Five Minutes With…Dommin

By February 6, 2010 October 31st, 2016 Features

Dommin are one of the most exciting new acts on the global alternative scene. Their gothic-tinged rock sound has captivated the hearts and minds of dark culture lovers over here recently with grand performances in support of Lacuna Coil. Next month their coming back with HIM so, we though it would be a great time to catch up with the band’s vocalist and mastermind Kristofer to talk about the band, his inspirations and more…

Dommin {ma id=B001XJBDLC&name=Dommin – Love Is Gone}

“I will always make music, no matter what” – Kristofer Dommin

S] Obviously a lot of people are very excited about your music over here and you’re a fairly new band in terms of exposure in the UK – have you noticed a difference between the UK and US crowds?

K] It’s funny. In the US we’ve probably done about five or six tours. The first time we went out was one year ago in January. It feels like that all over again now, Because we’d gone out on tour there with Lacuna Coil and then on tour with 69 Eyes we had a good amount of people coming to see our shows and knowing who we were. When we come here, there are some people who know who we are depending on what radio and video play we’ve gotten in certain areas, but largely we’re back to where we were a year ago. It’s kind of like being back at square one but we really enjoy going out there and trying to prove ourselves. In some ways it’s actually better because if people go out expecting to see some c***y opening band and they get us it’s a good thing – people always say how glad they were that they came early to see us play before their favourite band. It’s definitely a challenge coming over here, but then, we never shy away from a challenge.

S] While your sound mixes many different styles, you’ve made a particularly strong mark within the gothic and industrial market – what inspires you to root your sound within the darker side of alternative?

K] I think it has a lot to do with the passion that’s behind the music. People hear a certain vulnerability in my voice when we play live and on record. The content is certainly dark in nature and I think that draws a lot of the industrial and goth crowds in. We’re not singing about sunshine and rainbows, we’re singing about tragedy, pain, loss and damaged relationships. I think, it’s having that kind of perspective on the darker things in life, not

necessarily being depressed about it but writing about it in an autobiographical sense. People will always identify with that. It tends to be everybody’s story – some people want to shut that part of themselves down and pretend that it doesn’t exist but I think a lot of people who are into dark culture really identify with it, they don’t try to deny it and sometimes they even revel in it.

S] A lot of fans will associate with your ‘My Heart, Your Hands’ single – can you explain the lyrics: ‘how do I know that you’ll be good doing the things that you know you should ‘and what inspired the ideas behind that track?

K] It was really a time when I was about to get involved in a new relationship and I was coming out of one that, for a lack of a better term was ‘crazy’. I was going into this new one very guarded and I was also very afraid. When I was coming into that new environment it just felt overwhelming – it was bigger than me, more powerful than me and it just made me feel very small. That’s where it comes from, it’s not really about a girl, it’s about my fear – it literally felt like that I was falling for this girl, she had my heart in her hands and she was just closing her grip around it – it felt like the walls were closing in on me.

S] People have spoken to us before now and said that they identify with the personal themes of your music – it must feel good to know that your music, however dark, relates to people in some way?

K] I think it’s the fact that we’re honest about the human condition. You know? Everyone’s got a heart that they don’t want breaking. So, it’s kind of like a mouse who goes to get a bite of cheese and then gets electrocuted – he’s then hesitant to do it the next time because he got burned. I think we’re all kind of like that little mouse going for the cheese. We’re all dabbling with a new relationship or long-term, dating and all that – we want to protect ourselves because we’ve all been in that situation where we’ve been hurt by other people. It’s not necessarily limited to just relationships, I mean you can get hurt by siblings, parents or kids – everyone’s had that experience of a broken heart, being vulnerable and being overwhelmed by it.

S] You have been plugging away at this music for ten years – how has your opinion of the music industry and your place within it changed during that time?

K] It’s just such a changing environment. I mean I have my opinions, about where the industry is going and certainly my fears as well. I mean, there used to be a time when you could maybe be moderately successful and still do okay, but I think nowadays there’s just not the revenue coming in to the artists and what is coming in is going to record companies. It really is one of those things where, if you’re not doing well and don’t hit it off in the first couple of years, the chances are you’re not going to be able to keep going, at least in terms of having a career. For me personally, I’ve always done this, and I will continue to do whether hundreds-of-thousands of people pay attention, or one person, or nobody at all. Whether it’s recorded at a massive studio paid for by a record company or whether it’s done on a home computer and just sent around the internet for people to enjoy, I’m always going to do it. It’s something that lives with me, and it’s really my passion. I like writing songs about my experiences, so no matter what happens in the industry I’m always going to have music and I’ll always be doing it.

