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Damian Cullen Band STALKERs Fresh Act January 2012
The right mixture does the trick, this is what the Damian Cullen Band is about to prove. Mastermind Damian is originally coming from Ireland, but he ended up in Finland to revive the good old Rock’n’Roll. We met him and his guitar player Misty at Bäkkeri Bar in Helsinki, right before Misty´s birthday bash, in order to find out more about the Damian Cullen Band for you.
You played your first show in Bochum,Germany, in November, how was it? Damian It was excellent! It was actually sold out. Misty Great People over there, we made so many new friends and I saw all my old friends there. Damian We were there with Matthau Mikojan and Royal Decadence. We actually did there a Finnish song, imagine an Iirish guy getting Germans to sing in Finnish. We did the Song called “Tahdon Rakastella Sinua!” Misty Yeah, they have seen the video cause we have this live Video Online with the song, it’s a Finnish Song so they knew the chorus and sang with us. Damian I sing half in English anyhow and then Matthau sang in Finnish and I got the audience to sing it in Finnish.
How about you singing in Finnish, do you speak the language at all or is it just that song you can do? Damian No, not at all “Gägä pullu!” Misty Haha, That isn’t Finnish! All the organizing thing and that shit was just (holds a thumb up) I can’t say anything bad about it! Damian The organizers absolutely treat us like kings and everything was just brilliant. They pick’s off from the airport, drove us to the hotel, shown us around the town, and the food was brilliant, sound excellent! Misty We met great local people! When I played in Germany last time you just usual spinal that shit going out of town.
Was it your first gig outside of Finland? Misty First in Germany. But not the first outside of Finland! We played in Estonia on a Festival! Damian We both played also in Finland in various Bands!
Could you first tell us a little bit more about Damian Cullen Band? Who are you and what kind of music do you play? Misty Well, officially everything started on the first of January 2009! Damian We actually met by accident, it was the coldest winter in 20 years I believe! I came here didn’t know a soul walked into a bar, a guy approached me, he said: “Damian what are you doing here in Finland!” I said, “I’m trying to put a Band together!” He said “Well I’m a drummer!” I said, “What do you like?” “Well, I’m a great drummer gave me a Cd and phones me the next day: “So you got the guitarist called Misty!” .. Misty Actually No! haha Damian Oh yeah sorry I’m telling lies(laughs)
No? (laughs) Misty I live in Kallio, which is a district where you drink a lot (laughs) So I was waiting for my friend and she didn’t showed up so I decided, Ok I go for one by myself downstairs. There’s a place called “Tauko” which is not there anymore but anyhow, went there saw the drummer which I knew from couple of years back and he was with some weird guy I don’t know and I just went to talk with them and it turned out that it was Damian and talking about me playing guitar and I said “Okey, I can try it out! Just give me the songs!” And that’s how I came on board. Damian It was kind of like, he heard the stuff, likes it, books us a gig. I went back to home to finish up some recording and as I came back and he got us a gig booked where 400-500 people came. The first gig so it was kind of: the Band founded, a month later they play a gig to 400-500 people and it just started from there and Misty was like booking gigs and booking them stuff, getting more and more gigs. Then we spread the word on facebook and blablabla, added people who belongs to the band and we where making the videos! It is a lot lot of hard work! And only the two of us do it, no manager, no promotion, no record company all we did on our own. “And no one gives us fucking money!” ( he says with a crying like voice and laughs)
We just worked our asses off and played all over Finland anywhere possible a lot of charity events and played for no money just to get better known. Travelling hundreds of miles to the middle of nowhere to a Disco where people dance to f** Micheal Jackson and then we walk in with all the hairspray and all the make-up and they say “Oh fucking fags!” But we go on the stage and we walk off the stage they say “Kiitos, Kiitos!” “Hyvää, Hyvää!” and it just seems to go down well I mean we never had a shit gig! Misty I love the fact that when you start the gig some table there are yelling at us like: “Cut you hair and go back where you came from gay’s!” and after the gig the same guys can come and tell you that it was a good gig and things like it. So that’s beautiful, I love that!
