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Morleyview - Damone Review

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After a year or so of various obstacles, Damone have returned with their punk/rock/metal sound and a new record Out Here All Night and a new label Island. The record simply sizzles with the energy of a young band just aching to hit the road and tour their faces off. I spoke with lead singer Noelle while they were just starting their tour and got the scoop about what transpired after their last tour.

antiMUSIC: Congrats on the new record. I really like it. There's tons of energy and great songs. I'm sure it's going to do really well for you. It sounds like there have been a few problems in between finishing the tour for your first record and this one. What can you tell us about the struggles you faced?

Noelle: Well, we ended touring after the first record, because it wasn't doing too good. And then we started recording on our own for a while because our record label at the time wasn't all that supportive of us. We weren't as much a priority as we are now with Island. So we had that struggle with our first label, and that turned out for the better, cuz now we're with Island and they're awesome. And also during the recording there was a lot going on and we were already stressed out for the reason we weren't really sure what was going to happen with the record label and whatnot. And at one point Vazquez was…actually he passed out due to exhaustion and hit his head and was in a coma and that made things really difficult but he's doing really well now.

antiMUSIC: I heard about that. That's amazing. What was the band thinking after he had the accident? Did you think the band was over?

Noelle: We were devastated because we didn't know what was going to happen. And Mike had lost a friend due to an aneurism and so we didn't know if he was going to pull through. It was pretty bad. So we kinda took a couple of days off from recording to, kinda like mourning the whole thing. But we had to keep our minds occupied so we actually just kept recording (during) the couple of weeks he was in hospital. But he made it out, and it was really a relief definitely.

antiMUSIC: How long has this record been in the works and what are some of the first songs that were written? 

Noelle: It actually…some were already written like Mike's song that he had pretty much completed already, and that's what we started with. The song "Tonight" was the first one we recorded. We didn't use a lot of like…the first recordings, different songs, but that was actually the first song and that was one of the three songs that made it on the record and a lot of what is, after we recorded here all night, all those songs are pretty much what we used. We had recorded quite a few songs...almost 30 actually.

antiMUSIC: I like the whole record but the first six songs are all really strong. Did you keep working on them until they were really top notch or did they did just come out that way?

Noelle: Well, we kept working. We recorded, a lot of the basic tracks like first, and then kinda did all the vocals at one time kinda thing. But you know we worked every song through until we were satisfied. Even then being you're your own worst critic, it was never good enough so we kept adding stuff, taking stuff out, questioning all these parts, arrangements. So we definitely did our best.

antiMUSIC: How did you end up signing with Island?

Noelle: Our manager had been working with The Bravery and kind them signed with Island so he kinda had an in with them. But we actually had met them years ago when we were first being courted by record labels and they came out to my parents' house in Massachusetts and like watched us practice so we've known them for years. Not a lot of the same people work there but we did have, like, that little bit of connection there already. Then, it took about six months to file the paperwork to get off of RCA but during that whole time we were kinda talking to Island, on the DL. And they were like, as soon as that's happening call us and we'll get a show case. And that's what happened. On our way to New York to show case for Island we got the call from our lawyer, they finally signed the papers. You guys are officially off RCA. And that night, or the next day we showcased for Island and LA Reid was there and he's like, right after we played, he's like that was great. We'll be seeing you soon. And pretty much made the deal that day. So it was pretty awesome. I mean nobody gets a second chance like that. We were very fortunate.

antiMUSIC: And especially with somebody like LA Reid behind you.

Noelle: I know! 

antiMUSIC: At this point, can you still listen to the songs or does it bring bad memories of the past few years?

Noelle: No we're totally pumped. I don't actually like listen to the record, but we do play them every night obviously. I mean you can't, it's something you're proud of, and you're trying to share the word and just like, as long as it's a good show, the songs are never tiring to play.

antiMUSIC: You guys are credited with production. What is your background that allowed you to tackle that?

