Dom Dolla confirms new music, discusses early roots at Coachella [Q&A]
Dom Dolla proved to be an indisputable standout during Coachella‘s momentous return to Empire Polo Club on April 15. Weekend 1 witnessed the ARIA-award winning producer captivate a chock-full Sahara Tent during the festival’s opening day. In addition to threading an array of crowd favorites in his set, the veteran DJ confirmed to Dancing Astronaut that his set opener, a sought-after ID by the name of “Miracle Maker,” will officially land on streaming services in early June. Not only did Dancing Astronaut‘s Breakout Artist of 2019 triumphantly dominate the Sahara stage, he also joined forces with our Breakout Artist of 2021 John Summit for a surprise back-to-back set at The Do LaB to close out Coachella on its final night of production. Dom Dolla sat down with Dancing Astronaut to discuss the new single, his upcoming tour, and more. Read the exclusive on-site interview below.
You have yet to cement your first single of 2022. Can you drop any insight on a potential release?
Dom Dolla: “I believe it’s going to be [released] in early June, while I’m in the UK during Parklife [Festival]. It’s called ‘Miracle Maker’; it’s a record I’ve been playing in my sets for about the last six weeks, and it’s shocked me how well it’s been doing. I’m very excited to get it out there.”
You’ve been producing tech-house-inspired records for quite some time. What are your thoughts on its recent mainstream emergence in the United States?
Dom Dolla: “I love it, man. I’m not someone who really tries to protect genres from bastardization. I personally love when things expand because it means things get more intricate and interesting. And people’s tastes become more underground and more subtle. I remember hearing Jamie Jones [get] asked, maybe seven or eight years ago, ‘what do you think of the explosion of dance music in America?’ And he said, ‘the thing I’m most excited for is when 18-year-olds aren’t into mainstream EDM, but they’re into underground house and techno.’ And that’s happening now; in Australia, the UK, even here in the United States, I’m playing shows to groups of kids that are getting younger and younger, and they’re getting more and more excited about the genre.”
What most excites you about playing Coachella?
Dom Dolla: “[Because] it’s that iconic of a festival, it’s a statement for where you stand as an artist in pop culture. Seeing house artists represented on such enormous stages here is a testament to that; it shows the tipping point of a genre. I’ve been to Coachella about four or five times; there are lots of Australians that come here, and it’s certainly been on my bucket list to be on the iconic Coachella poster. Performing on a stage like Sahara is quite honestly a dream come true.”
You have a slew of international tour dates ahead of you. Which cities are you most looking forward to performing in?
Dom Dolla: “I know it’s in the US, but it’s got to be Red Rocks. I’ve never been. I’ve had lots of friends that have played it; my friends Gorgon City played last night, Rüfüs, Flume…So many brilliant, creative Australians performing there. That’s like the pinnacle. Like, where do you go [from there]? There’s Brooklyn Mirage, Red Rocks, Coachella, there’s EDC…The point of escalation beyond playing those is playing multiple ones of those, which is just a testament to how incredible those shows are. For me, that’s what I’m most excited about, Red Rocks. It’s like the ceiling, man! I’m fucking pumped. There’s a tide turning [in Colorado]; house music is blowing up. And I’m really excited to be at the forefront of that.”
You recently imparted some valuable advice to aspiring DJs on Twitter, “learning how to warm up a dance floor is a skill worth developing.” How did you find yourself developing this skill in the early stages of your career?
Dom Dolla: “I didn’t really have a choice, man; that’s how I started as a DJ. In Melbourne, they take house and techno really seriously and, back then, I wasn’t a producer. I’ve been a DJ since I was 15; I’m 30 now. Back then, I didn’t know how to write or produce; I hadn’t really delved into that, but I loved programming a night. As a little kid, I remember putting my favorite CDs together, like ‘we should put this on at the party, mum!’ DJing was a natural progression from that.
As an 18-year-old, I started running night clubs in Melbourne, so I became responsible for booking DJs. And I would think, ‘this guy would be good between 9 and 10, this guy’s good from 10 ‘til 12, and this guy’s good from 12 ‘til 2.’ A lot of the time I couldn’t afford to book headliners, so I would just book DJs based on their skill levels and level of programming. If you walk into a club at 9 pm and get hit in the face with dubstep, there’s no time to buy in. Programming a night is like a train going past; if the train flies past you, you’re not going to get on. But if it’s slowly traveling along the platform, you’re like ‘I’m going to get on this train.’ And then the train gets faster, the party accelerates, it becomes more exciting…In modern day, that skill can get lost because there’s such a focus on being a talented producer. There are successful producers out there who didn’t have to put in the hours as DJs and, through no fault of their own, they have to learn after the fact. That tweet was just encouraging people because it can be detrimental to your career if you get on at the wrong time and play the wrong kind of music.”
What was your first DJ controller?
Dom Dolla: “My first decks were CDJ-800 MK 1’s that I borrowed from a friend of mine. He was a wealthy kid at my school whose parents bought them for him, but he got bored. And I was like, ‘can I borrow those?’ He lent them to me and never asked for them back, though I eventually gave them back four years later. I was obsessed with blog house back in the day, so I’d be constantly downloading A-Trak edits, Chromeo, Boys Noize…all off blogs like Gotta Dance Dirty. I’d download [songs that had] terrible bit quality, like 128 or 192 kilobyte records.”
What would your 16-year-old self say about where you are in your career today?
Dom Dolla: “I don’t think he’d believe it, to be honest. I honestly think he’d be like, ‘yeah cool man…Pull the other one.’”
Featured image: Demian Becerra