domudjing

This really breaks my heart. I don’t even know where to begin describing how influential Domu‘s music has been to me over the past seven years or so. (For those who don’t know who Domu is, you can read his bio at the end of this post.)

Domu posted a goodbye letter on his TrebleO blog earlier today, letting the world know that he’s walking away from the music world:

It’s over. I can’t go into the personal reasons, but of course will leave you some explanation as to how I got here. It feels a bit like walking away from a life of crime or the Mafia. I am Carlito, I have finally made the break from the old dangerous way of making a living. I just hope Benny from the Bronx doesn’t shoot me as I am boarding the last train out of here. The point is that I am no longer Domu. He is a character, always has been, and as of Friday 13th November 2009, he no longer exists. Neither does Umod, Sonar Circle, Bakura, Yotoko, Rima, Zoltar, Blue Monkeys, Realside or any of the other names I put out music under. I am cancelling all my gigs and not taking any more. My hotmail is closed, my Twitter is closed and my Facebook is closed. If any of you want to talk to me and know me well enough to have my mobile number then that is still the same, and please feel free to call any time. My other email address I mail from occasionally is still open to tie up any loose ends.

I had started to change, for the worse I am now sure. My confusion was growing, my insecurity and bitterness getting out of hand, a lack of creative direction and focus were leading me somewhere very dark. I have felt so depressed by all of this. Believe me I have searched my soul long and hard this year to find the reasons again why I do this, but I can’t locate them. Too much of ‘me’ is mixed up into all of this, and no one should ever give so much of himself or herself to a job. I once believed in all of it, that I made and played music for a certain type of person, for people who didn’t want to adhere to the ‘normal’ way of life, the free thinker, the independent or open minded type who was bored of the genres, the staples, the blueprints or the formulae. The underground. But I just don’t truly believe I am needed in this battle anymore. It has been passed down to another generation, who are doing it their way, and I have no desire to try and edge in and start proclaiming to be fighting a fight that is no longer mine. I am a 31-year-old man. I can’t claim to be holding a torch up to something that meant so much to me at 15. At 21, maybe. But now, after ten years going full time, I think I have said all I had to say. My creative light has dimmed. Maybe because I started so early, who can tell? But I feel satisfied that this is it.

Seriously, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go to the site and read the whole thing. It’s one of the most honest and heartfelt things I’ve read in a long time:
¬ The full post on the TrebleO site

(In case Domu’s post or his site has been taken down by the time you read these words, I’ve copied the full text at the end of this post, so drop down there and give it a good read.)

I’m pretty devastated by this.

I was so geeked when I got to see Domu spin at a loft party here in New York last month. It was my first time getting to see him spin live, and that meant a lot to me because when I was first getting into Broken Beat, Domu was the first producer who’s music I really latched onto. His beats absolutely blew my mind.

Broken Beat entered my life back in early 2002 while I was watching videos at my cousin Daryl’s apartment in Arnhem, where I was living at the time. MTV Europe played a video by Vikter Duplaix called “Sensuality”. It changed my life.

I made it back to the States later that year and went on a mission to find any and everything Broken Beat-related to play. One of my earliest Broken Beat record purchases was a Jazzanova 12″ for “Soon” that featured one of Domu’s remixes (coincidentally, with Vikter Duplaix on vocals).

I bought his Up and Down LP around the same time, and soon after, I was buying pretty much any record I could find with Domu‘s name (or any of his many aliases) on it. I’m listening to a lot of those tunes as I piece together this post, and his work still inspires and affects me tremendously.

One of my all-time favorite Domu tracks is a remix he did for Sequel’s “Upsolid” that I put in a mix a while back. Here’s a snippet taken from my mix:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I have always felt that dude’s music was ahead of its time, whatever that might actually mean. I don’t know. I just get this sense that years from now, folks will discover his music and be blown away by it’s brilliance and marvel at how, in the grand scheme of things, his work had managed to stay under the radar when the quality shined so brightly. That fate is not unique to Domu by any means, but I can totally see how the reality of that can affect an artist to the point that leads us to his post today.

My friend Aser, who sent me the email that brought my attention to Domu‘s post, had this to say about it:

I have eerily similar feelings about a lot of things in life right now. I can totally see where he’s coming from, and the place he’s at. We’re the same age, and I feel a lot of us are struggling for answers like he is right now. I hope we all find them eventually, one way or another….

Amen.

Pete Philly (a fellow Arubian and the MC half of Pete Philly and Perquisite) had some poignant things to say about Domu’s decision on Twitter earlier today:

That Domu piece, really made me sad. As an artist we ask ourselves the question daily. “Why am I doing this?”

Current technology gives freedom to the consumer. But great independent artist like Domu are continuing to bite the dust.

The insanity it takes to keep up with this shit, must be unfathomable to outsiders.

