Who is: Damian Rivas

How Your Soulmate Might Just Be Found Among Twenty Mice

Damian Rivas is like any other twenty-something: plays Fall Out Boy in friend’s basements and frequently caught mice at his old crash pad in college. Though he never did it alone – not after a three-hour car ride with a stranger.

By: Miranda Evon

Inside a family-owned business, through two large glass doors, stands Damian Rivas. Balancing a red and blue backpack on his right shoulder and keys, phone, and a half-empty bottle of Dr. Pepper in both hands. He’s chatting with the barista and from a distance, it seems as if they’re close friends, but I later find out that’s how he’s with everyone. Damian nods when I enter, motioning for me to order; he seems content with sugar-induced caffeine. He stands close to me, I can see his eye jutting to every corner of the room taking in the mediocre artwork that covers the half coffee shop half gallery.

Damian is the lead vocalist and bassists in the band, Meet Me atTwo, he conjured up at the age of thirteen—being able to play more than five instruments now at the age of 24. He’s worked hard to implement music into his life more seriously since quitting the high school soccer team and joining the school’s marching band 8 years ago. During his time at Appalachian State University, the four-person band dwindled because of distance and college courses. Music wasn’t as important as his degree in exercise science. And trying to successfully drink an entire case of beer while playing Fifa sounded more enticing. 

His eyebrows furrow looking at his laptop screen. Behind his tortoise-shell round glasses, his oval green eyes look larger than they are. A grey crewneck hugs his collarbones and he frequently pulls it away from his skin to get comfortable. “Sorry, Barcelona is on. Messi’s on the bench, but he’s ready to go in any time now.” 

Damian was three and living in Venezuela when he’s gifted his first soccer jersey. The team was Argentina, and don’t be fooled—he never liked the team until years later. “I was just a die-hard fan of Argentina because it was a gift and I never wanted to take it off because it was my favorite shirt ever,” and which it then ironically lead to Damian to being a huge soccer fan.

It was there, in Venezuela, when Damian attended his first concert with his mom. None other than the Backstreet Boys. Then he was just a five-year-old crying along to a boyband ballad. Nineteen years later and he’s still crying along to heartbroken ballads—only now the hardcore pop-punk ones, of course.

After we find a table and sit down across from one another, I bend down to pull out my laptop from my purse; catching a glimpse of his bare ankles. Between black rolled up skinny jeans and faded maroon Vans, I see ’Brothers &’. A matching tattoo he carries with his best friend, roommate, and bandmate: Allen.

Damian and Allen first discovered they were soulmates during a three-hour ride back to their small college town, Boone. Damian was at loss for a ride and a mutual friend hooked him up with Allen. It wasn’t until Damian plugged in his phone to the car stereo and put on his pop-punk playlist, that Allen’s eyes lit up. Damian’s never seen himself in anyone before, but over talk of girls breaking their hearts and Warped Tour, it’s as if he was talking to himself. 

“There’s no one else I’d rather live with and simultaneously catch 20 mice,” Damian says. A half smile lingering off the corner of his lips. 

Allen is a year and a half younger than Damian; though it’s like they’ve shared the same lifetime. After the two of them discovered they could play enough instruments for a two-man band—that’s exactly what they did. Allen’s Damian’s favorite guitar player; though, I knew it was only flattery after he talked for five minutes about the guitarist from the band, Real Friends. 

The Sunday following, Damian and I are seated at the bar of a chain Mexican restaurant. Watching the infamous Barcelona. Messi runs across the 32-inch television hanging above our heads. Him and Allen earlier that year had played a few benefit concerts together, one of them being a friends basement and the two of them got drunk before blaring ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’ by Fall Out Boy to the crowd. He says it’s their best party trick. 

Damian believes in multiple soulmates, but Allen will always be his go-to guy. The Junior in college who wakes up in Freshmen dorms stuffed next to a girl on a twin sized bed, but also the friend who continuously plays sick at sorority functions so Damian won’t have to go home with a girl.

I ask if a solo route would ever be a path for him in his music career. He thinks for a few beats, eyes steady on the Coors Banquet placed in front of him, “I would wanna be a stripper instead.” 

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