Premiere: Gothenburg’s Damen Light an Anthemic Fire in “Brightside” off New EP ‘Unemployment, Broken Bones, Death, Baby’

Damen © Anna Mattsson
Damen © Anna Mattsson
An enthralling, dramatic, and dynamic indie rock uproar, Damen’s “Brightside” off their new EP burns like a beacon in the great unknown.
Stream: “Brightside” – Damen




An enthralling, dramatic, and dynamic indie rock uproar, Damen’s new single burns like a beacon in the great unknown. A driving shoegaze-y headbanger, “Brightside” rings full of passion and verve as the Swedish band craft a fuzzy web of introspection, energy, and sweet release.

It’s that cathartic upheaval in the darkness – an untethering of sorts; a supercharged expression of everything we’ve been holding ourselves back from putting out into the world.

Brightside - Damen
Brightside – Damen
Say what you wanna say
You got to pay
If you wanna get on top, on top
You wanna get that spot, that spot
A fucking taste of the fame
Are you the light that leads me there?
So you know everybody’s name?
Just say the word

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Brightside,” the opening track and second single off Damen’s forthcoming EP Unemployment, Broken Bones, Death, Baby, out May 14 via VÅRØ. With guitars drenched in thick reverb and heavy, drums pulsing a hypnotic rhythm throughout, “Brightside” comes as a rejuvenating outpouring on the heels of February’s lead single “Waste of Time” – itself the band’s first single since releasing their debut album Sagrada Família (February 2020), whose tour was sadly put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Damen © Anna Mattsson
Damen © Anna Mattsson

Already back and ready to hit even harder in 2021, Damen are rising fast out of their native Gothenburg – Sweden’s second largest city, and long a hub for artists and creative professionals. The band’s current trajectory suggests them to be one of their country’s breakout alt-rock acts over the next few years, and while you can read that in the data, it’s just as easy to hear it in their music.

And I’m trying to find a little brightside to it all
Just say the word and I’ll be there
But I don’t know if you really care
And I’m trying to find a little brightside to it all
You say the word and I’ll be there
But I don’t know if you really care

“Brightside” echoes a timeless rock energy that’s been shared by everyone from The Killers and Muse, to Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. The band build a thick wall of sound, rising and fall with epic intensity as they unravel a world of frustration and hurt underneath.

“I think it was the first song that we wrote for the new EP,” the band’s guitarist/vocalist Danial Bin Ismail Ärlig tell Atwood Magazine. Ärlig is joined by Adrian Gejrot on the drums, Gustav Bondesson on lead guitar, and David Nordell on bass. “It all came from [Nordell’s] bass line and it just got going from there quite organic. We had the song for quite a while, but it got finished at the beginning of last year. The track talks about being in a band and trying to make it, basically. How you latch onto every promise from people that say they will help you achieve your goal and then realize it wasn’t anything that should get your hopes up; just empty promises that put you on hold. Over the six years we’ve been a band we have come across a bunch of colourful people that wanted to work with us and promised big things, but it usually faded into nothing.”

“The song’s quite cynical in the verses and then in the chorus it’s more naive and hopeful like you are always there to take the first chance you get no matter how many times you get let down. It’s about my childish naivety and trying to figure out how to navigate the music scene. The people making empty promises to us probably were in the same boat as us; just trying to get the dream going. It’s the starter of our EP, and I feel it captures our sound from Sagrada Família and expands on it.”

Damen © Anna Mattsson
Damen © Anna Mattsson



Damen © Anna Mattsson
Damen © Anna Mattsson

Ärlig’s vocals capture this relatable world of intense emotion, but it’s the marriage of his voice against his band mates’ expressive performances that brings “Brightside” to life and makes it such a catchy and cathartic recipe.

It’s like I wanna be fooled
You disappeared empty promises
on top, on top everything you said
all lost, all lost
A fucking taste of the fame
Are you the light that leads me there?
So you know everybody’s name?
Just say the word

No doubt with this song at the helm, Damen will be starting their new EP with a booming piece of sonic and emotional resonance.

“Brightside” is as dark as its lyrics suggest, but the band nevertheless manage to light a spark of hope in that ether – an inkling of faith that their hard work just might pay off.

For this writer, it certainly has; EP aside, “Brightside” is a mantra we can take with us wherever we go – a reminder to believe in ourselves first and foremost, and remember that no one will push us more than we can push ourselves; we are and always will be in our driver’s seats. Damen may not have meant to make an anthem of perseverance and hope, but this song feeds that inner flame.

Stream “Brightside” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

And I’m trying to find a little brightside to it all
You say the word and I’ll be there
But I don’t know if you really care
And I’m trying to find a little brightside to it all
You say the word and I’ll be there
But I don’t know if you really care

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Stream: “Brightside” – Damen



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Brightside - Damen

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📸 © Anna Mattsson

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