Last week Dom & Roland announced the imminent release of a new album – Against A Dark Background.
His eighth studio album, it’s set for release on April 7 and it marks something of a full-circle moment for the London artist as it’s being released by Over/Shadow – the label run by old friends 2 Bad Mice, an act who he rolled with at the beginning of his career on the seminal Moving Shadow label. It’s his first release on a label other than his own Dom & Roland Productions imprint since his superb Metalheadz album Last Refuge Of A Scoundrel in 2016.
Taking off where his last album Lost In The Moment left us in 2020, Against A Dark Background is another exploration into his deep, ploughman signature. Ferocious, formidable but never compromising on groove and soul, the album weighs in at eight tracks ranging from bright, grand and triumphant (Clash Of The Titans) to outright tense and brutalist war music (Poseiden) and will be released alongside by a two-track single – Eminence / Time For Change.
Another impressive body of work to add to his 29 years heavy discography Against A Dark Background is a powerful statement from the unique and sometimes outspoken artist who is seemingly neck deep in a wide range of projects right now.
2023 has already seen him drop two bespoke sample collections and a release with fellow pioneer and revered breaksmith DJ Crystl. He released a curveball single earlier this month which featured an XXL sized dancefloor remix of his cult 2000 anthem Can’t Punish Me by Crissy Criss and a tongue-in-cheek booty bass track Whip That Ass which has caused divisive opinion among fans (especially on the DOA forum)
Right now, though, all focus is fixed on the imminent Over/Shadow dispatches. 1 More Thing will be linking up with Dom & Roland for a more extensive interview surrounding the release. In the meantime, we collared him for a few extra notes on the release and how Against A Dark Background came to be…
The title is inspired by an Iain M Banks novel
Forever inspired by sci-fi and futurism, Dom took the title of his new album from a novel of the same name….
“I was a massive fan of Iain M Banks novels, they’re about a race called The Culture,” he explains. “They’re set many years ahead of us, many of them have merged with AI which also looks after them, allowing them to travel around the universe exploring their own existence, art and creative endeavours. I recommend any of Iain’s work and while Against A Dark Background isn’t my favourite in the series, the title stood out to me. I like names with multiple meanings to them; and as we’ve just come out of a very dark and divisive few years it seemed to fit. People have often referred to my music as dark, although from my perspective, I find melancholy or deep would probably be a better description. Bit long for a title though”
It’s a visual album inspired by films and nature
Dom wants to you visualise the tracks as you listen…
“I always write stuff with visuals in mind,” he states. “The whole album is visual. Close your eyes and hopefully you’ll get images in your head. For me every sound has to fit in the picture you have in your head. Let’s say the image is a kitchen, every sound or element needs to relate to that, be something you’d find in a kitchen. You wouldn’t find a soft pillow or a bath in there for instance. I like continuity. The whole album is a merging of visual and audio experience akin to epic sci-fi like that of Iain Banks or Ridley Scott. You can say that about a lot of my work and this a continuation of that. I like sounds that relate to big things visually like mountains, skyscrapers, tides, and sunsets. If I’m not in the studio then I’m out in nature as much as I possibly can be. I’m fascinated by it, the idea of Gaia and how the planet is a living breathing organism that we are all part of. I love how nature repeats itself from the massive to the micro like a musical cannon. Everything in nature is based on frequency patterns. Our whole existence is nuts, and something we can’t possibly get our heads around. We know so little about ourselves or the universe we live in.”
The album was written entirely using Slate VSX headphones
These aren’t standard studio reference headphones…
“I’ve worked a lot with Slate Digital over the years on plug-ins and stuff,” Dom tells us. “A few years ago Steven Slate called me up saying they’re developing headphones that can emulate different types of rooms and locations and asked me to consult, test and help them tune the headphones.”
Out now and rated highly by other fellow D&B artists such as Adam F as well as many legendary cross genre award winning engineers, the Slate VSX headphones have been described by Dom on social media as a revolution in terms of mixdowns and referencing.
“What’s really interesting is how they accommodate how everyone’s ear canals are different,” Dom continues. “The size of your ear canal influences how you perceive sounds so there’s a slider in the software which you can adjust until it feels like the sound is in front of you. You can also switch between monitors giving you the depth and width perception as you sit there in a virtual sweet spot. There are 14 different rooms on the headphones from club to car to various types of high end studio so you can do those tests at home without leaving your own studio. Now three years in I think I’ve done some of the best mixes in my life working on these. I now only use my monitors as a last reference check”