Interview with Damian Darlington of Brit Floyd
Posted on 03/24/2019
Brit Floyd, the world’s greatest Pink Floyd tribute show, returns on May 1 with its most ambitious and biggest production yet. Band member Damian Darlington joins us to discuss how they work to recreate Pink Floyd as closely as possible to introduce the music and experience to a new generation. Check out the event page for all the details: www.stnj.org
Read the Transcribed Interview Below
with Bert and Kelly from All Access and special guest Damian Darlington
Bert: We’re back on All Access with State Theatre New Jersey, and Kell, coming up very soon, as soon as this show gets announced, you better hustle and you better do something to get your tickets because it is always big big news anytime Brit Floyd comes to the State Theatre stage, right? It’s always an exciting time.
Kelly: Always an exciting time! In fact, usually the day after we present them, there’s people like asking when’s the next time they’re coming, and I’m like “I don’t know that yet! Jeez!” It’s always that way, and it’s just amazing for me to hear that people love the experience so much that they are, you know, they’re trying to do the programming. They want to bring it back, and I just love it, and every year we look forward to having them. And with us today is one of the members of Brit Floyd, and that is Damian Darlington. Welcome, Damian!
Damian: Hello! Good to be talking with you.
Kelly: Good to be talking with you. So, May first celebrating 40 years of The Wall, man! That’s going to be exciting!
Damian: Hopefully! You know, we’re certainly excited about bringing the show there, and getting to perform so many tracks off of such an iconic album as The Wall.
Bert: Yeah, even though we’ll never get to see the Floyd again, Damian, as the fans and people call them. This is authentically as close as you’ll ever come to seeing authentic Pink Floyd music with the visuals, and the sounds, and the goal is to make this as realistic an experience as possible night in and night out, right?
Damian: Certainly! You know, that’s what we’re trying to do. Give people the opportunity to experience this music live still. It’s a long time since you’ve been able to see Pink Floyd tour. Back in ’94 was the last time that happened, so there’s whole generations of people who’ve discovered this music who weren’t even born, you know? Or were too young to have seen Floyd back then, so we’re giving those the chance to experience it, and we’re also giving the older people the chance to sort of relive their youth to a certain extent as well.
Kelly: Right! And I often hear people who didn’t get a chance to see Pink Floyd. I often hear that, and so seeing you guys is like, they’re trying to capture that—those moments, and what I love especially when it’s bringing in – when you guys are bringing in new generations of fans, is the full experience. You know, you guys are, you know, up there and play the music beautifully and it's the light show, it's the set, it’s just that it's everything put together! The multimedia when you guys are putting the show together do you - do things separately like to you - do you rehearse? I imagine you guys rehearsing with the lights behind you, you know what I mean? But does that happen?
Damian: Only at the very final stages of preparing things for the tour, you know. Before that, you prepare as individuals, as musicians, and you get together to rehearse as a band for the people working on the video content that’s projected on the circle during the show separately, and then there's lighting programmers, and laser programmers, but this is all brought together in the last few days before a tour starts when we have a production rehearsal.
Bert: I just marvel to this day, Damian, about just incredible work in the studio that Pink Floyd was able to accomplish, and what was still very much an analog world. I mean you have all the bells and whistles of - of digital editing, and countless multitrack possibilities that we have in the modern studio with digital things that are at disposal, but what they were able to accomplish I could right now I can put on the wall and push my headphones against my head nice and tight and hear something for the very first time ever whether I've heard this album a hundred times, or not. Does it—does the music of Pink Floyd still have that impression on you where it sounds like a little bit different each time you hear it? Where maybe there's something special that you didn't quite catch the last time?
Damian: I mean, of course! I could go on. You know, they were such a, you know, a pioneering band at what they were doing. At the music they would be creating in the studio, and they weren’t afraid to sort of use every last - opportunity within that studio environment to put things onto their record, but I mean don’t be fooled. There are just so many little details hidden away in these albums. It’s hard hardly surprising that you can sort of discover new things when you listen to it.
