"Echoes" of Pink Floyd

Musical Director Damian Darlington talks about bringing the music of Pink Floyd to life


Scientists recently detected the existence of gravitational waves caused by two colliding black holes 1.3 billion light years away. This proves Einstein’s theory of General Relativity, but what wasn’t reported in the media is that those gravitational waves came through sounding like “The Great Gig in the Sky” off of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Pink Floyd is truly the sound of the cosmos, and tribute band Brit Floyd is bringing their influential music to life at The Vets on Tuesday, April 5. Embarking on a follow up world tour after last year’s wildly successful Space and Time Tour, musical director, guitarist and vocalist Damian Darlington gave a us a few moments to talk about the group’s new Space and Time Continuum Tour and capturing the interstellar magic of Pink Floyd.

How will the Space and Time Continuum Tour be different from last year’s Space and Time Tour?
It’s quite substantially a different set list. We’ve brought in some tracks that we’ve never performed before, and a big feature is that we’re performing “Echoes” in its entirety. We haven’t done that for a few years, or very often at all in the US. That will be special for us, and hopefully special for the audience to get to experience that live. There’s a new lighting design, new video content. All in all it should look and sound quite different from what people saw last year if they’re coming around again.

What are the challenges to pulling off “Echoes” in particular?
It's all about the feel with “Echoes.” Lazy’s not the right word, but it’s a song that’s not in a hurry in a good way. You’ve got to get that feeling just right. And it’s more of a vintage Floyd track so there’s a different challenge to getting the sound right when you’re going that much further back in time with their catalogue.

Do find that different eras of Floyd’s catalogue are harder to tap into than others?
I think the further back you go the more difficult it is to get into that original soundscape. The gear was so different, and in some ways as players they were still learning themselves. There was a bit more of a naivety, in a good way, about how they played the songs. It is slightly more difficult as a musician to recreate that faithfully.

Of the tracks that you haven’t played before are there any in particular that you’re really excited about besides “Echoes”?
We’re going to perform something off of the A Momentary Lapse of Reason album which we’ve never performed, a song that I’ve always enjoyed called “Yet Another Movie.” It was the first track on the second side of the LP and was something they performed all the way through their Delicate Sound of Thunder Tour. It will be exciting for us to tackle that one.

Is there a particular album of theirs that you think doesn’t get the credit it deserves?
I think certainly Animals would be at the top of that list. It was sandwiched between Wish You Were Here and The Wall and it sort of reflected what was going on in music in general at the time with the arrival of punk. It’s a much more angry album than perhaps other Pink Floyd albums are. It was sort of a sign of the times but certainly has some great music on it. Wonderful lyrics from Roger Waters, as ever, on that one.

Were you ever able to see Pink Floyd perform live?
Yes. I saw them in ‘88 on the A Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour. I was aware of The Wall Tour in the early ‘80s but I was just a little too young for that. I saw them twice in ‘94, I even saw them in 2005 when they reunited with Roger Waters for their Live Aid performance. And of course I’ve seen David Gilmour and Roger Waters on solo tours a number of times.

In terms of the visuals do you try to recall similar visuals that Pink Floyd used or do you try to put your own spin on the performance?
When it comes to the video it’s usually reference imagery that Floyd fans are familiar with, whether that be the album covers or stuff that Floyd did in their own concert videos. We’ll sort of have a different take on that stuff. Occasionally we’ll painstakingly recreate something like some of the animation from The Wall.

And with the music, is it more important for you to capture as much of the essence of Floyd as possible or to try to bring something new to it?
On the whole we try to recreate the original albums but sometimes there are exceptions to that. As the musical director it’s my decision to look at these things. Sometimes there might be a live version that works better with us as a band or even combining the two and taking a section from one with a section from another. There have even been bootlegs that we’ve referenced in the past as well. But outside of that there’s still a little bit of room to put our own stamp on things and let our own musical personalities shine through in the performances. That’s important. It helps us gel as a group of musicians and I think that comes across to the audience.

Can you remember that moment when you heard a Pink Floyd song and it all sort of clicked?
The first time I was sort of aware of Pink Floyd was when “Another Brick in the Wall” was a hit single – a very unlikely Christmas number one at the end of 1979 over here in the UK. I was a little bit young to appreciate in the right way at that age but it certainly captivated me. But a few years later when I was 13 and had already started playing guitar I heard The Wall album in its entirety and that’s what really drew me into being a fan of Pink Floyd. The whole narrative flowing through the album, all the really cool sound effects that joined the tracks together. And of course the wonderful music itself. That was my eureka moment with Pink Floyd.

Brit Floyd – Space and Time Continuum Tour
The Vets Memorial Auditorium
Tuesday, April 5