An Interview With The Soulful Songstress DOMINO KIRKE About Her Newest Music, Biggest Inspirations and More!
Posted On 29 Jun 2017
The soulful songstress Domino Kirke recently released “Beyond Waves”, the first single from her upcoming debut album of the same name. The song, a bohemian-tinged folk-pop track, features dark, resonant guitars and sparse percussions layered with Domino’s entrancing vocals, and tells a deeply personal story – one of the struggle, and ultimate triumph, of Domino finding her own voice in her art.
Set for release on August 25th, Domino’s debut record, “Beyond Waves” is more than two years in the making and is her most personal work to date. Co-written with Luke Temple (Here We Go Magic), co-produced by Joan Wasser (Joan as Police Woman) and recorded jointly in Hudson, New York’s Future Past Studios and Brooklyn’s Strange Weather Studio, the album lavishly expands on the dreamy synth-infused folk rock of her 2015 EP, ‘Independent Channel.’ The 11-song body of work was engineered by Daniel Schlett (Modest Mouse, DIIV, Oberhofer) and Patrick Higgins (Z’s) and mixed by Bryce Goggin (Swans, Trey Anastatsio) at Trout Studios.
Though it is the first single from her debut record, “Beyond Waves” was the last song that came together for Domino. The instrumental, co-written by members of Here We Go Magic, became the perfect complement to Domino’s soul-stirring lyrics, which tell the story of her evolution as a person and as an artist. “Getting these words out,” according to Domino, “was its own kind of medicine and a deeply personal attribution to my last few years.” Touching on the birth of her son, one of the record’s most personal through-lines, Domino sings, “I had a child no one told me wasn’t a toy”. This anecdote, amongst others, brings together the intersection of Domino’s artistry, experience as a mother, and work as a doula with Carriage House Birth, all of which served as inspiration for her new album.
Born into a family of creatives and artists, Domino has established herself as a prominent artist to watch. A student of piano and vocal performance at New York’s prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music & Performing Arts, she signed her first record deal as a teenager – collaborating with Grammy-winning producer and artist Mark Ronson (Adele, Bruno Mars, Amy Winehouse) – and toured the world with everyone from Gang of Four to Lily Allen with her band DOMINO, which was also featured in Lena Dunham’s acclaimed film ‘Tiny Furniture.’ Deemed a “triple threat” by Vogue for her role as a mother, a doula and a musician, Domino also has received praise from Nylon, Entertainment Weekly, V Magazine, Broadly and more.
Connect With Domino Kirke Here:
Learn more about Domino in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music? How has 2017 been treating you?
2016 was healing, reflective, lots of realizations about herself as an artist. 2017 is a time for action, commitment and integrating home life with creative energies.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it?
At a cafe on Mott and Broome and Frank Sinatra is playing in the background
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? If you weren’t an artist today, what else could you see yourself doing?
Yes, I always wanted to be a musician and I never had a Plan B. My earliest musical memory was my first piano lesson at 6 and singing in a choir at 7; if there was no career in music, I would be in medical school becoming a midwife.
The first thing that stood out to me when I was reading your bio is that you were and/or a doula. I’m curious to know how you think being a musician and being a doula go hand in hand? I imagine that they are both two very emotional and expressive careers.
Both are emotionally fulfilling but being a doula is an act of service whereas being a musician is an act of selfishness, which acts as a balance and is a creative way to process experiences from being a mother to being a birth attendant.
Have you ever recommended listening to music in the birthing process? If so, what music?
Yes, often clients make their own playlists. Music can be very grounding for a woman in labor and sometimes I even sing to women in labor.
At the end of August, you will be releasing your debut full-length album. Can you talk about what it like putting this collection together? How long did it take? Did anything surprise you at all about the process?
It took two years and that was surprising. There were two evolutions of the record: the first made me realize where I wasn’t speaking up, the second was asking for what I needed in the process.
What was it like working on this album with Luke Temple (Here We Go Magic), Joan Wasser
(Joan as Police Woman), Daniel Schlett (Modest Mouse) and others?
So inspiring. Being in the studio with Joan was a dream. I am a huge fan of everyone I’ve worked with and I feel very lucky to have had the experience come together this way.
How does your already released single, “Beyond Waves” prepare listeners for the full album? How did this song get written? What was the inspiration for it?
The instrumental was written by Jen Turner, Mike Bloch and Luke Temple, offering me a blank slate to write words I needed to get out. The inspiration for the lyrics came from my recent break-up with my son’s father and what our lives, separately and together, would become.
Do you think that your time with your previous band, Domino , helped shape who you are as a solo artist today? What knowledge did you take from that time and still use today?
I learned how to be a performer when I sang with the band DOMINO, but I hadn’t yet tapped into that vulnerability of tapping into my own lyrics and stories on stage. I have also learned how to tour.
Are you going to be out planning live a lot this summer in support of this brand new album?
More this fall but yes, actively on the road both in the US and planning for tour dates abroad.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Joan Wasser (Joan as Police Woman) and as a songwriter, Lhasa Desela. I do not listen to much music while making records because it distracts from my own creative process. I am extremely happy with the artists (Luke, Joan, etc.) that I worked with on this record.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
The record is about my family, about roots and connecting the stories on behalf of those who are no longer with us. It’s very much about tying up familial loose ends, letting go of old stories, and setting new roots.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
Don’t stop and don’t write the music for anything other than you. Let everything else be a bonus. Gratitude above all.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
This record was paying homage to my favorite musicians, whom I happened to get to work with, and it was an opportunity to let go of any fears I had of being a solo artist.