I recently had the great privilege to interview Dommin, a sensational band from L.A. who has so much energy, excitement, and pure talent coursing throughout, making them a unique, and outrageously awesome band to connect with. Their debut album “”Mend Your Misery” is killer! And I hope many new fans will come to support, and praise Dommin through their amazing music and artistic visions, and through reading about them in their interview. Dommin is simply fabulous! (:
Grave Concerns: Greetings Kristofer, Billy James, Konstantine, how are you doing?
KD: Doing well, but busy.
Grave Concerns: How did you guys meet, and was this an immediate connection toward your relationship in regard to music?
KD: I’ve known Billy since we were in 3rd grade together. We started playing music together when we were about 11 or 12 years old. Stephen is my older brother and I’ve been playing with him since I got my guitar at the age of 9 or 10. It’s the same Christmas that he was given a drum set.
I met Konstantine at the day job we both had at the time. I was looking for a keyboard player and a co-worker told me that he played, so I approached him.
Grave Concerns: When did you first discover that music was what you wanted to pursue? And while you were waiting for that to happen, what other jobs did you have?
KD: I’m not sure when it became a career choice. When you’re young, you are passionate. My earliest memory of listening to music sparked a fire that lived in me ever since. When I got my first guitar, it just further fanned the flames. I suppose I’ve always wanted to pursue music whether I was making a living at it or not. It is something I live, breathe and bleed.
Grave Concerns: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about following your musical dreams?
KD: I suppose it sounds cliché, but I’ve always been told to keep at it, no matter what comes your way. Eventually, someone will notice. And they are starting to.
Konstantine: Do it for yourself first, if you don’t have the passion, it can never become anything good.
Grave Concerns: I agree 100%…Oh not on the cliché part…lol! People are noticing, and yes, passion is the critical element in it all.
Grave Concerns: Gentleman, congratulations; I read that in late 2007, you took home awards for Best Alternative Group and Best Music video of the year at the All Access Awards sown in Los Angeles, CA! Tell us about that experience.
Konstantine: It was interesting. We actually ditched the award show to grab a bite to eat figuring it would take a while to reach our categories and ended up walking back in as they were playing our music and announcing us for our first award (Best Alt. Rock Band). Basically we got lost in what was going on and they ended up passing to the next category figuring we were a no show. It was nice winning the Best Music Video of the year award because we put so much work into it and it meant a lot to receive the appreciation from a vast majority.
KD: It was really great to be recognized by our peers. I don’t put too much value on trophies and awards, but the recognition and appreciation is really a wonderful thing to finally feel.
Grave Concerns: I’m utterly obsessed with you song “My Heart, Your Hands”, it’s such a powerful song…your voice Kristofer is OUTSTANDING and the music is brilliant! This song has to be a mega-hit! Truly, one of the best songs I’ve heard in awhile…on the radio or not, your song is stunning. What was the inspiration behind it?
KD: Well, thank you! I appreciate your kind words. This song was merely the expression of fear that I had going into a second relationship that looked just as dangerous as the first one, even though it had a different face. I saw the red flags, but when you’re immature, you choose to ignore them. Nevertheless, I proceeded with a lot of anxiety, fear and mistrust. The song is supposed to feel huge, epic and tragic, representative of what I felt I was entering into.
Grave Concerns: You’re VERY welcome. I understand the “red flags”. Well, your song did just what you intended it to. Excellent!
Grave Concerns: Your music video to “My Heart, Your Hands” is extremely good. I like a music video that tells a story. Who directed it and where was it shot? And, I’m curious, were you guys really drinking at the bar? I just to know these things…I mean it’s not like I’m asking was that really your heart being butchered from out of your body? (;
KD: Thanks again! The video was directed by Konstantine. He and I brainstormed about it for a month. Content has always been really important to me. I am more interested in the story than I am the effects. Konstantine has a good eye for lighting and placement and a bit of experience behind the camera and using editing programs. He did all of the tedious work in front of the computer while I would approve or disapprove of almost each scene. Our different approaches to the video allowed us to compliment each other and come out with a decent video for about $500. The surgery scenes and the band shots came from where Konstantine lives. He is currently also a caretaker at a historical society mansion for the city. The band shots were done in an old projection room, which is why the walls are plated with steal. Apparently in the old days, the film would frequently catch fire and the room was made with that precaution in mind. The surgery room is actually the kitchen at the mansion. The bar scene took place at a venue called The Scene in Glendale, California. The lady who runs the place was a fan and very cool to us. I’m not much of a drinker so we ended up using apple and cranberry juice. The heart, by the way, was a real pig’s heart.
