MILWAUKEE - August 16, 2017 - For the eclectic Milwaukee musician extraordinaire, D’Amato, Funk is not a music genre but rather a spiritual way of life. Funk is at the essence of D’Amato’s core as a human being and as a performer. D’Amato is both a person and an act that in many ways devys genres, musical boundaries and ultimately audience expectations. Part funk, part soul, part hip-hop, part rhythm and blues, part rock, and ultimately engagingly entertaining, D’Amato is at his essence his own being. D’Amato samples the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street” on his most well known track, “B.P.A. Free,” a song that talks about making music and love and creating a contagious groove in the process. “Most people don’t even pick up on the ‘Shakedown Street’ by the Grateful Dead sample,” quipped D’Amato in a recent interview. “I just like to push boundaries and get creative.”
Rock the Green had the chance to catch up with D’Amato about their upcoming performance at Rock the Green headlining the Pedal Power Stage on Saturday, September 9th.
Rock the Green: In recent years it seems like the local Milwaukee music scene has exploded with a wide array of highly talented, diverse acts. Can you share what it’s been like to be part of this scene?
D’Amato: I’ve been gigging for years before the explosion, chipping away, so I’ve seen a lot of change. It’s been gratifying and motivating to see things pick and different Milwaukee artists not only etch out their career, but constantly push themselves and their Music. It’s been a slow burn to get to a place where I can be choosy with shows and I am grateful for every opportunity. It’s hard to find the next step or next move sometimes because music in Milwaukee can have a low glass ceiling, but I am grateful for people's recent support of my Music and the Milwaukee scene as a whole. That said, there is a long way to go.
Rock the Green: You are a truly creative and unique performer who defies boundaries in music. How would you describe your sound?
D’Amato: That is a hard question to answer. My debut album sounds nothing like my live band, my live band sounds nothing like the album I’m working on… The big band definitely falls into the Funk and Hip Hop realm, yet Funk, at heart, is a spiritual thing for me. When we perform as D’Amato there are 12 people on stage, every person bringing their own taste and sensibility, so throughout the set You can glean something from all genres… well maybe not all genres. The music that I’m interested in most and that I’m most inspired by is from artists who are able to change genres and forms depending on the day. It’s human nature to try and define what We encounter with genres and labels, that’s not a bad thing. The issue is when You box in and corral your ideas based off of what others define You as.
Rock the Green: What advice do you have for aspiring musicians getting into the Milwaukee music scene?
D’Amato: There is no shortcut to creating good art. There are shortcuts to fame, status and popularity, but to create great art it takes work. Lot’s of hard work. Think and look outside of yourself and your current scene, and try not to get too wrapped up into partying. Complacency is a career killer. If you don’t actually believe in your hard work, how can anyone else? You can’t fake the Funk… it won’t let you.
Rock the Green: What inspires you to write music?
D’Amato: Life kicks you around and gives you some hard pills to swallow, and sometimes it caresses you and fills you with love and joy. All that you experience goes into your brain and body and if you’re truthful it will come out in the music. This world can be Beautiful and disgusting. I write from experience and at times obsession. Funk is the connecting source of me to this Earth and to people. It is also what I feel I’m really good at. It is what fulfills my life.
Rock the Green: What is the best part of performing live?
D’Amato: If we have a spirit within our body, or a soul, performing live is where my soul gets off. I feel most myself when I’m on stage, when you can just act on that Funkiness. You can act a truthful way on a stage that You can’t other places. You can unleash. Best of all, you get to inspire people to dance. This is the greatest prize.
Rock the Green: As you know, Rock the Green is a unique festival aimed to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability and being eco-conscientious citizens. Can you please share your thoughts about the importance of environmental sustainability?
D’Amato: the relationship that us humans have with the environment is abusive and problematic and to deny that is ridiculous. Waste, deforestation, global warming, trash islands in the ocean, it’s scary to think how much damage can be done so shortly and how much easier it is to destroy than repair.
Rock the Green: When you are on the road or at home here in Milwaukee, what are some of the ways you choose to “go green?”
D’Amato: I have no political sway or money to invest, so for me It’s all about the little things. I use rags rather than paper towels and find other ways to reduce waste. I don’t litter and I try to be conscious of my excess. I lived in the woods for a couple of months once, You become very aware of your use, waste, and impact on your immediate surroundings.
Rock the Green: What are you most excited about to play RTG?
D’Amato: I want to do the absolute best I can do and represent myself and my band. I am inspired by the musicians that I get to take the stage with, so every show is unique experience for me. Every show is also an opportunity to play for new people, sweat in front of them, work my hardest and get them to dance. The Love is real.
Trust me, bring your dancing shoes and an extra pair of socks to Rock the Green on Saturday, September 9th, as D’Amato and his big band will literally rock your socks off bringing the Funk to life!