theaussieword.com heads to Italy to catch up with Damien McFly.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry? I started playing guitar and drums when I was about 6, because basically everyone in my family was playing the guitar, apart from my mother. At 14 I played my first gig with a cover band and right after that I started a couple projects where I was playing drums and singing. I studied sound engineering at the conservatory in Padova in 2008 for four years and continued playing cover gigs until 2013 when Damien McFly was born. From 2013 until now I’ve never stopped touring for more than a couple weeks, playing all kind of gigs, so I guess my interest in the music industry is basically my will to play as much as possible.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? I’m definitely influenced by my life, that I’m trying to make it more and more interesting every day with a lot of travelling and getting to know a lot of different people. That allows me to hear many stories and gather them inside my songs.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish? I really hope I’ll be able to do a sold out tour, even 100 people in each city would be an amazing achievement for me.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? There will be a lot of new music coming out, a lot of different version for each song and hopefully a new album in October. All my tours of this year have been cancelled so I’m planning to reschedule all the shows for next year around Europe, Canada, UK and hopefully Australia for the first time.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music? My latest release is called Vega, it’s a very positive and dreamy song about redemption, about recognizing our own mistakes and reshaping ourselves in order to become better people, with the help of our loved ones. My music is a mix of a deep folk songwriting, raspy voice and modern catchy grooves.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs? Sometimes I start from the music, other times from a lyrics/melody Idea. I write a lot of notes on my phone when I travel by plane or train. When I start from a musical idea I create a melody with random words and then when I’m happy with it I try to fit inside of that the ideas I have on my phone.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? There’s a kind of political meaning behind “Call It Freedom”, it’s kind of an outlet for the political situation here in Italy, where young people are just not considered.
Success, what is the secret to it? Success to me is different from fame, it’s about learning from your mistakes, evolving year after year and being consistent.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far? I think playing at the SXSW in Texas was definitely the highest “festival” achievement for me. Also reaching 3 million views on my “Hey Brother” cover video and playing for 10.000 people in St. Marks square for the Venice Carnival.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? I got really inspired by Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers about 5 years ago, just for their meaningful lyrics and the very simple sounds. I’m also inspired by the big names such as Queen and U2, especially for their social commitment.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline? I’m trying to develop as much as possible as a producer and songwriter too, so I might work with some other artists on that side of the game.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
I think the only real constant about music is live shows, so I definitely see my self playing more and more and reaching a lot of new countries. For the market side I guess I’ll always find a way to be up to date on that.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
I love travelling, meeting people, talking to my fans and I really love writing and making music with other people, it’s something I’ve started doing since a couple years and I’m really enjoying it. Of course I love playing shows, from the soundcheck to loading the van haha. I don’t like small minded people you sometimes meet on the way. Travelling sometimes gets complicated by transportation problems so that’s what I can’t really stand and annoys me a lot, not because of the wasted time, but a couple times I had to cancel a festival slot because of a delayed flight.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists. I really like Stu Larsen (also an amazing person), love Harrison Storm, I think he will be quite big soon, and I like a guy called Jed Appleton, really really talented and not famous enough.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? I think the industry now has become more accessible and every artist has infinite chances of making it. Social platforms are a way, for each one you can have a different strategy and get more and more people who can listen to your music and possibly become fans. Right now all the attention is on the Spotify numbers so that’s where I’m focusing most of my promotion right now but it takes a lot of effort to stay active in all the platforms and in particular to draw people’s attention constantly. So I guess it’s all about having a strategy, finding the right angle to promote your song/album.
How will you continue appealing to the international market? I’m making new music and new content every day so on that side I think I really have something to say. Once this lockdown period will be over I’ll create a new live show for the 2021 tour.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list? I’m collaborating with other songwriters at the moment but I hope I can get to collaborate with other big artists too. One of my favorite right now is SYML, but of course I’m really open to collaborate even with smaller artists.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps? The best advice is to be constant and really believe in your music but also find some mentors to guide you when things get complicated, some people you can trust 100%. I think being surrounded by positive and encouraging people is the best thing to create great music.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans? I usually reply to everyone on Instagram and facebook, I would also suggest subscribing to my mailing list cause you can get a lot of musical gifts.
Any last words? Thanks for the support and I really really can’t wait to visit and play in your country.