The U.K.’s Don Broco Uses Friendship to Shatter Speakers

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Like high school sweethearts who say they’ll stay together forever but rarely do, it’s hard to maintain bonds—especially deep ones—to those you’ve grown up with. But that’s exactly what the members of the U.K. rock band, Don Broco, have done. From prior band names that now seem comical (Club Sex) to sticking together through sonic evolutions and experimentations, the members of the hard-rocking band are tight. So much so that it provides the space—the freedom—to try something new, to become different creative people, and to know that they will have each other’s backs. In an age where bickering is often more common than conversation, it’s a breath of fresh air amidst their shattering, thrashing tracks.

This bond and the music that emanates from it is supremely evident on the band’s raucous new LP, Amazing Things, out soon on October 22.

“Us collaborating,” says Rob Damiani, vocalist and frontman for Don Broco, “created something so much bigger than we could have done individually. That’s something I love about being in a band today.”

The four original members of the group that would become Don Broco (pronounced “Don Broke-Oh”) met in school in their teens. Bassist Tom Doyle joined the band later. At the time, the members were just messing around. They hadn’t played many if any, shows. Damiani had joined a practice one day when the others were jamming and sang some background vocals while banging on bongos. But after the next gig, the lead singer quit and Damiani was now the frontman.

“I never thought of myself as a proper singer,” Damiani says, “I just fell into it.”

While he didn’t fancy himself a singer, Damiani was a musician and had experience as a vocalist. As a three- or four-year-old, his parents, who were then avid Michael Jackson fans, took him to “cushion concerts” where other kids would bring a cushion, sit and participate in some little ditties. Later, in school, Damiani participated in several choirs. In his teen, he found rock and fell in love. Along with the friendships, for Damiani, one of the great benefits of playing music is the freedom it offers. His echoing voice benefits from it.

“We’ve always strived to be different and stand out from the pack,” he says. “We’ve always wanted to swim against the tide. If a certain trend was going one way, we couldn’t help but go the other way.”

The band’s mantra, Damiani says, is that they’re open to anything and they want the band to remain so, free to be any kind of music they want. No closed doors. The band, which formed officially in Bedford, England, and released its first EP in 2008 and LP in 2012, has evolved through the years, learned from its past releases to find what feels right, what’s a fit. For their newest album, the band looked to their record prior. With much more time than they had originally thought prior to the pandemic, Don Broco looked to build off past success. Their first record was just that (a bit still formative), then they looked into more of a pop direction, then followed that with a heavier, more angular album. The new LP, Amazing Things, doubles down on the heft the band is so deft at presenting.

“Playing loud is fun,” Damiani says. “We wanted to keep that theme running while bringing in new ideas and still evolving in other ways. So, we kept it heavy.”

The new record is thick, starting with their single “One True Prince” and continuing through the even more raucous songs, “Manchester Super Reds No. 1 Fan” and “Gunshield.” To make it, the band used real drums, analog amps, multiple guitars. The band wanted to blend modern and nostalgic sounds. They’re songs that feel powerful on record but will likely feel that much more of a punch live.

“Having a year without touring made us appreciate it more,” Damiani says. “But we already loved it.”

In a groove now with two indelible rock records, Don Broco is eager to get back in the studio again. There’s more music to make, that’s the only way there will be more even to share amongst audiences, amongst friends. It’s a service the band loves to provide, as a unit.

“Putting on a record,” Damiani says, “that maybe you haven’t listened to in years, it transports you to another world. Whether that world is of the song itself or whether it transports you back to your memories associated to that. That’s the beauty of music, it can take you to crazy places.”

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