The In Time podcast is trail blazing music journalism with the guests they’ve hosted in its infancy stages. Guests including Mark Lettieri, Mark Holcomb & Adam Neely. DOMi & JD Beck linked up with In Time hosts Ameer Khan & Joe Marlow, for their first ever interview as a duo. In this exclusive episode – we touch base on the long awaited album, songwriting & goals they’ve set themselves.
Everything you can think of in between the aforementioned topics: studying in music schools, being young in an established industry and the process of song writing and collaborating with other musicians.
This episode is a perfect highlight reel of how mature yet fun and lighthearted DOMi & JD Beck truly are. It was always a thought in our minds but we had to know. Why is it ‘DOMi & JD Beck’ and not ‘JD Beck & DOMi’?
“You want to know the real answer?…The real answer is: I invited her to come play with me in Dallas and like I did have this thing ‘JD Beck and friends’ but she had way more followers than me, and I was like people are going to show up because of her so I told them to put her name first, and, yeah it worked out that way.” – JD Beck
Songwriting philosophy takes a different form and perspective from one musician to another. The duo gave us some insight to their take on it, also aspirations for originality and what draws them to other peoples music.
“We just want to make everyone happy and have fun making good music. That’s all we’re really worried about.”
“When people are doing something that’s genuinely them, and it’s original. You just have to love it.” – JD Beck
“For some other people, it was like ‘You’re not capable of doing it’. No, it’s just that I really don’t want to. That’s not what I aspire to. I want to write my own stuff and possibly make my own music and maybe people will f**k with it, maybe they won’t. At least I feel happy.” – DOMi
As we edged towards the end of our episode, we had a brief moment of reflection. JD had this to say…
“I want to be completely down the middle so you gain nothing from this.” – JD Beck
Thank you for reading this excerpt of the episode, DOMi & JD Beck are some of the most wholesome musicians we’ve met and were very open about a lot of the topics we covered. You can follow us @InTimeUK (on Facebook & Instagram) for all clips & episode information. Full episodes (& mirror links) available on https://www.InTimePodcast.com otherwise check us out on Spotify/ YouTube/ Apple Music/ etc.
Ameer: If you haven’t heard of these guys, DOMi is a 12 year old saxophone prodigy from France. She developed her own unique sound by combining major 3rds and major 4ths. Not only is she the only living theoretical physicist but is the youngest person to win the Nobel prize in Physics. JD Beck is a 6 year old sheep investigator from Texas, he received a PHD in quantum physics, at Stanford university earlier this year, he has since devoted his life to smooth jazz and wishes to be taken seriously in the music industry. Together they are the duo DOMi & JD Beck. They have been gaining traction on social media since summer of 2018 for their body building masterclasses, and have been working on their debut album since the beginning of 2019 with a planned release of summer 2020.
I’m pretty sure it’s autumn now isn’t it? Officially it’s autumn, where is the album?
JD Beck: Yeah, Yeah it’s finished, it’s just we didn’t realise we would have to do like 30 percent of the bullsh*t we’re doing for it now so, yeah.
Ameer: Bet it’s been a big eye opener?
DOMi: *** industry man
JD Beck: Yeah it’s a little painful, but it’s gonna be better, like because we could’ve dropped it 5 months ago but it’s gonna be like significantly better now that we’re doing these certain little things.
DOMi: The bodybuilding masterclasses really helped
JD Beck: Yeah that was our biggest thing
Ameer: I kind of need it, can you give me some tips on bodybuilding? Since lockdown started I’ve really let myself go.
JD Beck: Yeah, I think you’re actually supposed to dislocate both of your shoulders before you work out, so you’re like really loose. People overlook it a lot.
Ameer: Favourite exercise?
JD Beck: Punching ourselves in the nose.
Ameer: did you ever watch lethal weapon
DOMi: I love lethal weapon
Ameer: When Mel Gibson dislocates his shoulder?
JD Beck: Yeah. I think you should be doing that everyday. I feel like that’s like one of the most important parts of bodybuilding itself is like dislocating. Every joint in your body should feel like it’s practically not there by the end of the day.
DOMi: And then you play music.
Ameer: We’ve got free healthcare in the UK so I think we can get away with it better as well.
JD Beck: Yeah we can’t.
DOMi: Oh yeah! Thats cool.
Joe: So other than bodybuilding what have you guys been up to during quarantine?
DOMi: There was like two phases, the first phase was to play video games, for like 10 hours a day, and the second phase was to go to LA to practice, play, write, produce, ** do ** you know?
JD Beck: I think the first month of quarantine we finally finished like all of our recording for the record, so that was good.
Ameer: What video games?
JD Beck: A bunch, we played Overwatch, Valorant and a bunch of stuff.
Ameer: What do you make of Valorant? I couldn’t get into it.
JD Beck: Oh, I love it, I was like, way too high of a rank, I had to like calm down, I would’ve taken it too seriously.
Ameer: What Overwatch rank did you get too?
JD Beck: Like diamond!
DOMi: That’s not something to be proud of.
Ameer! It definitely is! I had a friend that hit the top 500 in the EU, and as soon as he hit it, he just quit, why would you do that? He said I did what I said I was gonna do and now I’m done.
JD Beck: Sometimes you have to play bossa novas and sometimes you know you gotta get top 500 in Overwatch and that’s the trade off in modern life.
Ameer: What is the golden ratio though?
JD Beck: Ugh, i think it’s like 0.3 percent bossa nova, 0.3 percent pain, and another 0.3 percent of anger.
Joe: So what bossa nova are we talking about here?
DOMi: Like one note samba only, in all keys. But, seriously you know I think it’s a difficult time for everybody right now. Especially artists, so we’re just trying to make as much as we can, for our brain to feel better, but that doesn’t mean that the industry and everything is gonna be faster tehehe yeah.
Joe: So have you guys got any idea when we’re going to see the album?
JD Beck: Yeah, guaranteed before the end of this year, like literally guaranteed it’s written down, but we’re trying to get it like as soon as possible, it’s just there’s like little video stuff and other label whatever right now.
Ameer: All logistical stuff right?
JD Beck: Yeah, exactly, never thought we’d need a lawyer for music and then… Figured that out.
Ameer: It should only be so straightforward right? Yeah when you say it’s written down, you mean it’s written so the main people at the label can actually see? It’s not actually just written down on your whiteboard at home right?
JD Beck: No! No, everybody knows. We have to put this sh*t out.
DOMi: Yeah everybody, people keep saying this is a joke! ‘This album is never coming out’ and we’re like….
JD Beck: Yeah, we’re gonna shoot you in the leg
DOMi: We’re gonna beat your ass.
Joe: I mean, so many people are waiting for it, have you guys felt any pressure to release it earlier?
JD Beck: Of course. We felt pressure from the day we posted it on Instagram. But, realistically it’s funny because we did this as a joke and it ended up like kinda biting us a little bit. The day we started working on our album is the day we posted a video saying the album is coming soon.
Ameer: You did it with your chest right? You didn’t just like delete that post later or anything like that.
DOMi: No haha it’s still there!
Ameer: Have you been following Kanye’s rants, they’re probably still on going.
JD Beck: Yeah I just tweeted about it.
Ameer: Have you seen the video?
JD Beck: Yeah it’s probably one of the greatest things i’ve ever seen.
Ameer: Yeah that’s sweet, are you guys happy going into some technical questions?
