♦♦♦ Aurora Borealis ♦♦♦
Dommin (I)
Interview mit Kristofer [Dommin], 02.12.2009, Köln/Roadrunner

Mit Dommin gibt es ab sofort einen neuen Stern am Dark-Rock-Himmel. Anno 2010 erscheint das Roadrunner-Debüt „Love Is Gone“ der US-amerikanischen Band. Vorab hatte ich die Gelegenheit, Frontmann und Sänger Kristofer Dommin in Köln zu einem Interview für Zillo zu treffen.

Your first official album “Love Is Gone” will be published here in Germany next year via Roadrunner. How satisfied are you with the final result?

Kristofer: Oh, I am really satisfied. It`s been a long time with the making and we`ve been doing it probably for a decade. Some songs are really old. I think the producers did a really good job by capturing what we are and how we sound. And I couldn’t be happier. But to me the songs are never quite done.

Are you a little perfectionist?

Kristofer: Yeah, a little bit in perfectness on the CD. The producers basically discovered us and brought us to Roadrunner. They know us really well and saw us performing. They wanted to make sure the band was very human on the album. They didn`t want to overproduce it. So we did everything like in one tape: the singing in one tape, maybe two tapes at the most. A couple of times I sang a song just twice and I just chose this or that one.

Actually the album should have been released much earlier, but it was delayed several times. Why?

Kristofer: It`s really been Roadrunner figuring out what we are. I mean, they obviously signed us. They like us. But I think there has always been a certain dilemma what kind of band we are. In the music business it`s always that you want something that is easy to identify. Throughout the entire summer the album was supposed to come out. But there were disagreements at the label`s side: Is it a goth band? Or an alternative band? Oh no, it`s a rock band! And nobody could agree.

So it was more a definition thing?

Kristofer: Yeah. I mean, we`re just who we are. But if you enter this business and you have to figure out how to market it, it`s kind of a challenge, because we don`t fit inside a box perfectly. And that`s actually intentional. When we chose what songs we put on the album, I purposely chose songs that are a bit different. So if we do album two and three, we can go in any kind of direction we want – without people saying “Oh, you changed!”. For me the most important thing that unifies the album is more the content and what it is about and not necessarily the genre, because we have some songs that sound more wave, some more metal and some songs are straight rock`n´roll.

So there is no certain genre you would Dommin relate to?

Kristofer: If people ask me which genre we are, I usually say dark rock. 

Are there any anecdotes you can tell us about the recordings?

Kristofer: The most interesting thing I can think of is that everything was done really in one tape. It went really fast, because we didn`t spend a lot of time on trying to perfect things. Some of the songs are really old, but some of the songs like “Love Is Gone”, which is the title track, is newer. Maybe one week before we started recording we had decided to include that song. I had recorded a demo version of that song at home. When I saw like how the songs were going to be – they were kinda like painful and heartbreaking – I thought “Maybe I should put this one on there!”. But I wasn`t sure if anybody will gonna like it. I showed it to the producers and they said it has to be on the record. So it`s kinda interesting as it got there in the last minute.

When was the album really finished then?

Kristofer: It`s been done since December 2008. It was actually supposed to come out in February 2009. Then it was May, July and September. And now it`s gonna be released in February 2010. But it`s been a good thing, because if we would have put it out in February or May this year, I wouldn`t have the time for all the promo. You know, we now shot our third video for “My Heart, Your Hands”. So it allows the label to really re-think things and make sure that they do everything right. And that`s good for us, because it makes sure that they`re really caring about what they do and being thoughtful about it.

What does inspire you in creating your songs?

Kristofer: Usually the things that are important to me and things that are important to everybody: It`s like personal relationships, connections you have with other people, the relationship to your family and friends, you know these bonds. And when those bonds are broken and when something upsets these connections with other people, that kind of inspires me to sing and write music.

So your lyrics are a lot about love and relationships? But how personal are the songs?

