While many bands suffer with identity crises, Worchester, Massachusetts four-piece Dom has their priorities straight. "We want to be the Lady Gaga of garage rock," proclaims Dominic, the 23-year-old mastermind behind the buzzed-about twisted-pop rockers, who have stampeded into music world consciousness like a herd of irritable rhinos.
If it seems like Dom just came out of nowhere, that is because they did. In December 2009, Dominic (who goes by Dom, and will not reveal his last name, due to "owing people lots of money") met drummer Bobby in a Massachusetts boarding house. The two sought out to make Dom an "electronic sci-trance project" but after writing the song "Jesus," the band took a more garage pop sound. Later, they connected with bassist Erik and guitarist Cosmo, and the finished project sounded more like a jangle pop mixtape left on your dashboard on hot summer day.
With warped vocals, fuzzy low-fi distortion, and broken Casio keyboard lines, Dom filters a DIY aesthetic through the upbeat, sunny rhythms of pop music. There's a MacGyverized style to Dom buzzed-about debut EP Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, the seven songs feel like they're held together by sonic duct tape. At any minute they could break apart. But they don't. These tracks recorded in Erik's bedroomon a pink paisley guitar, a Casio and Fruity Loopsare solid, edgy and irresistibly fun. "We like to get gnarly, but that doesn't mean we're a joke," Dom says.
By March they were playing frenzied basement shows on the East Coast, and by April DOM was featured as a rising band on tastemaking music site, Pitchfork. Then the buzzing began.
Yet, inside the breezy pop of Dom, is Dom, the man, whose personal history is decidedly less carefree. He doesn't want you to dwell on his past, but to understand Dom today, you have to excavate the skeletons hidden deep in Dom's closet. After all, pop music is escapism; it's a drug, a candy-coated antidote to pain. Unfortunately for Dom, pain has followed him like a shadow through life.
When Dom was 8 years old, his mother gave him up for adoption. At an age where he was all-too conscious, Dom was devastated by this breach of trust and schism from his family. His siblings stayed with his mom, he was the only one to go. Unanswered questions reverberated in the back of Dom's brain: Why him? What made Dom so different?
Like so many children in foster homes, Dom bounced from family to family, searching for permanent place to call home.
Acclimating to these temporary families was impossible, and when Dom was 14 he got into a serious fight with a foster brother. Dom was arrested in the school cafeteria in front of his friends. He was locked up for a few months and became subsumed in the cycle of within America's ailing juvenile justice system.
Dislocated in life, he found a home in music.
"When I was a kid my mom listened to Roy Orbison, and I remember wanting to be him. I was told I couldn't be him. So later I had this dream that if I could be him someday, I would be somebody, and maybe my mom could see that," Dom says.
Dom's personal troubles add a caustic irony to the feel good lyrics on Sun Bronzed Greek Gods. "It's so sexy/ to be living in America" he sings on "Living in America." On "Burn Bridges," he explains, "Burn your bridges / make yourself an island / Just forgive 'em and forget 'em."
On Dom island, music is the cure. It's the reason to pick up those broken pieces of your life and move on. Dom says forget that baggage, fuck the past, and rock for now.
"I'm gonna live how I want to/ This is okay/ I've been living for today."