JD Beck: Yeah dude go off.
DOMi: The Paradiddle!!!
JD Beck: Might as well get serious.
Joe: So yeah DOMi, how’s Berklee?
DOMi: Oh no, the president is almost leaving so technically I could say really what I want. You know?
Joe: Yeah of course, I mean, if you’re open to that!
DOMi: I mean Berklee… Not for me. I know some people find it good, they learn, they get some knowledge and it’s great. That should be what a 70k school should offer you. First of all a semester should be 6 months, they say we have 3 semesters in a year.
Ameer: So an 18 month year?
DOMi: Like guys a semester is not September to December but alright whatever. And, also then you have like, just… Man I don’t know where to start because everything is kinda wrong at Berklee. It’s just everything was so good at Berklee in like the 80s/90s maybe 2000s I don’t know I was not born. It’s just the global level of Berklee is so damn low. Like they need to do something about it. They need to stop accepting everybody after the audition. Because you just go there and it’s like 3000 young musicians who like it feels like they just discovered what an electric guitar was a week before you know? So it’s kinda a weird thing. Of course you’re gonna find some people.
JD Beck: I think the wrong people are going, I think there are not enough scholarships for the students who really need it who are from all over the world, who wanna get their stuff better, and I feel like it makes it harder for a lot of the people who are really there to work.
DOMi: I got there and I was like man… Wow okay. Like it’s harder to find, because there are so many, it’s hard to find the ones who are actually gonna like, make it interesting and sh*t.
JD Beck: You found some though
DOMi: No no! Of course, of course
JD Beck: But it was tough.
DOMi: It was tough. There are so many people and also there is a lot of arrogance going on because ‘Oh I got accepted into Berklee’.
But it doesn’t mean you’re necessarily good right away you know? It’s hard because I was staying in the dorms too so there was a lot of drama and I was just trying to get out of it. So the best way to deal with it was to put all my classes in 24 hours and fly out of Boston right after my last class going to Dallas or LA and then every week I would just fly for one day in Boston to avoid all of this drama from the students, and you know go to class, take the knowledge and get out.
Ameer: That sounds perfect.
DOMi: But you know I also did it because I needed a visa and it’s cool to have a diploma. So there are 2 positive things.
Ameer: Myself and Joe, we used to go to the same university for music, up until very recently. We were talking about something similar and we actually chatted with a band called Yakul yesterday about it, where like people are going to uni and most people, like 90 percent don’t know why they’re going there. They just think it’s cool to do music. But, it’s just like what you said. They’re going into these lectures and some people are probably learning it but others aren’t, the gap is just too far apart right?
DOMi: But my thing is, i’m not talking specifically about Berklee. I’m really talking about any music school, especially in America you know? But my experience was in Berklee so of course I only have this experience. But, I’m pretty sure it’s the same in every single music school.
The way to learn is to be passionate and so if you’re not passionate and if you don’t go on YouTube, if you don’t go on Spotify or anything to listen to music, to transcribe, to hear, to try and reproduce what you like. To write, to spend time on it. You’re not going to succeed because you’re at a famous jazz school you know? It’s not gonna do it.
So I just think that a lot of students are actually lazy, you know? And it’s like really you’re paying that price for 2 classes and you’re just gonna not do the one thing you’re supposed to do: Music…. I was just like you know, whatever. It’s hard to be in the middle of that because you almost want to become lazy yourself because you see your roommates. But, yeah. I would just genuinely be on keyboards you know, with headphones on and practice in my dorm room.
JD Beck: DOMi is lying, she actually never practiced.
DOMi: Yeah I was doing meth actually
Ameer: See I can’t even tell by the accent if you said meth or math?
DOMi: Yeah I said meth, I was smoking meth, Berklee was LIT!
Ameer: Yeah you definitely can’t smoke math. I mean, maybe this is a question back to that then. In the school of DOMi, the academy of DOMi, how would the teaching be done. You can’t say anything about their moms and you can’t hit them.
DOMi: Damn, that’s gonna be hard. No no, okay. if I really had to have a school even if I’m really against this type of school……
JD Beck: What would you teach?
DOMi: I would teach… I would try to follow what the students want to do, but at the same time I would not lie to them. You can’t be good at your instrument if you don’t practice technique. If you don’t practice like actual rudiments. You can’t expect to be good at your instrument if you don’t do the basic necessary like you know scales, arpeggios, sh*t like that. Whatever way you do it you have to do it. People are like no no I just listen and I play and I try to like transcribe but I never do technique. You’re never going to be technically good. It’s not a goal for everybody to be technically good but if you want to be comfortable with your instrument you still have to go through that, is my personal perspective.
Joe: I mean, JD would you take a similar approach or would you do something completely different?
JD Beck: What would I do, I would.. Wow it’s hard to think of a serious answer.
Ameer: Haha have two answers then.
DOMi: Beat the sh*t out of them!
JD Beck: Honestly though if.. I mean when it comes to teaching kids and stuff, probably not even kids; people older than me, because I can’t technically be in college. I mean, yeah I don’t know. I feel like letting the students guide you is a lot more important than people think. I think you can always evaluate kids and figure out ways to show them what they need or like all there is lacking in this sense or
whatever, but I think like what DOMi said: Passion is what’s gonna make you play 30 times better than what you would normally. Like I can sit on the drums and play something, and be cool but like if I sat down at the drums and I really wanted to play something I would be playing it better.
So I think it’s about finding a balance between what you really want to do, and what you know, and fixing all of your weak points. So like expanding your mind in places and I think that’s what’s lacking.
Ameer: So JD this is your 30 minute section coming up here, what about a penguin module?
JD Beck: Oh yeah, we could have penguin seminars like every 2 days probably, I feel like that’s probably smart.
DOMi: Everybody should have a penguin.
JD Beck: Yeah, honestly I think that should just be mandatory.
Ameer: I was looking into keeping a baby panda, you can’t though, they’re adorable though, have you seen them?
JD Beck: Yeah, they’re great.
Ameer: They’re herbivores but apparently they are built like carnivores, so I don’t wanna risk it mauling me apart at night
JD Beck: Yeah, they’re big, they get big.
DOMi: They’re crazy
Ameer: They look cozy though when they’re big.
JD Beck: Hahaha.
Ameer: Are there 2 happy feet films now? You’ll have to get them watching that as part of research methods in the penguin world.
JD Beck: Happy Feet? Wow, that’s the only penguin movie I know about.
Ameer: I think that is the only penguin movie, well you’ve got the penguin in Batman but that’s not really a penguin.
JD Beck: yeah but that doesn’t really count, that’s not a real penguin
DOMi: Your mom is a penguin.
Ameer: I don’t know who’s mom?
JD Beck: True.
Ameer: Well this is the thing right its DOMi and JD, and we don’t have the pictures here so which ones which? Maybe we leave the illusion up to the listeners.
JD Beck: I’m DOMi.
DOMi: I’m JD.
Ameer: I’m Joe.
JD Beck: ‘Sup Joe?
Joe: Guys why is it DOMi & JD and not JD & DOMi? Whose idea was that?
DOMi: JD has the last name, he has JD Beck, so we put it at the end because it’s longer.
JD Beck: You want to know the real answer?
Joe: Yeah lets hear the real reason.