Grave Concerns: My pleasure. That’s a really cool story---and major kudos to Konstantine for directing the video. You guys are such a hot package of talent!
Grave Concerns: If you could have a movie director direct your next video, who would it be and why? And which song would it be?
Konstantine: Robert Rodriguez, I love his previous films and he seems to be a fun individual. I know he would make an awesome video out of One Feeling for what we have planned.
KD: That’s a tough one. I guess it would depend on what I was going for in the video. I love imagery that looks surreal. As I said before, content is the most important thing to me. So, provided that they’d even be willing, I think Christopher Nolan, Tim Burton or Frank Miller could offer something really great to a Dommin video.
Grave Concerns: LOVE Robert Rodriguez and Tim Burton (too bad he got shunned for a Best Director’s Award for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street).
Grave Concerns: You’ve been asked to create a new word defining your style of music. What is that word?
KD: My brother coined the term goth ‘n’ roll. I’m not sure if it’s been used before, but it seems to really describe what we are doing pretty well.
Grave Concerns: What’s are some of the coolest things fans have said about your music…and were they in person when they told you?
KD: The majority of feedback we get comes via email. Though, we have been approached at shows as well with very endearing comments. The comments that mean the most are the ones from people who say they’ve been helped through a rough time by one or more songs. It’s an amazing thing to touch someone’s life that you don’t know and could be living thousands of miles away.
Grave Concerns: I wholeheartedly agree. That right there makes what you guys do so special.
Billy James: I love when people ask, "what style of music is this??" Because it just goes to show you how different and unique it really is and how it really can't be classified in just any plain rock category.
Grave Concerns: Being memorable for your awesome uniqueness, keep it coming’!
Konstantine: "Wow! You sound better live than on the CD!!!" That’s always cool to hear. Or the occasional "I loved it when you did...(this)" for those times I get a little crazy and play the keyboards backwards or something...
Grave Concerns: I’d LOVE to see that craziness, maybe one day. Energy on stage is very sexy!
Grave Concerns: I’m giving you 13 letters to choose from, in any order; you only have to use 6 of them (you can use more if you want, but not less than 6) and you have to make up a phrase describing what it may have felt like to have shaken the hand of your greatest icon. But only with these letters...IPEWTAFSKHJVM.
KD: Hmm…my brain hurts. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone that I would call and icon for me. There are people who play music I enjoy, but it doesn’t really go beyond that.
Konstantine: HA! I AM...A...HI...I SPEAK FAST...
Grave Concerns: I tend to do that to people’s brains---as does Konstanine, I see…lol!
Grave Concerns: Any plans for a 2008 tour? Come to Boston, MA! (;
KD: We would love to get out on a big tour as soon as possible and Boston would definitely have to be one of the stops! Touring is incredibly expensive. We did a quick run up the West Coast for about 4 days and that cost us over $2,000 in just gas, van rental and food. Hopefully, we will have some label support soon that will allow us take this music to the fans around the world.
Grave Concerns: I hope so. But I do understand the expenses---that’s awful. Well, when you do…and yes, you will, I’ll be there supporting you guys! (;
Grave Concerns: You’ve got fantastic photos up on your MySpace page. Very dramatic and beautiful images. Do you have a creative say in the outcome?
KD: Thanks. I have total say in the outcome. I’m always open to ideas, but in the end, it’s on me.
Grave Concerns: You’re welcome. Cool.
Grave Concerns: If you were able to put on a concert for charity, which one/s would you be supporting, and which artists would you like to headline?