Noelle: Well, we made both records on our own. That's like the only experience I had with that sort of thing. I mean I've recorded music on my own, I've been recording music on my own since I was 14, but I'm not a great…that's not really my field. Dustin and Mike have been in bands all their lives, they both went to Berkley and they had a lot more experience producing bands and writing with bands. So they've had quite a background with that.

antiMUSIC: You're heading out with the All American Rejects. How do you guys fit in musically and personally with them?

Noelle: Well, I don't know them personally. We know them…I mean, the music is hmmm…pretty similar, I think it's more about the audience. They have a very huge audience obviously so were lucky to be on the tour. We thought that it would be a good match up. Like kids see us open for them and it's not that far apart musically. They're really fun and happy and stuff. It should be good.

antiMUSIC: I hear you're also on select dates of the Warped Tour, is that right? Is this your first time? 

Noelle: Yeah, a couple of weeks on the east coast, we're going to be doing the Warped Tour. That's the end of July or the beginning of July…

antiMUSIC: Is that the first time on the Warped Tour?

Noelle: We played a couple of weeks, in 03? That was really awesome. We had a lot of fun.

antiMUSIC: Who are you looking forward to either seeing or hanging out with?

Noelle: I don't know, who like, I know that Valient Thorr is going to be on the whole thing I guess. We just toured with them. I can't wait to see those guys again. AFG we met…AFG was on Warped, when we were on there three years ago. Then again I'm not sure. And there are a lot of bands I'm excited to see…all of them.

antiMUSIC: Are you happy with the time slot for something like Warped? A lot of bands say it's a bit frustrating. You just get on there and start to get warmed up and then poof…half hour later you're done.

Noelle: I know. Yeah. No. It's hard. Like the Warped Tour is really crazy and hectic and you gotta be there in the morning and drive all night and it's bloody hot as hell and you know everyone's dirty and unshowered. And then you gotta play for 20 minutes. That's all you get. It's kinda hard to get into it, get prepared. You gotta psyche yourself up for so little time. It's still good though, you know, no matter how long it is.

antiMUSIC: Yeah, it's a big audience might not get otherwise.

Noelle: Yeah. Right exactly.

antiMUSIC: For those of us that are new to the band, can you tell us something about everybody in the band:

Noelle: 

Mike - Lead Guitar & Vocals: Michael is a guitar virtuoso. He's a very impeccable player. And you see guitar players trying to pull off these crazy solos but they can't do much or they end up f***ing things up and Woods doesn't really f*** up. He's got this really great style and tone.

Dustin - Drums: Dustin's really solid drummer and he's very, like, he's pretty much like a human metronome. A lot of people are pretty blown away at how he can play and his style and everything. 

Vazquez - Bass & Vocals: Vazquez is kinda crazy, fun guy who likes to party and go to strip clubs. I don't know if you can hear him but he was just yelling in the back.

antiMUSIC: Yeah, I can hear something…

Noelle: Laughs.

antiMUSIC: It's hard to talk about yourself so let's just ask what the first song you learned on guitar?

Noelle: Probably either, let me see, well…

antiMUSIC: AC/DC?

Noelle: No, probably something off of Green Day's Dookie. Or Weezer's blue album. I was really into that when I started to play. I don't remember really…

antiMUSIC: Besides your own band, who is your favorite band?

Noelle: Beatles are my favourite. I listen to all kinds of stuff, different things all the time, but the Beatles take the cake. They're the best band in the world.

antiMUSIC: What does the rest of the year hold for the band? Just tour madly?

Noelle: I guess after the Warped Tour we may take a week off or something, and we're going to tour again with…we have one more show with The Lashes. Tonight and then we're going to tour again with them in September and Rooney I think… and then, hopefully overseas in October, we might go to Japan and hopefully Europe. We're kinda just hoping right now. And I'm the last one to find anything out, so it could be like a whole s***load of things going on that I just have no idea about.

antiMUSIC: Anything else you would like to tell us that I didn't ask?

Noelle: Well…no we covered it, thank you.

Morley Seaver and antiMUSIC thank Noelle for doing this interview. 


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