Hi Daniel thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to ask you a few questions about yourself and your plans.
Thank you to SA Music News Magazine for giving me the opportunity to talk more about Damned If I Don’t – it’s sincerely appreciated.
Q: Born is South Africa – living in Hong Kong. However did that happen?
I decided to emigrate in my late twenties, not having much to tie me to South Africa in terms of commitments and wanting to see and explore more of the world. I moved to Mainland China for three years to hone my English teaching skills and then eventually took as job in Hong Kong once I had enough experience, a remarkable city where East meets West.
Q: What bands were you in when you lived in South Africa?
Firstly there was HeadLost, which morphed into Pointing to Pieces – these were punk bands made with high school friends. I was singing in these bands (but, admittedly, couldn’t really sing back then…) when Eve stepped in as a vocalist, she would later found The Frown. The sound took a darker turn when this line up morphed into the popular emo / post punk of the time, namely Cellar Door Diaries with the addition of vocalist Nic. The bassist of (most of) these bands then joined Crash Car Burn and still plays with them to this day. The other guys would go on to form Dance you’re on fire. I then switched over to bass, from guitar, and joined post-hardcore / screamo band Your Name In Neon after their bassist and founding member emigrated. After that I briefly played in a rock band with friends, called A Rival Departure, back in 2012.
Q: Is the music scene in Hong Kong extremely different in comparison and if so, in what way?
I’d say audiences are more reserved yet attend and support live music (anything cultural for that matter) in large numbers. There’s more of an international focus on Hong Kong which generally leads to quite a good caliber of musician playing live on stages every night.
Q: Is it easier or more challenging to establish oneself as an artist in Hong Kong?
I’ll let you know once we’ve attempted, and hopefully accomplished, this! It’s early days yet, with the debut album being released less than two months ago.
Q: Damned If I Don’t – The project. Would I be on the right track to assume this is something you have been determined to do for a long time, like a bucket list goal you were ready to pursue?
Most definitely – releasing a full album through major distribution channels – having written, recorded and performed everything you hear – was quite literally one of my many dreams come true. I can cross that off the list now at least.
Q: “An Ode to the Past”, is this the story of your early days as a fresh young rocker with stars in his eyes and no map?
I like that analogy, of not having a map. I think you are right on the money there – that, essentially, is what the song is about. I had a lot of dreams but very little direction at that stage.
Q: What is your favourite track on your “Self-Titled” album and what does it mean to you?
It’s hard for me to choose one over another to be honest, as they are all a part of me in some aspect. I’d say though, the message that resonates with me the most, as well as a sound I would like to explore more is that of “We Should Be Better”: the 11th song and album closer.
Q: What are some of your own musical influences?
Metallica definitely got me into rock and metal music and inspired me to pick up the guitar. I then branched out into listening and eventually playing pop punk and punk rock music, which I have a massive love of. I love any of Dave Grohl’s projects, Nirvana included of course. Quite a lot of rock, metal and punk influences – I appreciate so many kinds of music though and still love spinning the greats such as Zep, Hendrix or The Beatles as and when the mood may take me.
Q: You mentioned in a previous article that you intended putting a Live act together. Will this be for performing purposes only or do you have the intention of recording as a band once established?
I think it’s important in any band that new members, unless they are hired in the capacity of session musicians, be given a say in the band, contribute towards writing material so that the sound becomes their own too. In this respect I have been looking for new band members who want to add something new to the Damned If I Don’t sound and will do so both in the capacity of recording and performing live.
Q: Have you got anybody in mind yet for the live act and will the band be named “Damned if I Don’t”?
SA Music News Magazine exclusive here 📢 I have very recently, successfully completed the search for an incredibly talented and professional guitarist, bassist and drummer respectively. Damned If I Don’t will become a full 4 piece band, stay tuned for details on this announcement soon! We will definitely be continuing under the name Damned If I Don’t, look for our second album late this year or early 2020. We will likely record some music before then too for people to hear, the sound will change substantially due to the new members and their musical input.
Q: As a full time teacher and studying student yourself, how do you find the balance and time for your own writing and music?
It’s a balancing act for sure, routine and consistency help a lot, budgeting time each day for necessary tasks. It definitely is all about good time management.
Q: Has your album “Self Titled” received any airplay or exposure in Hong Kong yet? If so how has it been received?
Definitely! So far it has been received really well, and still in progress too for sure – and that was an album from only one member of the band, I can’t wait for people to hear what the four of us are writing.
Q: Once the band is established what will be on the cards? Touring local clubs & events abroad for now or could we also possibly find you back on our shores?
For now practicing for a few months for live shows, then local gigs for stage experience, followed by some recording. After that we shall see. I would love to do a homecoming tour eventually, when we have enough of a following hopefully to warrant a few festival appearances.
SAMN: Thanks so much
Thank you for taking an interest in our band, supporting South African music and for interviewing us. Keep fighting the good fight.
Daniel Stacey (Damned If I Don’t – 27/02/2019)
Self-Titled is available now on all digital platforms via LANDR Distribution