Childhood chaos yields 2010’s greatest postmodern indie-pop

Words: Nisha Goplan

“I grew up in foster care since the age of eight. I’m one of six. My mother gave me up ’cos I have red hair. She had a thing about it.” Dom (short for Dominic, though he keeps his surname a mystery) is sitting on the steps in front of an apartment building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, casually explaining his Oliver Twisted upbringing. In a divine act of melodrama, supersize droplets of rain begin to fall from the heavens onto the yellow trucker cap worn by the 23-year-old, a scamp from Massachusetts who straps an amp onto his back during live performances. He giggles. “We play ginger wave.”

DOM (the band), in fact, makes highly danceable, postmodern no-fi pop – bounding from garage to synth, in frolicsome wry references. His only release – ‘Sun Bronzed Greek Gods’ EP – seems to teem with sarcasm. But Dom (the dude) swears he’s a sincere guy. Even when he inadvertently called bullshit on Girls’ backstory in an interview – prompting singer Christopher Owens to hastily defend accounts of his cult upbringing – it’s from the bottom of Dom’s goofy heart. “I like his music,” he insists. “But I think the way he responded makes him a butthead.”

Surely DOM’s breakout song – the hazy, key-hammering singalong ‘Living In America’, with its looping lyric, “It’s so sexy to be living in America” – is taking the piss… “No way! Look at all the freedoms we got,” he says. “There are, like, so many resources – food stamps, social security. And there are a lot of awesome people living here!” Kicked out of abusive foster homes, the rebellious Dom met some of those awesome types in juvenile lock-up. “The kids there taught me about selling cocaine. You make great fucking money off of that.” He saved up enough dough to buy his first guitar in 2006.

Dom is now hoping to drop a full-length album in October. He’s been talking to a few labels, but that, too, is veiled in secrecy. Ever the indefatigable entrepreneur, he’s bent on pioneering a unique sound. “The new stuff is way different from anything else, like garage with surf metal. We invented that genre.” Seriously? “No, we did! We definitely did!”

Need To Know

• Dom has written a porn film called Jersey Whores, which he says is “kind of like the show on MTV, only with banging and a lot more attractive people.” Its two lead characters are named Gia and Rocco
• Dom’s tattoos are self-made. Lock-up teen thugs taught him to ink himself
• He’s a bigtime R&B fan, particularly of the Boyz II Men catalogue