KD: It’s funny that you ask that. Lately, I’ve been wanting to find something I can get behind. After all, if you can’t bring about some good through your music, then it’s completely a selfish endeavor. There are so many people and organizations that are doing really good work out there. I’m not sure which one speaks to me the most. It would have to be something I truly believe in. I would also want to know how the money is spent and where it goes. I think too often musicians and actors support causes for their own publicity without knowing what happens to the resources that they are asking people to put up their hard-earned money for. I think I need to spend a bit more time researching what’s out there before I make a commitment to a cause. Regarding headliners, I really can’t throw a name out there. I’d want to make sure it’s a band or artist that believes in the same cause as well. It would have to transcend my personal affinity.
Billy James: I would do a concert for any natural disaster charity fund...Those people that live good lives and work hard to provide housing and food for their families just so that a random fire or hurricane turns their world upside-down. I'd want Rammstein to headline of course.
Konstantine: A charity for kids, with cancer or some terminal illness. Uhm, Probably Muse, I think they are pretty rad, but obviously someone who cares about it enough.
Grave Concerns: Such wonderful answers guys…truly. Very touching.
Grave Concerns: It’s 3:38 on Friday morning, and you’re about three-hours away from your hotel room, on a road, in a city you’ve never been to before, when your tour bus breaks down. It’s snowing, cold, and none of the cell phones can get reception. What do you do?
KD: I get out and try to help fix the problem. Then after realizing that I’m no help at all, I probably try to sleep.
Konstantine: I love the snow though, so it might help the situation, but I'd probably laugh, begin to push in the cold and hate every bit of it, only to look back and laugh at it later.
Grave Concerns: Write whatever comes to your mind after reading the following:
1. Failing myself isn’t the greatest loss…I’ve ever felt.
2. She held it over my head until…I walked away.
3. I can only be…one place at a time.
4. Why does it matter if I…don’t celebrate?
5. Searching for that…someone.
6. The look on his face told me…he was hurt.
7. It never would have happened…if I hadn’t been there at that specific moment.
Grave Concerns: What are some of your favorite movie scores?
Konstantine: Ameli (the French one), Fifth Element, Into the Wild, Nightmare Before Christmas.
KD: I would have to say that Thomas Newman’s work in Cinderella Man is beautiful. Basil Poledouris’ work for Conan was very epic. Anything John Williams touches is simply amazing. I think these are the true classic composers of our time.
Grave Concerns: What is sexy in your eyes?
Konstantine: My pupils...HAHA, uhm Eyes, Smile, Skin and Hair, but it has to come with the cool personality, otherwise its a waste, I guess being able to live and laugh through the good and bad...sappy? Or sexy...
Grave Concerns: Definitely sexy! (; And you’re right on target with the personality. A gorgeous, and yes, sexy person can get old very quickly.
Billy James: Lips, lower back, dimples and napes. Don't know why but I think that the back of a girl’s neck is a very sexy thing for me.
Grave Concerns: Nice answers---dimples are a very attractive feature. Try biting the back of a girl’s neck (well, make sure she isn’t a stranger).
KD: There are so many attributes that are sexy in different ways. One thing is certain; sexiness is never one size fits all. It works differently for different people. There have been times when I have found confidence to be sexy and other times, shyness. Sometimes, a sweet playfulness is sexy and other times I’ve been completely turned on by the conservatism of a woman. Physically, I can find sexy in a Sunday dress, jeans and a tank or a business suit. Overall, a woman that knows how to treat a man, that is sexy.
Grave Concerns: Is it getting a little hot in here? (Waving a fan across my face). Guys---real good answers. The ladies will be lovin’ your answers.
Grave Concerns: Favorite quote by Dean Martin?
KD:"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. They wake up in the morning and that's the best they're going to feel all day."
Grave Concerns: How do you like your potato cooked?
Konstantine: Mashed with garlic and 3 cheeses, Cheddar, Parmesan and more Cheddar. Oh! Scallop Potatoes are good too!
Grave Concerns: Any pet lovers here?
Konstantine: I love dogs, but won’t get one for some time.
Billy James: I used to hate small dogs, only liked bigger dogs. Then I got a bad ass little Jack Russell and that changed everything.
KD: I am absolutely a pet lover. Though I haven’t owned a dog since my previous one died. I realize that too many people own pets like they are a novelty item. I decided I wasn’t going to own another dog until I can devote more time and attention to one.
