INTERVIEW: DJ DOMENO SPEAKS ON THE SUCCESS OF HIS RECORD-BREAKING SINGLE 'ALLEYS,' COLLABORATING WITH PIERRE BOUVIER, STARTING HIS OWN LABEL + MORE


Montreal's DJ Domeno finds his way to the top of the charts, while simultaneously making history with his infectious genre-bending single "Alleys." Co-written with his childhood friend – Simple Plan's Pierre Bouvier, Domeno's "Alleys" has found a home in the number one spot on Quebec airwaves for 16 consecutive weeks since its March release.

Crowds from New York to Amsterdam and Ibiza to Miami are dancing to Domeno's records and have even been played by some of the biggest names in EDM including David Guetta, Afrojack and Martin Garrix.

Early on, Domeno (Domenic Pandolfo) was captivated by the sounds of Motown and knew that music would be at the center of his life. It was during a family trip to his father's homeland of Italy, where he had the revelation that he would take on the world of DJing. His tracks – influenced by funk, soul, house and artists like Prince, Daft Punk and Armand Van Helden, eventually caught the attention of DJ Hardwell and gained thousands of plays after being recruited to his label, Revealed Recordings.

Now known as one of Canada’s top rising international DJs, Domeno's accolades include the SOCAN Song of the Year Award for "Lies" – the second most played song last year in Quebec, the number one SOCAN plaque for "Fairplay" and becoming the first Canadian DJ to have a number one track on Quebec's BDS radio stations.

"I am the first DJ in Quebec history to have a #1 record on the radio. I'm not usually big on stats, but that stat is pretty bad ass because you can't beat it. There's only one first, and to have a small place in Quebec's music history is pretty cool."



Following the success of  his single "Lies", Domeno took some time off to come back swinging with “Alleys”. He surrounded himself with some of the industry's best names to help curate a melodic blend of electronic and folk music. Co-written with Andrew Allen (Meghan Trainor, Carly Rae Jepsen), The Swaggernautz (Troye Sivan, Kaskade) and Pierre Bouvier and composed by Richard Benyon (Flo Rida, Zara Larsson), Ryan Henderson and Tomas Shaw, “Alleys” resonates with listeners worldwide by putting them into an energetic and euphoric trance.

On the heels of his chart-topping release, Domeno is working hard on his debut album due out next Spring, which will be released through his own label Elisa Recordings, Coyote Records and Universal Music Canada.

Q: You’re from the vibrant city of Montreal, how would you describe the music scene?


The Montreal dance music scene has so much history. I feel very lucky to have seen what it has evolved into today. It's incredibly diversified and there's really something for everyone. We have everything from amazing festivals like ÎleSoniq or Osheaga, to huge incredible venues like New City Gas or Beach Club. If you're into the underground, we have super dope clubs or after hours spots like Stereo, Circus, Newspeak or Velvet to name a few. You can find whatever vibe you want here.


Q: You’ve booked gigs from Ultra to Escapade and have caught the attention of renowned DJ’s David Guetta and Hardwell. What has been a career highlight for you thus far?


I feel super fortunate that I have had more than one. I mean everything from playing at Ultra, to signing on Hardwell's label years ago. But something that happened recently is kinda cool...I am the first DJ in Quebec history to have a #1 record on the radio with my latest single "Alleys." I'm not usually big on stats, but that stat is pretty bad ass because you can't beat it. There's only one first, and to have a small place in Quebec music history is pretty cool.

Q: You’re one of Canada’s most in demand dance artists, what do you hope to achieve with your music and live show?


It's such a complex question for me, because there's so many things I want to do in many different areas of my career. As a DJ, I hope to keep touring like I am, performing in places and venues I haven't yet discovered. As a producer, I'm really looking forward to putting out my first album next year. It's gonna be very personal to me, and I truly forced myself to be as vulnerable as I could. I'm also gonna keep producing and writing for other artists in many different styles of music. I love doing that. Songwriting is new to me but I seem to have a knack for it. And on the business end, I'm really looking forward to showcasing new artists on my label Elisa Recordings and growing my publishing catalogue.

Q: Your debut album will not only be released through Universal Music Canada and Coyote Records, but through Elisa Recordings as well. What was the inspiration behind starting your own business?


For me, it started out as a NEED. No one believed in certain records I wanted to release. "Lies" is a perfect example. No one in the business believed in this song. We shopped everywhere and everyone passed. But I really believed that this track can do something special. So I started my own label and decided to to it independently. I'm glad I went for it, because "Lies" became the 2nd most played song on Quebec radio in 2018, I won the SOCAN Award for Song of the Year and we are almost at 5 millions streams on Spotify. So the gamble really paid off and I couldn't be more proud of the
result.

Q: Your single “Alleys” featuring Simple Plan’s Pierre Bouvier has been a huge success, it was also co-written by him, Andrew Allen and The Swaggernautz. How does it feel it to have credible songwriters paint pictures to your production talents?


It's incredibly flattering. It's like getting the best pat on the back, because I respect these guys so much. So for them to trust me and be proud of the result and outcome is really rewarding for me. A ton of work was put into this record, and I'm happy that these guys feel proud of the song and it's being received by the public.

Q: How did your unique collaboration with Pierre Bouvier come about?


Funny story....

Pierre and I were actually childhood friends. We lived on the same street in my hometown. We were together almost everyday of our lives until our teenage years. He was a little older than me, so we lost touch a little when we hit that age. We always kept in contact, even when he was moving onto huge success with Simple Plan. I was super proud of him and went to every show of his I could when they were in town. He knew I was a DJ trying to make it, and I would always tell him that one day I would bring him a hit song and I would want him to sing on it. He always kinda laughed and brushed it off jokingly. 

But low and behold, years later, when I finished the demo for "Alleys" I hit him up and said...."Pierre remember when I told you one day I'd bring you a hit record.....well here it is!" He loved it as soon as he heard it and within a few days we had everything wrapped.

Q: The single is a genre-bending blend. What inspired “Alleys” folktronica sound?


Another funny story....

The idea behind "Alleys" was I wanted to somehow make a Canadian drinking/party song, using Canadian folk sounds, but turning it into a dance record. I wanted to make something that people can hear in a Irish pub or a huge festival, but have the same party energy in every setting. It was definitely challenging but I'm super happy with how it turned out. You can play that song anywhere, and I just love how it makes people happy automatically.

Q: You recently dropped a new track titled “I Can Tell” with Karl Sylver featuring Garrett Raff, what can you tell us about the project?


One of the things I love about dance music is how versatile it is right now. I'm always gonna be a DJ first so it's important for me to always make tracks for the dance floor. Karl is a super talented producer from Montreal. I love working with him. When he sent me the basic idea for "I Can Tell," I knew I could really dig in and put my spin on it and turn it into something special. I knew it also needed a strong vocal. We put everything together and we had a great dance floor track. When I sent it to Hardwell, he wanted to sign in to Revealed right away.

Q: What’s next for DJ Domeno?


I'm really looking forward to releasing my first album next spring. I'm pouring my heart out into this thing. First single should be out for January 2020 and of course I'm still touring and performing. I'll also be writing and producing some projects in the new year for other artists. Looking forward to showing everyone what I've been cooking for 2020!



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