Dominique Lenore Persi – Stolen Babies

 

Interview by Laura Medina

California-based alternative, experimental rock band Stolen Babies is fronted by the beautiful Dominique Lenore Persi on vocals and accordion and is backed by twin brothers Gil and Rani Sharone on Drums and bass. Their dynamic, unbreakable bond that these three have and the passion and love they share about music is the number one reason why Stolen Babies is here to stay!! Stolen Babies made became an instant household name with the release of “There Be Squabbles Ahead” in 2006 with their upbeat single and animated video clip for “Push Button.” With the release of “Naught”, their second full length album, has received positive reviews and continues to do so even after a year of being released via No Comment Records. “Second Sleep” is their latest single taken from “Naught” and marks their triumph return as one of the best bands that has come out of Los Angeles, California to date. To say that Stolen Babies is one of those bands that once you hear a song of theirs, you’ll instantly become hooked and wanting more. I got the chance to sit down and have a lovely, nice chat with Dominique during their last stop on the With A Vengeance Tour with Otep and New Years Down in West Hollywood. Here’s what she had to say when I sat down with her before their hometown live set at the legendary Whiskey A Go Go! 
 
Hi Dominique! Welcome to Femme Metal Webzine! Thank you for allowing me to interview you today! You’ve been on tour with Otep and New Years on the With a Vengeance Tour for the last few/several/couple weeks. What is it like ending such a great tour with great people in Los Angeles, California? What are your overall impressions of the tour?

It’s been a really good tour and I think its grueling but in the best way possible and you know not many days off but that’s kinda ideal, actually. It can drive you a little bit mad but also might be a good place to be in when you have to play every night, anyway. But it’s been I dare to say, it’s been a successful tour. We got a lot of new fans, met a lot of new people. A lot of fans have been waiting to see us for years. Whether it be because of the hiatus or cuz they never got around to it. Fans that have “There Be Squabbles Ahead”, since 2006, are finally getting to see us. So it’s been a really good tour. Very good!

Your latest album, “Naught” has been released for quite some time. How would you describe this album to those who haven’t heard of it?

Our album after the hiatus that we went on. We did “There Be Squabbles Ahead” and then had a lot of momentum. We were doing a lot of stuff for various reasons, withdrew we are all very close and we love making music together. Just life can get in the way and person, speaking for myself, personal, mental issues that can get in the way to. So “Naught” was coming off of that, all the things we’ve gone through so it’s a darker album and much of it was a very different process than “There Be Squabbles Ahead”. It was recorded in two places, two different studios, I was in Oakland and it was after I moved from Los Angeles to Oakland. At the very beginning, the process for recording  “Naught” , I wasn’t really as into it, I was living away, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be in the band anymore. Rani [Sharone] really wanted to keep the spirit alive and move it forward. So Rani at the beginning of the album was mostly Rani. I gradually got sucked back in. By the end of the album, I was Billion % back in it. So it’s fun to hear the songs that I know were recorded at first to the songs that were recorded last. You can hear the progress. I can safely say we will never record an album like that again. And never record with that mentality again. So yeah, it’s darker, and more mish mash I guess.

Speaking of “Naught”’s your album artwork, it reminds me of Who Framed Roger Rabbit mixed with Tim Burton-isque. What can you tell us about the mastermind behind the artwork and the overall concept behind the album cover?

Ooooo…That’s a good one! Crabs Scrambly, Crabs Scrambly, our friend does all of our artwork. He’s been doing our artwork FOREVER! He’s a very good friend. As far as the concept, this one was Rani Sharone’s concept. “There Be Squabbles Ahead” was my idea. Everything on“There Be Squabbles Ahead”, I drew first then handed it over to Crabs, Now can someone who really can draw, can you do it and can you do it well. “Naught” was Rani’s baby, IT was his idea to do the duel world. Showing the duality: have the happy land and the dark version of it. This was Rani’s concept. There’s little things in there like the blob flowers and certain other little things like more of the marine life-elements, the angler fish lamp-posts that I threw in cuz I am a huge fan of creatures versus cartoony-dark stuff. I always try, personally get us away. I love Tim Burton, huge influence since I was a kid. I loved his early stuff, probably a little bit up till’ “Big Fish”. Through early influences you can’t deny with a huge impact they have. But for our esthetic, it always a little of butting heads cuz I always want to pull away from that. I think Rani Sharone’s more into that. I throw in the more surreal to Crab. I really don’t want to many squirrels here. But that’s just me! I’m just wacky that way!

