We have been fortunate to discover up-and-coming talent. Dominic Sanderson from Wakefield who with the help of his music-loving Dad has released the album Discarded Memories (reviewed here). Taking a break from his studies he agreed to be the subject of a Q&A.
Thank you Dominic for taking the time for our interview. One of the things we love at At The Barrier is discovering new talent and we are very lucky to have stumbled upon your album. Are you self-taught musically or have you had any formal tuition?
I began learning the guitar when I was 7 years old and had private lessons up until I was about 18 but since then I have been honing my technical ability and experimenting with the many versatile sounds of the guitar so that I am getting the most from it.
I’ve come across lots of young artists whose musical interest has been due to family connections. Is this so with you?
Most definitely! Just about all of my musical taste comes from my parents and every day I hear my dad listening to something that I’ve never heard before that has a great impression on me. It was the prog rock side of his musical tastes that resonated with me most and prog rock has now become a very dominant thing in my life because of my dad.
The quality of the recording doesn’t suggest a keen young student beavering away at home just to pass the time so how do you manage and how have you learned to produce something so professional?
I’m very glad that you think it sounds professional because that has been the thing I’ve worried about most. I was determined to get the best sound possible with what I had, and I didn’t have very much at all which made it difficult. Plus my knowledge of production is minimal and so I just went with what I thought sounded good and played each section many times before I was satisfied with it (being a bit of a perfectionist!) – I think overall it sounds great for what it is.
How did your group get together?
We met through the music course at uni; one member in-particular shares the same interest in prog rock and so we immediately became close friends. With our mutual desire to form a prog rock band, we acquired more bandmates from the course. We are currently recording some music for an album but covid is making things difficult. That is why I made the EP during the first lockdown, my band couldn’t record and we were unable to meet. The EP was, therefore, an entirely independent venture.
Do your university studies enhance your music career?
I have learned a lot from my uni studies, both as a musician but also as a writer. It helps that I study both Music and English literature as they cater to my multiple interests rather than boxing me into one specific thing.
Prog magazine must have been very impressed to include a track off the EP on one of their samplers. So how did that come about?
I am an avid reader of prog magazine, being the most renowned source of everything happening in the prog world. I contacted them about perhaps putting my music on the free CD attached to each issue with the hope that I could reach a wider audience. To my surprise, they put one of my tracks on the last issues CD and since then I have had more attention from prog fans.
Your music ebbs and flows consistently throughout how did you develop that technique or is it just the nature of what you are trying to express?
I think it just came naturally, I went with what I thought sounded good and made sure that there was enough musical variation. I love using musical motifs that reoccur throughout an album, it ties everything up really neatly and gives the music a clear focus.
What experience have you and your band had for performing live and are there any plans for the future?
We haven’t had much chance at all; we have performed live but only a couple of times. We didn’t get together that long ago and therefore spent most of our 2nd year composing and rehearsing so that we actually had stuff to play. Having done this, the plan for our 3rd year was to fill the year with gigging opportunities – you can probably guess why we haven’t been able to do that. The only plan we have at the moment is to finish recording the material we have but we would certainly love some opportunities to play live.
Have any established labels come calling yet ?
Not yet, but you never know!
Along with the lyrics and artwork the whole project appears to be a family effort. What can you tell me about Matthew?
Yes my dad did the bits I’m no good at: artwork and lyrics. He teaches design and technology and so he is a very good artist. He also used to write lyrics back when he was my age; his unused lyrics became the first stage of lyric writing and they developed from there.
If push came to shove and you had to face making a decision between a career in music and continuing with studies your studies what do you think you would chose or can the two work together?
I’m nearly finished with my studies, I’m halfway through my final year and so I’m devising a plan for what will happen after I finish uni – although I must say, I’m pretty disappointed with the way my uni experience will end. But I’m hoping that as well as continuing with the music side of things, I can make some sort of a living as a freelance writer. I write for a small website called ‘Prog Rock Review’ that aims to promote the underdogs in the world of prog rock by reviewing their music – it’s a starting point and I hope something can develop from there.