I understand what he’s talking about when he says, so many people are giving a go at this music thing..

..it feels like a crowd where everybody is screaming and all you can do is try and scream louder..

The internet dogmatists don’t like it when artist complain about this and neither do I, but..

..seeing someone like Domu, who has created so much goodness. Having to call it quits at only 31 scares the shit out of me to be honest.

I’m successful and have been for a couple of years now. But no matter how succesful you are that voice never goes away..

Trying to let the reality you’re presenting be somehow profitable while staying creatively satisfied..

.. Is something I have managed to do, but saying it was without losing relationships, my mind, my health even.. Forget it..

In the comments to Domu’s post, someone posted Domu’s When I’m Feeling Down mix, and I thought I’d relay it here, since it’s pretty damn apropos. (Also, I have to give props to any mix that has a song by my man Kay of The Foundation aka Slow Boogie on it.) Big shout out to Scott at Back and Forth for sharing this:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


¬ DOWNLOAD IT HERE

I also found this post just now while searching around the internet:

No matter what anybody says, in my opinion, what he wrote in that post and many other posts in the past, shows courage and honesty, two features that are rare to find not only in the music industry but in people in general.

Orsii‘s full response to Domu‘s post is a good read. I recommend you check out the whole thing.

I’m sure more people will chime in, and I think it’s important in the spirit of Domu‘s artistic struggle to spread as many of those words as possible so that his influence and legacy thus far can fill the void his retirement will leave in the greater musical landscape.

I wish Domu the best, and I thank him dearly for all the music he has made that has touched me and so many others. I, as well as many of his fans, hope that this retirement is short-lived, but ultimately, after giving us so much, I just want him to find whatever happiness he can in life, with or without music. He deserves that.

Here’s the full post, for archival purposes, since the TrebleO site’s days are obviously numbered now:

The End

It’s over. I can’t go into the personal reasons, but of course will leave you some explanation as to how I got here. It feels a bit like walking away from a life of crime or the Mafia. I am Carlito, I have finally made the break from the old dangerous way of making a living. I just hope Benny from the Bronx doesn’t shoot me as I am boarding the last train out of here. The point is that I am no longer Domu. He is a character, always has been, and as of Friday 13th November 2009, he no longer exists. Neither does Umod, Sonar Circle, Bakura, Yotoko, Rima, Zoltar, Blue Monkeys, Realside or any of the other names I put out music under. I am cancelling all my gigs and not taking any more. My hotmail is closed, my Twitter is closed and my Facebook is closed. If any of you want to talk to me and know me well enough to have my mobile number then that is still the same, and please feel free to call any time. My other email address I mail from occasionally is still open to tie up any loose ends.

I had started to change, for the worse I am now sure. My confusion was growing, my insecurity and bitterness getting out of hand, a lack of creative direction and focus were leading me somewhere very dark. I have felt so depressed by all of this. Believe me I have searched my soul long and hard this year to find the reasons again why I do this, but I can’t locate them. Too much of ‘me’ is mixed up into all of this, and no one should ever give so much of himself or herself to a job. I once believed in all of it, that I made and played music for a certain type of person, for people who didn’t want to adhere to the ‘normal’ way of life, the free thinker, the independent or open minded type who was bored of the genres, the staples, the blueprints or the formulae. The underground. But I just don’t truly believe I am needed in this battle anymore. It has been passed down to another generation, who are doing it their way, and I have no desire to try and edge in and start proclaiming to be fighting a fight that is no longer mine. I am a 31-year-old man. I can’t claim to be holding a torch up to something that meant so much to me at 15. At 21, maybe. But now, after ten years going full time, I think I have said all I had to say. My creative light has dimmed. Maybe because I started so early, who can tell? But I feel satisfied that this is it.

I have had an amazing time. I’ve travelled the world, drank and partied and made a decent living out of entertaining people throughout all of my 20’s. I met some incredible people in cities I never dreamed I would visit, shared my thoughts and collected wisdom from a huge range of deeply profound and lovely people. But I have also met some real arseholes, and I could feel I was becoming one. Playing records I wasn’t sure I liked to people who had no idea who I was. I had gone cold, cold to the music, to the reactions and to the point of it all. I was changing what I thought I liked, so that I would be liked. I am not a chameleon. I am not Madonna, I can’t stay abreast of the current styles and keep changing with it just to stay in fashion or retain some kind of credible status or career. I have had my moment. If you know me well, you would have sensed a change in me over the last two years. I have always suffered with problems of confidence, but I know that’s not why I am throwing in the towel. I feel like I have to change so much of what I think is ‘me’ to carry on. What I believe in, how to talk to people, how to behave. I just don’t think I can be so arrogant and harsh to stand out anymore. There is so much noise out there that people have to shout louder and louder to be heard. And for what? I am beating myself up over something I no longer believe in for an income that is stressfully patchy and more often than not, very low.