JD Beck: The real answer is: I invited her to come play with me in Dallas and like I did have this thing ‘JD Beck and friends’ but she had way more followers than me, and I was like people are going to show up because of her so I told them to put her name first, and, yeah it worked out that way.
DOMi: That’s really the reason?
JD Beck: Yeah, I was just like damn, she’s got way more Youtube views than me, let me promote her. She’s first, I’ll back off.
DOMi: Haha! Well I’m glad we did this interview, I discovered something.
Ameer: We all learned something! I Guess like in terms of your playing, you both come from different scenes. JD you grew up in Texas right? and DOMi in France? How did you find the scenes growing up in those respective spots? Because the Texas scene is like…It wasn’t until I started reading about it more recently I was like oh sh*t the Texas scene is actually mad stacked when you look at it from a wider genre.
JD Beck: Yes, and No. I mean I grew up playing with this guy John Bourne who produced Erykah Badu’s tracks and I met him because
I would always play with RC & the Gritz which is Erykah Badu’s backing band, they would have a thing every Wednesday in Dallas at the Prophet bar, I would sit in with them and stuff, and I started gigging around and I met Cleon who’s a drummer and he’s probably I think like my biggest influence.
I don’t know, I just grew up around that playing hip hop sh*t and stuff, and that’s how I met Sput too and all the Snarky Puppy people, I was like 9 maybe 10. But yeah. I’ll let DOMi talk.
DOMi: No that’s funny because when we met each other we definitely grew up in a different kind of environment; JD was more in the hip hop scene, and I grew up like Jazz you know? My parents loved jazz even if nobody was a musician in the family, but they just love jazz so I grew up on that, and I discovered hip hop when I kind of moved to America. It was funny for us to meet and I would show JD all the jazz records and he would show me all the hip hop records he would listen to and we just kind of loved it.
JD Beck: We kind of hated each other.
DOMi: Yeah we hated each other! It was kind of a mutual thing, he has my knowledge, boom, listen to the *** I listen to, and it was a big trade.
JD Beck: We blended a lot.
DOMi: We got influenced by everything. So we would listen to more jazz, more hip hop, more electronic stuff, more chords, sh*t, you know? whatever we could find.
JD Beck: No in betweens with us, it’s like really stream, and that’s why i think our.. Like When we write stuff or we play stuff it always sounds kinda…
JD Beck: Weird
DOMi: It’s kind of a mixture of love for different styles you know, and the first few times we started playing I would do the bass on the top keyboard and I would try to match with what JD was playing and he was trying to match with what I was playing and sh*t, and, it was kind of a funny thing, because we like we almost immediately felt comfortable playing together.
JD Beck: Yeah, kinda. It was tough. I was nervous.
DOMi: Yeah me too!
JD Beck: Yeah I was like damn I suck!
JD Beck: I don’t know I think the more we just played together like everyday, it kinda changed, you know, like at first it was like oh lets play this song, let’s do this, then it turned into like oh how can we make this sound like that, and now its kinda like how can we….
JD Beck: Yeah, how can we write things that we hear and I guess it’s kinda at this point when we’re playing or practicing. It’s like how tight can we get things and how different can we play other kinds of tunes that people have. It’s hard to explain because we don’t really think about it, we’ve kinda gone through different stages of how we do things, and I think it’s like making us a lot better. Especially lately, we feel a lot better about how we are and how we’re playing than we did a year ago.
DOMi: I mean music right now is a confusing thing to do, especially with what people like; the radio sh*t, and what is popular and also the love and passion for styles that are not really popular. So… It’s kinda difficult to find your place in this world, and that’s why I was also stressed out at berklee when I first came to America because I was like sh*t man really? When you do a gig in new york in a small bar with killing ass musicians you only get paid 50 bucks? So like it really got me stressed out because I was like what the hell am I getting into man, am I ever gonna be able to live from my passion? And, I think learning styles that you love helps because first you’re trying something, you’re not trying to copy everything that’s been done, and second you just follow your heart and you don’t overthink all these things that happen, so go for it!
JD Beck: I think because everything is so weird it can be really good, and it can be really bad, because I feel like we’ll play stuff that like a lot of different people can like. You know, people that listen to different things? but I also think sometimes we play stuff that just like nobody will like at all, you know? So it’s hard finding the balance right now.
Joe: Are you guys both based in LA?
DOMi: Yeah, yeah!
Joe: Would you say that’s the place to be for any aspiring musician?
JD Beck: Yeah, here or New York
DOMi: Obviously it depends on what you want. If you like… it really depends. I think every single musician should go to both places for a couple of months and decide for themselves, but for us New York is a great place when we want a vacation.
JD Beck: When we wanna play!
DOMi: When we want to play at The Village…
JD Beck: When we want to play at The Village everynight and f*ck around and try and prove that we can play this ride pattern really fast, dude it’s sh*t like that.
DOMi: Wait, can you play Donna Lee really fast? Sir?
JD Beck: Exactly and then when we’re out here (LA) i feel like…
DOMi: It’s creative!
JD Beck: The opportunities are way different out here, like we can actually write stuff for people who we thought we would never have anything to do with, like it’s real random. Like I got to play drums on a Trippie Redd song the other week with Skrillex because we were at Shangri La.
DOMi: It’s just so random, this kind of sh*t I dont think that happens that much in NY, but at the same time you have another completely different scene in NY, so you know? Everybody finds joy wherever they find it, and at the end of the day writing music can really do that anywhere, but if you want to write with other people, you’ve got to go to them.
JD Beck: Yeah, like if you want a community come out here, we all need each other, and I think that’s the toughest thing because things are so close together and really kinda far apart at the same time, all of us kind of know each other, you know like all the people who play music in certain ways, and the community is small but its big because it’s all over the place. But, I feel like there are not as many places to really connect as there was, you know? I feel like years ago it was probably a lot easier to have the scene, and now the internet makes everything so spread out, feels like there’s more than there is sometimes, but yeah it’s whatever.
Ameer: I guess going back to some thing you mentioned just before…. JD you have the hip hop influence, DOMi had the jazz influence so like it kinda meshed together, and you have this unique sound to what you’re playing. Alright this is a bit of a troll question but f*ck it. I don’t want to sound patronising when I say this JD but youre in your teens right, and like have you had a metal phase yet?
JD Beck: Have I gone through my metal phase?
Ameer: Everyone gets it don’t they?
JD Beck: I mean, I never went through phases, I learned how to play things. Like for me who doesn’t like rock stuff. I never liked super heavy metal stuff, I think meshugga is tight. But then again i’d be listening to random stuff like mars volta, at the drive in, coheed and cambria, like all that’s stuff that me and DOMi listen to, I mean I also listen to kinda old rock stuff like Todd Rundgren and his Utopia stuff, and like old Hall & Oates, and Led Zeppelin, it’s kind of all over the place, when it comes to that.
DOMi: I definitely had a phase for Black metal.
JD Beck: Yeah we have musician phases for sure, but we don’t have like style phases.
DOMi: I don’t think that ever happened to me!
JD Beck: I mean we have weeks of like.. We’re only listening to crazy fast stuff and then like the next week we’re only listening to beats and then the next week it’s like smooth ballads and sh*t.
Joe: I mean you guys are so obviously technically advanced on your instruments, do you still draw influences from the old rock and roll stuff, blues and early jazz?