Kelly: And so I have to ask for the fans, they always ask questions like “Are you going to perform the album in the order it was intended?,” “Are you going to shuffle it up?,” like how is the night going to go?
Damian: Well, we’re not performing the entire Wall album. We’re - this is a best of The Wall album tour. But we’re certainly performing, you know, more than half of it, and it will be in a sort of linear fashion, you know? We’re not going to sort of jump backwards and forwards in the album. You will hear the tracks in the order that they came in, but interspersed within them will be other tracks from other albums, you know? You’ll still get to hear things from Dark Side of the Moon, and Wish You Were Here, and Animals, and The Division Bell, and A Momentary Lapse of Reason, and the Meddle album. So, there’s - there’s still a good selection there for—for every sort of Pink Floyd fan, not just fans of The Wall album.
Bert: Yeah, I think the last time we had you on the show, Damian, I think I disclosed my all-time favorite Pink Floyd track was "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," but now I'm getting so much more involved in the music, and just sort of revisiting the entire catalog. Do you know something about that Momentary Lapse of Reason, there were some tracks on there that I thought were real kind of catchy. For the traditional Pink Floyd fan, they look at those couple of later albums in the late 80s early 90s as maybe not being exactly what you would expect from Pink Floyd may be a little bit of a departure. How does Brit Floyd review the entire catalog of Pink Floyd? Is it just great start to finish ?
Damian: Well, in my opinion it certainly is. You know, I think it’s important to represent all of Pink Floyd’s history when it comes to what we do - the sort of set list we put together. You know, whether it be the psychedelic synth-bearing beginnings, or the big more sort of grand soundscapes they were creating by the time they came to the Momentary Lapse of Reason album, The Division Bell album, you know? After Roger Waters had departed the band. But it’s all part of Pink Floyd’s musical journey, so it’s worth representing as far as I’m concerned.
Kelly: And of course to put on a show of this size, the amount of people it takes, and I’m just talking about the - I’m just even thinking about the people on stage with you, you know? Not people that are, you know, that we can’t visually see from the audience, but there's so many more people that helped put the show together whether it's you know from the beginnings where, you know, you're putting together everything, or when you're on the road. Just give us an example of a how many people does it take to put on a Brit Floyd performance?
Damian: Over and above the musicians, you know, we have nine musicians up there performing on stage, but over and above that there’s about another 20 or so crew all together, and help put on each tour one way or another, whether is be, you know, guitar checks, sound engineers, PA guys, lighting guys, laser guys, people who drive the trucks, tour management, merchandise, all that sort of thing. And that doesn’t count the people sort of back somewhere in an office, you know, managing and putting together the tours in the first place.
Bert: Oh, the trucks! That reminds me, Kell, do we have enough permits for all these trucks that this show is going to take? You’ll be able to the park these in New Brunswick, right?
Kelly: It is a lot!
Bert: Wonderful, all right! We’ll make sure we get that taken care of. Great to be speaking this time around with Damian Darlington, once again, from Brit Floyd coming back to State Theatre New Jersey, we’ll call it the Triumphant Return, if you will, on May 1st celebrating 40 Years of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Tickets and information at stnj.org. And I think you don't have to be a huge of a fan of Pink Floyd as I am, Damian, to appreciate the show these are - there are probably people this is their first entree into what the music and the visual experience of what Pink Floyd is all about. You probably have people that are coming out that this is their first exposure to the music. Do you hear that often times from people?
Damian: Very definitely so. You often hear that people - they didn’t really - didn’t think they knew much about Pink Floyd, weren’t necessarily familiar with many of their tracks. They sort of come along to our concert on the off chance, and we turn them into Pink Floyd fans, you know? We convert them there and then on the spot, and there’s so much more - there’s so much going on in our concert, so much for people to appreciate. You know, not just about the musical, the visual side of things, that’s always been - that’s already been mentioned. So, there’s a lot there for people to be engaged with, and to be entertained by.
