Dommin's Kristofer Discloses of New Music in Pursit of New Album

Goth rock n' rollers Dommin have been strutting their stuff since the 2000's going out on the road touring about, playing shows here and there while releasing material along the way. After some time has passed so did the band as they went on a brief break period but have recently brought themselves back with all new music, shows, and much more! Frontman vocalist/guitarist Kristofer Dommin or "KD" took sometime to discuss the band's plans and what this new release has in-store for the future!

1. Can you tell me who's idea it was to create the skull rose logo and what does it represent for Dommin?

KD:  I created the concept for the RoseSkull logo but since I can’t draw, I had a talented artist named Donny Phillips put the actual pen to paper.  But the intent was to always bring across the idea about how dangerous love and beauty can be, not because they are inherently dangerous, but because of what we will do for them.  There are things we will tolerate, values we will compromise and lengths that we will go to serve love and beauty that can be quite detrimental.

2. How does it feel to have been around for over 10 years doing what you love to do?

KD: In some ways it’s great because I feel pretty well-versed in a lot of areas of music, on the creative side and the business side.  In other ways it’s a little frustrating because I had hopes that I would have released more music and been a little further along by now.

3. Has the band’s songwriting process changed much over the years?

KD: The process hasn't changed much.  Every song comes about in a different way, and those differences have been pretty consistent throughout.

4. What about band's influences do you guys change it up through the years or stick to the same group of acts to gain inspiration from?

KD: We pull influences from so many bands and genres, but when we group the songs for an album, we like to keep it similarly themed.  So on each record you’ll likely hear the different influences shine through.

5. You guys were signed with Roadrunner Records but you guys were dropped from their label, can you briefly summarize what happened and where has this lead to label-wise now?

KD: So much happened during our time with Roadrunner from the beginning to the end.  But ultimately, what ended the relationship was, when Roadrunner became fully owned by Warner, the President of the label and our A&R both departed. Those two were pretty much our biggest supporters who signed and always championed the band and pushed us forward and once they were gone, we were left at a label that didn't seem to believe in the band.  In the aftermath, it took us nearly a year and a half to negotiate the right to use our own songs.  After that I spent most of 2014 re-tracking a couple of the songs from scratch and doing some additional production to the songs to get them to a place where I felt they should have been because the producer basically bailed on us early on.  Now that the record is done, we are sending the music to various labels to see if anyone wants to partner with us in putting it out.  If we aren't able to find a satisfactory situation, we’ll end up self-releasing early next year.

6. Does Roadrunner still own the rights to your unreleased material or were you able to get those back?

KD: No.  We have the rights to the unreleased material but we owe them a percentage of any money we make from about four of the songs that ended up making the record in an attempt to recoup the money they spent on recording the album.

7. Among those unreleased works was your second studio album, if that album is there then what makes this album called "Rise" the second or third or unknown album?

KD: The album "Rise" is, for the most part, the 2nd record we planned on releasing on Roadrunner.  Though after having some time to sit with it and asking ourselves what we truly wanted away from the influences and pressures of others, we took a few songs off, made some changes to existing songs and added a song or two.

8. Through all of that, you went ahead and released several songs "The Quiet Man", "Desire", "I Die", and some cover tracks, will all or some of these be on the "Rise" album?

KD: We released some of those tracks to let our fans know where we were headed creatively and to let them know that we were always moving forward.  Both the demo versions of “The Quiet Man” and “Desire” were posted in the shadow of not knowing our next move.  At the time we didn’t know we were going to be able to release our album, if the band would continue as it is or if we were going to be doing side projects.  Initially, “Desire” was posted under Kristofer Dommin and not intended for a particular album.  Of those three songs, only “The Quiet Man” will be on Rise.  Both “Desire” and “I Die” will make much more sense in the context of the next album I have planned.

9. Where are you in the recording process of the new album?

The recording is finished. We just finished mixing and mastering the album with a big ‘thank you’ to Joe Barresi who mixed the album.  If it wasn't for him, I’m not sure we would have gotten this far.  I just want this out there, get out there and play and be moving on to the next album as soon as possible.  Too much time has passed.

10. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?

KD: Eight of the songs on the album were produced by Matt Squire.  In retrospect, his role played the biggest part in the pre-production of the album when we were still working on the finishing touches of the actual songs before a single note was recorded.

11. Where did you decide to record the album this time?

KD: With the exception of the two songs I created at home, most the recording took place at The Lair in Los Angeles which is where we did the drums for ‘Love Is Gone.’  The drums for this album, however, were tracked at NRG in North Hollywood.

12. What label will be releasing the album?

KD: That’s to be determined.  I just now have begun to send out the album or select tracks to labels around the world.  We will see what comes back our way.  If we don’t find anything that really works for us, we’ll just self-release.

13. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album?

KD: This will probably be the most aggressive album Dommin will do. So it’s pretty raw sounding and for lack of a better adjective, under produced.

14. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

KD: I knew that I had a certain collection of songs I wanted to put out that had a certain mood to them and I wanted the production to reflect the mood.  I knew this would be an aggressive album in terms of what Dommin does so I just wanted it to feel a little looser and unbridled.

15. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

KD: Aside from a heavier focus on the core rock band instruments of guitar, bass and drums, the sound spectrum that we used through the keyboard was a bit different.  A song like Rise has a pretty heavy brass section.  And we experimented with some of our synth sounds by putting them through a guitar amplifier and a distortion pedal.

16. When did you start writing for this album?

KD: The interesting thing about Dommin now, and I don’t know if it will always be like this, but it has never been the case of…let’s go write a new batch of songs.  We have so many songs and we are always writing, that it’s more about picking a selection of existing songs that we think will make sense for our goal with the album.  A song like “Manipulator Girl” that’s on this album was written before any of the songs that are on ‘Love Is Gone.’

17. How was the vibe in the studio?

KD: During pre-production, the vibe was one of relief and excitement.  We started pre-production in April of 2012 and it came after a full year of delays.  So by the time we started, it felt like such a relief to be moving forward.  But that was short-lived.  On the first day of recording as I was getting ready to head to the studio so that Cameron could start tracking drums, I started seeing Facebook posts from label employees about being laid off in Roadrunner offices around the globe.  Most of these people were the publicists I had become friends with.  When I arrived at the studio, I found the press release from Roadrunner about the President of the company resigning his position and soon after got the news that our A&R had been let go as well.  It was a morning that was full of uncertainty.  We didn't know if we should continue moving forward making the record or if everything should just halt right then and there before we really even got started.  After some frantic phone calls, we were told that the money had been approved already and that we should move ahead as planned, so we did.  But it set a dark cloud of uncertainty over the whole process.  

18. Will there be a concept to this album?

KD: Any concept is more about mood than it is a particular story.  And I found an amount of irony in conceptualizing this album.  I knew I wanted to make an album that put the previous one in perspective.  When you put one album out, the audience can only judge you by what they know.  And I felt in some ways, we were misunderstood.  So I knew a few things:  I wanted to make a solid rock record of songs that were more aggressive, I wanted to broaden the audience’s perspective of who Dommin is, and I wanted the content to focus on where someone goes emotionally after writing the songs I did for ‘Love Is Gone.’  The irony is that after the songs were written and recorded, I found myself having to live up to my own lyrics.  It’s almost as if, in this case, the songs preceded the ideas. The songs were prophetic.

19. Did you get the album you wanted? Is everything on there or were there some things that were just impossible to pull off?

KD: Ultimately, yes.  It wasn't a perfect situation and there were some compromises made, but I think the end result is something we are all happy with.

20. Why did go and call this album "Rise" what will rise from Dommin?

KD: When we were trying to come up with a title that sums up the album, it was a bit of a no-brainer.  “Rise” sums up not only the album content, but pretty much where we are now with regard to everything we've been through the last three or four years.  My hope is that a larger awareness of the band comes from this album.

21. Have you thought about how you want the album's artwork to look like? Can you give some details?

KD: In keeping with the ideas surrounding the album, we are using the phoenix to symbolize rebirth, renewal and rediscovery. We’re keeping the colors gray, like the ruins of ashes with subtle hints of breaking light.

22. Will there be any special guests or surprises on this album?

KD: There are no special guests. The surprises may be some of the musical choices we made.

23. How many songs will be on it?

KD: There will be ten songs and we have about four b-sides that we’ll be utilizing throughout the promotion of the album.

24. When can we expect the new album to be released?

KD: It could be as early as January or possibly as late as April of 2015 depending on who releases it.

25. What can fans expect with "Rise"?

KD: I think fans can expect a more aggressive and less heavy-hearted album overall.  I think they’ll discover another side to the band, which is something I hope to always accomplish with every new album.

26. How about your previous releases, will those ever see a re-release? Where can we find those releases for those that may still want them?

KD: As far as I know Roadrunner will still keep ‘Love Is Gone’ going.  If not, we’ll make sure we have copies of it with us on tour.

27. Would you ever consider performing any of those including your new album in it's entirety?

KD: I think that would definitely be fun to do.

28. When can we expect to see you guys performing again, what are the plans for shows and touring have anything in-store?

KD: It’s a little too early to tell at the moment.  Hopefully come January, we’ll have a clearer vision of 2015.

29. What are the plans from you guys for 2015 and beyond!

KD: Right now our only focus is putting this new album out and doing what we can on a global level to let everyone know it exists.  Anything in terms of touring, festivals and other opportunities, we’ll just have to wait and see what next year brings.

30. Any final words for our readers?

KD:  Thank you for reading me talk about myself.  I really hope everyone listens to the album in full and finds something they connect with.

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