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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Domer
Monday, April 23, 2007

Originally from Connecticut, but now a Brooklyn-ite, Domer has been making a name for himself musically in a number of different capacities. Whether it’s been his work as an MC and producer for Mindspray and brokendomer, his solo efforts, or the beats and songs he’s produced NikeBasketball.com, SonyEricsson.com and other nationally aired TV commercials, the hard work he’s been putting in over the years is finally paying off as on April 26th Work With Me, his latest solo album, will be coming out on the UK based label Skipping Beats Records. In his career Domer’s shared stages with KRS-ONE, Grandmaster Caz and Melle Mel and today he’s sharing some of his time with me to talk about his work, how his process differs depending on the project he working on, and why it took the urging of a friend to get him on the mic.

Adam Bernard: Talk to me about Work With Me. How does it differ from your previous solo effort and what are you hoping to get across with the record?
Domer: I think as a listener you can really hear me forcing myself to try new things that I'm not necessarily comfortable expressing, both in the production and lyrics, but there was no master plan for the record, it's more a collection of my favorite tracks from a particular period of my development. Each one is kind of a different perspective and a different issue that was bothering me. A lot of this record is about being trapped by my own context, from my job to my personal relationships to my political place in the world. There were all these conventions I was struggling to break out of and all these things that were hard to say in real life, so I guess I get that stuff out through the music. It's hard to be comfortable with your own presence on a record, probably because it's a reflection of yourself, and hard to see yourself clearly as a person in general. At some point though, you make the decision to either make an active change or just be who you are. Once you've made the decision, you're free to stop caring and apologizing because good or bad, at least you've thought it through. Since a lot of this album is about the process of growing through those issues, the title is meant to be sort of apologetic, sort of demanding and sort of inviting. Work with me here, people!

Adam Bernard: A lot of people are going to label you as a "hipster" artist. How do you feel about this tag and what does it mean to you?
Domer: A hipster, eh? I never really thought of myself that way. I think of hipsters as having more of a disaffected, "cooler-than-thou" vibe. I'm not nearly cool enough to pull that off. None of this is ironic - it's heart on my sleeve kind of stuff. Maybe "hipster" refers to the genre I'm working in, since it's kind of post-Hip-Hop or whatever. I guess I could see that, but I'm just trying to make the kind of stuff that I'd personally want to listen to and I don't consider it to be Hip-Hop at all, I just want to write songs that are honest and evocative and that people really enjoy listening to.

Adam Bernard: You have a lot of work available right now, from your solo efforts, to your music with Mindspray to your work as one half of brokendomer. How does your mindset change depending on which project you're working on?
Domer: With Mindpray I just try to come with hype verses, more straight up MC style. With brokendomer, we're in our own little world. brokeMC is my best friend and we just goof off and have crazy conversations, then try to translate those conversations into rhymes. We try to be a little more rocky and spacey or something, I guess, but honestly that project kind of has a life of its own. We can't control it. Domer solo stuff is much more personal and introspective, but also kind of crazier in a way. It's also where I feel free to sing instead of rap or get really hooky or over the top. It's my chance to basically imitate all of my favorite music and combine my favorite ideas in my own way. A lot of the themes are the same as in my collabs, but the tone is different, because it's just me doing my thing. Everyone has a particular way of thinking, I guess this just reflects mine. I like to show the sides of my personality that don't necessarily come out in my personal interactions.

Adam Bernard: As an MC and producer which aspects of each craft do you find most rewarding?
Domer: I've been writing music since I was eight years old, first on piano, then on guitar in rock bands, then in jazz and funk instrumental bands, then eventually on my laptop. So I love producing, I'm a total nerd with it. Writing a good melody that sounds like the songs in my head is an awesome feeling. I make tons of beats, but there are certain ones that give me this warm feeling inside and reminds me of being a kid and hearing the first music that I ever got excited by, or sometimes playing in my first bands, and that's what I ultimately go for. I love bridging the gap between hip-hop and indie song-writing. As a vocalist, I'm still experimenting with a my style and I hope I'll always be trying new things, but every so often I make a song that perfectly expresses a certain emotion that's been bugging me that's really hard to express any other way. When I do that, I just listen to it over and over in my headphones all day for like a week and it's like therapy. Somehow just having the emotion described and documented like that makes it tangible and easier to deal with and get over. That's really my goal - capturing and labeling emotions with three minute pop song descriptions.

Adam Bernard: Finally, I hear you weren't an MC at first and brokeMC had to convince you to rhyme. Is this true? What's the story?
Domer: Ha ha, yup that's true. Well, sort of... I've been playing in bands since I was 13 and wrote songs and sang for quite a few years. In college I was much more into instrumental music, both live and electronic, so my lyrics fell by the wayside. I still wrote, but just never performed any of that stuff. I had recently made an EP of quasi Hip-Hop for fun when I met broke, and he's the only Mindspray dude who ever heard it, and he is definitely the guy who convinced me to take that back up and get serious about it. I actually wrote the lyrics to one of the songs on the first brokendomer ep ,Machine In Your Station, but had broke rap it cause I didn't like my voice on tape. I've always had a problem thinking of myself as an MC, because I'm so not that guy. I'm not a performer type, even though I've now grown to love it. Writing raps is fun, it's a whole different kind of challenge, finding clever ways to make words and sounds fit together. And freestyling is fun as hell too, but I could never make one of those tracks that's not about anything but rap and rapping and being a rapper. That's definitely not me. I'm not an MC, I'm a song writer. David Byrne said "the better a person's voice is, the harder it is to believe what they're saying". I think that's incredibly true, and my voice is terrible.

For more Domer check out myspace.com/DOMER and brokendomer.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:56 AM  
  • At 8:20 AM, Blogger It Is What It Is said…

    As far as indie artist in New York I can't say that I've met a more about his business type character then Domer. His mentality is light years beyond his peers within his circle.

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