I have followed Damian’s career for some years by now. Markus Setzer introduced him to me years ago, and I was very impressed by Damian’s undisguised enthusiasm. There was something very “real” about him, that I don’t come across every day.
I asked Damian if he would allow me to include him among the featured players on our website. Damian liked the idea, and told me his story. Man – I had no idea! So fascinating to read more about his background and realizations on his career as a musician. So – our dear followers – let’s hear Damian’s story in his own words:
“I remember exactly the moment when I decided to become a bassist. I was sitting in “the” bar for live music in the next bigger city. There was a lot of Ska and Rock music going on at that time and iTunes and Spotify didn’t exist yet. I discovered new music in this club. Suddenly I heard a musical instrument in a song – but I had no idea what it was. As a shy boy I asked the bartender what it was, and he answered me laughing that it was the bass guitar playing a slap solo!
Two days later I held my first bass guitar in my hands and had the feeling of already being a bass player. A cheap old Squier with scratches – but hey – it was my bass!
After a few years of playing in local bands I lost the desire to play bass out of frustration. No matter what I started, it didn’t bear fruits. It was like watching a plant die.
I thought: If I should continue to play bass then I should play it properly or not at all. And so I decided to seek professional help from a bass teacher and came across Markus Setzer.
I flew to Hamburg and met up with Markus – it was a terrible day for me. This tall german guy showed me clearly that I didn’t seem to have a clue what I was doing on my bass. In hindsight, yes, he was right. Markus once described me as a street player, someone who can play things but has no idea what he is doing – once again he was right.
In the following 2.5 years I re-learned the instrument from scratch with him and practiced up to 5-7 hours a day besides my job. A rigorous time – but I regained my confidence in the instrument. Sometimes it seemed to me that the 18 years before had been for nothing. What happened to me should not happen to any other bass player… I could have used so many years better if someone had shown me how to practice properly!
During my education in Hamburg with Markus Setzer I started also to teach in our local music school. At this time my first contact with Ruokangas took place, as well. Before, I had played many basses of all price ranges, but was never satisfied with the result. I had also already become aware that it takes more effort to sound really good on a good instrument.
When I played a Ruokangas bass for the first time I was just confused. Everything sounded the way it should – I could hear everything – every nuance of my playing seemed to translate 1:1 to the bass. What a moment – this was a bass that made me audible, as a player. My playing, my emotion and energy.
I ordered my first Steam bass immediately… and the next 6 months waiting was so difficult – no other bass sounded like that!
When i held my first own Ruokangas bass in my hands it was clear to me – my journey had ended – I had arrived home. This bass gives me the possibility to make myself audible in sound and not vice versa.
In the same period I was able to gain a foothold in the professional music business by luck. Suddenly I had requests to play as a replacement in different bands and with people I only knew from the radio or tv.
In the summer of 2019 a friend of mine, Thomas, approached me and showed me something interesting – a Swiss dialect rock project.
In the next 5 months all songs for this project were written, produced, recorded and the whole marketing was built around the project Megawatt. The band has been very well received by the people and we’ve already achieved success in the Swiss album charts from 0 to 10th place. In the iTunes charts we were already at number 1 after 3 days after the album release. Soon we’ll have the honour to contribute the song for the Swiss national ice hockey team. And all this before we played our first concert..!
Here I am now – living my dream. I can make music with good friends. Music, that touches people and brings back memories. I couldn’t wish for more!” – Damian Caluzi / Megawatt
"It was clear from the first moment I held my first bass from Ruokangas in my hands - my journey has ended - I have arrived home."
- Damian Caluzi