"You can feel the history as you walk around it, and you know that it has seen some incredible performances"
On March 21, Don Broco are set to take over the Royal Albert Hall. With a full orchestra. And Deaf Havana as support.
That's a real sentence, and it's going to be incredible.
Put together in conjunction with the Teenage Cancer Trust, the show is not just a celebration of where the band are now, but of where they have been up until this point as well. The grit, determination and desire to keep on pushing and making music that is as triumphant as it is unique has allowed them to get to a place where they can become a part of the long and illustrious history of one of the UK's most stunning venues.
To find out a bit about their preparation, we gave vocalist Rob Damiani a call, and he was VERY excited...
As it’s getting closer and closer, how does it feel when you consider the magnitude of what Don Broco are about to do?
"It’s the fact that we have been a band for so long, and this is one of those events that you don’t really think will ever truly come around. You hope it will, of course. I would say that the first time we would ever have considered something quite like this was seeing Metallica do ‘S&M’. This heavy band that we love playing on an album comes with the grandiose of an orchestra. Then in the UK, there were, of course, the few shows similar to this one that the Royal Albert Hall has hosted in the past, Bring Me The Horizon being the main one. We were quite close to that because our producer Dan Lancaster was singing in the choir for that show, so we saw a lot of his preparations. That’s when we really thought, ‘Wow, one day this could be something we do’.
"I had never been to the Royal Albert Hall until a few years ago when I saw Cirque Du Soleil there, and it’s just crazy walking into a building like that with such heritage and history. You have a few of those reminders when you walk about London, and the UK in general, where you think, ‘This country has seen some shit in its time’. The buildings are hundreds of years old. People have been walking around them in the same way we do for just as long. People saw concerts at places like this back then, and it may have been such a different time, but as humans, they were still so similar to who we are now. And you can feel the history as you walk around it, and you know that it has seen some incredible performances from centuries of different genres of music, and then so much that isn’t even music.
"So for us to be allowed to play in such a prestigious venue is one thing in itself, but to do it with a full orchestra and live out that dream is so special. After all, it’s not the sort of thing that is normal to put together for a rock band. And then, when you’re also doing it in collaboration with such a fantastic charity as the Teenage Cancer Trust, it becomes possible, and everybody is so up for raising money for such a good cause. All of those things lining up in one night is really insane, and you have to take a step back and remove yourself from the stress to realise that."
It’s also a testament to you and the band for keeping that ambition in your mind so vividly. Even back to your inception, believing that big things can happen from such humble places is very special in itself…
"I don’t think back then we ever thought that the Royal Albert Hall would be where we would ever hear any of our music being played. But then when you consider that some of the songs we wrote absolutely years ago now, will be played on such a stage is something else. It’s so rare as well, in terms of heavier bands who are prepared to push the boat out and do things differently as we have. We’re very humbled by it all."
Within all of this as well, congratulations on finally getting the No.01 album with ‘Amazing Things’. That was a massive achievement for the band and a reminder that people should stand up and pay attention to rock bands in general because they are doing big and incredible things on a national scale more and more…
"There was this big old mish-mash of feelings that came with it as well. First, there was the, ‘Oh my god, we’ve done it’ because this album, more than any album, has taken us to the highest highs and the lowest lows. We were maybe a little deluded because we thought we were so lucky just to be writing during COVID rather than releasing anything. We had seen what had happened to our friends when they had released stuff, and though we had avoided that just and could enjoy releasing it and playing it the way we wanted. But as we are still figuring out, the knock-on effects are still there and continuing on a worldwide stage. But when we found out that our second pushback date would have to change, I remember feeling the worst I have felt in a long time. The powerlessness of it all. It felt like nothing was going right, and nothing ever would. But that low moment made the high feel so much higher.”
Regarding the orchestral parts of the set and choosing what songs are suitable for such an occasion, have you found yourself considering some tracks you never thought you would be giving such a lavish treatment to?
"Yeah, definitely. Some songs stand out instantly, and I know that it wouldn’t feel suitable to play an orchestral set without having it in there. We haven't played one or two of those songs on the last few tours, as they are from older albums. You also want to play the hits and make sure you are doing your big songs justice, but also know that you don’t need to play them all. Maybe now is the chance to try things that we haven’t done in a while but scream for an orchestra. We have had to make some tough calls because we would play everything in an ideal world. Also, some songs aren’t strictly orchestra-friendly, but having that counter-balance between the two is why they may come across as super exciting. It’s about doing the orchestra justice as much as our songs justice too."
Also, it feels like a sentimental thing having Deaf Havana support you. Not just with them being back at it with a new record, but also the history that you two have together. You have been doing this for the same amount of time, and you can celebrate still being here and bigger and better than ever on the grandest stage of all...
"When we got asked to bring a band along, the first choice was Deaf Havana. We cut our teeth with those guys, playing on the circuit back in the day. Seeing their journey and seeing where they are now compared to where they were, we have both changed so much. Hearing the first taste of their new music, they go from strength to strength. Jamesy is such an incredible songwriter, and they are getting better and better. It’s been no walk in the park for them either. I feel like when you get these little moments of celebration, you want to give it to the people that deserve it. They have put the graft in, and it’s a testament to them still being here alongside us. I know they are going to smash it. The fact we were playing with them in shitty pubs up and down the country a decade ago, and we can now do this is incredible. I was trying to think, and the last time we were on a bill together that wasn’t a festival was at The White Horse in High Wycombe, playing to 50 people. There’s something just wicked about that."
In terms of the rest of 2022, what are you most excited about as you consider what is coming next?
"I think that we are excited to start writing again. There has been enough of a break from it and so many ups and downs, and we want to get back into it. We are all excited to try and figure out what is next. You never really know where things will take you when a process starts. We also have some bits and pieces that we have been tinkering and playing about with, and there are one or two songs we are stoked on already. So we are excited to get new music out as soon as possible and just keep it going. In this new landscape, it’s about enjoying it, and as long as you are doing that and enjoying the process, that’s the main thing. And in terms of touring, we have some super exciting ideas for our next UK run. But we are still enjoying the moment right now, as well as plenty of scheming."
You can buy tickets for Don Broco's show at the Royal Albert Hall on March 21 from right HERE