JD Beck: That stuff is more influencing than a lot of the new stuff now, because it’s so different to what is going on now, I think it’s good to back back and like listen to stuff, like we’ve been recording with our friend Mac DeMarco, whos like an indie rock kinda guy, and he’s like 100 percent all analogue. Everything he does in analogue, when we were recording it’s like straight through tape, and all of his influences are like old rock stuff, like he loves all of that stuff, and so it’s kind of eye opening to put yourself in that position you know? Like Oh man we’re going to play rock stuff, but then it comes out sounding crazy, almost. It’s hard to describe.
DOMi: I mean it’s really hard , the question of how to be a complete artist or like a complete musician, and there’s definitely the technical part of it if you want to be comfortable on your instrument. Then there’s also if you’re not open minded and open to try things and listen to all these different styles, then it’s going to be a little more complicated for you, you know? So, I just think everybody just try everything as much as you can.
JD Beck: Yeah go back and listen to stuff you overlooked, because I guarantee you’ll find stuff you’ll like.
DOMi: Yeah, everybody! I find stuff everyday and I’m like ‘Woah! Thats cool!’
JD Beck: Yeah, we still listen to gentle giant, random stuff, old records and stuff. Never throw stuff away.
Ameer: So, as songwriters , there is a growth on a different level, you can be as technical as you want on the instrument but then learning to write with someone else must be a completely different thing. Have you found between the two of you, the more and more you play together…. I know you said you meshed really well to start with, but has the songwriting just constantly elevated?
JD Beck: For sure, I feel like we’ll go back to demos….
DOMi: Oh my god…
JD Beck: Like one thing we didn’t realise was that writing a song that’s really easy and is tight and is like killing, is the hardest thing you can ever do.
Like sure you can write a song that’s simple and that’s its own thing, but writing a song that’s simple and the most bare form and it’s like tight, like you could listen to it everyday and it’s undeniably killing; is one of the hardest things ever….
Because I think we’re so used to playing and writing crazy stuff that shows off I can do this, or I can do that, oh I can play this part, oh I like it because it has all this stuff. But, then when you really start to strip stuff down, I don’t know just like writing songs that we just like because of how they’re written and not necessarily how we’re playing them.
Joe: Do you have to consciously put restrictions in to allow that? Because I’d imagine with such amazing technical chops, it’s hard to not always include that stuff. I know I’ve had that same thing personally.
JD Beck: We do have restrictions, it depends on what we’re doing though.
DOMi: I think the only restriction to have really in your head is like
‘Would I enjoy listening back to it, would I actually enjoy it blasted in my car or something’ you know? And, if you can’t even listen back to your own thing that like the first red flag,
and also the second red flag is if all of your writing, if all of your tunes sound the same, and you try to always throw 40,000 different elements and parts into stuff, because I mean, take a big band arrangement: It’s one tune, one simple melody, and they just explore it with so many different like motifs and parts and stuff and at the end of the day it’s one single melody, that you can just play and it could sound like a children’s song almost. So, I think for our songs, what we try to do is like to have something…. First melody, interesting, meaning ‘oh actually that’s a cool way to use that reverb, I haven’t heard that in a while’ or whatever. And, also just like it. If we don’t like it straight away we just press delete, you know?
JD Beck: Yeah, and I think our whole album is like… We also categorised it to where it’s like crazy, chill, both, crazy, chill, both, singing, crazy, emotions, singing, chill, you know? We never wanted to put a lot of the same stuff together, because I feel like it’s kind of crazy to explore the changes. Like hearing something playing something so crazy and then playing the chillest thing ever is like so cool to me. Especially if they can pull it off live, like somebody can sit over here and really play a tune and then start playing a 6/8 ballad, it’s yeah….
DOMi: Yeah, we just try to go through all the emotions we are going through. ‘RIght now we just need to f*cking play the sh*t out of these instruments’ And that going to be an individual song. Then it’s like ‘Oh man lets do a beat, that’s chill’.
JD Beck: Yeah! That’s why we want to get it out so bad too, because it’s like such a moment in time for us, because we can already hear the ways what we’re doing is evolving somewhat. You know? Like how we write stuff or like how we’re thinking about things or how we want to play stuff which is why it sucks, it sucks that we’re waiting, but we’re doing it for good reasons. Everything is ready on our part.
DOMi: One day after the album is released we can probably explain what took so long but you know.
Ameer: I think it will do it justice once it comes out though right?
JD Beck: Hopefully, what if people think ‘What the *** is this?’
DOMi: ‘*** this, *** these morons.’
JD Beck: ‘This is like so dumb!’
Ameer: DOMi is her biggest hater, her own biggest hater.
JD Beck: DOMi is our biggest hater.
DOMi: I hate myself, it’s great.
JD Beck: Our album sounds like train beats, the whole album is like that. Just be ready!
Ameer: You mentioned before, you know you’ve got crazy energetic singing songs and all of that sort of stuff, how would you say in terms of the journey the album will take you on… Maybe it’s not set in stone yet, but with the tracklisting and everything like that, is it just going to go from one end of the spectrum to the other over time or is it going to switch?
JD Beck: It’s both! I think it’s switching but I think it paints a picture in itself.
DOMi: When I would listen to records entirely from beginning to end, I would always complain about the same thing: ‘Man, why do musicians always put the same tempo on their album?’
JD Beck: In a row! The first 4 songs in that tempo range then the last half gets really slow, it’s so boring.
DOMi: Yeah! All the sounds are the same…
JD Beck: Spaced out!
DOMi: I like surprises when I listen to somebody’s record. I like to be like ‘Oh sh*t, I was not expecting that’ you know? Rather than ‘Oh man a ballad again, there have already been 3 ballads in a row!’ But I respect everybody’s choice, if it’s how you feel, you should definitely put 3 ballads in a row, but for our sh*t, we both put down all the tracks, the name of the tracks, and we’re like we’re going to do the order. This is a beat, this is a ballad, this is a crazy ass tune, what order do we want? Do we want to surprise people?
JD Beck: And also it’s also already kind of in terms of when we did the songs too! Like I didn’t realise that until a few weeks ago I was like ‘Dang, we actually did like almost all of these songs in order’. It was really weird, it was kind of a coincidence because I was going through it and I was like ‘Well we did that song first, woah that came after, woah wait, that came after’ Practically until the last song which we played live like a thousand times, but we waited to record it until March.
JD Beck: End of February, because we wanted everything to be finished, and we also wanted the most evolved version of that song, you know? We could have used the version from 2 years ago, when we first wrote it or whatever but… We literally waited till the end of February to record that song. Now it’s the last song on the record
Ameer: I think that’s the beauty of trying stuff out live right? You get a feel for how people listen to it live. The record or the style of music is generally more oriented towards performance based rather than sort of production or anything. DOMi, yourself, you did backing vocals with Louis Cole. Are we expecting more lead vocals within this album, are you allowed to say? Features?
DOMi: Oh yeah! We both sing.
JD Beck: On like 2 songs. We just have our friends singing on it more than us.
DOMi: There are 2 tracks where we sing, we are like the lead singers or whatever you call that.
JD Beck: It’s still not serious, don’t take our singing very serious.
DOMi: Yeah we are not singers for sure, we just felt like ‘oh man that would be cool if it had our voices’
JD Beck: We just had to get a story out.