Kristofer: It`s pretty much my own biography. Every song is a snapshot moment and experience that I have and how I felt about that moment. I don`t really know any other way to write than from things that actually happened to me. It`s very difficult for me to write from a different perspective.

Do the other band members also contribute to the lyrics?

Kristofer: No. I mean, when the band started it was really just me by myself as kind of a solo project. And then over the years the members have started to join. And now they`ve been contributing musically a little bit. Konstantine, our keyboard player, he wrote the music for “Dark Holiday”, or at least the piano parts. Then I made the lyrics to that song.

So there`s first the music and then you write the lyrics?

Kristofer: In this case yes.

Or can it also be the other way around?

Kristofer: Absolutely! I think, a lot of the time actually the thing what I do is when I experience something…well, for example the song “My Heart, Your Hands” which is like the main song: Usually I try to sum up how I feel about something in the simplest terms. And for that song I wrote actually the statement, the words first, because I felt like that my heart was in her hands and she was closing her grip, so I just said that to myself over and over again and the music came after that. So it can be different all the time.

Why are there three videos for that song existing?

Kristofer: Because we made one by ourselves independent from Roadrunner. And once we were signed with Roadrunner, we looked at that video and said “Okay, we have to do another one”. Well, I actually love the video we made, but it was kind of too dark for the TV. We didn`t have professional lightning and so, but we just tried to do it and I think we did a good job. But then we shot a professional video. We worked with Dean Karr. He is a famous video director and has done a lot of videos, for example with Marilyn Manson and Velvet Revolver. So we shot a video with him and well, we like that video. Most of the people who were part of the band`s coming – like management and label – saw it and probably liked the video. We realised that it is our first song for coming out, but felt it wasn`t the best representation of us. The video with Dean Karr was shot in a basement dungeon, so it gives a certain feeling, but it didn´t really has kind of the romance, heartbreaking relationship stuff that we sing about a lot. So we said “Let`s do another one!”. And early last month we actually left the tour with The 69 Eyes like five days earlier, went back to L.A. and shot another video. But it`s the last one we shot for that song. (laughs) No more chances!

Back to the lyrics: Is there any topic that would never find its way into your lyrics? 

Kristofer: I don´t wanna say never, because I´m a pretty open book. There`s nothing that would be too personal for me to sing about. But I`m not a big fan of political music. So I don`t know if that would ever find its way into my lyrics. To me governments will rise and fall, but love is forever.

How would you continue the sentence “Music is…”?

Kristofer: …my life. That`s it! (laughs)

How would you describe your own character?

Kristofer: Describing myself I would say that I´m passionate and I like connecting with people. I`m an Internet lover. I guess, I just look for personal connections.

“My Heart, Your Hands” is your first single. What does make a song to become a single?

Kristofer: I`m not sure if I would have chosen that to become a single. I´m always more willing to take risks. There`s a song called “Dark Holiday” on the album which is more unique and I would have put out that song first. When you kinda put out a new band out there, you want something that shakes up and gets people`s attention. I don`t think “My Heart, Your Hands” is a bad risk, but I don’t know if it would have been my personal choice. But I´m on the inside, so it`s hard for me to be objective. And “My Heart, Your Hearts” ran on myspace and got the biggest reaction from people. They even loved the demo version and I guess, we have to listen to what people are saying. That was also the song that made Roadrunner being excited about us.

What do the other band members say about that song?

Kristofer: Well, Billy James wanted “Tonight” to be the first single. I don´t know what Konstantine thinks. We all have different opinions.

You`ve already mentioned that you have been on tour with The 69 Eyes. How was it?

Kristofer: Yeah, we`ve been touring since January. We`ve gone on five different tours and it`s been great. And the 69 Eyes-tour was fantastic, the guys have been very nice to us. Hopefully we can tour with them over here. We toured with Lacuna Coil in July in the States and I think we gonna be here with them in February.

So there are already plans to come over?

