One of the best things about music is discovering a new band. Little brings more joy to the life of a music fan than finding a new band they just can’t get enough of. For me, the best new band of 2010 was by far DOM from Worcester, MA. This has a lot to do with DOM’s infectious lo-fi pop rock tunes that will stick in your head long after they finish, but it also has a lot to do with the outrageous character that is Dom, the lead singer, himself. Next Tuesday DOM’s first EP Sun Bronzed Greek Gods is being re-released on Astralwerks, so now is the perfect time to get to know this band of misfits.
My first exposure to DOM was reading a piece about them on Pitchfork. I checked out the songs embedded in the post and decided to head to Burning Mill Records, their label at the time which had put out a grand total of 3 releases, and buy a copy for 5 bucks. I had to wait a few weeks to get the music because at the time the people that ran the label were on vacation. A few weeks later, I received a hand addressed envelope containing a blue plastic sleeve with a print off of a homemade collage of what appeared to be Lady Gaga’s face with the eyes cutout and of course the CD. I fell instantly in love with it before I even listened to the full EP.
DOM, the band, is made up of Dom (guitar), Erik (bass), Bobby K (drums), and Cosmo (shread head). None of the band members give out their last names. Dom is especially reticent to give his full name out to people. As he divulged to Pitchfork, “I owe a lot of money… I just don’t want to pay people back.”
Their sound can be simply described as lo-fi pop/rock, but it’s not very descriptive. Dom himself tried to describe their sound in an interview with Heavy Roc Music, “idk how id describe the sound really. we’ve only been a band for a short while so we’re sill developing but right now i like writing surfy riffs, cosmo shreds em, bob makes em dancey and erik rounds it all out.” When he says they’ve only been a band a short while, he’s not being hyperbolic. DOM was formed in early 2010 and but out the first press of their EP only months later. Perhaps the best way to get to know DOM’s sound is to take a listen for yourself.
But the most appealing thing about DOM right now might not be the music, but the man behind it all. Reading interviews with Dom, you generally have to stop at least once or twice and ask yourself the question, “Is this guy serious?” The answer is almost certainly no, but the level to which he is being facetious is often a mystery. His answers in interviews bounce back and forth between earnest, obvious jokes, and bold face lies masquerading as the truth.
Some examples will help elucidate what I mean. Dom claims to have been dumped in foster care at the age of 8 because his mother no longer wanted him. She had other kids she liked just fine, but by 8 she had had enough of him and shipped him off to foster care. Shockingly, they do not keep in touch. Dom struggled with the fact that he was given away until about age 13 when, “I was like, ‘Fuck it! I’m going to have a good time.’ And then I got kicked out of a lot of places.” He spent time some time in juvie after getting into a serious fight with a foster brother, but claims he’s not a violent person. When asked about Christoper Owens, the front man of the band Girls, who had a pretty fucked up childhood growing up in the Children of God cult, Dom replied by saying, “That’s probably just his publicist’s idea, something they cooked up to sell more records.” Dom also claimed to Pitchfork that the song “Bochicha” (named after his cat) was the official face off song for the Worcester Sharks, American Hockey League champions. Pitchfork contacted the Worcester Sharks who claimed to have never played that song at their games.
But what’s incredible about Dom is, despite the bold faced lies mixed in with his own past, he comes across as genuine. He is out to have a good time. He admits his song “Living in America” is a little facetious, but he is 100% willing to license it out to any politician that wants to use it. Moreover, he seems to genuinely actually love living in America. His hometown of Worcester, MA has programs that subsidize his career as a musician by helping him pay for equipment. He’s on food stamps. He routines describes Worcester as a “utopia” or “rad”. He has no bad feelings about what has happened to him in his life. He doesn’t blame the system. Some might claim he’s a leach on the system, but I give him credit for being happy with the little amount his leaching is getting him. This point is somewhat contentious, check out the comments on this piece by a local Worcester Magazine. They’re pretty funny, especially considering the Dom or his friends are likely posting them.
DOM has also shown to be somewhat savvy about the music industry. The band opted not to sign with Passion Pit’s label, who was looking to sign them early, because they were afraid of the creative limitations working with such a small label might create. Instead, they held out and inked a deal with Astralwerks, part of Virgin/EMI and known for allowing a good deal of creative freedom to dance acts, to re-release their debut EP. Granted, their ultimate goal is still to sign to Young Money Entertainment because, “I wanna go clubbing with Drake and Weezy. I wanna just just kick it with them, smoke some blunts, drink some Patron, play some video games. If they wanted to sign us, I’d be down like a clown, Charlie Brown. We know they’d give us a lot of creative control and a lot of money and that’s what we like.” Given the strength of their EP and their collaboration with Gucci Mane they may already be on their way to securing that dream.
All of this makes DOM a fascinating, exciting new band, and I’ve got the feeling we’ve barely scratched the surface. Give this band a budget and you literally have no idea what might happen. They may even end up directing that porno they keep talking about.