DOMi: Yeah, it’s a story! A dumb story for a dumb album! No but yeah, so you know we have guests that actually you know…singers
JD Beck: Actually sing.
DOMi: Actually good at music, so it’s great and yeah man!
Joe: When you guys do not take your singing seriously, you guys are going to come out full on opera now I can fully imagine it!
JD Beck: No no haha! You can take our voices seriously if you want.
DOMi: Its just what we say is dumb!
JD Beck: It’s just, yeah it’s all meant to kind of represent how we are, you know? We didn’t really put a mask on for the record.
DOMi: Yeah! It’s us.
JD Beck: Didn’t want to be like ‘well we need to do this because we’re like the young jazz kids’ You know?
DOMi: It’s mainly that we want to be true to ourselves. We didn’t even think about releasing an album when we started writing some of the tunes, and then we were like ‘oh man why not’.
JD Beck: We also have played 2 of these songs on the album live, ever. And, they’re so different from the rest. We purposefully never play our album tracks live, until now, our next few gigs we’ll play some but we might as well now, it’s been so long.
DOMi: But to us it’s a cool thing to release an album that sounds different from what we do live because live or the videos we would post are like ‘i’ve been practising this thing and post it’ and then you get all the haters like ‘yeah but your can’t play a blues.
JD Beck: Like am I supposed to be playing the blues, why are you watching me? Go watch somebody that can really play the blues.
DOMi: So this album is cool because we really like to sit down and be like ‘hey man, here we go’. Take our time, do full songs and release it in 2069.
JD Beck: Yeah! Coming out 2069 guys!
DOMi: On your Mom’s Birthday!
Joe: Well at least we know we’ve got an exclusive for this episode, 2069!
DOMi: Ahhh! Nah just kidding!
Ameer: I suppose, a question for both of you guys, its chromesthesia right? Where you see colour in music. Is this something you guys would say you have?
JD Beck: Oh synesthesia, no.
Ameer: Oh is it synesthesia? I think it is.
DOMi: Its synesthesia. Honestly I think that when… I mean if you close your eyes and listen to a record, everybody feels it differently, and you know if I close my eyes and I listen to the Koln Concert from Keith Jarret or something like that. I would clearly see like not colours but, I would imagine crazy Sci-Fi Backgrounds, spacey things. Of course it has colours in it, but I don’t think it’s like repeatedly the same colours at all.
JD Beck: I think it’s easy to relate things through music, and I think when you actually sit there and take your time, I think you can find what music makes you feel, or what music makes you see, you know? I think that’s overlooked, but I think classifying it in a certain way is like….
DOMi: I truly think some people have it!
JD Beck: Yeah some people have it for sure, but I don’t think people should worry about what colours they see with their music, because like if you like the music at the end of the day I think that’s the most important thing. I think all of the other stuff is real secondary, yeah I mean it can change how you see things.
DOMi: I can’t talk for people that have it but from my personal experience, I always see. If I take the time to close my eyes and stuff, I always see crazy ass stuff like, you guys watched Rick and Morty?
Joe & Ameer: Yeah!
DOMi: You know like the kind of crazy ass Sci-Fi spacey monsters kind of sh*t they have, I would kind of see sh*t like that. ‘Wait, do I actually see colours, and then I’m like nah it’s different every time!’
JD Beck: Yeah, when I found out what that was I was like ‘Am I doing music wrong?’
DOMi: But it’s cool to imagine, you know? It’s like scoring a movie but it’s in your head.
JD Beck: Yeah, I think anybody can do it, anybody can picture what they think and that can change how they feel.
DOMi: It’s like, everybody can get perfect pitch, you know what I mean? It’s like a memory thing. If you blast an A from morning to evening every day, you’re going to remember this A in 2 weeks or something you know? That’s what happened to me and my brother so.
JD Beck: They were beaten every day.
DOMi: Yeah I was beaten up by my dad!
JD Beck: Every time they would get hit. An ‘A’ would play.
Joe: That’s fair enough. You mentioned perfect pitch, we see so many people today that have insane perfect pitch like Jacob Collier, etc. Do you genuinely think it can be trained; that It’s not something that you’re born with then?
JD Beck: Oh yeah. Perfect pitch is literally a memory game.
DOMi: Yeah, yeah. I got it like that. My dad would train my perfect pitch with a ‘C’. He would play a ‘C’ every day at 7am, when I would wake up. At 8am, pretty much every time before going to bed. I was 3 years old so I got it like that. I don’t even remember the process and sh*t but it probably took a week because at this age you’re a sponge. I have a friend at Berklee who got it pretty close too. He would just blast on his iPhone, this same note every day. Sing it and be like ‘That’s a f**king ‘F’’. Also personally, I think it’s a good thing to have. So you have one more thing in your skills but a good ear will save you any time from playing cringey chords. It’s not necessary, it definitely helps when you transcribe and stuff. I think everybody can do it.
JD Beck: Yeah nobody’s going to run up to you, put a gun to your head and be like ‘Sing a ‘C’ now!’. It’s not going to happen! I don’t think you’re going to have to sing ‘C’ to save your life.
Ameer: The possibilities there right? Some could realistically do it but…it’s just not happened yet.
JD Beck: Also people should stop bragging about perfect pitch. All it does is make them look arrogant and make the people who don’t have it feel bad. That’s so bad for the music industry, to be like ‘I’m perfect and you’re not.’. I feel like a lot of people are getting discouraged by the bloating on social media.
DOMi: You know what f**cks me up all the time? I grew up on Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do. Not the C, D, E bull sh*t. So for me ‘C’ means ‘B’…so it f**ked me up so hard man! I was like ‘Man you’re crazy.’. When people would ask me to sing a ‘C’ I would sing a ‘C’ for me, which is actually a ‘B’.
Joe: Did you guys see all the interviews with Charlie Puth? It seemed like everything that he did, they would test his perfect pitch over and over again.
JD Beck: Oh yeah, and I know he probably hates it too. Probably like ‘Can you guys stop?’.
DOMi: So when I fart is it a F# or a Gb?
JD Beck: I really respect what he does when it comes to really knowing about music. Especially being able to be a pop singer, having millions of people coming to your shows and still know what’s going on musically – that’s good.
DOMi: That’s a good thing.
Ameer: Question for DOMi & JD. DOMi what would you say your approach is to harmony? For JD is there anything you can relate that to with an approach to rhythm and feel, from a percussive side?
JD Beck: I also write chords. I wrote a lot of the chords & melodies on the album too.
DOMi: Yeah we write the melody & rhythmical aspects together. It’s not like ‘Oh you’re the drummer. You’re just going to play the beat and I’m going to write the chords.’. Which is cool for me too because JD has a total other way of writing. Sometimes he would click MIDI and be like ‘This chord sounds good. What note can we add to it?’ and because JD doesn’t think if it’s a min/maj7 chord he would try any note that he thinks sounds good. I’ll think ‘Man that chord is actually tight but I don’t know what the f**k it is.’. That’s how we write really.
Joe: Would you say either of you is the MD of the duo? Do you both take charge together?
JD Beck: No. I think I click faster on the computer sometimes but when it comes to all the choices we make it’s honestly 50/50. We’re not even saying that to feel better about ourselves. We genuinely feel it that way.
DOMi: It wouldn’t work if it wasn’t the case.
