Project Description

Interview with

SIMON DELANEY

of

DON BROCO

Interviewer – Georgie Dickinson

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“And when you get to play the small shows,
you’re back in everyone’s faces and the vibe
is just pure heat and music and there’s
nothing quite like that.”

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Don Broco are about to endure the biggest year of their lives. That’s not without saying 2017 has already been a huge year from them in itself. The british quartet recently sold out their biggest show to date in London’s Alexandra Palace and performed at some of England’s biggest festivals. But with the release of their highly anticipated third album Technology looming around the corner, the name Don Broco will slowly become a staple in British rock culture over the course of 2018.

However, before the year closes, the boys are visiting Australian shores for the first time. They’re visiting Brisbane and Melbourne before finishing off in Sydney and it’s no doubt these shows are going to go off. I got the chance to talk to guitarist Simon Delaney about TechnologyKoalas and what it was like to play a sold out Arena.

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So, Technology is the new album you guys are putting out in February. Tell me a little bit about what fans can expect from the new album.

It’s definitely our heaviest album so far. We came off the back of a record called Automatic, which had our most traditionally well-structured songs on it. It was an album that was all about making the best “well-written songs we ever written” and this album is a kind of reaction to that where we thought, “Let’s not think too much about what makes a traditionally well-written song. Let’s just go in as hard as we can with big riffs and big hooks and just do something that feels super fun, regardless of whether it makes sense”. So hopefully, it’s going to be our most exciting record to date as well.

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Awesome, I’m really excited to hear it. This will be Don Broco’s third full length release. Was there anything different about the writing and recording process this time around?

It was much quicker and far more spontaneous this time around than our last record. It was a pretty quick recording period as well. With the last record that we did, we were in and out for the studio for a year and a half whereas this one, we went in for 6 weeks, smashed it out and came out with a bunch of songs that we were really stoked on. So yeah, it’s been by far the quickest process we’ve had.

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Do you guys have any personal favourites off the album or is every song quite special?

We’ve definitely got some favourites. There’s a song which we’re going to be putting out, probably in January of 2018, called “Come Out To LA”. It was the last song we actually wrote for the record, which everyone was really buzzed on. There’s also a song on the record called “Something To Drink”. We don’t usually write songs in this manner, but we were just jamming something in a practice room and it came together quite quickly. Normally, we spend loads of time sending ideas between ourselves by email; it’s rare to actually sit down altogether and write a song from scratch. But that song was one we created like that and it came out really well and really different for us, so that one I’m really excited about too.

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Technology will be the first full length you guys put out through a independent label like Sharptone Records. What has it been like to work with an independent label so far?

It’s been that biggest breath of fresh air I could possibly imagine [laughs]… Basically, we’ve been on majors before and majors have their advantages. There’s a huge system in them where they can kick in as a massive infrastructure and if the label want to push you down all their channels, it can be a massive advantage. But if the label don’t push you down all their channels, then you get a bit stuck in the mud.

Being on Sharptone, which is an independent label, they’re super excited about the band, they’ve got a lot of ideas and they let us have complete creative autonomy over everything we want to do. So yeah, it’s like having a super encouraging parent who says, “Yeah, you want to do this? Go and do it, we’ll make it happen.” [laughs]. But yeah, it’s been phenomenal so far.

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On the topic of creative autonomy, you guys released a trilogy of music videos for “Everybody”, “Pretty” and the title track “Technology” prior to announcing the album. What inspired you guys to create this trilogy and the insane story that is presented through these videos?

Well, basically, we would absolute love to take credit for that insanely creative plot that was established in those videos, but we really lucked out. We found a great director in America, a guy called Benjamin Roberts, who has a company called Dominar and we basically just chucked the first song “Everybody” out online to a website where anybody can pitch an idea to do an video for it. So we put the song up, and said, “Yo, we’re a band from the UK, we’ve got this song, and the weirder the idea, the better”. This guy came back with an idea that was super weird and we were like, “Wow, this is amazing. We’re really into it”. We would’ve never been able to make a video like Everybody when we were on a major label, so it was a new thing for us to actually do what we want, we could go and make this crazy video. And then, we met him and we did the video and we all got on so well.

He talked to us about subsequent videos and would do pitches and we’d have ideas from other directors but his would always be head and shoulders above everybody else. It’d always be so weird, they’d make us laugh, but they were always so interesting and so clever. So, we ended up going with Ben for all those videos and it’s turned into quite a nice little series. We always used to love it when bands we used to love growing up would make music videos that linked into each other. So, we were stoked at the idea of getting to do that ourselves.

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You guys recently sold out your biggest show to date at Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally). Tell me more how that show went and what it meant to you guys to sell out that show.

