McCormick freshman featured in metal band’s music videos

Rachel Holtzman, Reporter


Damon D’Amico Jr. didn’t expect to be offered the role of Kevin, a victim of bullying, in a Boston-based metal band’s music video.

After coming across the McCormick freshman’s professional profile online, the directors and lead singer of Ice Nine Kills contacted D’Amico about acting in one of their upcoming music videos.

“At first (the director) said, ‘You’re too big to be a nerd, you’re gonna play the bully,’” D’Amico said. “I said, ‘No, no,’ because I’ve been typecast as the bully and I was tired of it. I sent him this ridiculous picture of me wearing my glasses and holding two corn dogs in my hands and just making this stupid face and they said, ‘Yeah, you can play the nerd.’”

D’Amico, who has been acting professionally since middle school, is featured in Ice Nine Kills’ recent music videos “Hell in the Hallways” and “The Nature of the Beast,” which have been viewed on YouTube more than 1 million times and more than 200,000 times, respectively. The crew filmed the videos in D’Amico’s home state of Massachusetts in spring 2016 and last February, and were inspired by the novels “Carrie” by Stephen King and “Animal Farm” by George Orwell, said Dan Hourihan, who directed “The Nature of the Beast.”

D’Amico’s past professional work ranges from music video features and small roles in movies to larger, recurring roles. A couple years ago, D’Amico landed a role in a TV pilot, “Life Sucks,” and filmed six episodes in Brooklyn before the show was dropped. He also played the role of Isaac on indie web series “Family Problems” in 2015 and 2016, he said.

Though D’Amico originally only signed on to act in one video, Spencer Charnas, Ice Nine Kills’ lead singer, liked him and pushed to bring him back for a second shoot.

Hourihan said he and Charnas wanted to keep all of Ice Nine Kills’ videos connected thematically, and D’Amico’s solid acting performance fit into that vision.

“He’s fantastic and a good actor, someone who can really carry two-person scenes,” Hourihan said. “You get a two-fer there, and it’s nice to see the same face again.”

D’Amico said the production process was like filming any other dramatic scene — with a few interesting details. Each video brought different challenges and learning experiences, he said.

“I had to cry, and I can’t cry on command, so I had to put in these eyedrops and learn to act while I was crying,” he said of one challenge he faced on set. “In the second video, we had to wear these animal masks. In the first video … I just got pushed down. I got table-topped.”

Still, D’Amico said it was a fun experience and one he wouldn’t mind repeating. D’Amico may stay in Evanston over the summer to take engineering classes, and if he does, he plans to reach out to Chicago agencies, he said.

D’Amico’s mother, Maria D’Amico, who drove him to auditions and helps him connect with agencies in Boston and Los Angeles, said the audition process takes up a lot of time, as even short auditions in cities several hours away could turn into work.

Still, she said she is happy her son auditioning for roles, like those of “Family Problems” and “Life Sucks,” that film mostly during breaks.

“(Damon) knows that breaking into any kind of arts is very difficult, which is why he wanted to keep his academics going — in his words, he doesn’t want to be a starving artist if he doesn’t have to be,” Maria D’Amico said. “It’s a matter of how much time he has for it — I hope he’d continue to do it … and keep getting his name and face out there.”

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