Grave Concerns: As musicians, how does the music in movies affect you? And if you were asked to compose a song for a soundtrack, which genera would that be in? Now let me take that question even further---actually backward; if you were to go back to the past, with your current music in hand, and were asked that same question, would any of your songs stand out as a good fit? If so, which song and movie would it have been?
KD: I’ve been told countless times that I make great “movie music”. I think quite a few songs could really work well in an epic romance. But I don’t know if any movie like that has been made lately. Perhaps a modern vampire movie would benefit from a song like “Without End.”
Grave Concerns: Ohhh, Kristofer, you said vampire---thank you. Compose the music for that vampire movie, as well as, starring in it, and I’d fly (and I’m terrified too fly) out to your Red Carpet Premiere. (:
Konstantine: Music can definitely make a movie better or worse, in my opinion. I love it when a scene is powerful and accompanied perfectly with a song that is equally powerful and moving. I'm sure those kinds of scenes emerge as my favorites.
I'm sure as a band we are all pretty eclectic in styles and compositions we can produce. But personally, I would love to have made the music for "Requiem For A Dream". Tim Burton's films can fit some of the music I have made,…and for some reason when I see Scarface, I kinda wish I could have made the score for it.
Grave Concerns: If you could be on VH1’s Behind the Music”, what would you hope your episode would be about?
KD: I would hope it would be about the loyalty that exists in the band and how it was strong enough to get us through the toughest of times.
Konstantine: I wouldn't mind speaking on behalf of a show titled, "Music Videos: The Good, Bad, and Ugly!"
Grave Concerns: Grave Concerns: What comes first in your creative process of song making? Do you hear the melodies or feel the lyrics? Or do you go back and forth?
KD: It’s never just one way or another. As far as I can tell, I have no method to my creative process.
Grave Concerns: Being a member of MySpace, how has it helped, or hindered your musical endeavors? And which countries do you feel have embraced your music the most?
KD: MySpace has been an amazing resource. What used to take years of bands touring, can now be done from my computer chair. I’ve been able to expose my music to people all over the globe without moving. The United Kingdom, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Australia and the U.S. has all been pretty receptive to Dommin.
Grave Concerns: What are you hungry for right now?
KD: Pretty much anything. I’m starving! Some cheesecake would be nice.
Grave Concerns: What’s sitting on your living room table?
KD: Absolutely nothing.
Grave Concerns: Grave Concerns: If you had the power to live the life of any character in a movie for one-week after the end credits rolled, who would you choose and why?
Konstantine: Slevin from Lucky Number Slevin. Revenge, Vengeance, Love, and the street smarts to do anything.
Grave Concerns: Grave Concerns: Other than musical inspirations, who are your favorite authors, poets, painters, or any other artistic creators whose work you respect?
Konstantine: Edgar Allan Poe has always fascinated me. Dr. Seuss for his amazing imagination creating the open-minded foundation I have now. Starry Night by Van Gogh was really eye opening to the
world of art as I knew it. M.C. Escher always kept me thinking. Oh, and I loved Ray Bradbury books as a child, including Marshan Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, What Wicked Things This Way Comes.
KD: J.K. Rowling made me interested in reading again. She was able to capture how kids feel and what excites them.
Grave Concerns: I LOVE Edgar Allan Poe---one of my favorites! Great, and very wonderful responses guys.
Grave Concerns: How do you differentiate a real good song, from a classic? In other words, what really makes a song stand out and last? And with your music, which song or songs do you feel have met that challenge, have come close to it, or are you currently just enjoying the creative bliss?
KD: People and fans ultimately decide what stands the test of time. I fear I may be a bit biased. I hope my songs like “My Heart, Your Hands”, and “I Still Lost” continue to move people. I think “You Can’t Love” will be a classic after I’ve finished remixing and re-arranging it to be what I intended. There are a lot of new songs too that I think could fall into the timeless category but I won’t reveal what those are just yet.
Grave Concerns: Hmmm, next interview then. (;
Grave Concerns: Here’s another game I like to call “Would You Rather”…
1. Receive good news or give it? Give it!
2. Be the kisser or the kissed? Kisser!
3. Go out to a club or stay in? Stay in.
4. At this moment learn from the past or bury it? Bury it.
5. Be the listener or the talker? I feel like I’m always listening, I think I might like to be heard for once.
Grave Concerns: Tell us two things about yourself that your fans would be surprised to know about you?