People don’t value music anymore, because it’s so easy to consume and we can get it for free, even when we aren’t supposed to. It certainly makes music as a career very unstable and it’s a scary thing. I thought that even before I was in it too, I just wasn’t as knowledgeable as I am now about it. I certainly knew that things were changing, and that’s why we put out our own independent record called ‘Mend Your Misery’ a couple of years before we got signed, and that was pretty much because nobody cared. When we went to get signed we had every door slammed in our face and so we just thought ‘Screw it, we’ll just do it on our own’. We knew that we wouldn’t get our songs or videos played but we just went out and tried to market ourselves on the internet, we’re glad it worked but even if it hadn’t we still would’ve kept going.

S] How do you feel now that you are signed to Roadrunner, does it feel like you are living the dream almost?

K] It absolutely does, and I certainly don’t want to sound un-appreciative or un-grateful. People have always said that I have trouble enjoying the moment because something will happen and then I am just like, ‘Okay, what’s next?’ I have that drive in me where I am never satisfied but I am always looking ahead. The way I look at things means that I never really get too low and I never get too high. When good things happen, I know that it is good but, I know that these things can go away just as fast! By the same token, when bad things happen, they can get worse but they’ll pass too. I have a very moderate outlook on life but this certainly is a dream come true and I am so grateful that we are getting the chance to see the world and put our music out there. dommin_COVER

S] Other than yourself, the only consistent member of the band has been your bassist  Billy James – with you writing and playing some instruments as well – what’s the dynamic been like between you two specifically?

K] I’ve known him since we were about eight-years-old and we used to get our guitars and play really bad songs [laughs], and so, I think that over the years he [Billy] has come to respect my song-writing and what I do and appreciate it. There were times when we were in bands together in the past that had broken up for whatever reason and he would always be like, ‘Dude, if you ever want to jam again let me know’. He’s always been really excited to play music with me and I am grateful for that. It’s actually like that with the whole band, I have a band that respects me as a song-writer and they respect me as the leader of the band and for what I do. In a lot of ways, I feel grateful towards them because they allow me to be creative without any objection. But yeah, Billy and I go way back and we have a blast playing together – he knows what Dommin’s all about and he gets the vibe.

S] You self-produced the first version of the video for the aforementioned single ‘My Heart, Your Hands’, a lot of the ideas you have visually are interesting – will you be self-producing more video work in the future?

K] We’ve done three videos for the songs, the first one we did for ourselves and the third one is out at the moment as the official video. I love videos, I am a very visual person so almost always after I have recorded a song I’ve got ideas in my head of how to make it come to life on screen, so I would love to get into developing story ideas and making more videos. It would be great to sink my teeth into that kind of thing. Hopefully, the opportunity will present itself very soon.

S] A random question to close the interview, you’ve said before that you are a big movie soundtrack fan – so, if you could use Dommin’s music to soundtrack a film – what film would you pick and why?

K] That’s a good question. I’ve never done that before but I’d love to try putting our music over a German noir film called ‘Mildred Pierce’ – it’s from 1945. I’d love to watch that film with our music over it to see if it would make any sense – I mean it might be horrible but I would really love to give it a shot to see how it comes across.

S] On a more personal note, you’ve commented on how music brings about a catharsis for you – can you think of a specific event, and as much as you can do into detail about when writing has helped you the most?

K] Let’s see. I can be specific with one incident. It’s when I wrote the song ‘Making The Most’ – that was about a relationship with this girl who had been forbidden to go out with or see me, so I was kind of a ‘secret’ and I continued on in this relationship knowing that it would probably most likely end, yet I still didn’t want to let it go. That’s where that song and ‘I Still Lost’ came from. Any time you are able to talk with someone about what you went through, it really takes away the bite from the incident a little – it’s a way to express yourself and get it out, otherwise it can kill you. So, when I was able to write those songs and put all those crazy, complex feelings about what was going on into these lyrics and put the emotion behind it, I ended up creating something really beautiful and really positive out of something that was really very sh****. I think that was the most therapeutic thing ever for me.

S] What do you prefer about playing live in contrast to being in the studio?

K] Everything almost. I don’t necessarily enjoy the process of being in the studio so much. I pretty much recorded both albums in one or two takes. When you’re playing it live and sharing it with so many people who are seeing you for the first time, or fans that are seeing you for the tenth time, to me there’s so much more meaning behind it. I mean, when you hear a record you are definitely tapping in to what a person is doing at a subject-specific time, but the fact that I can do that in person, and make an inter-personal connection with somebody in the audience and they can see the look on my face, and hear my voice breaking behind the microphone – there’s nothing that compares to it. Maybe it’s just about comparing visual with sonic elements – any time you can trigger more than one sense – it’s not just the ears but it’s the eyes. It’s almost like when you taste some food and they say that if you plug your nose and you try to taste something, you don’t taste it as much – I think music is the same way – if someone can hear me play the guitar it’s one thing but if you can see me banging on the guitar strings, it brings a whole new dimension and it then becomes a much more heartfelt and “alive” experience.

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