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Don Broco Interview April 2013

Carrie Humphries


2013 is proving to be a fairly fruitful year for Don Broco. Their twelve tour dates during February and March sold so well that they added a further five dates to their Priorities tour for April, which also sold out. I caught up with drummer Matt and guitarist Simon in Wolverhampton on the second of their April tour dates to talk inspiration, aspirations and life on the road.

As the lads settle down for the interview in the bar of The Slade Rooms, I ask them if they’ve ever played Wolverhampton before and find that it is actually one of the places that they laid their roots as a band when they first started out. “We played here once before at the Little Civic. It was one of those really early shows when we were still booking our own gigs and it was part of a run that we managed to muddle together. It was one of those tours that doesn’t really make any sense geographically, but it was a good one to get under your belt in the early days. It’s good to come back now that we’ve got everything running like a well oiled machine and obviously it is nice for it to be sold out as well.”

The four piece originally formed whilst at school, but took a break during their years at university. In the four years that have followed since their reunion, the band’s fanbase has blown up to ridiculous proportions thanks to a mixture of hard work touring and also through the clever use of media sources. As I remember hearing Don Broco in their earlier years during The Unsigned Show on Midlands-based radio station Kerrang, I ask them if they feel that media outlets such as that provide a good opportunity for new artists. Matt tells me “It’s definitely a really good platform to get your music heard and Alex Baker who does the Unsigned Show is so supportive. He’s such an enthusiastic guy. He loves his music, so he’s someone who’s very passionate and puts a lot of time and thought into his show. He helps out the bands that he believes in, so that’s awesome.”

The hilight of being in a band for most of the lads is doing exactly what they are today; touring. “The studio’s fun and writing songs is fun, but being on the road and playing the songs in front of an audience is easily the most enjoyable part for us. We’re loving our tour and the fact that it all sold out blew our minds, we had no idea it was going to go so well!” Touring can have it’s downsides though, such as seeing less of family and friends. After joking that they hate being at home and have no friends, Matt explains that it isn’t too bad for them at the moment “There are things about home that you miss obviously, but when you’re touring the UK it’s only so big a country. You’re never going to be away for too long; it’s always quite bearable. It’s a little different when you go to Europe, but we’ve only done that once before. Maybe one day if we get to do Warped tour in America we might not see our parents for 6 months or something silly; but right now it’s alright.”

During the last few years of touring, a few weird and wonderful traditions have developed which have become integral parts of any Don Broco gig; the Don Broco walk and also the ‘Push Up Squad’. The ‘walk’ is an amusing little synchronised dance performed by Bobby, Simon and Tom during Priorities and can only be described as a sort of cross between the running man and the can can. However, the ‘Push Up Squad’ tradition is actually fan made. “It began when a guy did it at one of our shows a while back. Now it’s taken on a life of it’s own where everyone’s heard about it, so now it’s a thing. Every show people just know; it gets to a point when they get down and every town’s competing, for who’s the best, the fittest, the strongest!” When questioned further about the stranger things they have seen on tour, Simon tells me “I think actually the strangest thing that we’ve seen on tour is something that happened within the last day and that’s our guitar tech developed a new game where he strips naked and he falls on you, but when you see him falling you’re not allowed to move. That’s the game, you have to take the fall! And everyone yells TIMBER! and he just squashes you! So that’s probably the strangest thing that I’ve seen on tour in quite a long time!”

This tour has been very much in support of ‘Priorities’ which was released in August 2012 and the band have been pleasantly surprised of the success of their debut release “We didn’t have a clue how successful it would be. I mean, we believed that the songs were strong enough so that if the radio did pick up on them people would like them and people would listen to them, but with radio and press there’s always a massive degree of luck in it. You could have the best songs in the world, but if the media doesn’t support you then you’re probably never going to get very far. So we’ve been really lucky. We always believed in the songs but we never took for granted the fact that they might get played by the radio. It’s really lucky that it’s happened for us.”

Simon and Matt reveal to me that in terms of song writing, inspiration can strike them any time and they are just as likely to write a song when they are in a dressing room as when they are in their own bedrooms at home. Lead singer Bobby also tends to be inspired lyrically by real life experiences, for example, their new single Whole Truth is about a friend’s infidelity within a relationship. “It’s based on one of Bobby’s mates, I’ve got to admit. It’s basically a story about someone who has been a bit of a naughty boy and cheated on his girlfriend, then it discusses how much truth is too much when you’re coming clean. I mean, is it better to not hurt someone’s feelings? How far do you go? Most people know someone in that situation where honesty is the best policy, but to a maybe to a point is it? Discuss.”

Speaking of inspirations, we get into a conversation about other artists that the band admire. One of their main heroes are the rock band Biffy Clyro. “We’ve been Biffy fans for a long time and we used to see them play to hardly anyone. To see what they’ve achieved as an alternative rock band who write heavy songs with weird timing and to see what they have been able to do in the last ten years is mind blowing. It makes us think that if they can do it, maybe one day if we work hard enough and the stars align, we can have some degree of success too like they’ve achieved. That would be incredible.”

The world of music has seen some interesting collaborations between artists over the years and after some joking that they’d like to work with Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion as he is otherwise known now…) Simon reveals an interesting choice of artist that they’d actually like to work with. “I’d quite like to collaborate with (Justin) Timberlake. It’s because I recon he’d be really interesting. I’d like to work with someone who isn’t renowned for rock production, but who is an insane producer and songwriter. I recon that would be really fun.”

So what is next for the young rising rockstars? Matt tells me that although they’ve started writing the new album, it probably won’t be out until early next year, but there are still a few unannounced festival dates to be played rather soon “For the rest of this year we’ll still be touring Priorities. We’re taking it to Europe next month with We Are The Ocean, which will be cool. We’re also playing a bunch of festivals including Hit The Deck and Take Down followed by a couple of bigger ones that we can’t really talk about yet in the summer, but they’ll be fun. Then we’ll be doing a final run of dates towards the end of the year. These will be the last few big headline shows before we disappear and go finish the new record for everyone!”