“Art with NFTs is barely scratching the surface. There’s an enormous art renaissance right now where people are genuinely finding value in art, music, photography, etc.”
Domino is a multifaceted artist. He uses different mediums while focusing on music to tell his story, explore emotions, and manifest the future. From Roseville, CA, he has been pursuing the arts his entire life. His 2017 debut album Gradients showed us a glimpse of an artist soon ready to step into the spotlight. Shortly after that release, Domino presented his more polished sound on Board Games, a twelve-track body of work that would essentially set a precedent for his music. Fast forward to now, Domino has managed to stay consistent while taking his artistic abilities to new heights. His latest album Presessence, Vol. 1, not only showcases his growth as an artist but has also allowed Domino to find his footing in the NFT space. And Whether or not this NFT buzz is built to last, it will set a precedent for the potential new revenue streams for artists like Domino.
In our latest wide-ranging interview, Domino gives a comprehensive overview of how NFTs are more valuable in this digital era, how fan-led communities can monetize music, and how NFTs can cut out the middlemen in the music industry. Check out the full interview down below.
The album is finally out. Talk to me a bit about Presessence, Vol. 1.
What a question [laughs.] Presessence, Vol. 1 is the beginning of this music and art trilogy. It is an exploration of the manifestation of success through art and music. Beyond that, it is an NFT project. For the album, we dropped a visual and musical NFT for each song. You get all seven different NFTs, each visual done by another artist with each song attached.
What made you want to get into the NFT space?
I’ve been watching since 2019. I saw what FEWOCiOUS was doing in the early days, and I just lurked and got used to what was happening. Then during the pandemic, I got into crypto and doing Twitch streams. From there, in March of this year, I finally decided to mint my first NFT. I was doing mainly visual drawings with animation and music. I found a lot of early success (thank god) and sold 20-25 NFTs in the first two months. From there, I finally found what I needed to do, which was this album.
The concept of NFTs is still something that a lot of people aren’t too familiar with. What does it mean to release an album like Presessence, Vol. 1 as an NFT collection?
What a great question. It is a blessing and a curse in itself [laughs.] But it’s 90% a gift. The other 10% is educating people on the facts of NFTs and blockchain technology and the vast opportunity it brings to artists right now. Art with NFTs is barely scratching the surface. There’s an enormous art renaissance right now where people are genuinely finding value in art, music, photography, etc. That is only heightened by the digital technology presented. It opens direct access to metaverses, digital shows, and so much more.
Are there any collections that you’re following in particular?
Yeah, for sure! What LATASHÁ is doing with music videos is incredible, and The Watcher is doing a fantastic gaming project. Habibi has a unique PFP project that revolves around community and family. All the artists who did the art for the album have awesome collections. Then for more music, you can check out DYL, Spottie WiFi, Robert Monroe, and Richard Vagner.
“The moment I found the NFT space, everything changed. Not only was my work valued as art, but I could do a live show that could be streamed to anyone on earth. That was a huge changing point for me.”
Let’s talk about the new album a bit. Who or what inspires your music?
If you hear the album, it’s kind of like a sampler platter of genres and styles. You’ll hear some Kanye on there, some Mac miller, and a bunch of other influences. Artists like Amy Winehouse, Sinatra, Blink-182, Atmosphere, and so many more inspire my sound. On top of that, the moments and people in my life inspire everything. My experiences are explored in my music, so everything is very personal.
What would you say makes this album the perfect introduction to Domino for those just now getting hip to you?
It’s the culmination of all the music I’ve been trying to make for years. With my first album, Gradients, I came close to creating a whole world, but my abilities weren’t there yet as an MC and artist. But now, I feel very grounded in my ability. This album is just scratching the surface, as most of these songs were made during the pandemic and recently finished.
How’ve you found trying to break out as an emerging artist in the last couple of years?
For the last decade, I have been going by Domino. That’s when I decided to pursue music full time, moving away from close-up card magic and spoken word poetry. And since then, I’ve been my own manager, marketing agent, designer, editor, and more. Countless empty shows, denied by blogs and labels for not being mainstream enough, performed at bowling alleys to get people to hear what I was doing.
We have thrown our own events in LA for the last six years or so, and that alone has been a huge eye-opener. In LA, venues either take half or make you sell enough tickets to fill the space and still take half of the sales. This doesn’t allow us to make a living, even doing 2-3 shows a week. So throwing our shows was a big way to get direct audience feedback and build a like-minded community of artists of all mediums. Luckily, I had the support I could lean on with my family and friends. The moment I found the NFT space, everything changed. Not only was my work valued as art, but I could do a live show that could be streamed to anyone on earth. That was a huge changing point for me.
How much would you say you’ve grown personally while working on this new album?
More than I can express in words. The concept of the album trilogy is to explore what colossal success will be. In Volume 1, you are hearing me get and win a Grammy. Except in this world, the “Grammys” are the “Presessence awards.” I am exploring what my ideal and best self would be. I say all of that because I am fully manifesting my future through this trilogy of art and albums.
So would it be fair to say that working on this album made you realize what making music means to you?
I think, if anything, what this has shown me is the power of community. I have known for many years what music means to me. But this has proved that when you are surrounded by like-minded artists and ride for the community, they will ride for you back.
And lastly, what do you hope listeners take away from the album?
My intentions have been many. It is a tricky question, though. If I had to choose something specific, It would be to see that they can ultimately manifest their future vision. It will take a lot of hard work, sacrifice, learning, growing, and adapting to an ever-changing world. Balance is one of the most challenging but most essential things to practice. Being grounded is everything, and taking the time to plan is effective. It can take many years, but you can make the music that you’ve always envisioned making. And finally, people, community, family, and relationships are the most important thing, even if that means going into solitude to find yourself, to understand that truth.