Electronic artist Domino Grey is most certainly a “child of rhythm”. This Long Island native has been building up a strong fanbase with his dance/electronic/club style that he infuses his own philosophy and emotionality in, much like cult heroes Juno Reactor and Underworld. We’re excited to have an exclusive interview with Domino. Among the topics discussed are the state of modern electronic music and the possibilities of expression within the genre.
Welcome to Independent Music Promotions, Domino. As someone who tends to look through to the deeper nature of things, I appreciate the richness of your music. What are your main intentions as far as people’s experience of your work?
Thank you for having me here. I’d like everyone to enjoy my music on the surface and be able to groove to it. Beyond that, I’d like to add a story or backing theme- something you can hold on to, should you choose to look for a higher meaning in the music. If it’s only beats and rhythms, how expressive can I really be? You’ll never know who I am, as a person, unless I become super successful, therefore I need to take every opportunity to inject my personality.
What is it about electronic music in particular that lends itself to spiritual, evolutionary or philosophical themes so well?
It’s that creative freedom that’s so rooted in the form. You can do anything you want and what you choose to do will create the aesthetic. Songs can slowly evolve for ten minutes …or more. You can have these radical and sweeping changes. The mood can be subtle and nuanced or bold and drastic. You can even mix and match these motifs in the same composition. Electronic music is just so free and open, from an artistic perspective.
How did you train yourself to produce your music and what advice would you give to up-and-comers?
I learn best by trial and error. I’ve found that a lot of music does not lend itself well to being reverse engineered. Some great ‘sounds’ are based on playing techniques and not sound design. It’s not always about making or finding a cool element, but instead playing sounds in a cool way. And so, I experiment. I try different things and see what happens. There’s a delight and freshness to not knowing what happens next.
A technician once told me that there’s not a lot of fun in building electronic instruments because at some point you know what the results of your work will be. There are no more joyous surprises. I would never want to understand or master the production process so much so that I rob myself of its random gifts.
I would also say to anyone who considers themselves to be a work in progress, to continue seeing yourself that way, but start making records now. Create your music while you are still learning and expect to keep learning…forever. I hear a lot of artists and producers saying ‘someday I’ll be good enough and then I’ll…” You could be good enough today. The bar is set at; do people enjoy my music? If the answer is yes, then you need to start the journey. Confidence and experience is built from doing. Your first record doesn’t have to be your best, but you should still put forth your best effort on your first record. Man, you got me wordy and preachy on that one. Sorry.
I would hear music and think about what I would do if it was my song. I kept thinking that artist should do this or I wish someone would make a song like that and then I just figured I should be the one to start doing it.
Who in the current music scene do you most admire most and why?
I must admit I don’t know a whole lot about the scene right now, But I’m going to say Adele- only because she seems like the underdog who has done the most with the least. She doesn’t feel like an engine, she feels like a genuine artist with an engine behind her. I like that.
How do you feel about the music industry and the issue of music downloading/file sharing? It’s either an issue or a great thing depending on who you ask.
It’s weird how someone will rip an artist off, but still uses that artists name in every sentence as their favorite -like they are the biggest fan. It’s even more hypocritical when that artist is mentioned as a badge of hipness. “I’m into this persons music so deeply” but you didn’t BUY any of it. I hear justifications for stealing like “I support the artist, not the corporations, man…” It’s not your responsibility to balance out whatever deal the artist willingly signed up for at their music label. Your $upport means more than the 2 cents per album. It’s about showing their profitability and in turn causes the label to continue to support the artist. This also generates opportunities for the artist far beyond record sales. Stop pretending that you’re too smart to buy into the system and admit that you’re a cheap bastard that likes getting crap for free.
More Butterfly Affects. I intend to pretty much repeat the release cycle from 2011. There’s a follow-up for every major release planned.
Your music would lend itself well to both music videos and festival performances. Any plans to engage in these in 2012?
Yes. I am working out the details of my live set and also filming videos for many of the singles. You will definitely enjoy what we are shooting.
Electronic music has been getting a lot of attention lately, a heavy amount of it geared towards dubstep. Do you think there’s a lot of public confusion about electronic music because of all the subgenres?
I find it confusing too! I thought this record is like Electronica and House combined so I’m going to call it electro-house. A DJ friend flipped and said you can’t do that! Electro-house is a real genre, they’ll go crazy and hate you! Sheesh. I’ll leave all the classification to the caretakers and purists or intellectuals or whatever we’re calling them nowadays. Party people don’t care about that stuff and I don’t care either. I’ll make what I make and those in the know can decide what box my songs belong in. That’s it? Okay. Thank you very much for this interview.
(Photos by Ian Goldberg)
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