Kristofer: Yeah, but I don`t know if the last confirmation is certain yet, but as far as I know it`s been offered, we accepted it and now we`re waiting to make sure we can do it. We became really good friends with them!

What`s your personal highlight from all the tours?

Kristofer: It`s always funny, because one time during the last days of tours people play jokes on each other. That`s always been interesting. But for me the biggest highlight on tour is meeting people. Right after our set we as band hang up with the crowd. For us it`s really important to make personal connections with people.

What do your prefer: being on the road or being in the studio?

Kristofer: You know, my favourite part of the whole praxis actually is being at home and writing the music. When I´m in the studio, I just wanna be out off the studio. I actually enjoy playing shows. But touring means a lot of waiting and travelling and like 30 or 45 minutes of playing. It´s not stressful at all, but tedious I guess. But I love the moments when we go on stage.

How do you spend your time when you`re travelling a lot?

Kristofer: Reading books, for example. Konstantine is like a technical freak and he puts things together. So now when we`re travelling everybody can be on the laptop, watching videos and stuff.

How do I have to imagine a Dommin-show?

Kristofer: Well, we don`t have huge budgets. We try to do what we can to create an atmosphere and make the live experience different from the album. Musically we add interludes, we draw out parts of a song, change little things – just to make it like a little bit different experience. And usually we have roses all over the place and I always hand out roses.

Is there any ritual before you enter the stage?

Kristofer: It`s funny, we didn`t have any before, but there`s a band called The Birthday Massacre and they invited us to tour with them. So we toured with them like in April or May. And one of their guitar tech guys was playing hacky-sack. Usually when I was going on stage I was feeling like sluggish and tired, but then one day he and everybody in the band and us were playing hacky-sack in a huge hacky-sack circle. So when I went on stage after doing that, I was awake and my blood was pumping. And since then before almost every show the band plays like 10 or 15 minutes hacky-sack just to get our blood pumping and to make sure that we`re energetic on stage. It`s funny, because you would never think of Dommin being a band playing hacky-sack as we`re all dressed in black. But well, yeah, that´s our secret little ritual we do.

In the Internet I found some kind of blog from you with written news and video messages. How important is it for you to be so close to your fans?

Kristofer: People always want content and stuff like that. When I put stuff on the blog I try to make sure that it`s important in some way. So if we post a video or I write something, I make sure that I write about something that has a purpose. I like to keep people being updated and I know people are interested. I would actually like to go on twitter more to do things there, but I have to think about it, so that I don´t waste my energy, because nobody cares.

Do you think it`s important for bands nowadays being on myspace, facebook, twitter and co.?

Kristofer: I think, it`s definitely good to remain accessible which we do. If somebody writes us on myspace I write back every single email. At least I post something once a week. Sometimes I posted every day like when we were on tour. The things I´m gonna post is where we are and maybe something significant to the band. But if I had a cheesburger at McDonalds and it wasn`t good there´s no point posting that. So yeah, the Internet is important in an age when there is so much out there. It´s harder now to get people`s attention.

What are your plans for the remaining year?

Kristofer: After I got back home from this promotional tour I probably just spend some time with my parents and family. On big days like New Year`s Eve I sometimes tend to not go out. But when I go out then I prefer nights when it`s not so crowed and crazy.

And what are your wishes for the next year?

Kristofer: My wishes will probably be that the album goes well and people like it, the label is happy and we´re happy, being on tour and just grow. My expectation is that we`ll gonna be touring non stop.

Is there something you would like to tell your fans here in Germany?

Kristofer: Yeah, absolutely. Hopefully everyone just gives the album a chance. And if they don`t go buying it, at least check out the music on myspace. 

Interview: Lea S.
Fotos: taken & (c) by Olaf Heine, Rian Flynn & Martin Lingnau / taken from dommin.com
Website Band: www.dommin.com

(c) Zillo Musikmagazin / Ausgabe 02/10 / www.zillo.de

copyright: Aurora Borealis 2007-2015
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