Damn Dice make the kind of sound, you cannot not notice, and notice we have done! With the release of their debut 6 Track EP, called “Wild ’N’ Ready”, on the 21st of October, we were very happy when the very busy Alex, Wallis, Fransoa and Marco took a little time for a chat about Damn Dice and the world of rock.
Speaking first about the EP, Alex said
“It’s gonna be great to show people what Damn Dice is about, and get people ready for the album! We’re very proud of it, and very proud of the EP and its sound! Like we’re always saying the only difficult part of recording this EP was to pick out only 6 songs”
And as for the actual experience of recording, Fransoa told me
“The experience in the studio was great, we’ve managed to do everything we wanted to do for this EP, the sound is great and powerful, and it gives you an idea of how we play live I think (laugh) but yeah we worked with a great sound engineer too, Akis Kollaros, and he was awesome, he did a great job!”
Damn Dice was formed about three years ago by Wallis and Fransoa who newly arrived in London met up with Marco after placing an ad on a website, and it took very little more than a meeting in a pub and a jam session for the three of them to hit it off and start playing together. The final member, Alex was overheard by the other three in a metal pub, singing along to some songs and all were so impressed that he quickly became the fourth and final member of Damn Dice!
So why the name Damn Dice? Wallis answered that question very succinctly!
“Regarding our band name, Fransoa and I found it before meeting these guys, we were looking for something that represents us and the way we live our lives, which is basically “live your life, don’t think twice and throw the damn dice”! Marco and Alex loved the band name too, so yeah we kept it!”
After spending some time listening to the guys, I was interested to know how the band themselves describe their sound. It’s very original, heavy metal but a bit cooler was the very best description I could come up with, I made the heinous error of mentioning the glam rock word just once, and after much boo’ing and hissing this is what the band themselves say about their sound
Fransoa: “Well I wouldn’t say it’s glam rock though, I think we play hard rock music with a metal edge”.
Marco: “Yeah it’s quite hard to describe actually, we do have a big metal sound, big guitar riffs and solos with a powerful rhythm section, but I don’t think we sound as cheesy as glam rock”
Alex: “I’d say we play hard rock!”
Wallis: “Yeah me too, maybe a bit louder and faster though.”
However original a band’s sound might be, there will invariably be musical influences – so who influences Damn Dice?
Alex: “Wow there are a lot of influences I think, the 4 of us listen to the same bands, Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Kiss, Motorhead, etc, but these bands don’t even represent 1% of our influences.”
Marco: “Yeah that’s right, we also listen to a lot of bands and artists besides rock music, and it can be anything as long as it’s melodic, groovy and catchy!”
Song-writing is such a personal thing to each musician and band, so I was very interested to know how the Damn Dice go about writing their music?
Wallis: “Well that’s a team process, Fransoa and I write the instrumentals, and once they’re recorded, we start looking for vocal melodies for each part all together. It’s really cool, I like this part of the song writing, it’s really exciting and we can let our creativity explode!”
Alex: “Yeah it’s really exciting, we all listen to each other’s ideas, it’s not a race between us, what matters at the end is the melodies, and the fact they’re ours, we spend a lot of time checking they don’t sound like something we’ve heard somewhere else.”
Fransoa: “And the other great thing is that we all feel involved, and at the end the songs reflect all of us!“
Marco: “Yes, and then, once we’ve got the melodies, we listen to the track again, and think about what kind of subject the song inspires us, and then Alex finishes the song by writing the lyrics!”
Kewel World Towers is rammed full of such immense geekery, with the online world being our King Queen and Court Jester, we always have to ask every band about the internet, it has managed to worm its way into absolutely everything we do, and this includes in a massive way, the way we find and buy music, do Damn Dice as artists think the internet as their friend or foe?
Wallis: “Yeah I think it is a bit of both actually (laugh) But it’s a great tool to get out ourselves out there, and to build a following. People all over the world can find us!”
Alex: “Exactly, fans can get closer to us through Twitter and Facebook, so they feel involved, which they are! It’s not everything though, there are live gigs, and the fact that although people can listen all over the world, the live show is not accessible to people who are so far; not everyone online can experience the live show, which is the heart and soul of what we do.”
Marco: “And there is a lot more of competition as well, everyone is promoting his band online nowadays. There are also haters hiding behind a screen.”
Wallis: “Due to the internet, people assume music should be free, despite how much it costs to run a band. And just because you have a presence on Facebook doesn’t mean you are going to fill venues, it’s like two separate worlds, the real world and the internet.”
Following on from the question above, it is probably fair to say that it is now possible for bands to get their music heard by an audience which a few years ago would have been impossible for all but those lucky enough to be signed to a major record label. But has this meant you have had to become jacks of all trades? More than just musicians, but having to also be social media, internet and IT wizards as well?
Fransoa: “Yeah definitely. We’ve had to develop other skills than music. We’re quite active on social networks; we’re always trying to find new ideas to get ourselves out there and to push the promotion of the band. It is very important as a band, you can’t do without!”
Wallis: “Exactly, you’ve got to be your own manager, your own PR, your own booking agent, your own designer, speaking of which, Fransoa learnt how to use Photoshop on his own, and he’s now our designer, he designed our merch, our website, and everything else.”
Fransoa: “Yes, and you edited our short video clips for YouTube. I also learnt how to use Cubase so we can record our demos anytime. Basically, we all learnt to do things that we can’t afford to pay for. But yeah, the internet has changed everything about the music industry, so we just have to play by these rules, and anyway, as we said before, there are also many positives.”
Success is something which can have a different meaning to every person, but as fair as Damn Dice go – what is their measure for success?
Fransoa: “Our dream would be to be able to play music all the time, live off it, record an album every year.” Marco added: “tour as much as possible, be on stage every night” and finally Wallis said “ … visit as many places and getting to meet our fans around the world.”
Finally, and absolutely my favourite question, I asked the guys if we were all sat down in five years’ time with cuppa and a few custard creams (my interview I get to choose the biscuits!!), where did they hope Damn Dice will be?
Alex: “For a start, I’d prefer bourbon cream….. but yeah, in 5 years we’d like to be doing exactly what we‘ve just said before!”
Marco: “Sounds cool to me!”
Every interview has to end with some ‘just for funs’, and Damn Dice were no different…..
I can be flexible on the biscuits, so what are the band’s favourite biscuits, and are you guys dunkers or not?
Marco: “Mulino Bianco”
Fransoa: “Custard creams”
Alex: “Bourbon creams”
Wallis: “COOKIES! And we’re all dunkers, yes.”
What was the first music you ever bought?
Wallis: “Can’t remember.”…
Marco: “Probably an album of KISS for you Wallis.”
Pransoa: ““Master Of Puppets” of Metallica I think.”
Alex: “That ‘Walk The Dinosaur’ song from the Super Mario Bros film starring Bob Hoskins. I was just a little kid!”
Marco: ““Dance of death” of Iron Maiden.”
Wallis: “Yeah … probably something from KISS then.”
What are your absolute favourite films?
All together: “Hot Tub Time Machine!”
Alex: “And any Jackie Chan film!”
And finally…. Marmite – love it or hate it?
Fransoa: “Yeah, like it!”
Wallis: “Ho no, I hate it.”
Alex and Marco: “Vegemite all the way!”
Photo Credits Matthew Manning http://matthewmanning.co.uk