of those last minute rush jobs. We were literally all ready to go, the show was that night, and we were told that we should have been getting our new passports sent out to us. So we were all sat next to the front door waiting for the postman to arrive so that we could finally leave (laughter). So I am hoping that we have all learnt from that experience (laughter).

Taking you back twelve months you and I last spoke prior to the release of Technology. Were you happy with the fans reaction to the album?

Yes I was in fact I was more than happy. As our album releases go, Technology was quite honestly the best instant reaction we have ever received from our fans for an album. Having said that, it could be down to the fact that we have now got a larger fan base than we used to have. So it is hard to gauge really. When we released the album I instantly thought that it was our best album and to be honest, I think that could still be the case. However, as you know, music is so subjective and all of the albums have got a different feel to them. Still a year after its release whenever I listen to Technology I still love the album as do the rest of the boys.

Whenever we meet the fans they tell us exactly what the songs mean to them; how much they are enjoying it, so I really am proud of that album. I think that we did a really good job and people definitely do enjoy it so yes, I am glad that it got the reaction that it did. I felt that it was deserved. I know that may sound a little arrogant but it really is great when you put something out and people like it.

Well I have to be honest with you and say that I am still playing the album to death and in particular the title track. I think that it is a great piece of work.

Really, that is awesome. That is truly sic.

Do you have a favourite track on the album, either when you recorded it or now that you are learning it once again in order to play it live?

(Laughter) that is a bloody good question. For me, whenever I am listening back to the album now, I tend to remember things differently. I can remember the struggle of just how hard it was to play a certain track and then I don’t enjoy it. Also believe me, sometimes I just get bored of singing a certain track and that can change from song to song really. Having said all of that, currently my favourite track off Technology is a song called Got To Be You. I guess that track is almost the ballad of the album. That is one of the new songs that we have put into the set for the current tour. For me it is a real joy to sing (laughter). That is most probably for very selfish reasons (laughter). It is really nicely within my range.

Sometimes you put a song into the set and think ‘oh god that’s going to be a nightmare to sing, it’s so high’ (laughter). But Got To Be You is really cool, and it also brings something a little different to the set. For me whenever we are playing big shows and in particular headline shows, especially like to one in Nottingham at the Motorpoint Arena, you really do have to up the scale of the show. We will be playing for over an hour and a half, perhaps even more, and you don’t want to be playing the same thing over and over again. We have got the bangers, we have got the heavy riffy stuff, but I can’t listen to that for an hour and a half (laughter). I want those moments where you can just sing along or simply sway to the music.

Putting in a few tracks like that allows the fans, and the band, to enjoy the music and it is really good fun. So I would have to say most definitely Got To Be You. I also like Tightrope which is one of the new songs which until the current tour we hadn’t performed live before. That’s a sic track as well, I had forgotten just how much I like that song (laughter). There are a few of the classics which when we originally wrote them we were all super stoked with. For example, whenever we play Pretty the energy which we get from the crowd is simply second to none and that is what it is all about. Being in a band for me is those moments where you have got a full room just going nuts to those parts. For all of the work that we put into it, we get the reward whenever we play these shows. It really is great.

A lot of fans are saying that Technology is a massive shift from your previous album, 2015’s Automatic. I honestly can’t see it myself. What would you say to that?

I have to agree with you on this one and say that I personally don’t feel that it was a massive shift. It all depends upon just how much music you listen to I think. I suppose that it is all rather personal to what your experience of music is in a general sense. I personally try to listen to anything that is good. However, I now find it harder to find the time to listen to any sort of music because we are always working on new stuff ourselves. Once our music is out there all that I want to do is take a break from it all (laughter). Having said that I will try to listen to a bit of everything and not just rock music all of the time especially after we have played a show and you have seen two or three other bands that night.

The last thing that you want to do is put on some heavy metal (laughter). So for me whenever I listen to Don Broco there is most definitely a different vibe; Automatic is a lot slicker as an album, the more pop influences to our sound is probably quite a lot higher up the priority list to what you maybe get as an impact. However, in the grand scale of things both albums sound very Don Broco, as both albums contain a lot of crossover material. I would have to say that it is a natural shift and we try to do that with every album. We always attempt to make something a lot of the time completely different, like we set out to make something that no one has ever heard Don Broco do before. Then by the time that we have finished it I have to be honest and say that it simply sounds like us (laughter).