How would you describe the music that you are doing? Damian Basically Rock’n’Roll, it’s a kind of ….mhh it is really weird, it’s music from the hearts and people who listen to the Ramones seems to love the music, but also people who listen to HIM, The 69 Eyes, Misfits etc. It’s kind of Glam, Punk ,Goth, Rock ‘n’ Roll, it’s everything! We coverd all the angles, but that is not on purpose, it is just the way cause we are all influenced by different kind of music. I mean if we were all influenced by the same thing, it woudn’t sound like that. Misty We are playing Rock Music, but we have kind of punk attitude on it and we are not jumping along on that shit that we are overproducing the songs and playing may times in studios and all that cause I think that kills the music and the songs. Damian There are so many great bands in Finland and it just seems that everything is all over produce the records. And they play Agards and click-tracks and we are basically just a Rock’n’Roll band that just get’s on there. My aiming is no attest, it is just Rock’n’Roll and energy. If people get bored of watching me, then you watch the drummer or Misty or blablabla! There is always something to watch! Misty Not much to see but yeahhh (laughs) People are taught by radios and big companies they are taught to listen to a certain kind of music especially certain kind of sound. And if you do things differently, you just can not get into radio! Cause most of the people don’t like that, they wanna hear the same shit that always sounds the same. Damian I mean we are not trying to do something new, cause everything has been done before. It can’t be original and we are not trying to be it. We just do music that we enjoy. We enjoy playing and nobody bother it’s okay we don’t care cause we play the music we enjoy. Thankfully people seem to like it. Misty And for fuck sake we don’t wanna copy any other band. We don’t wanna be doing something which is that thing in a certain genre! Damian I mean even the imagine I mean fashion’s from a goth and I don’t wanna be like gothic dressed like T-Shirts or a Punkrocker. Honestly I dress like that because I was sick and tiered of going to bars and they won’t let me in because this kind of Mowhak (points his hair) and kind of look weird and then the doorman would be saying “Oh No Fuck you, you can’t come in!” Now I wear a suit and then he can’t tell me away cause with a shirt and tie it is like a uniform. Ramones and all that a uniform is good cause I mean we look like a band and I don’t see any other band in Finland wearing a shirt and tie Misty Well, I’ve seen couple of bands coming up with them now! Damian Yeah they start to imitate! It’s a compliment somehow!
Damian, you are originally hailing from Ireland but you moved here from London to Finland in 2009, what is the reason for this and why did you choose Finland? Damian Ireland-London-America and then around! I was with this band and great but I didn’t wanna tour, I just wanted to go to France, to Finland blablabla..and I was saying to the band lets go on tour and they just wanted to spend time in the studio and then I got so sick that I said ok let’s go to Finland, I guess that is the music scene for us “No,no we won’t go to Finland, there are only 5 people living there and it’s fucking cold and nobody know’s us. And I was at the point that I just said “Fuck you!” So I came over and that was it.
So do you enjoy it here? Or do you already want to leave again? Damian Yeah of course and No no! Misty He booked the flights already!(laughs) Damian I maybe change some of the lineup (laughs) It is not a long journey with this band and it is still really early stage but I think we achieve more than….I don’t see any outside band with as many videos as we have there and songs and blablabla. I said before we are just working our bodies off, but it starts to pay off, we will have a long way to go yet, but hopefully next year we do an album and don’t know who will release it, even if it’s just us we bring it out now!
What about the rest of the crew, can you tell us more about your musical history? Misty Well, actually the band is now me and Damian. Damian It is always been a three pieced band, but Heidi had to quit the band because she had to go to college to study, and we both really hate to see her going. She hates it too, but that’s one of those things. Now it is just me and Misty and it’s always with session musicians. And we always had great musicians with us. But we always want to have a full band, but the session musicians that we have - they are talented and they are songwriters and singers, guitarists, characters that do Damian Cullen Band do dig, but they have to do their own thing. Misty Well, back to the question I have played and organized gigs from the early 90’s on, so I do have a long history also being in bands, but I have done only underground shit. I never wanted to do anything else!
In January 2012 your band will be active for about 3 years, are you already working on a record? Misty Me and Damian yeah, Engaged – to be married! Damian I hope we can get some children Misty We tried that Damian Yeah next year definitely we do! I don’t know if it will be an actual disc or maybe we bring it on vinyl. Misty Let’s say we do the songs for the album! Damian Yeah 20 songs are ready and we gonna work on some new songs in the next few weeks and a friend of ours is going to studio, so hopefully we will make some songs there. I don’t know how good the studio is, but to do just demos it will work. We constantly work on it.
So can you already say what can people expect from it? Damian Yeah, It’s the same show that makes you freaking out. It’s always you like that or you like this. If you like kind of heavier songs or some like more poppy songs or blablabla. I’m not gonna give anything else away. It’s a secret. Misty Maybe we just gonna simplify the songs.
So you have been on a Mini-Tour with Vains of Jenna, so can you maybe tell us a funny tour experience you had with the guys? Damian VoJ are brilliant guys, it’s like we gotten along really well with them and Suicidal love Boat is a great Band too. Misty We got three parking tickets. That is nice. And our amplifiers are still in Jyväskylä, we are waiting for them. So it was a normal tour. Damian I thought I lost my virginity, but I never really lost it, I just misplaced it and I found it in a box. Misty The owner of the first bar we played in contacted us to tell us that we have lost the microphone. Damian It was not that it was the venue… MistyVenue…bababa how do you say patato patata or what…No, it was a great tour lot’s of drunkenness, happy faces and beautiful people. Damian Thanks to Vains of Jenna because they….we actually gained a lot more fans and lot more people got to hear the music, yeah, I mean everything was positive. Misty Note for the readers: We are now in the bar, in which we ended the tour and the owner just told me that they have cleaned 12 Pints of Urine from the backstage and they where angry at me, so Damian I have nothing to do with that!!!! MistyAh I know I don’t mind! I am blaming the other guys for it (laughs) Damian All the gigs went very well, a lot of people there! Misty Yeah even the under aged gig, I was so surprised about that! I love to see under aged people how they get on the music and they sing along. Damian It was quite fascinating that all these kids are singing along to the songs. They know all the words. You don’t have to make an afford to remember the words cause they remember them. (laughs)
Damian, if you compare the Rock’n’Roll Scene in England to Finland, what would you say are the main differences? Damian In London you pay for 4 hours in a rehearsal studio what you spend here in a month, so obviously Finnish musicians are blessed, because it is cheap and you can spend more time. So if people from America or UK say how great Finnish bands are, well that is the whole reason. Because they must be great musicians. And you know I am from Ireland, but we are still a Finnish band, but we are not all Finnish members in the band. It’s like AC/DC or like that! It is kind of funny when people say: “ Damian, what’s your real name?” Well, my real name is Damian, because you have like Damian of Omen and they thing that it is like this stage name. Misty And even the last name Cullen is nowadays because of that Twilight Shit!
