If you are looking for the next rock sensation, look no further. I have just the band for you. Don Bronco is a handsome group of British men ready to get your head bobbing, feet jumping, and hips swaying. Between playing several large tours with bands such as 5 Seconds of Summer and Bring Me the Horizon and winning the hearts of thousands in arenas across the globe, these men have started their takeover of the music scene. In 2016, the band released their latest album, Automatic, through SharpTone Records in the US. The album has any sort of sound you could be looking for, but one thing is for sure- it’ll keep you grooving. Recently, the band also released their new single, “Pretty”. With a harder guitar sound and strangely dark lyrics, you’ll find yourself slowly becoming addicted. Luckily, Pulse Spikes had the chance to speak with lead singer, Rob Damiani. He was a lovely fellow and gave us some insight into the new video, US tour, and creation process for Don Bronco.
I watched the music video for “Pretty” today and it was quite a rollercoaster ride. Were you nervous to put such a bizarre video out there? And I am curious, what kind of responses did you get from fans who were honestly expecting a lovely wedding? (Background story: To advertise their new music video, Don Bronco told everyone their bassist, Tom, was getting married. They even had fake congratulation videos and threw a fake bachelor party in Las Vegas. They told fans they would be able to livestream the wedding, and on the “wedding day” when people clicked on the given link, they came to the music video. They video itself is a wedding scene with a bloody twist. Genius, right? I would highly recommend checking it out.)
Rob: I think you are always a bit nervous with everything you put out there, whether it be a new song or video. I don’t know if you’ve seen the music video for “Everybody” but it has that weird kind of cowboy cult thing in it, and that was definitely off the wall and weirdest thing we’ve put out. The video ties in with that. We had a lot of fun with it, and it gave us the confidence to take that step toward the idea for “Pretty”. Once we got the okay from the label and management, we were like, “Well, we can’t NOT do this.” It’s such an odd and bizarre concept but we told ourselves, “Screw it. If people don’t like it, at least we do.” People were of course confused especially after we set up the whole wedding treatment. Even the State Champs guys made congratulations videos, and everyone bought the lie Tom was getting married. When fans clicked on the link, they were firstly confused, but I think some were actually quite disappointed. Overall, I think everyone really enjoyed the video, and we enjoyed the whole process. It was much more fun than a countdown.
If someone stole your face for the day, who would you want to steal your face? (Again, this goes back to the music video.)
Rob: This is such an interesting question. *pauses to think a bit* But I think I would say my dad because I think he would really enjoy being on tour. He drove the bus around for us one time for three weeks, and it was really quite intense. He’s always wanted to be in a band so I think he would enjoy it. And I guess with him being my dad, there are similarities that would help convince people it is me.
If I am not mistaken, your current tour with State Champs is your first US tour. How is the whole experience of touring the states going?
Rob: For a first US tour, it has been quite incredible. The State Champs fans have been welcome and wonderful. As an opening band on tour, a lot of the times, crowds have already made their mind up about you. But the Champs’ crowds have been ready to party from the start and have made it super fun.
What’s the weirdest thing, from your perspective, about the US or Americans in general?
Rob: The weirdest thing for us I guess is the amount of crazy food we have been eating. We have been eating burgers and donuts every day.
You’ve played some arena shows in the past and this tour has been pretty much general admission type shows. Do you enjoy the closer intimacy with fans at the smaller shows? Do you think the smaller shows has any pros that an arena show wouldn’t? If so, what are they?
Rob: When you play an arena show and you walk out on the stage, there is a real feeling of accomplishment. But when it comes down to the minute-to-minute aspect and fan interaction, there’s nothing better than the club shows. When you start playing to over a thousand people in the room, you can’t see everyone in the crowd and this sort of distance is formed. But when you are playing a club show, you can the whites of peoples’ eyes and there’s a connection.
As your band has grown over the past few years, have you had to make any sort of mental changes?
Rob: I think until you reach a point where you are solely playing arena shows and you have a huge crew and whatnot, you are always on this grind. You never fully get to relax, and you are always working. So you just have to keep reminding yourself to work hard.
How do you keep yourself going mentally and physically while traveling and creating so much?
Rob: Sleep is a big thing. Every few days, there will be a night where we don’t go out to party, and it’s nice. If I can get away with staying in my bunk and not dealing or thinking about things, it’s good. It’s good to convince yourself to detach and slip away from the tour life for even 30 minutes or an hour to have a walk around the venue. It’s really easy to get caught up in the tour lifestyle of getting to a venue, setting up, playing, leaving the venue, going to a bar, getting back on the bus, and doing it again every day.
Speaking of creating, how do you know you are ready to make music? Obviously, you have management and whatnot but that doesn’t always mean you are ready. Is it a build-up of experiences or do ideas just kind of hit you?
Rob: I think it happens different ways. At least with the last song we put out, we wrote it as fast as we could, shot a video as fast as we could, and just put it out. It’s been nice to work that way. It keeps things exciting for the fans. Some things you may spend longer on. It may take a week, or it may take a month depending on how much you should tweak. It’s an ongoing process, and when you know, you know.
And as some ending-interview advice for our readers, what can you say to those who are still trying to figure themselves and their goals out?
Rob: I think it’s really just up to experimentation and to try everything. As a band, it took us a few years to figure things out creatively and how we wanted to sound. We found things out through trial and error, making lots of songs, and playing lots of songs. And not rushing it. In anything really, there’s constant change. We are still changing album to album and song to song. We made the decision as a band to never stay still, and I think it’s a good way to work because you are never confining yourself to one thing. Pushing yourself allows you to find things you may have not found if you didn’t try everything out. So I guess my main advice is to just try everything until you find something you love and want to call your own.
Story + interview by Elizabeth StaffordLike this