In September 2023, Bedford rock band Don Broco released their new single ‘Birthday Party’, a profound and harrowing tale of organising a party for a big birthday that no one attended, a concept I’m sure a lot of us dread when throwing parties and events. In November, myself and Isabella Poderico, our Arts Editor, represented The Badger and were lucky enough to speak to frontman Rob Damiani. We spoke about this new project, as well as influences, the group’s formation and their favourite pre-show cocktail.
Don Broco is known for not taking themselves seriously. Their music videos are common homages to various films and other media, and some lyrics even play into that theme, with one of their hit songs ‘Bruce Willis’, released in 2021, paying tribute to the iconic Die-Hard phrase “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf**ker” as a pivotal lyric. Their new track is no different, pointing fun at the meaningless insecurities of their target audience surrounding parties and birthdays. When asked if it was a true story, Rob chuckled and pointed to the song’s origins being “made up of a combination of stories. It was more of a feeling I’d say”. We can all understand that feeling of dread and anxiety surrounding throwing a party. Will people enjoy it? Will they make a mess of my house? Will people show up at all? Rob claims he has “never been to parties where zero people have shown up but I have been to some where they were kind of not well attended and I’ve seen the effort people put into it, and there’s something so sad about being sad on your birthday”. The driving force of this makes the song an instant hit with listeners, and the simplicity of the hook makes it an easy and catchy listen. The message of the song, however, as Rob put it, is more of a general ode to life itself: “In those moments, you either get super depressed or go ‘right I’m going to go nuts and try and enjoy this myself and lose my mind’ so that was kind of thought process with the song. At least make the best of it and have a nice time”. Of course, a birthday isn’t complete without a cake. Rob loves a good Colin: “There’s something so iconic [about it] and [it’s] just such a s**t but good birthday cake. But, I mean, if I’m going for any other, I’m a big chocolate bean. Maybe like chocolate and buttercream or salted caramel, and a bit of peanut butter as well if that isn’t too crazy”. Rob Damiani has a sweet tooth; you heard it here first.
When addressing the band more generally, I was interested in finding out what inspired their diverse and abundant sound. The answer was simpler than I thought: “Creatively, I think it comes probably from a place of boredom”. We all chuckled at that answer. Boredom brings us motivation to pick up new hobbies, skills, or just anything to fill up that void. He continued: “When we’ve done an album cycle it can be a really long process… so when it comes to writing the next thing that sounds like it could have been on the last record, it doesn’t sound right”. The fear of boredom pushes them to evolve as a band: “We want to keep pushing ourselves and never resting. Getting that creative itch-scratched is a big part of it”.
In December, Don Broco came to Brighton, putting on a killer hour-and-a-half set filled with hits, acoustic mixes and oldies but goodies. The mosh pits were the stuff of legend, and they closed their performance with fan favourite ‘T-Shirt Song’, where sweaty post-mosh pitting fans took off their shirts and swung them around their heads as the lyrics preach. It was a 10/10 performance that we both thoroughly enjoyed. Isabella was curious about the band’s traditions before a show; do they have any pre-show rituals? Of course, it got down to drinking, a shared hobby between many of our readers. Rob stated “We’ve tried the last few years to have this power hour before we play, where we’ll make cocktails with just random stuff. One drink that has become our drink of choice is the ‘Tectonic’, which is tequila, tonic and lime”. Basically, it’s a combination of a Margarita and a Gin and Tonic, but it sounds delicious and has an amazing name so I’ll be sure to make that at the next Badger event in honour of Rob and Don Broco.