Interview with Damaged & Co.
Hello guys, nice to have you on Volatile Weekly! What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music, what would you be doing today?
Thank you so much for the opportunity. We hail from Malta, a very small island, right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. At the moment we are a half of a million people crammed in 316 square kilometres, which creates a series lack of breathing space.
That is one of the main reasons that we got into music, a space to let off steam and get our message through. The music scene in Malta, especially the sub-genres such as metal, attract a small crowd and that makes it very hard to make a living solely on music.
We all have day jobs to make ends meet and make music after our 9 to 5. This does not take away any of the passion and dedication that we put in our band.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music, and how does that influence your creativity?
The band originally started out a six piece. With four of us surviving after recording the album. Peter Paul Valletta (vocals), Daniel Sammut (guitar), Daniel Aquilina (drums) and Keith Muscat (keyboards). We have now recruited Alex on bass duties.
We come from different backgrounds and the age gap between some of the members is quite noticeable. This makes it more interesting as we could not have been more different. The one thing that unites us all is the love for the heavier side of the musical spectrum. Though we listen to different genres, most of the bands that influence us all fall under the metal/rock umbrella.
On a personal basis there is a wide range of array that we are into starting from gaming to book worming.
How long has your band been around?
The band started out as a project under the moniker of “Kill o’Clock”. In 2018 we had a stable line-up and made our live debut. So, we consider 2018 as our year of foundation.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Like I mentioned before we hail form the island of Malta, which is right between Italy and Africa. The frustration of living in a confined space, where everybody knows everybody else and you are continuously being judged, creates the right atmosphere to create some rebellious music.
Without the shadow of a doubt, we grew up in an atmosphere of rebellion against the system and that influenced our music a lot.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
In 2018 we decided to change the name from “Kill o’Clock” to “Damaged & Co.” The band had started out as a steam-punk themed project and things had changed by then. We wanted a name that reflected more what we represent as a group. We drew up a very long and never-ending list of possible and probable names. Some were atrocious and others made the grade. Shortlisting became a nightmare, so we sorted it out the old school way, made the decision under the influence of alcohol.
No one goes through life unscratched. We are all chipped and damaged by the experiences we go through. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Wear your scars with pride, because they are your battle scars, this is how you survived so far. If you are different, so what? Why should suffering from mental health, or any other condition, make you a lesser human being in the eyes of society? We are Damaged and proud of it. This is our rallying call to all those out there who feel left out or do not fit in. This is the company we want to keep because people who do not fear to show their true colours are authentic.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We do a lot of banter on stage, especially when we organise themed events. Often, we end up wearing strange and funny costumes. To mention an example, we dressed up as the characters from Village People for a gig, during which we covered Y.M.C.A. It was hilarious, especially Daniel (guitarist) who had to wear assless chaps. We are not known to be shy. We are entertainers and try to give it our best shot.
Playing The Farsons Beer Festival (Malta) in August 2022 put us face to face with our largest crowd so far. That was quite an experience. The same applies to the few occasions we played abroad. Its always an adventure and a great opportunity to make lasting friendships. Winning a battle of the bands in 2018 was also a great experience. Unfortunately, the pandemic robbed us of two years of gigging, but rest assured we’ll make up for it.
To end on a funny episode, a couple of years back we were playing a gig at The Garage, Zebbug (Malta) and Clyde (our former bassist) got entangled in some wires and fell flat, pulling down with him a stack of cabinets, that went down in a domino effect on the drums. Notwithstanding we kept on playing, with Clyde giving out his all flat on his back.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Believe it or not in Malta we have only one venue that is set up for metal gigs, that is The Garage in Zebbug. Other events are organised sporadically in different venues but they are few and far off in between. One venue that has escaped us so far is Aria Complex. This is mainly used when big names come to the island. It would be a great opportunity for us to support a famous foreign act.
If you could play any show with any line-up, who would be on the ticket?
For the dream to be mouth-watering there must be some of our favourite bands on board such as Iron Maiden, Avenged Sevenfold, In Flames, Arch Enemy, but the list is really never ending.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Go for it. Give it your all and have patience. Good things will come to those who wait. This is a game of perseverance. Believe in your product and do not change for the only reason that your style is not popular. This is you expressing yourself. You are bearing out your soul, so do it in a way that is authentic to you. Advice I would give to my younger self will be do not listen to the haters that make you doubt yourself. Do not loose time fighting the unbelievers. Do your thing and get on with your life. We are here for a short time, make the best out of it.............carpe diem.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Advice I would give to my younger self will be do not listen to the haters that make you doubt yourself. Do not loose time fighting the unbelievers. Do your thing and get on with your life. We are here for a short time, make the best out of it.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
This is a very difficult question because we all have that special song which means to us more than the rest. The album (Life’s Grand Delusion) was not written with a precise concept in mind, but there is a running theme concerning what we face through our lives. If I had to pick two of the favourites the choice would fall on Reflections, which is a ballad dealing on how to cope (or not) with grief when someone passes over, and Dragonfly in Amber, concerning life, death and the afterlife. But like I said before every member will have that special song, closer to his heart.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
From the singles released prior to the album launch (11 February 2023), Carpe Diem seems the one that is getting more attention. There are other crowd pleasers such as Gravedigger and Here to Stay, both forming part of our self-titled EP.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Lyric-wise it is life that inspires our writing. We do not have much fantasy themed songs. Its more about what we go through during this journey and pondering on what there is after, if there is anything after. Music-wise we are influenced by the bands we listen to and the mood that we are in when we are composing.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Live your life while you still can. Harm none and do your thing. There is a place for everyone, no matter how damaged you are.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
With apologies to “The Police” ...every breath we take! Joking apart, we have our moments of heated discussion, but it is always on how to take the band forward. We decide on our disagreements by voting democratically, but that does not occur frequently. Most of the time we get there by constructive arguments, peppered by a multitude of swearing.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We have the album launch scheduled for 11 February 2023 and we are in the line up of Dark Malta Festival, happening next April, with the likes of Deathstars etc. Luckily, we are signed to Hades Management, and Rene, our manager, is always on the look out for opportunities that he might send our way.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
We have our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DamagedandCo), which is always updated, Instagram, YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@DamagedAndCo ) and other social media.
For those interested in supporting the band by purchasing out products, kindly visit our Bandcamp page ( https://damagedandco.bandcamp.com/ ).