Bringing Saxy Back: Q&A with Louis from Donnarumma
When you think rock band, you don’t usually think of a fluffy Maltese/Poodle named Lily and a front man who loves watching "dumb shit" on YouTube and playing online chess. And that’s because eclectic band Donnarumma aren’t your typical rock band.
Hailing from Adelaide, this three piece combo are bringing some funky fresh tunes to the Australian music scene. With an upcoming EP and national tour, we thought we better get to know front man, Louis (pictured in the middle), and find out more of his totally nerdy but cool hobbies, embarrassing moments, and his life as an Aussie muso.
Hey Louis, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today! So first off, Donnarumma, what's the name all about?
Well it’s actually my last name – I started off as a solo project in Adelaide and found the two other band members Andy and Max. I wanted to transform the sound into a band and I felt that Donnarumma sounded more like a bands name. If you want to get really into it, I’m from an Italian background and donna means women and rumma means something, so if you want to take some meaning from that then go for it.
Ooooh, getting a little philosophical here, I love it. Let's stick with this philosophical train of thought, what’s behind your new single ‘Love Your Man?’ because the video clip is pretty interesting.
For the video, the idea came about last year when I was in Melbourne with some friends and I had this weird vision of being punched in the face by a girl. And when I ran it by Anthony and Max they were like ‘Yea? But it needs context.’ Plus, I wanted the video clip to be something unique and different, to create a story. So we came up with this elaborate kidnapping scene where our friend Nicole just gets all super bad arse.
The title ‘Love Your Man,’ it’s kind of flipping the switch a bit. Usually it’s girls singing about how they just want love. This song was inspired by a relationship I was in where I fell out of love and when I broke up with her she kind of erased me from the world. I probably wasn’t ready for it, but we were young and naïve and just trying to figure it all out.
You’re about to release your EP Billy Billy, where does this name come from?
I was driving to Melbourne and there’s actually a small town called Billy Billy and for some reason it just stuck with me. And the last song on the EP is actually called Billy Billy, so I see the EP as painting a picture of this young boy and following his journey of just trying to grow up. It’s got a hint of my personal story but it allows us to create this character that we can experiment with a little. The character Billy is also the inspiration for our album cover art.
One thing I noticed about the EP is that there’s a lot of saxophone and cool instrumentals in there, are you trying to bring Saxy Back?
Bring Saxy Back! Haha, that’s hilarious, I’m going to use that. When we were recording the EP I wanted to add an organic element to it. When we’re performing, it’s just the three of us so we’re a bit limited to what we can bring to gigs. When we play, we embrace our rock roots, but this EP gave us room to experiment a little which was a really cool experience to try something different and make our sound bigger.
Who are your musical inspirations?
There’s too many. When I started writing, I got really into folk music like Billy Rice and Irish folk singers, then I got into Jack White and Billy, Nina Simone, plus the rock element. When I started the EP all of these Australian bands were influencing my writing like Gang of Youths and Montaigne.
How do you see Donnarumma finding its place in the Australian music scene?
A big thing for us is that we don’t want to play the same thing twice. We want to create a unique experience at every gig. We’re not exactly the type of music you would hear on Triple J, and we’ve been lucky enough to be played on Triple J a few times, but we’re just not trying to get caught up in that. We’re just trying to do our own thing and embrace what we’ve got.
What’s been your most memorable stage moment so far?
Ah – I’ve got a good one! We were performing in Adelaide and playing this song that keeps growing at the end, and Max, our drummer, gets really into it and he’ll jump up and down throughout the set. And there was a break in the song where he jumped out of his seat and he knocked his stool back, but he didn’t realise. So when he went to sit back down, there was just no stool there, so he just fell back flat on his arse. He was still trying to play so he was just hitting anything he could reach to keep it all going. And the best part was that Andy (the other guitarist) had absolutely no clue that it even happened. Definitely the funniest thing that comes straight to mind.
"We want to create a unique experience at every gig."
Other than from your music, how do you fuel yourself creatively?
Music is our living, it’s our day job, but music really is everything to us, cheesy hey. Other than that, it’s pretty embarrassing, I’m basically a huge kid and I love watching stupid shit on YouTube. Of course I love going out and having a beer but then I also love just chilling at home playing chess on my computer. It’s just the little things to help switch off and relax, and watching people hurt themselves online.
Oooh, chess and YouTube…
Yeah huge rockstar hey?!
What’s your go to drunk food?
Cats or dogs?
Dogs. My maltese/poodle Lily is sitting on the couch right next to me watching the birds thinking she’s all tough but she’s not.
If you could perform or collaborate with anyone dead of alive, who would it be?
If you could have a super power what would it be?
To worry less. To not overthink things. I think that would be a great thing to have.
Who’s your ultimate celebrity crush?
Joey from Friends.
Out of the three of you in the band, who is the most likely to get a video of themselves doing stupid shit on YouTube?
Anthony already has a video of him on YouTube doing something really stupid and embarrassing. I can’t tell you where it is, I promised I’d never tell, but it’s pretty embarrassing and one of my favourite things to watch.
Check out Donnarumma’s new video clip 'Love Your Man' here.
Adelaide is a twenty something human and yes that is her real name. She doesn’t go far without her Doc Martens and a skinny cappuccino. She loves travelling and thinks it’s the best way to meet exciting men (people). When she’s not at uni or daydreaming at the beach, you will find her writing on her blog A Worldly Addiction.