JD Beck: Some songs, the majority of it might be written by DOMi or me. It always balances itself out. Especially with the decisions made. Sure you can write a song but, especially when recording, there’s a thousand other things you think about when it goes into it. ‘How are you going to play that? How are you going to do this? What kind of sounds are you going to use with this? What tempo?’.
DOMi: We honestly think about all these things together. One day JD came up with a whole melody, chords and stuff. The only thing I did was add a little bass line. For a year and a half we would love it, play it a lot.
JD Beck: Oh yeah ‘Sniff my butt’.
DOMi: Then on the album. What about a crazy ass solo section, with an infinity of chords that actually make sense.
JD Beck: That’s the last song that we did that I was talking about earlier. That’s the last song on the record.
DOMi: That’s why we share which part we write without thinking about it. We come up with a thing on the piano, if we love it. We record it, add a bass line, maybe change the chords and then maybe add a solo section. That’s how we write basically.
Joe: For sure. That song that you mentioned ‘Sniff my butt’, there’s quite a few videos of it on YouTube but it’s never titled ‘Sniff my butt’ it’s always titled ‘Sniff’.
JD Beck: Yeah, I mean ours was. It’s actually called ‘You can sniff my butt’.
DOMi: Some companies can’t put that name in their title.
JD Beck: Then again, I don’t really care.
DOMi: Me neither.
JD Beck: I put that as the Logic session title when we couldn’t think of anything else to call it.
DOMi: Maybe it should be called ‘Your mom’s delicious nose’.
Ameer: At least you’re not overthinking it and giving it some super cringey name. It’s good the way you mentioned that you don’t want to be taken too seriously. You’re not going to say anything too cringey like ‘I love you to the moon and back’ or sh*t like that. You’re making music.
JD Beck: Actually that’s the 3rd song in the album. I don’t know why you’d make fun of us like that.
Ameer: I need to get writing credits for this. I feel like I made the title up right now, for you.
JD Beck: I can’t believe you would make fun of me like that.
Ameer: How about the other leaked track ‘My baby left me’?. Every blues lyric ever.
DOMi: You know what? 2020 I’m getting cancelled.
Ameer: I’m surprised I haven’t been cancelled yet.
JD Beck: For what though?
Ameer: I don’t know, I always try and say edgy sh*t. Not necessarily get other people to say it but I like not being liked. Is that a cool thing?
JD Beck: Just be yourself. Just don’t hate other people. Don’t make fun of things that people will get upset at you for and I think you’ll do great. Talk about *** all day, that doesn’t hurt anybody.
Joe: I love watching the Kenny Beats videos where you guys are so clearly p*ssing him off but he loves it at the same time.
DOMi: He loves it!
JD Beck: He loves it. I had to ignore him for a few days. He was so mad, I was like alright.
DOMi: Oh yeah, I blasted an air horn in front of his house at 1am and he get really p*ssed.
Ameer: I saw that on his stream highlights.
DOMi: Kenny is so funny.
JD Beck: Love Kenny. He did some stuff on the record too.
Ameer: Nice. He’s a cool guy. He’s grown his since March, the beginning of lockdown and it’s grown huge now. It’s insane.
DOMi: Kenny is probably one of the most hard working producers & artists, right now. Everybody works differently and he has a schedule. He wakes up at 6am everyday with just work, work, work. It’s cool man. Louis Cole is like that too but he works all night. He goes to sleep at 7am, it depends.
JD Beck: More like 10am. I remember I was asleep behind him while he was working on a song. I woke up and he was still there, looked back at me and was like ‘Sup?’. I was like ‘Oh, good morning – that’s the song that you’ve been working on for 38 hours.’.
DOMi: It’s so cool to see how people process work.
Ameer: How do you guys do it. Do you have more standardised hours in the day?
JD Beck: No, we’re really all over the place. When we’re at home in our room, everyday we’d try and chill for a little bit then work on stuff.
DOMi: I think when we were writing the album. We would wake up around 12/1pm and go to bed around 4am.
JD Beck: Maybe even later, like 5 or 6. It was pretty bad. We wouldn’t be writing all day because that’s how you make bad music.
Ameer: Yeah, forcing yourself to write.
DOMi & JD Beck: For us at least.
JD Beck: Also Stephen, our friend Thundercat. He’ll get on his computer, write something on his bass in the space of a few hours. That’s almost like the entire song because he does it so fast, in his own way. It’s cool to see the difference between people like that. Some ends of the spectrum people are spending every living second trying to get their stuff a certain format and some that go with their own flow. There’s a cool balance, we try to have a balance when it comes to that.
DOMi: That’s the magic of making music. You never know what’s going to come up. You never know if it’s a bad day or a good day so you just got to try and write.
JD Beck: Sometimes we can’t even do anything. We really want to and try but realise if we work on something like this right now all that’s going to happen is we’re going to get mad. We’re going to hate what we did and going to have a bad day. We’re not going to be here forever, we’re trying to limit our bad days.
Ameer: This is quite similar to the next question I had. I remember going through teenage years but you guys have been working from quite a young age as well. How have you found balancing mental health in general? It sounds like you’re working crazy hours anyways.
DOMi: I get your point. I understand why every teenager is having this phase. It’s because when you become a teenager you’re in the space between being a kid and an adult. You already have to think about what you’re going to do in your life. So a lot of people are so stressed out when they become teenagers because they have absolutely no idea what the f**k they’re going to do. For us it was different, we clearly knew what we wanted to do already.
JD Beck: Now the problem is being stressed out, thinking about all the decisions you make leading to other things. Realising not everything you do is going to work out.
DOMi: I think that was the difference with normal teenagers going to school. They stress out because they don’t know what they’re going to do. We stress out because we don’t know what decision to make between this or that, yes or no. So it’s as stressful, it’s really tough too.
JD Beck: Lately it’s been super tough, especially with business stuff.
Ameer: I guess you’re at the back end of the process.
JD Beck: We just want to make everyone happy and have fun making good music. That’s all we’re really worried about. It’s one of those things, it’s tough.
Joe: Growing up, people find it hard deciding whether or not they’re going to pursue music. It can take so much longer than just your teenage years as well. Do you think there’s ever a time in your life where it’s too late to pursue a music career?
JD Beck: No, I think what we all do. We’re doing because we want to and we love what we’re doing. We want to spend all our time doing what we love. For all we know, this is our shot. We need to make the best out of it. When we put limits on what we’re supposed to be doing. It’s not going to work out, everybody needs to take away those structures in your head. Like ‘Well I’m too old to do this. Well I’m too young to do this.’ Obviously don’t go rob a bank and shoot your friend in the foot. That’s not tight. Man make the best out of stuff!
Ameer: Wise words from JD!
JD Beck: Yeah, we really gotta step it up man. I see people on the internet all day, doing nothing. Freaking out, sitting there tweeting about how everything sucks.
Joe: It’s almost like people are scared.
JD Beck: Yeah, people are really scared. I just want people to be happy about stuff, you know? And I know it’s tough but I feel like we should all try and go out, do everything we can think of. Especially now, we’re able to do that way more than anybody else has ever been able to do that, in history…At least not right now with the pandemic going on! We have the internet, so much stuff we could be utilising the right way. I think we need to get better at that.
DOMi: Yeah, so much knowledge.
JD Beck: It sucks that we have to sometimes be like ‘Oh I need to take a break from social media because it’s tough’. Like damn, these are tools to help us. People are using them in the worst ways.
