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Dearling Physique

5 May

CakeIn15 has been pals with Domino Davis, the fronting persona of the ambitous and artistic electro-pop act Dearling Physique since the first of the Clapperclaw Festivals back in 2007. Since then, Dearling Physique has gone through changes in personnel and style, has put out two EPs (Impressions of the Night in 2009 and Currency in 2010) and 2011’s full-length debut Deadeye Dealer. With a vivid flair for stage show and a brooding, melodic sensibility, Dearling Physique’s tantalizing pop worlds have been steadily picking up acclaim, with boosts from MTV2 and Out Magazine, fueled by a great video for the single “Discipline Your Hands”. We caught up with Domino before DP take the baroque stage at the Loring Theater this Saturday for The Danger Board‘s farewell show to talk about creating worlds to live in, their new record out this fall, why fashion designers are so important and how the Twin Cities should take more business risks.

CakeIn15: How do you feel your sound has changed and why has it changed from your Impressions of the Night EP to the Deadeye Dealer full-length album?

Domino Davis: Every album that I write is grounded in a concept and inside of that concept there are characters and structures that create a world and I basically soundtrack that world or I create the music for what I think belongs in that time. So with the Impressions of the Night EP, I was in a different place mentally, I was working on the music alone, learning the ins and outs of programming, different hardware/software, all of that stuff. I feel pretty good with what I reached for with that EP, it was a good way to gain my balance with everything. Deadeye Dealer came up with a concept based on some family events an came up with that world and that soundtrack which was pretty dark, but the sound was pretty specific and meant to incorporate different instruments. That was something that I’ve been working for a long time; conceptualizing to introduce the guitars, the drums and keyboards that are doing more melodic things and not just soundscape-y or textural things, taking that from Impressions of the Night and adding all those new elements and creating that sound. The next album, which is complete, is a whole new world and I can’t wait to step in to it, or I guess, allow other people to step in to it because the entire project has gained a new persona that is quite different.

C15: As I understand it, Deadeye Dealer was influenced by Alzheimer’s in your family. Is the new record also something that you have dealt with personally or how did you choose the world for it?

DD: Yeah, I think for me it’s best to write something that is personal, I just have a way of masking it so it’s not so obvious. But I’m always about being genuine and I think I can be more convincing if it’s coming from a place or an experience that I’ve actually dealt with. So the next album is definitely about me or about us and about experiences, but we open them up to other peoples interpretations, I guess, so that other people can relate to what’s happening or what’s being said, more so with this new album than the last album, which was a bit cryptic, intentionally. But the new album is about youth, it’s about a fairy tale of never wanting to get old and the different stages of one’s life when they are young and every single feeling you can toss into that melting pot, that’s kind of what this album soundtracks. So it’s really playful, but it’s still dark in places, because that’s childhood, that’s youth.

C15: Is there a title right now that you’re able to share?

DD: The title, as of right now, is Tracing the Alphabet.

C15: Dearling Physique has been, in various stages, your own personal project, a four person band, and now, a two person collaboration. Was Tracing the Alphabet written for the fuller band, are you now having to adapt it or how’s it working?

DD: For Tracing the Alphabet, what I did was I narrowed it down from about 28 songs that I had been working on, some of the songs date back to Impressions of the Night era. We narrowed it down from 28 or 30 songs to 12 songs and I was doing this while we were promoting, or working with a publicist around the Deadeye Dealer campaign so really I guess it could go either way. When I was writing this album I had a very specific pop sound in mind, the live drums and the additional synths didn’t really play a huge part in my thinking until now, when we’re in the post-production stages of it. I guess it works better to call it a two-person collaboration [with guitarist Matt Vannelli, of Bella Koshka] because the songs aren’t meant to be as busy as the last songs. They’re still pretty busy, but it’s a different kind of busy, a different kind of sound, one that’s a little more ready or forthcoming I guess.

C15: You’ve worked with designers like Hilary Falk and Kevin Kramp for video and stage looks. What is the relationship between fashion and music for you and why is that important to you?

DD: Fashion for me helps establish the characters and their essence, so for us, we take that fashion into our photography and onto stage and we literally become that of which we have written about and that of which we are singing about and that of which we are performing about. So it’s really important for me to approach this project and really anything we do as real as possible. While I’m telling a story I like to live the story as much as possible. Lots of these stories I’ve lived before, so it’s interesting with this album now being about youth, having to re-discover my own youth and kind of go back in time and think about “How would I have done this if I was 13 years old?” or “What was I doing at that time?” We’re definitely not going to be dressed like teenagers or anything [laughs], but putting a twist on all that stuff. The garments definitely help create the characters and also the feeling we are trying to convey, which as of right now, is very rebellious looking, and….Oh, I won’t say what it looks like, but it’s really, really good though, it’ll be captivating.

C15: Who is designing the new look?

DD: We’re working with Kevin Kramp!

C15: For all the good things we have going for us in the Twin Cities, what do you think we could do better here?

DD: I think that more people in the Twin Cities should be bold about the way that they approach, maybe not just their art, but also the business of the art that they’re behind. I guess I’m speaking more from a musician’s standpoint, and not to say that there aren’t people in Minneapolis taking risks, but it’s such a large city and there is so much going on artistically here and I feel like there just isn’t enough activity on the back end of things. There’s such a small number of booking agents, such a small number of record labels, such a small number of managers, maybe to my knowledge, but I wish that Minneapolis would kind of blow up little more, because I feel there is the opportunity for that here. There are so many people who seemingly just want to ‘do their thing’ here and that’s okay too, but Minneapolis should be bigger, so I think that we should all just take more risks.

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