Damian It is not a uncommon name in Ireland Damian Cullen Misty There is actually some Rugby guy with the same name. But from my point of view about the Rock Scene in Finland and in other countries. I must say that in Finland, because I arrange gigs in different countries also, that it is fucking easy compared to Germany to book a gig. In Finland of course you do have to have the connection, you do have to know the people, but when you go to some place you send them an Email, call them whatever. You agree something on Email. That’s the contract. In Germany they will send you a five page contract where they even announce how you can behave outside the bar, and you have to sign that shit. And you have to pay the GEMA while in Finland of course the bar who buys the program pays it. And that’s the only way! Why would the musician himself pay for the union to get the money from the union? That is weird! And even you have to give your setlist couple of weeks before to GEMA. So what the fuck we don’t plan our Setlist two months ahead! It is actually happening on stage.
So you decide your setlist on stage? Damian Yeah, you just need to go out there and see what is working with the audience.
Who writes the songs and what kind of topics do you choose for your lyrics? Damian It’s all me, I’ve co-wrote songs with some musicians in the past and made some demos. Some of the song is kind of ok and then I give it to Misty the other guys and they improve the songs. I have hundreds of songs all worked out with riffs and melodies and harmonies and then I give the songs to Misty and he says what is alright and we do this. So still even though I wrote the songs, it is still Damian Cullen Band behind it Misty Yeah, we arrange the songs together.
Ok and what about the topics? Damian Buh I don’t know. I mean “Supersonic” is basically about Cocaine and “I’m O.K.” is about rehabs it is all about live in general. Past experiences what I had and “Turn the lights down low” that’s a bad experience I made a mistake with let’s say a ugly lady and I woke up and I was like “Turn the lights off” so it is basically about sex in the song “Turn the lights down low”. “Popcorn Girl” it was wrote a long time ago. Well it is basically a soulmate I actually did a video to it. But the song wasn’t right I didn’t like the arrangement of the song and it was again the same I gave it to Misty and he started with the arrangements and I am quite happy with it now! Popcorn Girl is that kind of girl that is fun. It’s like “Girls just wanna have fun!” and I just sing it more gay! Misty (sings) Gays just wanna have fun… Damian I was actually thinking about naming it Kallio Girl where it is the best place for alcohol. But no we said fucking Popcorn Girl! “Shangrila America” I wrote it back when I was in America and that’s a fact if you read the lyrics extremely lazy and pissed. You can’t take the piss off…. MistyDon’t go to deep….(laugh) Damian No, Well, all the songs it is real life, it is about good and bad and what ever! Most of the songs are basically just how you feel.
I guess you are looking for a label, how would you promote yourselves? Damian No,no. no we are not kids and it’s like: Anybody can get a record label - it is easy, we haven’t even tried cause whats the point! What we are actually looking for at the moment is distribution, cause we have the songs recorded and mastered Misty Not necessarily no! I’d say we need some cooperation, someone to advertise on the market and so on. Damian We are not looking for a big record label, we need someone to distribute the record, cause there is no point in bringing about a record only in Finland. We need to expand and someone to bring it to UK, Germany, Ireland, America blablabla MistyWhat country is Blablabla?? Damian I think it´s somewhere in Africa.
What is your dream, what do you want to achieve with your music? Damian I had a dream last night! Misty I want people to hear our music, No I want to play gigs around the world. I want people to understand the point why we play the music and I want them to come to our gigs and get on the same mood that we have on stage cause it feels fucking good. And I know everybody can go there. Damian At the end of the day it is just about getting the music heard. Any great artist and great band, even the most famous artists, they are not big when they are alive, it’s only when they are dead, the Ramones are only appreciated now, Elvis Presley was nearly bankrupt, but he died, Jimi Hendrix… Misty (leans forward to the recorder) What he is really saying is: “Appreciate him!” Damian Yes!!! And buy the records give me fucking money! While I am alive! Misty And when he is dead give it to me! Damian It is just getting the music heard! That is all I want. Recognition!
So if our readers are now interested in your band, where can they get more information?
Do you have some famous last words to add? Damian AND come to the GIGS! Misty You little twits Damian Come and see us naked! Can we see this on TV?? Misty When??
Probably not! Thanks a lot I wish you all the best! Misty Thank you Darling, now let´s Party!! DamianThanks!
Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos: Band Date: 2012-01-03