Interview: Damian Sutherland aka Nitebytes, Musician
Welcome to the Kate Kreates interview series, where I will be interviewing people involved in the creative industries, and hopefully provide an insight into their lives and what inspires them to create, whether that’s music, photography, poetry, comedy…
My first interview is with Damian Sutherland (aka Nitebytes), a musician and gamer…
Tell me a bit about yourself and your music…
Music for me, now, is more of a hobby and an added string to the bow of my main hobby of streaming. That said, let’s move on…
I’m from a musical family, my father plays trad jazz (clarinet, alto sax and tenor sax), his father played double bass. Like pretty much everyone ever I played recorder in primary school, I picked up the Trombone in secondary school (attained grade 5 theory and practical). At 14 I started on side drum in a marching band, and got hooked on drumming so much I pestered my parents until they got me a drum kit (best Christmas present EVER!!! – there’s a whole story around that… probably for a later question), so I’ve been drumming for 30 years.
In my 20s the band I was drumming for went into the studio, and our bassist had some trouble laying down the tracks in a more sterile setting, so I took a go and played the bass on my band’s demo. Soon after that, a friend of mine in another band told me he’d sacked his bassist for drug reasons and could I step in until they get a real bassist – I was with that band for 7 years and one album! (go look on itunes / amazon mp3 / spotify for Pyridine Piranha by Rooftop Farmers – that’s the band I was substitute bassist for.
Last year (2017) I had a motorcycle accident, headfirst into a lamppost at around 40 mph. This has affected my balance, memory, coordination, speech, all the things that feed into my music. I sold my acoustic drum kit just before Christmas 2017 and bought an electronic drum kit (to appease my neighbours), and now I play drums as a form of rehabilitation and physiotherapy to get back to where I used to be skill-wise. As an added twist, I do this on twitch.tv (pop in to twitch.tv/nitebytes one Thursday, you’ll see me drumming).
Who or what influences/inspires you?
My influences are mostly drummers; Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson, Terry Williams, Neil Peart, John Bonham, Nicko McBrain. They’re all drummers with facets of skill I aspire to, and look back to when I’m going over the rudiments.
Insiration these days is a very different thing, I look more to Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Matt Stutzman – these people all overcame something; Stevie Wonder and Ray Charlesbeat blindless to play the piano to world class standards. Matt Stutzman is medal winning paralympic archer, with no arms. If these guys can do that? I can carry on doing what I do, these guys and more like them are my inspiration and motivation.
What’s your favourite track at the moment (yours or someone else’s) and why?
Favourite track: Van Canto – Neuer Wind
It’s sung in German, I don’t speak German but having already liked it, I looked up the words, it’s all about facing the world head on. It’s fitting. It also makes the hairs on my arm stand up, always has.
Van Canto are one of my favourite groups, “acapella hero metal” is what they class themselves as.
What has been your best gig to date?
My best to date would be … oh geez, I haven’t been to that many gigs to be honest, not as a punter anyway. I think my best would have to have been Queensryche (pre Geoff Tate’s departure) in the early 2000s. It wasn’t billed as a specific tour so I was surprised as hell when they did the whole of Operation:Mindcrime. It was awesome!
As a performer, I think my best gig would have have been a charity gig I did with Rooftop Farmers in a pub, we were playing in the beer garden, and I had a wireless rig on my bass, so I wandered… up the climbing frame in the kids play area. I couldn’t get back down again while playing, so ended up playing the last two songs of the set up there.
Here is one of the tracks from my old band, Rooftop Farmers, called The Institution Tells Me…
Which do you enjoy best – playing live or writing/recording material?
Playing live is where it’s at for me. Writing and the studio is a means to that end. I’ve never been a main writer, you’ve heard all the drummer jokes: “Whats the last thing a drummer says to his band? How about we play one of my songs”. I’ve always worked better feeding into the writing of the others in the band.
If you could work with anyone, who would it be and why?
Ooooh, tough question. I’d love to work with so many bands and people it’s tough to pick one. The more I think about it, the more I think I’d want to work with another streamer rather than someone famous. build a band across the internet.
Downloads or CDs (or even vinyl!)?
Each has their own thing, there’s room for all. Downloads for ease, without a doubt. CDs because I like to have something ‘physical’ to hold on to, and Vinyl for the classics, and that little extra warmth that digital doesn’t convey.
Sum up your music in one sentence…
I play rock of most varieties, mostly old school rock and hair metal, but with a twist of prog for some added interest and spice.
Why should people check you out?
These days I’m mostly doing drum covers on Twitch, so come in to my channel, say hi, put some requests in, and join me on my journey of rehabilitation.
Have you got anything exciting coming up in the near future?
Sadly, I have nothing new coming up to promote save for my regular Thursday stint on twitch: 17:30-20:00 (UK local) every Thursday on https://www.twitch.tv/nitebytes
Thank you so much for talking to me Damian – it was great to find out more about you and your music! If you would like to find out more, please check out Damian’s website at https://www.nitebytes.co.uk/