- Damone Review
After a year or so of various obstacles,
Damone have returned with their punk/rock/metal sound and a new record
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
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
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:
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…
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
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
antiMUSIC: Anything else you would like
to tell us that I didn't ask?
Noelle: Well…no we covered it, thank
Morley Seaver and antiMUSIC thank Noelle
for doing this interview.
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