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Dommin: the sound of the broken-hearted

Interview edited by  Olly Olly Oxen Free - Marzia for The Heartagram Path



Dommin is an American rock band from Los Angeles whose leader and founder is Kristofer Dommin. After the realease of Love Is Gone, Dommin makes its debut supporting HIM during their Screamworks: Love In Theory and Practice worldwide tour.

THP: First of all, I want to thank you all for your helpfulness, although being busy with HIM’s tour. I got the chance to see you live during three of their UK tour shows and I must admit that I was really impressed by your sound and your excellent stage presence. When you’re a support band - especially not well known – it’s difficult to get a positive feedback from the audience, but this wasn’t your case!

KD: The HIM fans were very receptive to us.  We were bombarded at our merch booth after each set.  I think our music is something those fans understand.

THP: Before talking about your band, there’s something about your live performances that I’d like to ask you. What is really impressive of you is the strong energy that your songs convey… you have an awesome bass and a forceful sound! Instead, listening to the album everything is softer, I’d say more delicate. What do you think about it? How do you live the on stage reality compared to the recording studio one?

KD: I would say it probably has more to do with our physical energy being present at live shows.  Also the energy that the crowd gives us helps us a lot to and I think there is a bit more energy and aggression that comes across live.  I'm certainly happy with the album, but  we receive the comment quite frequently that people like us better live.

THP: Let’s talk about the band now! Why did you decide to name it after you? Is there any particular reason or not?

KD: Well, I started the band and after so many years and changing members, I was the only thing consistent about the project.  Also, for me a name is really important that it needs to encompass the message or theme of the band.  And since I don't like being locked in a creative box where I can only be one way, I felt like naming it after myself gave me the freedom to be me and explore anything I desired.

THP: How and when did you start having interest in music? What was your artistic path?

KD: I started becoming interested in music since my earliest childhood memories.  My parents always had music playing and I became a KISS fans at a very young age.  From there I started searching out music for myself and getting into bands like Danzig, Type O Negative, Metallica, Rammstein and Depeche Mode.  After those years, I started to really broaden my tastes and my grandfather introduced me to a lot of the Big Band and Swing music of the 30's and 40's. 

THP: "Dommin is the sound of the brokenhearted" is taken from your bio. In your album, as we can read, you speak of love and relationships that most of the times make us suffer. You also say: "The words and music are there for those misunderstood people who need to know that there is someone out there who feels the same.". Could you explain these? Do you look at music as a cure for your personal suffering?

KD: It certainly is therapeutic for the things I have experienced.  I only write music for myself.  But as it turns out, we are not all that different from each other around the world.  We all seek love, fall in love and out of love and get our hearts broken.  It's no big secret.  So in being the voice of my heart-break, I am also the voice for those who have experienced the same thing.

THP: Writing is a sort of relief valve: we can, somehow, get rid of our problems and sometimes you manage to know new aspects of yourself. In your case, who is the one who writes the lyrics? Is it something that you do together or something more intimate? In both case, how do you live the writing process? Is it a painful moment? Liberating?

KD: Most of the songs and all of the lyrics are written by me.  Most of the time, I write alone because once I have a vision, I go with it and it flows.  But many times, if I am in need of a spark to ignite the fire, I will collaborate with my band members or with my friend and producer Lucas Banker.  It certainly isn't painful.  If anything it is a relief and emboldening.  Because it allows me to turn something that may have been a negative experience and produce a positive result.

THP: Listening to your album, many people compared you to Elvis. Your sound and your voice look like the King of Rock’n’Roll. Which are the bands you took inspiration from?

KD: People usually say Elvis because it's all they know of that era.  I think I have one of his Greatest Hits albums.  But there are many people in that era of music who played around with the rockabilly sound that has shed it's remnants in our music.  My big influences are all the rock bands I grew up liking and all the crooners from the 30's to the 60's.

THP: ( I Just) Died In Your Arms is the most successful song by Cutting Crew, an 80’s rock band. Many bands made a cover of it, among which we can find even HIM who played it during one of their past live performances. Why did you decide to make a cover of it as well?

KD: To be honest, I had no idea anyone else covered it.  If I had known that, I probably would not have done it.  It wasn't until after we recorded it and played it live that Ville mentioned that they used to play that song in their early years.  I had no idea.

THP: You’ve been touring with HIM since March and before them you supported Lacuna Coil; then you played a show of your own at The Borderline in London and in about a month you’ll be playing at Rock Am Ring 2010 and Download 2010 together with big names such as Motorhead and 30 Second to Mars. Undoubtedly, you’ d be really proud of yourself since this is a great merit for your band which is trying to make his mark. What do you think about it? What do you expect from this new reality which is completely different form the usual venue?

KD: I really don't think about it too much.  I am certainly honored and humbled to be playing with such big names.  But when it comes to things like this, I tend to only look at what is right in front of me.  If I over-think these things, I'll probably freak myself out.  It probably won't actually hit me until about 5 minutes before I walk on stage.  And that will be okay with me.  I'm not sure what to expect.  I'm not sure the Dommin vibe comes across effectively in an outdoor festival setting.  But hopefully the exposure to new crowds will yield something positive for us.

THP: How would you describe Love Is Gone to the people that don’t know you yet? How would you define your style?

KD: Love Is Gone is a versatile album that I think people enjoy from beginning to end.  It's a honest and passionate album with a very dark rock edge to it. 

THP: The first single taken from Love Is Gone is My Heart, Your Hands. Why did you choose it as the first one? Could you explain the concept behind the music video? I’ve been really impressed by those pwc dressed women…

KD: I didn't really choose this as the first single.  If it were up to me, I think I would have chosen "Dark Holiday."  But being that my perspective is probably not so fresh seeing that I've been playing "My Heart, Your Hands" since 2003, I figured I'd listen to those who are hearing Dommin's music with fresh ears and let them make some fresh judgments as to what would be the best introduction to Dommin. 
The music video took a metaphorical approach.  The red scarf symbolizes a girl who is being playful with my heart.  And it is my fear and the baggage from my past, represented by the shadow figures that rears its ugly head and devours her and any relationship that I might have with her.

THP: Talking about Dommin origin, you’re the founder and, over the years, the others arised until you found, in 2008, the ultimate line-up. Was it difficult to adapt yourself to one another or you immediately found the incredible alchemy that you show on stage?

KD: No, it wasn't difficult.  I think I made wise decisions with who to surround myself with.  I certainly didn't just take their musicianship into account, but also their personalities and their temperaments.

THP: Undoubtedly , HIM is one of the most Finnish worldwide successful bands and it’s equally obvious that being their support band is the perfect launch pad. The Screamworks: Love In Theory and Practice USA tour is almost done… how would you define this experience?

KD: This tour has been really great for us.  It certainly is a great package for us to be a part of.  HIM fans are the perfect people for us to expose our music to because they understand it.  It has also made it possible now for us to tour certain cities as a headliner and not just a support band.  We are incredibly thankful.

THP: Do you have any future plans? Will you support HIM during their European tour? Are you planning a tour of you own?

KD: If they will have us again to do more European dates than we did in March with them, we'd certainly be more than honored to accompany them.  But perhaps Dommin shouldn't be so selfish with such an opportunity.  I believe there are plans for us to return to Europe during the festival season and after to do some small headlining shows of our own.

THP: what else…thanks again for your time and we hope to see you soon in Italy!

KD: Thank you for taking the time to interview me and expose Dommin to all those who read heartagram.it Hopefully we'll see you all very soon.
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