Don Broco come screeching out the blocks with Automatic, their second album and most ambitious and highly driven record to date. The album sees the Bedford four-piece expand on their firmly established rock roots, to create a gigantic new Don Broco sound. It’s a musical melting pot that draws upon pop, funk, dance and 80s New Romanticism, alongside the upbeat rock drama for which they are known.
Released through Epic Records and produced by the Grammy Award winning Jason Perry, Automatic is a record that sees Don Broco at their most accomplished and comfortable. From the funk-driven introduction of ‘Superlove’ and the in-your-face swagger of ‘Keep On Pushing’, to the hard hitting ‘Fire’ collaboration with DJ Fresh, their newest record manages to marry together their undoubted feel for fun with a matured new sound.
“When we first started writing Automatic, it felt like a new beginning,” frontman Rob Damiani begins the album story. “The four of us hadn’t all written together before and we were excited to discover how we could work as a team.”
Automatic saw Don Broco return to songwriting a highly determined and almost new band, as bassist Tom Doyle – who joined the band in 2012 – filled a vital role with album number two. It was an addition that instantly strengthened the band, and the first signifier that things were heading in the right direction was with the release of 2013’s You Wanna Know EP. It gave Don Broco their first taste of the Top 40 singles chart and showcased the band’s big-room sound.
“After a few nights of being up until 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning, we realised you can’t force it. You can’t run yourself into the ground.” Rob continues, “We found the best ideas when we weren’t looking.”
Two years since Don Broco made their stamp with their debut, the band found a new spark that ignited them as a rejuvenated and more comfortable collective, and after batting around hundreds of ideas with the mantra of ‘anything goes’, Don Broco found their definitive sound.
“We never wanted to limit ourselves to anything; if it’s a good idea, it’s a good idea.” Rob says, “We wanted to set out what we believed Don Broco to be. We only figured that out after writing so many songs, looking at ourselves, working out what we really liked about our music, what we feel sets us apart as a band and what we feel our strengths are.”
Don Broco were guided in the direction of the sound they found on Automatic by producer Jason Perry after he dissected the band’s early demos over email, as guitarist Simon Delaney explains, “He’d gone through each track and understood exactly what we were going for. He was referencing music that we were all listening to and sounds that we wanted to pursue. Having never met or spoken to him, it felt too good to be true.”
“One of the main things he pushed us to do as a band was to stop trying to be so perfect. Perfection isn’t what makes a great record, it’s all about the feeling and connection. That’s ten times more valuable than everything being pristine and immaculate.
“If something was good and had a vibe, we didn’t mess with it,” Simon continues, referencing album highlight ‘What You Do To Me’. “There’s something about those guitars, they’re literally just recorded in Tom’s bedroom, and they ended up sounding exactly as they were meant to sound.”
Before the grandeur of Automatic Don Broco made their introductory statement to the music scene with a humble, hard-working DIY aesthetic including relentless touring and a number of early EPs. They released their debut album Priorities in 2012 and soon became championed as one of Britain’s most important new rock bands.
As their status rose, so did their touring profile. First came two consecutive sold out headline tours in 2013 including shows at London’s Underworld and KOKO, the year culminating in a triumphant sold out show at the London Roundhouse.
“It felt like our fanbase grew quite organically through our early EP releases and touring,” Rob remembers. “There were a lot of people who felt part of our journey. The Roundhouse show was a really special moment for us because all of those people had come together.”
This year Don Broco have already reinstated their prominence in the rock scene with their glorious live return as headliners of the highly respected Kerrang! tour in February including another London sell-out, this time at The Forum.
2015 is the year Don Broco continue to crank up the gears into the most exciting stage of their career yet, and the band are ready for their sensational journey ahead – something that the final sound and theme of Automatic demonstrates. “It’s about living life to the full and taking chances,” explains Rob.
“I’d like people to enjoy the record and connect with the music, the stories and the songs,” he continues. “The honesty that people could relate to in Priorities was something that I wanted to build on. This record is even more personal and some of it is quite raw: we wanted to bare all, while still making a fun and exciting record.”
“I’d like people to think that we’ve made a record that’s as honest as it can be,” concludes Simon, of Automatic. “We didn’t want to make it contrived, we didn’t want to make it specifically fit a kind of niché. We just wanted to make a record of songs that we, as four guys, really loved.”