Varkan Garage Photo Shoot

Photo by Arianna Grainey

Alec Damiano has always had two passions: music and communication.

Damiano was born in Nogales, Ariz., where she was literally brought into the world with music—the doctor blasted mariachi music on his stereo while she was being delivered. At the tender age of four years old, she began playing the violin and singing in Mariachi Sombra de Nogales, opening for notable Mexican acts like Juan Gabriel and Los Temerarios.

Since she was able to pick up a pencil, Damiano was always writing her own poems, songs and short stories. She was part of her elementary school’s newspaper and had her own column when she was only in kindergarten. Throughout her academic career, she won various writing contests, whether the required mediums were poetry or prose. She would also write and film her own amateur plays, eventually falling in love with the camera.

During her teenage years, Damiano taught herself how to play a variety of instruments like the piano, guitar, and viola. She was the bass drum captain at Desert Shadows Middle School, and was a member of their mariachi and jazz bands. Damiano was also the first chair violinist of both the Desert Shadows Middle School and Nogales High School orchestras. She performed alongside Mark Wood of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as a featured soloist in his “Electrify Your Strings” program. For her senior project, she constructed a seven-string electric violin called The Banshee, inspired by Wood.

She moved to Tempe, Arizona to pursue her bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University in 2011. She taught herself how to play bass guitar later that year.

After being in and out of bands that did not suit her vision, she created the solo project Black Monarch in 2013. Damiano wrote the material and recorded all the instruments and vocals herself.

She formed what would eventually become Varkan in 2014, where she sings and plays guitar.

Damiano was also the art blogger for State Press Magazine, based at Arizona State University. Always thinking outside the box, she increased the readership of the publication by covering unique and innovative topics (like painting with blood).

Her narrative, “Tears of Joy,” was published in the online edition of Teen Ink Magazine, and her poem, “Ode to Ozzy Osbourne,” was published in the book “Stars in Our Hearts: Imagination” (2011).

Damiano ran a heavy metal music blog called The Blog of Shredding. She has interviewed renowned musicians like Doro Pesch, 1349, and Rachel Bolan of Skid Row (the first heavy metal band to have a #1 album in the SoundScan era). Some of her interviews and videos have been featured on metal news site BLABBERMOUTH.NET. She has also created music videos and promotional tools for local Phoenix bands and musicians.

She also contributed to Arizona Metal at The Blaze 1330 AM, sometimes appearing on metal podcast “Damage, Inc”.

She occasionally assisted concert promotion company Kill Death Productions with public relations, graphic design and photography. She also worked at the ASU Foundation for a New American University in video production, and graduated summa cum laude from ASU in 2015.

Damiano was also a video DJ, video editor, and photographer for Heavy Metal Television. Her photos of King Diamond’s concert in Tucson, Ariz. were featured on the band’s official social media pages.

After serving as a video editor at Edgenuity, she was recruited to join Fender Musical Instrument Corporation in 2018 as Employee Communications Specialist. At Fender, she assisted with the design and overhaul of the company intranet, has covered various NAMM shows and other events, assisted the social media team with artist footage, and helped draft countless internal communications and executive announcements in both English and Spanish.

Damiano graduated with an MBA with a music business concentration from Southern New Hampshire University, in conjunction with Berklee Online, in 2019.

Her band, Varkan, also independently released their self-titled debut album in March 2019. She created an album release crowdfunding campaign, oversaw the design and creation of the album booklet, and created most of the band’s promotional and social media assets. She also edited the band’s debut music video for “Filthy Human Race.” The album garnered enough attention to warrant a direct distribution deal in Japan, as well as fans all over the world.

Varkan signed with Metal Assault Records in 2021 and released the Butcher cassette single later that year. The band has opened for national and international acts such as Death Angel, Angra, and Holy Grail, and were the 2020 Wacken Metal Battle Phoenix champions. Varkan is in the progress of writing its sophomore album and on its mission to bring thrashy power metal to the masses.

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