Don Broco’s third album, Technology, continues the rocking rise of the Bedford band. Lead singer Rob Damiani talks to Quinlan Barker and Tara Matthews about making the record and straining at the leash to play it live
Since their inception almost a decade ago, Bedford quartet Don Broco have gone from strength to strength.
On the back of two stellar albums, 2012’s alt-rock powerhouse, Priorities, and funk-infused sophomore effort, Automatic, the band now sport a UK Top 10 album on their CV as well as support slots for mammoth groups 5 Seconds of Summer and Bring Me The Horizon.
The Automatic campaign culminated in a sold-out show at London’s Alexandra Palace in November 2017, which included an on-stage proposal, giant confetti cannons and prodigious pyrotechnics, solidifying them as one of the most exciting live bands in the UK.
Reflecting in almost nervous excitement, vocalist Rob Damiani, guitarist Si Delaney and drummer Matt Donnelly provide a candid insight into the story of album number three, Technology, revealing that although the journey wasn’t the smooth ride they were expecting, it taught them valuable lessons on how to make the Don Broco name go truly stratospheric.
Your new album, Technology, is finally out. It must be nice to be able get your fans’ reactions?
Rob: It’s been a little while coming. It’s been good to get a load of material out before the album, which has been really nice to whet people’s appetites, and it’s meant we’ve been able to play a load of new songs already, which is always fun. The live show’s the most fun thing we get to do as a band, and when you’re playing the same songs over and over again it’s just really exciting to freshen it up.
With three albums under your belt, how has that affected your live set-list?
Rob: With this current tour, the album will have only been out a week or so, so we don’t want to flood people with new material, because we know what it’s like as fans; you want to see the oldies that you know and love as well.
When you’ve done pretty much the same set for the last three years, every time you get to bring one or two songs in to freshen it up it just gives it that whole new lease of life for us and our fans.
Have these songs been a long time in the making?
Rob: Not really, and that’s kind of been the most exciting part of this album process for us. As soon as we had a song we just recorded it and put it out. We had the first single, Everybody, ready to go, and we were excited to play it, so we recorded it as quick as we could, shot a video and got it out within a month. It’s a massively liberating experience doing that, because music is very much of the moment when you’re writing it and feeling it.
Were there any difficulties along the way in the story of Technology?
Rob: It was the first time as a band that things didn’t seem as fun or as fresh as they once did, and it really hit us hard. Some of it was probably stuff we brought on ourselves, not being able to deal with the pressure and things not always going the way we wanted them to.
Unfortunately, the more serious it becomes and the more pressure you get, the less free time you have. As the UK shows get bigger and bigger, you don’t have as much time to do the fun stuff around it, but in a way that’s just a fact of life. There’s constant self-doubt along the process and I think that’s something that anyone has. There’s a constant drive to do more and succeed, and you think, What are we even doing with our lives at some points, but you’ve got to get past that.
On the surface, there were no visible signs of this distress. As a band, How do you deal with these kinds of troubles in such a public world?
Rob: It’s definitely something no one would have noticed, and I think that was almost as big a strain as anything else, because you’re putting out this image that everything’s rosy, and even if things weren’t, you wouldn’t want to be moaning about stuff on your band Twitter. Any of our close friends or family knew the pressure we were under, but to the general public we’re not going to be putting out statuses of how depressed we are or how tough it is because people don’t want to hear that.
Was this sentiment felt during the writing of the music?
Rob: I think for me the most powerful thing about music and the cathartic aspect of writing songs is you can turn a negative time in your life into something positive by writing a tune about it, and you can dissect how you really feel, almost like a diary. Even if there’s no resolution, if you write a banging song at the end of it, you can tell yourself, Well, it was worth it in the end.
How have you been able to put the false sexual misconduct allegations made last year behind you?
Rob: It was a difficult period – it was massively hurtful to have my family, friends and fans read those lies about me. The person making those claims fully retracted them and publicly apologised but it was still obviously an awful thing to go through. I accepted the apology and re-focused my energy on finishing the album and getting ready to go on tour.
Words: Quinlan Barker and Tara Matthews