Kelly: And, Damian, when you go on a tour like this, how many - like how long is your run? And you go to multiple countries, and so when you do each tour every year what is the amount of time that that tour runs for?
Damian: I mean, in total this year by the time we get to the end of things which will be in December, right? The end of the year, we will have done approximately 100 - 155 shows, something like that. We do a lot of touring here in the U.S. and also some in Canada as well. We also tour all over Europe, and we go off into countries like Russia, and Ukraine, and occasionally we play in South America, we play in the Middle East, you know? So, it takes us around a fair chunk of the globe doing what we do.
Bert: Yeah, I believe seeing one of these sort of public television specials, and there’s Brit Floyd in like Australia or some faraway place, and you really begin to appreciate just the reach, and the cultural impact of the music that Pink Floyd has. And thanks to you and your bandmates, Damian, that you continue to have to this day which is really a special thing. When you’re not doing these gigs and touring the world, what’s a day off for Damian Darlington? Something non- musical that you don’t do when you’re not playing?
Damian: Well, music it tends to be sort of all consuming. It’s one of those things that, you know, if you do it as a career it’s also your hobby as well. So, but you know, that tends to take up a lot of my life, but you know, when I’m not touring it’s just good to be—to get the chance to be at home. You know, be with your family, and catch up with friends that you haven’t seen for a while, and things like that. But you know, music has been pretty much a fundamental part of my life for 35 years, so it pretty much takes up a lot of my time.
Kelly: Sure! And, you know, kind of going back to the different countries that you have visited through the many tours with Brit Floyd, I don’t want to say who the craziest fans, but who do you think - who do you think - what country would be like the fans that have the number one Pink Floyd fans that just like go insane when you guys are there?
Damian: There’s some amazing fans here in the U.S. there’s no two ways about it, you know? We do some really really fun shows here where the audience are not afraid to show their appreciation for what we’re doing, you know? But you know, there’s passionate fans of this music wherever you go around the world. Whether it be in Brazil, or whether it be somewhere in eastern Europe, or in Norway, and you know, wherever you, you know, we’ve taken this show to we’ve found really really passionate fans of the music and who are just so happy to be getting the chance to be experiencing it live with us.
Bert: Yeah, the music of Pink Floyd remains just as much in demand today as it’s been for the last several decades, and thanks to you and Brit Floyd. You’re bringing it to the people which I think is really remarkable. And being off the road sometimes it’s nice to just be home and warm my bones beside the fire, Damian, right? That’s kind of—kind of what it’s about, right? But, social media, do you guys do the Facebook, and the Instagram, and that stuff with the band?
Damian: Oh, of course we do! People, you know, I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to find our Facebook page. But, you know, you can always go along to our website which is britfloyd.com, and you’ll get links to all of our Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and YouTube channels and stuff like that, there you’ll find them.
Kelly: Awesome. And, Damian, before you go, if you had to say, if there’s one person out there that’s wondering if they should go to this concert of not, what would you tell them to make them buy that ticket?
Damian: Come along, enjoy more than two and a half hours of Pink Floyd’s catalogue of music, which will be accompanied by a spectacular lighting show, videos that have been created especially for this show projected on the iconic round Pink Floyd screen, and inflatable pigs, lasers, mirror balls, everything you would have expected to see at a Pink Floyd concert back in the day.
Bert: Boy, that’s two and a half hours, that’s a lot of laser beams, and minor chords, and sevenths, and just a lot of great music, that’s for sure! But, Damian, thank you, it’s great to have you back on All Access with State Theatre New Jersey. We’re marking our calendars May 1st when Brit Floyd comes to town. Thank you for the time today, safe travels on the road, and we will catch up soon.
Damian: Thank you very much! Been great talking to you.