Producer and rapper D0min0-a-g0-g0 released the album End on January 12th, 2019, a lo-fi and hip-hop fusion that’s been well-received since its release. I sat down with the Indiana native to learn more about End, its collaborations, and what she has planned for the rest of the year.
A: First of all, congratulations on the new album! What was your inspiration for the album, and how long did you spend working on it?
D: It started early last year as a hip-hop project. I used to rap and wanted to get back into the scene. Well, the rap idea went into a lo-fi direction, and as life stresses went on, it became my only outlet… Needless to say, the inspirations came from a dark place.
A: It’s been awhile since your last album was released? How is End different than your previous work?
D: Lucid Instrumentals are very aggressive, and actually not meant to be an album. It was just what my skills as a producer had evolved into. With End, I wanted to take those skills and make them mean something. The meaning changed through its progression, and that’s how End became what it is today.
A: End has a great lo-fi feel to it. What are some of your favourite songs on the album?
D: Each song has a meaning to me. Each one invokes a different feeling, so it’s hard to choose… If I had to choose, it would probably be “Dragon Gone”. It was originally a lot longer and didn’t have the same feeling as it does now, but after working with it more, adding certain instruments, and making it shorter, it finally reflected the emotions that I had been holding back.
A: What was the most challenging song to write and/or produce on End, and what made it so challenging?
D: “Last Call”. It was the first song that I made for the album, and I spent the longest time trying to make it perfect.
A: You had collaborations with John Blackriver and Harmon Warhol on End, two great artists that you’ve worked with and produced for in the past. What was it like working with them again, and can we expect to hear you on John and Harmon’s respective upcoming releases?
D: John and I went to high school together and have very similar tastes in music. So when it came time to sit down and write new music, we were on the same page. It was one of the few days during all the stress that felt like a blessing.
I’d wanted to be a producer since I was young, and it wasn’t until I met Harmon Warhol that I started taking it seriously. Working with him is a pendulum; it swings back and forth from laid back to ‘it’s time to put in work’. He pushes me every time we work together, and every song we finish makes me feel like a stronger producer. I said “Last Call” was the most challenging. Harmon didn’t make it harder; he set the bar higher for me, and I can’t thank him enough for it.
I know John has an arsenal of songs just waiting for me to produce, and as soon as things calm down in my life, we’ll be back to work. Harmon likes to surprise me with his releases. The last time we had a long talk, he mentioned that he has a new project in the works. In the meantime, you should check out his group Rebel Activity.
A: You and John released a music video for “Kissing Booth” back in September 2018, a song not featured on End but retaining a similar style. Can we expect more music videos now that the album is out?
D: Just to clarify, “Kissing Booth” isn’t my song; that’s all John. I just recorded him and made the music video. As far as music videos…right now, it’s all up in the air. I have this idea to make a short film out of the album, but the likelihood that I’ll have the resources and the time are not looking in my favor. But who knows! Maybe it will. No promises though.
A: I posted an advertisement for your album on my social media when it was released on Saturday (January 12th). A bit of controversy occurred when someone took offense to End‘s album cover, and a scuffle happened in the comments. Just to clear things up, can you explain why you chose that cover and how it relates to the album?
D: Oh yeah… The album art… There were three other pieces that I had made and considered using at first. However, during the production of the album, I read the manga that the album art is from. I don’t recommend it if you like being happy, so I’m not going to name it here. That manga was really powerful to me, like a knife to the heart. The moment where you have reached the lowest you can. The moment where you’re going to make a change. Everything is in place, and you’re in reach to bettering yourself…and life decides to send you through hell instead. That moment of relapse. I’ve gone through similar experiences in my life, and the album itself shows those scars within the tracks.
A: It’s fun to see how people interpret our art, but every artist has their own endgame for how they wish their art to be viewed. What do you hope people experience when they listen to End?
D: The genre of lo-fi gave me the vision to make an album that was a soundtrack to my life and how I feel. You can turn on a lo-fi playlist that reflects your mood and go take a walk, and it fits. With my album, I don’t expect every listener to feel how I do…but if it does, and the album speaks to you that way, then you know you’re not alone.
A: What’s next for D0mino-a-g0-g0 throughout 2019?
D: John Blackriver is definitely on my list. I want him to have an album out this year, and I’m going to work my hardest to help him achieve that. My solo projects come with life–when inspiration strikes–then the music comes naturally. But right now, I’m going back to my roots and forming a band. I’ve reconnected with some old friends who are helping me fight my demons, and we’ve been writing songs together. All I can say about it right now is that if you like Smashing Pumpkins and Gorillaz, it might be your thing.
D0min0-a-g0-g0’s latest album End is available now on Bandcamp.
You can keep up with her on Twitter @dominoagogo.