That really isn’t a bad thing because at the end of the day that is one of the reasons why your fans like you. So there will be people out there who liked one album but didn’t like the other. But if you are a fan of our song writing style, which is more or less no messing around, and with no chaff, then that should be okay. We just get bored so quickly and we are quite brutal at cutting sections of our songs. I think that some people are maybe more into a slow burner track which I love too but without even realising it a lot of the time. Our style is quite poppy in a sense; three minutes, and no messing around. You need to be able to sing it back and if that doesn’t work then it is not going in the song. And that is the mentality in writing all of our albums so if you are a fan of that then I think that you will like everything to be fair.

Whichever album you listen to it is you; it has got the Don Broco DNA in there hasn’t it?

Yes they have, most definitely. That’s a great way to put it. Why didn’t I think of that (laughter).

You have stepped up from the smaller venues into the larger arenas. Does that affect your thinking and methodology whenever you are writing; are you now looking to write more anthemic singalong songs?

That’s a great question. I wouldn’t say that it has affected our methodology currently. Having said that it’s hard to say at this stage because we have only just dipped our song writing toe into writing for the next record. We are definitely not thinking ‘we need to write some more anthemic type of songs’ (laughter). I mean, the songs that we already have in the bag so far, or our ideas for songs, I wouldn’t say that they are like arena rock songs anyway. So it might be something that we try out at a later date. I most certainly wouldn’t rule that out but I don’t think that it will necessarily change our style. The new song that we are currently playing on the tour, I personally think that it is some of the heaviest shit that we have written (laughter). It is an absolute mind melter.

I also think that it is probably the most fun song that we are ever going to release. We are all super excited about it. It is a live tune and it is a tune that makes me want to leave my shit (laughter). It’s not in that sense an arena song, but I can imagine an arena crowd going mental to it. I personally think that you can’t overthink stuff. Where I think that we do best as a band is when it comes to writing, when we just let our guard down and let what comes naturally come out and chose from there. Whenever we have tried to write a particular song, in a particular style, we have only done that a handful of times, it never really works out. It is more when we just let creativity and inspiration come to you, and once you have that, you then figure out how it is going to sound and what the feel of it is. You don’t try to do anything, if it works out that way then great.

You have briefly mentioned new songs; are there any thoughts as yet to writing the next album?

(Laughter) I have absolutely no idea. Basically we have just started writing. Over Christmas we tried to find a little bit of time, but we have been so busy touring last year especially with touring America three times and spending two months per tour over there we simply haven’t had the time to write anything new. At the end of the year we just couldn’t believe where the time had gone. It really feels like it is only a few months ago that we were going to release the album (laughter). We are very hungry to basically start the next album and it is just a matter of finding the availability and time. I think that once this tour is out of the way then over the summer we are hoping to really get our teeth into some new material.

So I would like to think that we would have something new to release next year. We don’t want to just sit around and not have anything to show for our efforts because we have got some new music already which we are just gagging to get out there. When we had a little taste of that with the last album Technology, putting songs out as we came up with them, it is just so rewarding for us as well as the fans to have a little something rather than having to wait a whole three years for a whole body of work. So we have already got material that we really want to put out, and with regards to new stuff, I personally think we are definitely going to be working on it a lot towards the end of this year and then hopefully in the first part of 2020 we will have a full, all singing all dancing album for people.

You are playing fifty dates on the current tour, thirty one of which are over in the USA. Do the American crowds get what it is that you are doing?

That might be because here in the UK it took us so long to finally find our feet as a band musically and I think that we continue to grow and improve as a band, professionally putting on a show as well as keep getting better and writing better songs. It is sometimes hard to give a clear comparison between the two sets of fans. However, it seems like the fans over there in the States do actually get us a lot and they understand us a lot quicker than the UK crowd did. Again, it is hard to tell because as I say it took us so long to build up slowly, playing the toilet circuit and then getting support tours. It really was a very slow process, not the slowest but we certainly had to put the hard graft in to get where we are today.

Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining. I am super proud of the journey that we have had, and like they say the reward for the struggle is so much worth it. If it was simply handed to you then it wouldn’t feel as good. But the same time in the USA, the amount of tours that we have done so far, I think that people are perhaps more open to enjoying what we are doing. A lot of the time in the UK people would struggle to put us on bills. They wouldn’t know whether to put us on a heavy metal line-up or a pop-punk line-up (laughter). There were a few people who got what we were about and from those that is where you start to build up your fan base.

A lot of people simply wouldn’t be sure what they were hearing because they didn’t understand it. So they maybe didn’t give us a chance. But I think that in America it seems pretty instantly people are digging what it is that we are doing straight away. Last year we were over in America a crazy amount and next year we would love to be in a position where we can start doing our own touring out there. Potentially even this year we could be going out there doing some headline shows. It really is an interesting time for us. America is so similar to the UK but at the same time it is also so different in a lot of ways. It is really exciting for us; everything is new, they just love the English accent as well (laughter). You can say almost anything and they just go ‘oh wow’ (laughter).

You have got Neck Deep opening for you. Are you aware of their previous antics here in Nottingham?

(Laughter) that’s right we have Neck Deep opening for us and from what I have been told they were rather naughty the last time that they played in Nottingham. Stop me if I am wrong but I believe that they got into a scuffle with the security at the show. I didn’t see anything about it but I have heard bits here and there. From what I gather they thought that one of their fans was being roughly manhandled and the band just went in and started a fight with the security staff. Is that about right?

That is about the gist of it. You should check it out on YouTube. Let’s just say that it resembled the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (laughter).

Really, was it really that bad?

Yes they were so things could get a little interesting.

Oh my god, hopefully they will behave themselves and everything will be alright. Let’s just hope that they don’t have too many enemies up there in Nottingham (laughter). You would hope that they will be far enough away from everyone on the stage and they won’t be able to be scuffling with the security up there in the Nottingham Arena (laughter). Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope that they are too far away from everyone (laughter).

I will be in the pit shooting the gig so I just hope that they do behave themselves (laughter).

(Laughter) me too.

When was the last time that you were star struck?

(Laughter) wow where did that come from (laughter). Thinking about it, we had just been over in America with Mike Shinoda, in fact to be fair the very first time that I felt star struck was when I met Mike Shinoda because he is simply a legend and I am a massive Linkin Park fan. Once I got to know him and I realised what an absolutely down to earth legend he was then that kind of wears off after a while. But then the time after that we had a day off and Mike had a show in Los Angeles with James Cordon. We all went along as Mikes guests and we wanted to support him. We got to go backstage and one of the other guests on the James Cordon Show was Rami Malek who plays Freddie Mercury in the new Queen movie.

Rami is also in the TV show Mr. Robot which is one of my all-time favourite TV shows. And it was just one of those things where you are backstage in a really small chill out room, and there is this guy who you watch all the time on the TV. Mr. Robot isn’t easy watching; you really do need to be in a good place in order to watch it. There is a lot going on and it is quite a complicated storyline. It is not always the best thing to watch when you are out on the road in the tour bus, you really do have to concentrate (laughter). So I am obsessed with this show, I love Rami, I didn’t know who the other guests were, and I was just sat in this backstage room chilling out, and your hero is only a metre away from you (laughter).

I thought ‘I have got to go and say hi to him and let him know who I am’ and I very quickly ran out of things to say to him. Once I had introduced myself and told him that I was a massive fan of the show I had already blown my cool. I think by then he had already realised just how obsessed I was with him, hopefully not in a weird way (laughter). I love him as an actor but when I actually met him I just absolutely crumbled in front of him. I’m sure that he must get it all the time but for me it really was a funny feeling. I was definitely star struck meeting Rami (laughter).

Rob on that note let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today. It’s been fantastic once again. Take care and I will see you here in Nottingham.

No worries Kevin, thanks for your time once again. It’s been wicked and I will see you in Nottingham.