Set to Headline the Oxford Art Factory tomorrow night Dec 22nd for The Chocolate Jesus Kwanzaa Party, Domeyko/Gonzalez are one of Sydney’s most exciting new bands. Having been around for only a year, the band have fast built a fanbase on the back of their caterwauling mixture of ambient electronica, acid house, guitar noise, post rock and avant garde and their intense, instrument switching live shows.
Consisting of guitarist, saxophonist and singer James Domeyko (Djanimals (live band), Arkestra) and bassist and sampling/looping/pedal guru Jaie Gonzalez (Djanimals (live band), i like cats) with drummer Jasper Fenton (Decoder Ring, Dead China Doll, Warhorse) joining the band in recent months, Domeyko/Gonzalez, or D/G, have been playing relentlessly since their formation.
Eager to catch up and recap their epic year, I sat down with Jaie at his bedroom studio, Skylab, over some spicy chicken wraps.
Music Feeds: So your music has come a long way since the release of the EP a few months back can you tell me about how it’s changed.
Jaie Gonzalez: We made the EP, only a couple of months after we started playing music together so since then it’s kind of become a lot more live. Because playing shows is 90% of the time James and I play music together it’s kind of gone in the direction of what’s going to make a good show. Also bringing on board and playing with our drummer Fenton has influenced it heaps.
MF: You guys have gotten a bunch of mew gear to play around with as well has that influenced the sound?
JG: I used to change around my set up a lot, but I’ve come up with a pretty standard station that has been consistent for a while now. I’ve just added my new Juno 6 which is a whole new dimension to it. It all chaged a lot when I started using the sampler.
MF: Would you say then that the osngs have become less loop based, that you’re writing longer sections within your pieces?
JG: Even when the live stuff is more kind of band oriented, rather than beat oriented, it’s still pretty loop based. It will change a lot but there will be something consistent throughout the whole piece. That’s always benn the way I’ve done things with James. The way we’ve approached composing the more live stuff is we’ll create a set of rules for a song and then we’ll generally break them, and that makes for a pretty interesting progression.
MF: Can you tell me what’s going on in terms of any new releases in the future?
JG: Early next year there will be a release, in the first half of next year, that will be a less rhythmic and more ambient piece that will be an accompaniment to some artwork. The first D/G album will be done hopefully by the end of next year and will hopefully represent the new sounds that we’ve been making in shows.
MF: Can you tell me more about what the album might sound like?
JG: The first D/G record will be a lot more live than the EP, and hopefully more of a combination of studio recording and bedroom recording rather than just bedroom recording.
MF: The early stuff was very influenced by bands like Primal Scream and Fuck Buttons, have there been any new influences that we can expect in your future work?
JG: There is still that element, but what’s new is elements of Shellac, Spaceman 3 and Sonic Youth, the more live element has been influenced by that kind of stuff. James has recently discovered microtonal music which is slowly creeping it’s way into our shit.
MF: You both play as part of the Djanimals live band, has that had an impact on what you do with D/G?
JG: Definitely. It lets us work together in a different context with a whole different set of rules surrounding us, and it means when we come back to the no rules arena there are just even more things that we want to do. Jonti has always been an influence on music that I work on, though more in terms of production and the technical side fo things.
MF: The band sort of started as fun jam project for you two away from your other projects and seems to thrive by reacting against what you can’t do elsewhere. Could it exist on it’s own with out these external influences?
JG: It could exist on it’s own, it’s naturally influenced by other projects that we’re both involved in but if they didn’t exist t would still be there, it would probably just be a bit more unhinged. Kind of like two children who shouldn’t be left to their own devices for too long.
MF: Would say there is a sort of theme or aesthetic that underlies the music?
JG: There’s never been a single theme, but it’s really only started finding it’s feet and taking a form or character quite recently I think. It’s still evolving very rapidly and it could be very different by the time we make a record. You kind of see that in each show, they’re each a microcosm of our evolution. The last year has been like a big year long gig and we don’t know where it’s going to end.
MF: You guys have achieved a lot in the short time you’ve been around, can you think why that might be?
JG: It’s still surprising to me that people are interested in it at all, if no one came to the shows, we’d still be doing them because it’s more like fun or sport to us. I guess people are just… I have no idea why people are interested in it.
MF: There is a strong element of danger in your shows, like things could fall apart at any second, do you think that’s why people are so interested in watching you play?
JG: I guess that’s got something to do with what makes people interested in coming to our shows. When we’re doing a show it’s in a constant state of being able to collapse at any moment and I think that element of danger is maybe as interesting to anyone else watching as it is to me. Maybe people watching the shows can feed of that excitement, because it’s exciting for me, because I don’t have any more of an idea of what’s going to happen as anyone watching most of the time.
MF: You guys also seem to be very free with what you do, there isn’t a sense of being over-precious about your work, do you that has helped you succeed compared to other bands who might umm and ahh over decisions?
JG: The bottom line is we do it because we love to do it, and being too precious about your music or what people think of you is something that I can’t really be bothered with. We’ve never gone out of our way to push it in people’s faces, but if people just come and watch, if they’re interested in it, that works for us. All are welcome, it’s not an exclusive thing, and we just like playing shows with other good bands. It’s not part of any one scene it’s just what we like doing.
MF: So you’re playing The Chocolate Jesus Kwanzaa Party tomorrow night, anything special planned?
MF: Can you tell us about it?
JG: No… You gotta come and see. I can say there will be more than your average D/G show, it will be a one off.
MF: Any plans that now Fenton is on board you’ll change the name to Domeyko/Fenton/Gonzalez?
JG: Not officially but thats’s what I’m calling it.
Photo by Kurt Davies