the theatrical mastermind behind dearling physique

September 15, 2010
It’s Depeche Mode meets Orgy, just cooler with wayyy more theatrics. Afro-punk met up with Dearling Physique last year during the 2009 national Afro-punk tour, when the up and coming band shared the line up with No Bird Sing, Krak Attack, and Saul Williams in Minneapolis. Since the last time we saw Dearling Physique, they’ve been in the recording studio and just finished their first full album, “Dead Eye Dealer,” which was meant to narrate the retrospect of a woman recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The album won’t be released for sale until January 2011, but they’re streaming it on their site and have released a single, “Discipline Your Hands.” Front man and founder of the band, Domino, credits the band’s flare to his early theatre days. We had a chance to catch back up with Domino since speaking with him last year to see what him and the band have been up to.

The theatrical mastermind behind Dearling Physique
An interview with Domino
Words Whitney Summer Boyd

Domino, Afro-punk is known for being the hub for people who don’t fit the social norm, how does that apply to your life?
I do not believe my daily activities and life goals vary greatly from that of other creative minds. However, the older I get the more inward I become. I’m fascinated by human behavior, and place in myself in situations (even unfavorable ones) in order to educate myself. I like to think that I can pass through life somewhat invisible, regardless of how loud I can be…and I can be very loud.

A lot has happened since the last time we caught up with you guys in Minneapolis during the Afro-punk 2009 national tour. I heard you guys have been in the studio. What have you been working on?
We have been hard at work on the follow up to last year’s Impressions of the Night EP! Each time I’ve set out to write music for a release, I’ve steadily progressed towards what I believe to have finally captured with the forthcoming full-length suite “Deadeye Dealer.” This suite narrates the retrospect of a woman recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We have taken fragments of her memory and poured them into these songs. The result is kaleidoscope of music styling, sound and personality.

What exactly is a Dearling Physique, and where did that name come about?
A Dearling Physique is exactly what you perceive it to be, actually.

Who did you guys work with for the new album?
In April we released the Currency EP consisting of two new songs from “Deadeye Dealer,” with the addition of remixes contributed by Dada Trash Collage and Kordan. I’d like to consider those guys collaborators, because their remixes provided influence in some manner, helping me to realize the strengths of each song on “Deadeye Dealer” during the last few months of time spent in the studio. We record a lot of instruments ourselves, and I program these songs in a variety of places. Though, we captured a good portion of “Deadeye Dealer” in Minneapolis with the exquisite musician and producer Lance Conrad. He was our primary collaborator. Danny Taylor of the band ZAZA also contributed vocals to the album.

Domino, you recently had an international send off party, where did you go and what were you doing there?
Hah! That celebration was a bit premature. I had been set to perform at the I LOVE ELECTRO Festival in Hamburg, along with Mt. Sims who I greatly admire. However, due to a variety of unfortunate reasons, I had to back out of the performance. I greatly regret doing so, it would have certainly been a trip worth taking. We plan on traveling to Germany and neighboring countries in the summer of 2011.

You guys have been busy this summer and made your way to Harlem for UrbAlt. What was that experience like?
It was an honor to perform at the URBALT Festival. Boston, the mastermind behind the community and festival, has had an eye on Dearling Physique nearly since its inception. So, the performance was literally years in the making. It was great being immersed in such a close-knit family of likeminded musicians, artists and fans.

How does Minneapolis and Harlem compare?
The only true comparison that can be made between Minneapolis and Harlem is that they are both cities inhabited by human beings. Each city is fulfilling in different ways, but seldom similar. Culturally speaking, Harlem is more less joined to the hip, if for anything due to the large amount of individuals confined to the area. This kind of thing is and always will be favorable in my opinion.

What should people expect with the new album? Tell us what was going on during the recording process.
The new suite will certainly challenge. It is generally difficult to draw any direct comparisons, and we have only recently been able to narrow down genres to form what we’d like to think this suite comes close to. Though its mostly irrelevant. The recording process was interesting, simply because most of these songs were conceived in the privacy of my home over the last three years. In recent years, Dearling Physique has expanded to a four piece band, and as a newly formed four-piece, these songs served as a template from which to elaborate on. Matt, Sean and Dave helped widen the sound in all the best ways.

As of late my favorite track has been the opener, “Can’t Say No.” I feel like it captures the overall mood and aesthetic of the suite best. It provides a great eye into what follows.

What makes a good song?
One that evokes emotion and creates an experience.

Who are you listening to right now?
At this very second? I am listening to a playlist crafted around the musicians of Modeselktor. I’ve also been digging into new albums by Little Dragon, Röyksopp and discovering the genius of Nina Simone’s piano wizardry. I had no idea Nina played the piano.

So, were you ever in theater? Where did you guys get the idea for the masks and theatrics for your on stage performances?
Yes, my background is comprised of many years in theater and other performance art works. I love theatrics, and I do absolutley everything I can to create an experience with our live shows. Each song exists within a concept, and within that concept exist characters outside of ourselves. Or maybe just different versions of ourselves. Incorporating masks embodies the essence of the character(s) in which we play.

What are people’s reactions to you and your stage persona?
My stage persona is not wholly unlike myself. So, to answer this question would be to answer the question “what are people’s reactions to YOU.” Truthfully, I cannot say. Reactions to my performances are generally enthusiastic. I challenge those to set aside their preconceptions of what live music is or should be.

What’s your idea of perfection?
Self-awareness, curiosity and kindness.

What is a book that changed your life?
In recent years I’ve been reading mostly for educational purposes, or with the desire to acquire some new skill. Books that set a lot of my creative ideas in motion are works of fiction. Anything by Mark Z. Danielewski is an inspiration.

Favorite vacation spot?
Montreal, Quebec.

Celebrity crush?
I really have no thoughts on this.

Favorite place to shop?
Thrift stores…and Target!

Biggest pet peeve?
Chewing with an open mouth.

Wish for the world.
The singularity.
If you’re in Minneapolis, mark your calendars to check them out on October 15th @ Hell’s Kitchen with Dance Band and Estate. The guys will surely put on a show. For more information on Dearling Physique, check out their website here.