KD: I’ve never smoked anything, not even one hit of a cigarette. And, I don’t like attention offstage.
Konstantine: I am having trouble thinking of some, but I guess they might be surprised to know that I love classical music, Oh! And I was born dead, seriously, that’s a story for another time though.
I am allergic to Soy, which by the way, is in 90% of all processed foods now.
Grave Concerns: Yeah for you Kristofer for not smoking! You’re the kind of role models more people need to connect with. Oh, God Konstantine…an Angel was looking upon you. One day, maybe you’ll share that story. Glad you’re here. Oh that’s lousy about the Soy---I’m a vegetarian and eat a lot of that stuff.
Grave Concerns: What makes your band standout among other musicians in the same genre?
KD: I think all bands are liked mixed drinks. You put a little more or a little less of a particular ingredient and you get something totally different. I think our brand of rock, the type of people that play it and the voice at the front of it, but ultimately, the songs allow us to stand out from the sea of bands.
Grave Concerns: How do you keep in shape?
KD: I lift weights about 4 times per week and walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes almost every day.
Grave Concerns: What are some of your guilty pleasures?
KD: Ooh...well, where do I begin. I’m quite the hedonist. Raspberry cheesecake, sugar cookies, gummy bears. Everything else I guess would be behind closed bedroom doors.
Grave Concerns: No wonder you’re on the treadmill almost every day! (:
Hmmm…”behind closed bedroom doors”…that works too, for losing the calories, or in your case, maybe an extra slice of cheesecake. (:
Konstantine: Cheese! And chocolate, and both of them together! I also enjoy disappearing from the world now and then.
Grave Concerns: You know... I like that combination too. Man I’m hungry! Thanks, Konstantine!
KD: Yeah, not fun for me when I’m trying to set up rehearsal.
Grave Concerns: What’s in your refrigerator right now? What shouldn’t be?
Konstantine: Some of my home made hamburger patties with delicious mixtures of minced bell peppers, a bit of garlic, some butter and BBQ sauce...the tastiest burgers ever! Also a lot of fruit veggies, water, milk, condiments sandwich meats/bread/etc. And of course Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I should probably get rid of the empty mayonnaise jar.
KD: Probably what shouldn’t be in there are rotten vegetables. I intend to eat better, but when it comes down to it, I never reach for those green leafy things.
Grave Concerns: Name three things about your band mates they probably haven’t heard you say about them before?
KD: That I appreciate their loyalty and their willingness to allow me to realize my vision.
Konstantine: Kristofer & Billy James, you guys put so much hard work into this that it’s impossible not to look up to you. You’re also one of the nicest friends I have ever had, and I can’t wait to share the champagne!
Grave Concerns: Extremely thoughtful and moving answers. So, so, nice guys. (:
Grave Concerns: Grave Concerns: Have you thought about covering one of your favorite artist’s songs?
KD: There are so many cover songs I’d love to do. But I am always very set on not ruining a song. If it’s as good as it can be, and I can’t bring anything to it, I won’t touch it.
Grave Concerns: What color is your toothbrush?
Grave Concerns: Guess Billy James and Konstantine don’t use one. (;
Grave Concerns: What would you like to say to your fans right now?
KD: I’m coming.
Grave Concerns: Anything else you care to share with us about yourselves and your amazing music?
KD: I just want to use this moment to thank the fans and show my appreciation. There are a lot of people who have been sticking with us for a while and waiting for us to come out in a big way. And I’m very grateful for their support. I think this album is only a sliver of the kind of music that people can expect from us. I can’t wait to share the rest of the songs and all the new music with the fans who are and the fans who will be.
Grave Concerns: Kristofer, Billy James, and Konstantine, we here at Grave Concerns are such fans of your music, and we want you to have a remarkable career with your music. Much success with your debut album “Mend Your Misery”, it’s really, really, good! Please keep in touch! Cheers!
For more information on Dommin check out http://www.myspace.com/dommin and http://www.dommin.com/
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