DOMi: That’s the thing. The internet is the best and the worst possible thing you could ever find. You find what’s best for you.
JD Beck: People got to do what’s best for themselves. They’ve got to focus on what really makes them happy. If you’re 98 years old and you want to play drums; go off!
Joe: It’s easier now than ever to take risks in the industry. Despite the pandemic, before that like you said the internet is ridiculous. Anyone can take risks, it’s taking that initial leap in doing it.
DOMi & JD Beck: [Both agree]
JD Beck: Go for it…make your first rap album at 86 years old.
Joe: Yeah why not!
JD Beck: That’s so tight.
Ameer: There’s this British duo, in the UK. I think it’s Paul & Gaz, they do grime bars. They’re these 2 cockney geezers in their 70s and they’re getting big.
DOMi & JD Beck: Nice.
JD Beck: That’s your favourite group right now?
Ameer: No, no. Unfortunately not.
JD Beck: Well I think you need to change that.
DOMi: Yeah you got to transcribe them.
JD Beck: Yeah I know you’re trying to transcribe them.
Joe: Do you guys get a chance to check out much UK music?
JD Beck: What do we think of UK music?
DOMi: I don’t really know that much.
JD Beck: Oh I don’t know that much. I don’t like a lot of that soft, regurgitated, 70s, lo-fi rock sound. Because it’s literally just regurgitated stuff. When people are doing something that’s genuinely them, and it’s original. You just have to love it. Sure you can not like what people are playing necessarily. When something’s genuine and its own kind of thing. You gotta love it man. There’s some cool drill stuff, right?
Joe: Yeah the grime & underground scene is pretty huge in the UK, at the moment.
JD Beck: Our friend Kenny worked with Slowthai and SL. Those guys are cool. I like that stuff but I need to check out more of it. I really do. Also we need to spend more time out there, learn more of the scene.
DOMi: We’ve been one time and I hate the airport.
JD Beck: The airport is awful!
DOMi: Yeah the biggest one…When tour’s come back, my favourite thing is to discover new things. So not necessarily tours, because on tours you don’t have time to get up and see things. But residencies and one festival/ show is great because you stay for more days and observe what’s going on. So I can’t wait to do that.
Ameer: Definitely, if you’re ever in Birmingham (UK) I will take you to the best food spots.
DOMi & JD Beck: Hey, yeah!
JD Beck: Actually, I want to be not encouraging and not discouraging. I want to be completely down the middle so you gain nothing from this. I want somebody to watch this interview and feel completely the same after. Learn nothing, they didn’t feel bad, they didn’t figure anything out, they didn’t figure anything out either.
Ameer: Impostor syndrome, are you guys familiar with it?
JD Beck: Thinking you’re an impostor?
Ameer: Sort of like that. It’s where you feel like you don’t deserve what you’ve got. You guys have been working from a young age and had a lot of success from it. Quite early on in your career; endorsements, gigs, opportunities. Is that something you’ve ever felt?
JD Beck: I don’t feel like we don’t deserve stuff. I’m genuinely surprised and like when people like what we’re doing. We’re not making decisions based on what we’re going to get from it. We’re making decisions based on how we want to be. If everything on the internet is going to stay up, past our death. We want our stuff to live on.
Joe: Let me put that out there, you guys definitely deserve it. You guys are insane.
DOMi & JD Beck: Thank you!
JD Beck: I guess we just want to make people excited about stuff. We want people to realise it’s okay to not be…I feel like music is so not important. For regular people, day to day people aren’t really that worried about music anymore. Which is why I think the Top 40 stuff is so bad now. You play it in the car at 2 dB and can barely hear what’s happening. Oh yeah the drums are in the mix super loud, so that’s what I’m gonna listen to and I don’t care anymore. I feel like that’s a little annoying.
DOMi: I think it’s cool that instrumental music and being able to play an instrument in comparison to super produced mega famous songs. It’s coming back, we’ve got people saying ‘Thank you for bringing back instrumental music because we’re so tired of all this singer star’. There’s barely no musicians in the productions, it’s just a loop, a sample, whatever. It’s cool to see some other young people are like ‘Man, I want to start learning’. It’s cool to see that; produced music is amazing, but the mix of both. Being able to play something and being able to record yourself, being able to add effects on it; to produce it. It’s what everybody should start to learn. That’s why I don’t necessarily like schools that much. They always take a side. Production side and you don’t play at all or the musicians side and you have to play the same tunes that have been played for a 100 years.
JD Beck: Also I think it’s cool that younger people can relate to us in certain ways. I feel like everything is so staged & planned, even when it comes to how certain musicians talk. How they go about things, everything is very cookie cutter in certain ways. Of course you have the greats, people we’ve learned from .
DOMi: The thing that shocked me the most at Berklee. There were so many musicians that were good at their instrument but their only goal was to play for big pop stars. Like man, not like you could do better but you could do different.
JD Beck: You could be your own artist. What ever happened to that?
DOMi: I never wanted to learn Katy Perry’s songs. What the f**k is the point in doing that. For some other people, it was like ‘You’re not capable of doing it’. No, it’s just that I really don’t want to. That’s not what I aspire to. I want to write my own stuff and possibly make my own music and maybe people will f**k with it, maybe they won’t. At least I feel happy. I was never feeling happy when Berklee students would ask me to play on live arrangements of a popular song. Oh no, not again.
DOMi & JD Beck: There is some pop stuff that’s cool.
JD Beck: There are some artists that are doing it well.
DOMi: I don’t think everybody should have the same goal. If your goal is to play with somebody else, that’s great. If your goal is to become the best at your instrument, that’s great, and if your goal is to write music that warms your heart then that’s great too.
JD Beck: There shouldn’t be rules. ‘Oh you’re going to be a musician, you need to get that gig man.Get that gig, check out all the gigs man. Come on.’
DOMi: ‘When is your big gig coming?’. Oh I turned down Ariana Grande.
JD Beck: ‘Yeah but can you play your part though?’
DOMi: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah! Shut the f**k up! I’m going to beat your ass!
Ameer: What is DOMi & JD Beck’s goal if it were written out on paper?
DOMi: Our goal? Put this album out, tour as much as we can and write original music with other artists we really love.
JD Beck: Also bringing back actual musicianship to be cool again. Especially when it comes to younger kids. I mean, obviously not everyones going to like our stuff. I feel like that’s not a thing people think about anymore. Especially kids when they’re growing up. Unless they’re actually playing the instrument. I don’t think they’re thinking about ‘Oh man, well these guys can play like this. I like that. Oh that’s cool, they’re really doing this.’ I don’t even think that’s a conversation as much and I think we’re trying to get that.
Joe: We’re both guitarists. I don’t know if I speak for Ameer as well but instrumental guitar over the last 10-15 years has been pretty stale. If anything it’s been rehashing old techniques and stuff that came out in the 80’s, it’s just that with new effects. I think what’s brilliant about you guys is you’re making instrumental music so much more exciting again.
DOMi & JD Beck: Thank you man.
DOMi: I think people should not apply any rules because art should come from you. Nobody should have the right to tell you anything but advice. You should always take advice but not rules. I had so many problems with some teachers, because I was like ‘Nah man, I don’t want to do that. This is not me’. They would tell me ‘You have to do that in order to graduate!’. Ok I withdraw from your class, whatever. Instrumental music, whatever you do even with vocals. Just make sure it’s you and then the music will become better.
