Don Broco are a four piece pop punk band based in Bedford. Formed after going to university they decided to take music seriously and over the last couple of years they have been touring up and down the country playing with bands such as We Are The Ocean and Enter Shikari. They’ve received support from Red Bull and BBC Introducing giving them the opportunity to play festivals such as Download, Sonisphere and Reading and Leeds.
Dale Davies spoke to Rob Damiani & Matt Donnelly before their recent Portsmouth gig.
Your currently on tour with four year strong, how has it been so far?
It’s been amazing, absolutely brilliant. I would say it’s been one of the fun tours we’ve ever done. It’s a different dynamic to what we’ve had before; we’ve never been out on the road being the only English band on tour, but the guys from both bands Four Year Strong & A Loss For Words have been so lovely. The shows have also been incredible nearly every date has been sold out the crowd has been so up for it and energetic we’ve just had an absolute whale of a time. It’s gone way to quick, we started to feel a bit tired but now it’s the end we feel like we could carry on forever, we’re playing the biggest venues we’ve ever had a chance to plan in, the gig at KOKO in London is the biggest venue we’ve ever had the chance to play, so we’re very much looking forward to that one.
We knew ‘Four Year Strong’ were releasing a new album so we suspected they would probably be touring the UK. Being big fans, we put feelers out seeing what the situation was. Then we were stoked, when we sent them some of our stuff and they got back saying they wanted to have us on this tour. We were just so over the moon.
You’ve spent the last few years touring up and down the country with a number of acts, what would you say has been the most important lesson you’ve learnt about going on tour?
We’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. When we first started we just made some demos and started touring them as soon as we could, we had about three songs for our first gig. We’ve spent about 2 years touring non-stop sometimes we were making songs up as we went along making lyrics up on the spot talking gibberish. My advice would be to spent time writing songs till your comfortable with everything you want to do. As soon as you start a band you want to play gigs as soon as you can, it’s the most rewarding thing. But bare in mind it’s true what they say; you never get a second chance to make a first impression, they will get an opinion on your band, so sometimes you have to work really hard to change their mind.
What are your touring plans for the rest of the year?
Basically once we get of this tour we’re finishing of the album so that’s the priority really to get that sorted. We’re hoping for a summer release, so the plan would be to tour in support of that. So that would be the next big thing for us. Then a few summer festivals hopefully.
You got the opportunity to play some major festivals last year at Download, Sonisphere and reading, how do you think they have helped you on your journey?
We had a great time last summer, incredible really, we got the chance to play all the festivals we’ve ever dreamed of playing, on all the smaller stages. We got to meet one or the organizers of BBC introducing the other day so we were able to say how grateful we were, it really did push us, especially last year getting to play Reading and Leeds. It was a life long dream of ours, I remember we used to count down the days from January time, it was Reading where we first stated talking about forming a band, as we all started learning instruments so for it to all come full circle and to play the festival, it was a great moment, definitely one to check of the list.
Do you think festivals have a responsibility to help smaller acts gain more exposure?
I don’t know if they have a responsibility but a lot of them do now help emerging bands. For us personally it’s done us a whole load of good because before our first appearance at download in 2009 we hadn’t been given a chance before to play festival before and since then it’s allowed for everything else to fall into place. Festivals are such a good way to get new people into your music, interaction online showed people checked us out after wondering past the tent when we were playing. We’ve gained so many fans from playing festivals, it may be the only reason somebody has heard of you, just by being on the bill. We are so grateful to the companies that help bands get onto different festivals such as Red Rull and BBC, if that continues I’m sure a number of new bands will continue to get discovered.
From music festivals to music videos. From the early days you’ve always put out music videos, have you always considered it be important to get videos out into the public domain?
It’s massive, it’s almost as important as the music. But first and foremost you have to make sure the songs are good. The way we approached it, we felt it adds an extra element, it gives you something to watch. If you make it enjoyable you might get people to show it to their friends or make it go viral, either because this bits really funny or really cleaver. It’s also important in the way you present yourself, if you look like a band, if you look good then people are more likely to come back and watch it. Well that’s what we think, music videos will always potentially get a song played more by an individual because they want to come back and watch the video again, where as they might not want to play the song again and again on their ipod. It’s a great visual way to get another side of your personality on screen, it’s important for people to see what your about and that you like to have fun.
If you could tour with any other band who would you tour with?
It would be great to tour with any of our favorite bands, Brand New would be great but I guess Biffy Clyro are top of the list, I remember getting a free track with a magazine, since then I’ve been hooked on them, growing up with them as they’ve changed and developed.
Finally, How would you describe your transition from when you started as a band to making your first CD?
Song writing wise we’ve come along way. I think when we first started writing the demos for our first ever tours, we were just throwing it together hoping for the best. Some of them came off, some of them we wish we could remove from our back catalogue. I think we’ve definitely honed our sound, knowing what we liked best and what works and what doesn’t work. So we’re in a position where we know what we’re best at doing. It’s taken two and a half years but we’ve finally got a CD together which we’re very proud of and we can’t wait for people to hear it and hopefully they’ll like it as much as we do.
As a band you’ve got to aim higher, unless your very fortunate you’ve got to plan for up to 6-12 months ahead. We started work on this debut album just after reading last year, now we know we’re at a point where it’s all coming together we’re thinking ahead for tour plans and festivals. I think you always need to be thinking and looking ahead.
Don Broco will be heading to Southampton on March 18th apart of Takedown | Twenty Twelve, the alternative music festival at Southampton university headlined by Skindred featuring acts such as Lower than Atlantis, Deaf Havana, Bury Tomorrow and many more.