‘Our different backgrounds allow for a lot of variation to brought to our tracks.’
Describe your music style in no more than 5 words: Dominika: Feel good vibes with us.
Ben: Synth, synth, synth, catchy, dark.
Jemma: Alternative pop electronic garage/house/drum and bass drum beats.
Who is in DOMI and where are you from? Ben our synth/bass player, Jostein our drummer and Casper our guitarist are all from Norway. Jemma our keys player and BV is from Sheffield and lead vocalist Dominika is from America/Czech Republic. However, we all currently live in Leeds, UK!
Being from different countries, how does this affect the writing/production process? Ben: I feel that Norwegian pop music has created it’s own style over the past few years. The three Norwegians in the band come from three completely different music backgrounds which gives the band a lot of potential variation when we create the songs. When we discuss the different ideas during rehearsals, it’s nice to have different opinions about what we do to make it the best for all of us. We usually agree eventually though.
Who influences your music? Ben: Whatever I listen to at a certain time. It changes all the time but I always get influenced by the music I listen to, whatever genre. I can easily get a vibe from an Esbjörn Svensson tune and take that into a pop tune.
Dominika: I get influenced by whatever I’m listening to at the moment as well. Other people and life situations make an impact on what I am listening to. Since I’m a pretty emotional person, those things change what I listen to so my inspiration might come from somewhere one week and another a different week.
Jemma: Influenced by Sigrid, Ariana Grande, Faithless, 90’s British electronic house music and Norwegian pop music.
Casper: UK underground pop and Norwegian pop music.
‘It’s not all about luck, you have to work hard.’ Casper
Where is your go-to place for writing new music? Dominika: I think all my favourite songs or ideas have been written in bed at a very stupid time like 3am, when I can’t sleep.
Ben: I love writing at home in my studio but my guilty-composing-pleasure is to just write when I have people around me. No matter if they are listening or not I just get inspired by it.
Jemma: I love writing in my room but I also love writing in new different places as it gives me different perspectives.
Talk us through what one of your recording sessions would look like. Ben: We try to play as much of our recordings as live as possible. After we’ve got the core of the song down, we individually work with our producer, Frankie Harper, to make the songs complete. Personally, I always end up recording dozens of synth lines that we never use, as it’s either too much, or would be too hard to do in a live setting.
Dominika: Vocals are usually the last thing that is recorded so during most of our recordings I’m just trying to be there for the rest of my band trying to set a good mood. I try to just make everyone feel comfortable and have some fun. Once it’s my turn, I usually just get into the studio with Frankie and get the vocals done. I personally I like being 1:1 with a producer because I get distracted very easily! That said, we are currently recording some new stuff and I want my band mates to be there. It’s always nice having more opinions on my vocals.
Casper: Loads of coffee and smiles.
Do you prefer being in the studio or performing live? Ben: It is really hard to compare, as they are two completely different things. Performing live is always great, as you get to try material you have worked on for a long time and see how people respond to it. While in the studio, you get to spend hours just trying out different ideas and experiment a bit, which also is a lot of fun.
Dominika and Casper: 100% performing live.
Jemma: I love both. I love trying to get the best take at a recording, but live is where I feel a rush of emotions when playing.
‘I always end up recording dozens of synth lines that we never use as it’s either too much, or would be too hard to do in a live setting.’ Ben
What other releases/gigs do you have coming up in 2019? Unfortunately we had to cancel our gig at Headrow House in January because of our lead singer was admitted into the hospital last minute. We do have a couple of other dates coming up though: 20th March at Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds with FOSSA as support and 21st March for Barley Soup Presents at Duke Studios, Leeds. We are also currently planning our next single release which will hopefully be in the next 2-3 months.
Why and when did you first become involved in music? Dominika: I always was a very musical kid, constantly singing every time I had the chance. My mom would always play classical music to help me sleep and in the day, I would binge watch classic Disney movies or listen to Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion or Queen. I then started playing the flute at 6 years old – in the USA – and joined a choir in the Czech Republic at the age of 10. From then on I was fully hooked on music.
Jemma: I started playing piano at the age of 10 and I was obsessed with Tom Waits, Muse and Ray Charles. I loved their different approaches to performing on piano/keyboard. Playing also helps me unwind and reflect.
Casper: I’ve always been involved with music and shown an interest from longer back then I can remember. I do recall when me and some mates wanted to create a band to get girls though – we were about 10 or 11 years old!
I read recently Dominika that you were a finalist on a TV show. How has this helped your progression as an artist? Dominika: I feel like some people might remember back in the Czech Republic. It definitely isn’t how I want to be labelled, but it would be silly to not use it to my advantage if the opportunity came up. To be honest, it’s was quite a long time ago so who knows how much people remember.
What is the purpose of music? Ben: When I make music, I want to tell a story. As I never write lyrics myself, I try to colour the stories as much as I can with my playing. You want to create emotions in yourself and the listeners.
Dominika: I just want people to feel something when they listen to us.
Jemma: To reflect, to release emotions and to connect with others
Casper: That’s up to you.
Who was the first musician/band you saw live? Ben: Hard to say. The first big one I can remember, was Muse in Oslo, 2007.
Dominika: It can’t be the first but my furthest memory would be Alicia Keys in Detroit, 2007.
How important is it to have a strong social media presence? Ben: It is really important. Without a strong social media presence, you risk people not wanting to check out your music, because you look unprofessional online. You also want your online presence to reflect the music you make.
Casper: Way more important than it should be.
What would be three pieces of advice you would give to others trying to make it in the music industry? Ben: Play as many gigs as possible. Play with as many different musicians as possible. Work hard.
Dominika: Work hard. Network. Make sure you really love what you are doing.
Jemma: Be yourself – don’t try to copy or imitate others, but it’s good to learn from them. Believe in what you’re doing, other wise no one else will. Don’t give up.
Casper: It’s not all about luck, you have to work hard. Practice things you like and shape your sound over the years. Play with as many different musicians as possible.
And finally……most dance tracks are generally remixed at some point after release. If you could choose any producer to remix your latest release ‘Let Me Follow’ who would it be?
Ben: HM Surf – A Norwegian genius. Domi: Daft Punk all the way.
Thanks DOMI for chatting with Listen to Discover