JD Beck: Don’t follow the rules and stuff will be a lot better…fart on your beats.
Ameer: Fart on your beats. Number 1 advice. Right now, you have a good dynamic. Probably working with other people in the writing process, you mentioned Thundercat. Have you ever considered opening it up so you got DOMi & JD..? Keep adding names on at the end, until it’s a 10 piece band.
DOMi: Some projects yeah. With a trio.
JD Beck: We’re already playing trio gigs with Thundercat too.
Joe: You guys do some stuff with MonoNeon as well right?
JD Beck: Yeah we play with Mono a lot too, it’s his thing more though. It’s like MonoNeon and us.
DOMi: The cool thing is I play keys and I can play bass too. JD plays drums so we can play for anybody who would ask us. It’s not like I play saxophone and JD plays trombone. There’s less opportunities for us then. Because we’re the rhythm section, if artists want to try something different with a live band. We can always join in.
JD Beck: Also we’re just writing beats.
DOMi: I want to be as versatile as I can.
JD Beck: Yeah that’s our goal too.
DOMi: We’re working on that! We do it all and suck at everything. It’s amazing!
Ameer: It’s crazy to hear the level of ambition. You can tell by the tone you mean what you say. There’s a lot of people that are media trained being super positive about everything. Act like you mean it. It feels like you mean it.
JD Beck: Thank you, yeah I don’t want to be media trained! That sucks.
DOMi: Be positive about everything but also sometimes you have to tell somebody to please stop. If I was at Berklee right now and was like ‘Man I don’t like this thing’. You know what I would do right now? I would tour with Ariana Grande and I would play parts not even on the stage. I would be hidden somewhere and I would have no fun. That’s what a lot of students aspire to do right now. That’s why I’m glad, like ‘Hell no! F**k that.’ Not because I don’t respect it, it’s because it’s not me. Be positive but also say no when you need to say no.
JD Beck: It’s not happening enough. Kids are growing up, when they see their favourite musicians and learning how to play. 90% of examples are where musicians are playing for the artist. Whereas, back in the day there was Weather Report. Weather Report was a thing man. Pat Metheny stuff, Miles Davis…for real. Let that be an option, at least a goal for kids who are learning how to play music. When all the examples they see are people playing pop gigs for 10 bucks.
DOMi: Or crusty jazz clubs with a mouse running under your keyboard.
JD Beck: Not every gig is going to be tight. Have fun. Do what you really want. You like the music you’re doing and want to play with that artist, go off. Don’t think that’s what you have to do.
DOMi: If you want to do Bossa Nova-Japanese Fusion and fart on every note…do it.
JD Beck: Fart note samba.
Ameer: At the moment, in America. There’s a big promotional deal with McDonalds & Travis Scott. So it’s just a special meal that Travis Scott endorsed?
JD Beck: Yeah the Sprite with extra ice, straight up. It’s just a burger. Hey shout out to him for being able to have your own meal.
Ameer: A thought that’s just entered my mind, you guys aren’t on the scale of Hollywood actors. You guys are quite popular, have you had a chance to play the ‘Do you know who I am’ card yet?
DOMi & JD Beck: What is that? What do you mean by that?
Ameer: Demanding and people don’t know why. I am JD Beck, I am DOMi.
JD Beck: Definitely not. I think that makes you a bad person.
JD Beck: The number 1 way for me to not like someone. Is if they play it like that. ’You got to record this for me because I’m that kind of person’. Uhhh nah.
DOMi: There needs to be a connection first.
JD Beck: Also, people need to stop being demanding. People should start figuring stuff out themselves and stop having to rely on everybody else. Making it a hard time for other people.
DOMi: Sometimes we come across people that are pretty disrespectful. Don’t always put it politely.
JD Beck: People looking for excuses to be rude.
Joe: Have you ever had a weird experience meeting a fan?
DOMi: Oh yes. Asking you weird, unnecessary questions.
DOMi & JD Beck: Usually they’re really cool.
JD Beck: It’s really crazy to actually see people touched by what we do.
DOMi: I think it happens with everybody a little disrespectful and doesn’t have good manners. And come across as a douche bag.
JD Beck: Some guy, he was a fan. Went into our green room one time. This wasn’t a DOMi & JD Beck show, I was playing with this guy Jon Bap.
Ameer: Jon Batiste?
JD Beck: No, Jon Bap. He’s a singer-guitarist-producer, whatever. There was a guy in the green room who was a fan of me and DOMi. We were there hanging out and he kept getting closer and kind of looked like he was going to kill us. In the way he was talking, he kept going ‘I’ll give you guys a ride out of here, if you want’. I was like ‘I’m good man, thanks.’
DOMi: That was not disrespectful, that was just weird.
Ameer: There’s some odd balls out there. This something I’ve found going to a Yvette Young gig, in the UK a few years ago. I don’t know if you’re familiar with her? She’s a guitarist & pianist. I don’t know if you get this DOMi, with fans or audience. I feel like misogyny at gigs is still a big thing. People respect you less because you’re a female, is that something you still encounter?
DOMi: Yeah it’s huge. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty bad. Especially with certain cultures in America. If people already know who I am, they saw some videos, it doesn’t come off like that. They already know I’m a girl, I play piano whatever. If people have absolutely no idea who the f**k I am. Yeah I’ve encountered some parts where like ‘Oh you can actually play?! Oh you don’t sing?!’. Shut the f**k up!
JD Beck: Yeah everytime I’m with her they ask if she’s the singer.
DOMi: At the same time it’s not the worst it could be. When the sound engineer talks to you like you’re 4 years old and you don’t know how to turn on your keyboard. That’s when you get mad.
JD Beck: DOMi’s actually a 4 year old boy. She’s going to be alright.
DOMi: Yeah I’m a little boy guys! It happens to everybody. It’s gotten better, especially in Europe. If somebody’s disrespectful to you, tell them straight up. ‘You chill’. You just tell them, that’s what I do. Instead of not saying anything and complaining after, I tell them right away and feel good. It’s fine.
JD Beck: Confrontation about people messing up. It needs to be more of a thing. It’ll save a lot of trouble. If you just yell at someone real quick. Hey!
DOMi: It’s the fact that we’re younger than a lot of people. Sometimes we get talked to in a really weird way. Like we’re 2 little kids getting yelled at.
JD Beck: Literally, I feel like we’re in the principal’s office sometimes. When we’re dealing with people. Because we’re younger than you doesn’t mean you have to not respect us.
Ameer: There’s no real age limit, that’s the beauty of music. You don’t have to be a certain age before you can play. When someone hears you, they can’t define your gender, age and experience; they just hear music.
JD Beck: There are 8 year old kids who have played more gigs than anybody else ever. They’re probably still being talked down to. There’s a lot of messed up structures.
DOMi: The best way to deal with it is to actually say something. Rather than staying quiet and complaining on social media.
Ameer: Definitely, call it out. As and when appropriate.
DOMi: You pull out your gun, like yo!
Ameer: Haha, I don’t know how the conversation would have to go for it to come to that. Hopefully doesn’t happen to anyone!
DOMi: Yeah, I’m kidding.
Ameer: I think we can officially wrap it up now. If you guys are happy.
JD Beck: Alright y’all. Was good talking, thanks for having us.
DOMi: See ya!
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