It was a really big one for us. We’ve been to that venue since we were kids. It’s a pretty iconic venue in London, and it’s right up on a hill where you can see the entire city beneath it and it’s this crazy old art deco building, so just the building itself has such a crazy individual vibe on its own. It was always somewhere we’d really wanted to play, just from growing up and seeing your favourite bands there. I’ve seen all these incredible rock bands there and we always knew that was one of the places we wanted to tick off. And I mean, we weren’t sure because we hadn’t played a show in a long time in the UK; you always get that nervousness as a band when you haven’t played in a market for a long time. When we put tickets on sale, we just thought, “wow, we wonder how this is gonna go”. You know, it could go either way. But luckily, when they went on sale, the tickets started flying and to sell it out was a real dream come true.

We put everything we could into the show, like we had a pretty huge production like lots of lights and a lot of ideas on how to make the show visually. We wanted to tie it in with the vibe of the new material and start establishing that cohesive strain between the visual and these new songs we’ll be taking forward into the album campaign and the live shows. So yeah, it was a real statement show for us in every respect and we couldn’t have been more stoked. Nothing went wrong on the night too, so we were stoked and we come out of it which marks as a good show for us. If you come out of a show and everyone can say that nothing went wrong, it’s probably been a good one.

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Next year marks a decade since Don Broco’s formation. Looking back at when you guys first started, did you ever think Don Broco would become the entity it is today?

No way! When we first started the band, we were just kids and we never really set out to be a band that would sell out venues like Ally Pally. We set out to be a band because we were kids and we liked jamming in our bedrooms. And then, it slowly becomes that goal over that period. The reality to play music for a living slowly dawns on you, it’s not something we ever figured out on day one. It’s not like we thought, “Yo, we’re gonna be a band and go on tour”, it was more of a “Let’s try some songs in our rooms and we love playing live so we’ll get a van and start playing every crappy venue under the sun”. And then, once you’ve played every crappy venue under the sun, you can get to the next level of not-so-crappy ones. It’s like a ladder; your goal posts change with every achievement that you make and you want to climb to the next run. So now having done Ally Pally, we’re here going ‘Where do we go from here? Do we do Wembley?’ and just instantly start working towards the next thing. But I don’t think any of us thought 10 years ago that we’d be here at the moment, doing what we’re doing. We’re very, very lucky.

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You guys kick off your debut Australia tour on Thursday. Are you guys excited to finally play to Australian fans for the first time?

Yeah, we’re crazy excited. We’ve never been at Australia before as a band and a lot of us have been as individuals. In fact, I don’t think any of us have really been, apart from our bass player who went when he was younger. So, we’re all excited to come to the country, we’re excited to meet the people. We’ve got a lot of Australian friends that we’ve met through being in the band, like people in other bands like the Tonight Alive guys who we’re really tight with. We see them all over the world, but we’ve never actually been to their home turf [laughs]. We’re just really excited. Every Australian we’ve ever met we liked so we’re stoked to come and meet a whole ton of you guys.

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The venues you’re playing in Australia are quite small compared to Ally Pally. Do you guys excited to play intimate venues again?

Oh yeah, big time. We always talk about whether we prefer playing the small sweatboxes or if we prefer playing the big shows and you get such different vibes from both of them. The big shows are great, they’re amazing but you kind of feel a bit more disconnected from the crowd because you’re further away and there’s so many people. And when you get to play the small shows, you’re back in everyone’s faces and the vibe is just pure heat and music. There’s nothing quite like that, so yeah, we love playing small shows.

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Performances aside, is there any activities you guys are most excited to do while you’re in Aus?

I am incredibly keen to get the photo of me cuddling a koala that all my friends that have to Aus have gotten [laughs], so that’s definitely on the list. I’m also a bit of a coffee fiend, and I’ve heard Australia has good coffee so I’ll be drinking a ton of that. And just outside Sydney, I can’t remember what it’s called but I think it’s called the Blue Mountains drive, or a road with that name that goes to the national parks. I think we’re going to try and do that and see some of the scenery.

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What’s next for Don Broco? Obviously, Technology comes out in February, but what’s the plan for 2018?

So, at the beginning of 2018, we’ll be crazy busy because the new record comes out at the beginning of February. So the end of January and beginning of February, we’re going on tour in the UK. Then, we are going to the States with a band called Our Last Night, who are good dudes. We’ve met them a bunch and seen them play so we’re excited to play those with them on their home turf. And then, we’ll be coming back to the UK for a brief period. There’s a lot of talk about what we want to do this summer, we’re still speculating between various things touring wise in different territories but we’re gonna be pretty busy. And then, at the end of the year, we’ll probably be looking to do something quite exciting in the UK. I’m not entirely sure exactly what just yet, but we’re not going to be slowing down in 2018. We’re basically just going to be on the road 24/7, which is fine by us because that’s what we do it for.

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AMNPLIFY – DB