“Naught” is your latest album that is currently out now via No Comment Records, what has been the overall reaction from your fans since releasing “Naught”?

It’s been positive! Everyone, everybody is saying that. I think the common thing is that people find it to be a little bit darker. But it’s been a good reaction, very good reaction!

One of my all-time favorite songs is “Lifeless!” from “There Be Squabbles Ahead”! Every *freaking * time when I listen that song, I get freaking Goosebumps just listening to that song and singing along. What are some of YOUR favorite songs to play live?

Umm, right now…“Mousefood!” Its challenging, I don’t like getting bored. I get depressed when I get bored. So umm “Mousefood”, also because it’s the most recent. I was talking about the writing progress for writing “Naught”. “Mousefood” was the most recent song. It was really to me, a song that marked my FULL return of emotionally and mentally being back in the band. My whole involvement, I was very involved with that song. I was very like that a lot with “There Be Squabbles Ahead”, I would say “Mousefood”, I still like playing “Tablescrap”, doesn’t get old. So yeah “Mousefood”, “Tablescrap”. We still have fun with “Filistata”.

What’s the concept behind the song and video for “Second Sleep” taken from “Naught”?

You know that song actually was one of the songs that was started by Rani. And I mentioned earlier how this album was put together very strange-way. My involvement was as very minimal cuz I was in my own head and dealing with my own stuff. Rani actually started writing the lyrics on that song, The first lines: “Your ship is sinking and the chorus.” That is Rani. I came in and added stuff. Those lines are Rani’s concept. IT was really an interacting way going into a song that I wasn’t used to someone writing for someone already written some words/concept, it wasn’t mine. It was fun. It was a good collaboration that I wasn’t used to. I took his meaning and worked with it, formed it kept true to the words, where he was coming from. So it’s hard for me to answer that question thoroughly since it was his initial concept but where he is coming from. I understand watching someone Fuck-up real hard and being helpless.

And the video, initially started out as Rani’s idea of wanting to shoot underwater. Much the same way the lyrics in the song was written. The video came together that way too. Rani had his concept, I came in and said “Alright” Well here’s the concept of how to make this work and everything fit together like a puzzle and make sense. He wanted to shoot underwater; we had a 2 day shoot, 2 different days and formed his concept together.

What can fans expect to find, see or hear when they attend a Stolen Babies concert?

Right now, we’re not very prop orientated. It’s just plain orientated. 3 people playing their instruments in their way. It’s funny we’re that bare boned. We still get people saying we are theatrical but we don’t do any theatrical so maybe there’s just an element to the music, what we do, that gives out that vibe. There aren’t any props at all; it changes from tour to tour. So basically just a rock band!

Speaking of musical influences, Oingo Boingo is regarded as one of your personal musical influences. You played at Danny Elfman‘s birthday party, what was it like playing at your hero’s house? You look really happy when you heard about that!

Yeah! It’s an influence that I am not ashamed to admit to. Maybe there was a time that I was!  I have a pretty bad memory, I have a selective memory but that night I think I can remember pretty well! Cuz it was a fun memory, it was fun. It was crazy. He got a demo of the Fratellis, the old band when we were kids. He really liked it cuz it reminded him a lot of Goran Bregovic; Who I love! At the time, I didn’t know who that was. I was like What 19 or 2000 or something. I think talking to him saying “Oh you guys remind me of Goran Bregovic” I was like “Who was that?” I look it up and ever since it’s been a life changing thing. But umm playing the party was really fun. The band had already broken up but when Danny Elfman asks you to play at this birthday party, you get your shit together, you fucking play it! So we grabbed everyone, we’re like “Come back, play this. We just pulled together, and we were the Fratellis again for the one night and that was officially the Fratellis last show. It was great! It was one song, an instrumental song that I didn’t sing or play on so I just went out and danced. So I remember having a nice dance with Danny Elfman back in 2000.

 

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