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Tea & Biscuits With: Dom Dolla

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Taking the world by storm, Dom Dolla has become best known for singles such as ‘Take It’ and ‘San Frandisco’. Quickly pricking the ears of tastemakers far and wide, Dom was named Pete Tong’s ‘Future Star’ on BBC Radio 1 and has garnered support from BBC R1’s Danny Howard and was named a “One To Watch” by Billboard. Having garnered over 300 million streams across his releases to date, Dom Dolla has become one of the most sought after producers, delivering official remixes for Purple Disco Machine’s ‘Body Funk’, PNAU’s ‘Chameleon’, and more recently Dua Lipa’s ‘Don’t Start Now’ which has garnered over 13 million streams. 

In the wake of no touring through 2020, Dom Dolla took part in various live streams, with his debut live stream partnership with Untitled drawing in over 50,000 people. Continuing to connect with his fans all around the world, Dom went on to perform live streams with Tomorrowland, and Defected Records. In the 12 months prior, Dom played an incredible 125 shows globally including some of his biggest performances to date at Coachella, Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas, Electric Zoo New York, and Spring Awakening Chicago, amongst many more. With his biggest undertakings to date still ahead of him, with a sold-out national tour of Australia, and forthcoming dates across America, UK, and Europe, including festival appearances at EDC Las Vegas, Reading & Leeds Festival, Ultra Music Festival and more. 

We had a quick chat and catch up to see what else Dom’s been up to through lockdown, his new music, streaming, looking after your mental health as an artist and loads more!

Hey Dom! Hope you’re good. Firstly, how has lockdown been for you/where have you spent it?  

Hey guys! I’ve recently moved up from Melbourne to Sydney. I left to Sydney for a holiday and then Melbourne went into hard lockdown a week after I left. So I ended up living out of a suitcase here for 6 months and have now made it my unofficial home. I got very lucky all things considered. It was a real gear shift not being on the road anymore, but was a great opportunity to reconnect with family and friends in the Pandemic, as well as re-asses my music goals in terms of output and work ethic. I find it quite difficult not socialising as I used to, I loved going to friends shows and watching my mates perform. Outside of touring myself, I think that was the hardest part.

Tell us about your new single ‘Pump The Brakes’ and what was the inspiration behind it?  

I was looking at writing something specifically to play at the Shrine in LA early last year. I wanted to include a few cheeky car sounds as I felt like they could have an interesting place sonically on the dance floor. Plus I have a bit of a running joke going with my mates, as they always harass me about my old car… I’ve got an old Toyota Camry from 2001 that I refuse to get rid of. I’ve dedicated this one to the old girl. A few of the samples are from the car itself.

Your first online stream, almost a year ago in April had over 50,0000 people tune in – impressive! How was that experience and what was it like?  

It was pretty amazing! I wasn’t expecting a response like that, I had no real measuring stick as to what live streams could do as it was a first for me, so it was pretty exciting. The pre-production and lighting felt very similar to putting on a live show, we even used the same team we use here in Australia, minus the sound system (and crowd).

Going into it I was concerned that the music wouldn’t translate out of the live setting, but after I heard about the audience response I was pretty excited to get out there and do another one.

Will you be playing any shows this year? If so, how does it feel to know you’ll be performing in front of people in the flesh again? 

It feels like it’s been forever at this point, I was really starting to get a little bit confused in the recording studio as to the direction I was heading in each day, because there are no audiences to play to or gauge their response to music on the dance floor. I’m glad it didn’t last long though, I’m pretty damn excited about testing out some new records.

You’ve previously performed 125 shows globally in just 12 months. What are your top tips for staying sane on the road? 

Sleep, sleep and more sleep, take a nap every chance you get. Chances are your early flight post gig will bite you the next day. Avoid partying unless it’s a must and eat as healthily as you can (obviously this is much easier said than done, but be mindful of it… airport food is the worst).

What’s the best gig you have ever played? 

I honestly can’t answer that question without stewing over it for ages, but probably my hometown shows are my favourites to play. Nothing like sharing things with family and friends. I also love playing low ceiling nightclubs for festival after-parties. The sets last for hours and hours you can get really creative.

3 things you can’t live without?

Coffee (for obvious reasons), my laptop and a good night’s sleep.

You started producing at an early age. What gave you the courage to start pursuing a career as a DJ/producer?  

I actually started quite late I think, I only got my first copy of a DAW at around 20 years old, so it’s been about 8 or 9 years. I was pretty obsessed from day one though. I’d been DJing since I was about 16 in Melbourne, running parties and working as a graphic designer when I finished high school. Looking back, becoming a full-time DJ / producer feels almost unavoidable. My advice for others who are considering the career, be sure you enjoy your time alone! Because more often than not it’s spent in the studio or sleeping on flights.

You’ve collaborated with some great names including Sonny Fodera. If you could collab with anyone in the world who would that be?  

I’d love to collaborate with the RNB queen herself ‘Banks’, her lyricism and knowledge of Harmony is something else. Jorja Smith also comes to mind, what a voice. I find in the studio I tend to do my best work writing with friends, people who you can give honest feedback to and be on the same wavelength as, you always end up with the best results. Collaborating is an interesting process, I find the first hour or so in the studio is just getting an understanding of each others tastes and listening to demo’s, fleshing out whether there’s anything you’d like to work on together. Sometimes whole sessions can result in nothing that comes to fruition musically, but you’ve developed a great relationship for the next one.

What are your plans for the future? 

Keep my head down in the studio until COVID breaks I think.
Plenty of touring booked for the latter half of 2021, so I’m pretty excited to have all of this new music ready to go before then. See you guys out there on the road <3

Dom Dolla’s ‘Pump The Brakes’ is out now on Sweat It Out, grab it from here

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Grahame Farmer

Grahame Farmer’s love affair with electronic music goes back to the mid-90s when he first began to venture into the UK’s beloved rave culture, finding himself interlaced with some of the country’s most seminal club spaces. A trip to dance music’s anointed holy ground of Ibiza in 1997 then cemented his sense of purpose and laid the foundations for what was to come over the next few decades of his marriage to the music industry.

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