Bios

MEET THE BAND

NAME – DANNY STEWART (GUITAR/VOCALS)

Age: 23

I picked up my first guitar at the age of 14 with the intent of starting a band with my then best friend, and due to my competitive nature I pushed myself to be technically better than anyone I knew at the time.

Singing came later to me as I discovered the likes of Metallica and Megadeth, and I decided I wanted to be a frontman like my heroes Hetfield and Mustaine. Fuelled by the inspiration received from these bands as well as Iron Maiden and some newer bands like Trivium and Bullet for my Valentine we formed a band called Impulse to Repulse at around the age of 16. We subsequently parted ways a few years later due to them discovering a preference for the sound of hardcore music and me refusing to turn my back on the influence of NWOBHM and thrash metal. I have a very competitive streak, so I aimed to out do the band I was in before by gathering the best musicians I knew or had met through my previous musical endeavours to create Damaj.

Likes: E-Sports (mainly Halo), travelling, playing chess, creating new music and pushing myself to improve as a performer. Dislikes: spicy food, music that requires very little skill and people who are better than me at either chess or halo.

 

NAME – JAMES HAGGART (GUITARS)

Age: 22

Although I play lead for Damaj, it might surprise you to know that I started playing music not as a guitarist, but rather as a pianist. At the age of 7, I started playing piano and was following in the footsteps of my sister who’d learned before me. I carried on with piano for 8 years, eventually gaining a high grade and during this time I also picked up the violin and of course, the guitar. With these I ended as competent on violin and another high grade for guitar.

This is why I’m on the path that I am, from a young age I’ve always played and loved music. Whether it was a guitar or otherwise, I’ve always had an instrument at my fingertips.

I am now purely dedicated to guitar and I am influenced by the more melodic players of the world, trying to stay away from anything too expected or predictable. Some of my favourite players are Guthrie Govan, Rick Graham, Marty Friedman and Andy James – players who are technically able. I hope to be considered like one these players one day – I want to reach the highest level that I can, and have other guitarists see me as someone who brings something different to metal playing. I just want to stand out and be as good as I can be.

 

 

NAME – DAVE DOUGLAS (BASS)

Age: 20

I joined Damaj at the age of 16. My introduction to music was not with the Bass but with a Saxophone at the age of 12. I picked up Guitar first and hated it from the start so a friend suggested bass guitar (which at the time I had never heard of, no joke) but as soon as I gave it a try there was an instant love

As time went on I started to liked the concept of being the foundation for a band/song. I love the ideology that although sometimes you may not hear the bass in the mix, you can feel that it’s there and you notice its presence both when it enters and leaves the room. After watching several bands, I felt that seeing a bass player rock out (in any situation) is just awesome and I wanted that bass player to be me.

Influences

As far as bands go, I was always influenced by the likes of Megadeth (Peace Sells/Rust in Peace/Dystopia Albums), Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, Iron Maiden, Metallica (1983-1988), and Bullet for my Valentine. As for my personal influences I was inspired by bassists such as Mark King (Level 42), Jaco Pastorius, Billy Sheehan, Dave Ellefson (Megadeth), Steve Harris (Iron Maiden), Cliff Burton (Metallica 1982-86), Paulo Gregoletto (Trivium), Leland Sklar, and Sting.

Hopes for the Future

I hope that the band Damaj gets to a recognised level and to someday play shows in other parts of the world. Another thing I would like is to achieve my dream of getting to a level of recognition where upcoming bass players see me as an icon for the instrument in the same way that I see Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) & Steve Harris (Iron Maiden).

 

 

NAME – CIARAN WHYTE (DRUMS)

Age: 19

I got my first drum kit when I was 8 – a sparkly blue beauty of a session pro I must add – and ever since my obsession has only grown. Since the day I first listened to “Red Barchetta” by Rush, I knew that I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the great Neil Peart.
Music has always been my passion and I’ve been performing live since I was 14 or 15. I’ve spent time learning how to play all sorts of styles of music – being taught by an amazing jazz drummer, to playing in blues bands, country bands and ceilidh bands – but my true passion is in rock and metal, or basically anything where I can have the freedom to roam around the kit and explore different rhythms and styles.
Neil Peart is obviously my main influence, but I’m also a huge fan of other drummers, such as Mike Portnoy, Alan White, Bill Bruford, Buddy Rich, Matt Greiner, and Danny Carey, so it’s fair to say quite a few genres have inspired me through the years. I am the youngest in the band, and I never like to take myself too seriously; always looking at all the positives that life gives me. Although I would regard myself as a very proficient drummer, there are always ways to improve and I will always try to improve!

Other interests include busking, go-karting, mountain cycling, the binding of Isaac, and eating copious amounts of junk food.