Ashleigh spoke with Damian Darlington about Brit Floyd, capturing the sonic spirt of Pink Floyd, music education and more. Read on for highlights from the interview, or listen to the full interview below. Tune in to Talk of the Commonwealth with Hank Stolz on WCRN 830AM Fridays at 9 AM and Saturdays at 1 PM for more behind-the-scenes interviews.
Ashleigh: Hello everybody and welcome back to Behind the Scenes with The Hanover Theatre. Today we have a very exciting guest from the Brit Floyd World Tour, Damian Darlington! Hello, Damian!
Ashleigh: It’s so nice to meet you. We are so excited for the world’s greatest rock tribute show, coming to The Hanover Theatre on March 20th. I know that this show has come to The Hanover Theatre before and I’m curious… What are your initial impressions of Worcester?
Damian: It’s a lovely city, I remember the venue quite well. It’s a beautiful venue, we’ve certainly enjoyed playing there. I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly, I kind of lost track of when we were last there. I think it was perhaps three or four years ago.
Ashleigh: We are so excited to get back into the swing of things. To kick this off, let’s talk a little bit about the tour itself. Let’s take it back to the beginning and introduce our audience to Brit Floyd and how it all started!
Damian: I’ve been playing in a Pink Floyd tribute band for a long while now. It’s been 28 years this month, in fact, when I first started playing in a previous Pink Floyd band. I did that one for about 17 years and I just sort of felt it was time to start a new one… Strike off on my own and assemble a different group of musicians to recreate Pink Floyd’s music, and that was at the end of 2010. Brit Floyd played its first show in January, we just went past the anniversary of our first show a few days ago ,and that was in January 2011 when we played the first one.
Ashleigh: I understand that Brit Floyd takes great care in recreating the music. down to the studio recordings. What is that like? How do you capture that essence of this iconic rock band?
Damian: It’s not an easy task. Pink Floyd was famed for producing amazing sounding records. They changed their sound quite a lot from album to album. David Gilmour as a guitarist – it’s my job to emulate him to a certain extent – he certainly changed how he sounded from album to album. To be able to recreate the songs throughout all the years of their repertoire is a challenge, but as I mentioned, I’ve been doing this for almost three decades now. I’ve accumulated some experience when it comes to doing that over the years.
Ashleigh: Right, and this is different from any other tribute show because it really recreates the presence, scale and pomp of a Pink Floyd tour with lights, projections, inflatables and theatrics. Our audience is really excited to welcome Brit Floyd back to Worcester.
Damian: Well, I hope so!
Ashleigh: Of course! I know that we’ve had a lot of people sending us a whole lot of love on social media and being really excited for Brit Floyd. I’m really excited to see everyone, I think it’s going to be an electric audience!
Damian: I’m sure it will be! We can’t wait to get back out on the road again. We got to do a little bit of touring last summer, but it will be wonderful to get back in March and get back to the U.S. to play places like Worcester. We love touring in the U.S. more than any other place in the world. I cannot wait for it!
Ashleigh: Yes! I’m curious, I know that you are the musical director and that you do vocals and guitar for the band, but I’m wondering… When did you first start to play?
Damian: I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was ten years old, so I’ve been playing for quite some time now. For the first few years I didn’t take it too seriously, but I really knuckled down and learned how to play the guitar properly from the age of thirteen onwards. Not long after that is when I discovered Pink Floyd for the first time, and they influenced my musicianship for a long time.
Ashleigh: Yeah, you kind of led into my following question. Aside from Pink Floyd, obviously, who are some of your other influences that you have carried with you throughout your career?
Damian: It’s quite a variety. I was always into all the bands that you might describe as prog-rock. Bands like Rush, Yes and King Crimson. I was a teenager in the eighties, so I was influenced by some of the music that was current at the time, and I was a major fan of English pop groups like Tear for Fears. I’ve also been interested in jazz fusion music and like people like Pat Metheny. They have had a substantial influence on me as well.
Ashleigh: With your influences and your presence in Brit Floyd, what is your favorite song that you get to perform?
Damian: When it comes to albums, I usually settle on “The Wall,” which was the first Pink Floyd album that I got to hear back when I was a teenager. That really drew me into Pink Floyd. The other albums are close seconds and thirds to that. When it comes to a track, you can’t really beat “Comfortably Numb.” I get to sing the Gilmour part and play the epic guitar solo at the end of that night after night, and it never gets old. It never stops being exciting. I would settle for “Comfortably Numb” as my favorite song to play.
Ashleigh: Good choice, good choice. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with our Conservatory, but we have a performing arts education program here at The Hanover Theatre. We have a lot of students that are learning how to perform, sing, dance, and act. I’m wondering if you have any advice for those Conservatory students that are just starting out?
Damian: Practice. Whatever discipline it is, whether you’re singing or playing an instrument, you need to put the hours in. Practice and practice to hone your craft. Work with as many other musicians and artists as you can, you get inspiration from working with other people, that was always my experience. I did various music courses when I was younger, and I always said that the stuff you learned was great and qualifications were useful, but it was working with other musicians which I found was the most important thing. That is the kind of advice I would offer.
Ashleigh: Right, those connections are very important. Speaking of connections, who else will we be meeting with the band when they come here in March?
Damian: We’ve got Ian Cattell, who’s the bass player and sings the Roger Walters part. There’s Edo Scordo on guitar, he also does a little singing as well. We have a couple of U.S. based musicians with Matt Riddle on keyboards. We have our longtime drummer Arran Ahmun, and we have the ladies on backing vocals. Ryan Saranich, who is also based in the U.S., is on saxophone and various percussion instruments alongside that.
Ashleigh: Alright! If you’re excited to see the world’s greatest rock tribute show Brit Floyd on their Brit Floyd World Tour at The Hanover Theatre, their show is Sunday, March 20. Get your tickets now! We are so looking forward to rocking out with you.