As friendships go, they don’t get much closer than Don Broco. The boys have done everything together since high school – from a call centre job to five-a-side soccer, Don Broco are just that – bros. With their first Australian tour fast approaching, the next big thing in rock ‘n’ roll have already gained a massive popularity thanks to their infectious pop-rock magic and arsenal of anthems. Don Broco’s drummer Matt Donnelly takes us on a journey from Don Broco’s very British beginnings to the promising rock heavyweights they’re fast set to become.
You guys, your sound is so fresh and so Australia, so right for our music lovers – I’ve gotta ask though, the band name, Don Broco?
Right, okay [laughs]. Well firstly, it’s nice to hear you say you think Australia will be happy to have us because we can’t wait to come. We’ve had an opportunity to play a bit outside of the UK, but Australia is obviously somewhere we’ve wanted to come for a long time. None of us have been even for a visit, but our friends and family, they’ve visited and everyone says you’re gonna love it, it’s paradise.
The band name – so, we didn’t have a band name to start off with – this is very early days. Rob, Simon [vocalist Rob Damiani and guitarist Simon Delaney] and myself, we’ve been friends since we went to school together. Shortly after we had finished and we were working together in a call centre, we had our first gig booked by a local promoter but no [band] name. The promoter was on our back, ‘Come on guys, I’ve gotta put something on the poster, you’ve got to give me something here.’ So we were racking our brains, we’re not the best at making decisions sometimes. We were resorting to picking a singular word – that was the brief to start with, we were going to have a one word name, keep it short and snappy. I don’t know how we came across it but we liked ‘Don’ - it was short but it wasn’t enough. We liked Loco, just how it comes off tongue but quick Google search there’s already a rapper by that name. We left work that day a little down in the dumps, we missed the deadline by that point, for the promotor.
We played five-aside football that evening and Simon, he received a bit of a horror tackle from one of our other friends, [he] went over and broke his wrist. It was a bit of a disaster, we had to cancel those first gigs – but the silver lining, we got a band name! The next day he walks back into work and Rob, as a bad joke, topical because of the conversation from the day before, took one look at Simon’s cast and said ‘Hey, what’s up Don Broco?’ We all had a bit of a giggle at just how bad a joke it was - it was so bad it was good. That was it, I don’t think we could face going back to the drawing board and Don Broco was born.
It’s so unique. It doesn’t tie you down in a certain way and if people Googled it, they’re gonna find us. Only downside is sometimes you tell your mum’s friend your band name and they’re like ‘what?!’ [laughs] It takes a while to get it across.
It doesn’t really matter what your mum’s mate thinks does it, because you guys really aren’t mum rock are you?
Err… no. [laughs]
Having watched some of your video interviews, the dynamic with you guys, it’s like, these guys are bros.
Sometimes people think that’s what it means but I suppose, it kinda does. In a way like you say, it describes us. We’ve known each other so long, we’re kind of more brothers than friends. I’ve probably spent more time with those guys than I have my own brother in the last ten years. So yeah, in a weird way, it is that as well.
You have a very unique blend in that you have that history and then your sound is a little bit of everything, but a steady flow – it’s fun, it’s cheeky, it’s put such a good mood in me, I was just listening to ‘Everybody’. What kind of dynamic do you guys have when you sit down to write music?
A lot of the way the music is coming out stems from that – we were friends at school and our entire musical journey and discovery has been side by side. When we were 12 and friends at school and getting into music, we would discover bands, share CDs, then when we started to go to gigs in London, we went together. When we decided we wanted to be those guys on stage, we started learning instruments together. Right from the word go, learning instruments, we sucked! In a way that’s cool because we were playing together when we didn’t know what we were doing. But kind of anything goes because you haven’t learned the so-called right way.
Back then, messing around in the rehearsal room the only thing we could do was experiment, because we didn’t know how to do things properly yet. None of us have ever been in another band, we’ve never really changed. Anything goes, I’d like to think we’ve come on a little bit in terms of our musical ability and musicianship, but we’ve never lost that spirit, like there’s no such thing as a cray suggestion, and ass we’ve grown up, and our musical tastes have diversified. Sometimes I think the song writing process for us takes slightly longer because we’re fiercely collaborative, everyone has to have a say.
It’s interesting because through time that improvement, playing your instruments, has given you guys amazing opportunities – the London Camden Crawl, Download Festival, a gig at the Alexandria Palace in London which isn’t exactly an underground venue – that’s amazing – a few days later you’re in Australia and you’re not exactly playing lesser known venues here either. What does that feel like, to have been at this for ten years and suddenly, you’re coming to Australia to make your mark?
One of those things as a band, as a musician, from our point of view every day is a baby step. We released our first album [2015’s Priorities] and toured relentlessly but it was quite European-centric. We released our second album [Automatic] in 2015 and expanded and went to Europe. Australia is someone that’s been on the list and we couldn’t wait to get to you.
For any British band, Japan, Australia and the US, they’re like the big three I guess, to get you out on the market. Brits and Aussies have a weird love-hate connection… sporting rivalry… I think we just connect as people. I know that we’re gonna love Australia, it feels amazing. It’s crazy, you have to kind of remind yourself that, it doesn’t happen overnight and when you build up to thing, you sometimes forget what big landmarks these are and you have to remind yourself, like, if you’d told the guy in the school rehearsal room one day, he’d be like ‘no way.’ It’s humbling, overwhelming, but I hope it’s a sign of things to come.
Thursday 7 December – The Brightside, Brisbane - 18+
Friday 8 December – Corner Hotel, Melbourne - 18+
Sunday 10 December – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney - 18+