I used to say I owed it to ‘the fight’ to keep going. My belief in that has waned over the last few years too. Yes we needed Coltrane to go against the grain, to sacrifice his well-being and life to create beautiful art. We needed all of them, creative and unique beings burning brightly in our souls, our influences and idols that created the music and the movements that can provide us with sanity, sanctuary and meaning through our confusing lives. But music has lost some of it’s meaning to me as a medium. It’s everywhere; everyone is making it, playing it, giving it away, and trying to make a living. So many people have a voice in it now it is hard to pick out what is cutting edge from what I actually truly feel. I have gotten numb to my life’s biggest passion, and I need to leave it for a while to see if I can ever get it back to how it was.

Some have attributed meaning and understanding to my some of my work. I know it is special to some people, and my message was understood by a few, which I am very grateful to have come to know over the years. I was lucky enough to catch a ride in it for a while, was recognised by some very special and talented people and I earned the respect of my peers and achieved a hell of a lot in a short space of time. There have been huge highs whilst playing music to all sorts of crowds, creating an atmosphere and being in control. I have felt the joy and adrenaline rush of the success, alongside the emptiness and despair of the empty club or the unresponsive floor. Now I recognise I have done all that, I need to put it all behind me and move on, and the only way to do that is to disappear. It has to end sometime, and as I keep saying, everything is finite. I don’t want to lose everything else in my life for this. I just don’t believe in it enough to make that sacrifice. The kids are fighting the battle now. I hope I influenced some of them, I know I have, and that gives me a sense of ease doing this. I haven’t wasted 10 years, I know I have bought joy and hope to many of the disenfranchised, the open-minded, the musical outsider or the devoted dancer. There are people creating things and using technology in a way that I am having to try and catch up to, but I no longer feel the desire to. They are doing it better than I ever could now. It’s their time, and mine has passed. You can either think I am being incredibly brave by admitting it or incredibly weak and stupid for stopping. But it’s just how I feel. I was going wrong in many aspects of my life, and I need to start making a change. I have no idea how long this piece will stay up, but this site won’t be here forever. Please feel free to copy and paste and pass on to preserve it, to let others know why I left, assuming anyone cares.

I have tears in my eyes now. I have so many people to thank for all the personal and professional support they have given me over the years, but I shall do that personally in time. But I want to thank everyone who has bought a song, paid an entrance fee, had a dance or just come up and spoke to me about life, music, the world or whatever. You have given me a dream-like blessed existence for many years. If I have inspired anyone, then I am a happy man. You all have certainly inspired me, and I want to use those years of travelling and sharing to good effect, not this anger and confusion I feel towards it all now. I need to find meaning to the next phase of my life. So I bid you all farewell. I am just too sensitive to keep up the façade of something that doesn’t feel right. I knew it would come someday, maybe some of you that knew me saw it too. I have so much love and respect for my peers and teachers that are carrying on with the struggle, and want the next generation to achieve the best they can for themselves and their art. I am just not a lifer. I’ve traded up, and I’m out.

I’ll leave you all with this. Life isn’t the X-Factor. No one has a God given right to his or her dream or ambitions coming true. I have worked hard and had some great luck. I followed some opportunities, squandered others. I have no regrets, other than not stopping when I knew I should have done this time last year. The only thing you have to guide you through your life is your instinct. Sometimes the right decision isn’t the easiest, but between your conscience and your intuition you will find the answer. Please listen to it. It’s you.

And here’s a little background info on Domu, taken from the bio on his site:

Domu Biography

Dominic Stanton is the real name behind many of dance music’s most mysterious pseudonyms: First there is Sonar Circle, avant garde Drum and Bass outfit signed to the legendary Reinforced Records. Then Domu, his main guise, designed to further the explorations of the syncopated rhythm, remixing and appearing on many labels such as 2000Black, Archive, Ninja Tune, Sonar Kollektiv, Compost, Rush Hour, Especial, Bitasweet, Schtum among others. Umod, the backwards glitchy Hip – Hop kid, all nerdy and introverted, has had one album and a few remixes on Sonar Kollektiv, Jazzanova’s imprint. Then the collaborations: Bakura with Robert Marin on Especial Records Japan, a boogie – Brazilian fusion, culminating with the Reach The Sky, their first LP released 2005. Alongside Archive and Neroli head honcho Volcov, Rima – with an album that dropped on Compost Records in 2003, with much sought after artwork by Dutch uber-cool designer Delta. And Finally, Yotoko, the experimental Techno outfit, formed with web designer and long time friend, Shiftee a.k.a Dave Farlom. The Dutch label Delsin was home to the LP “Wet Ink” from 2004.

The follow up to Domu’s 2001 LP “Up and Down” was released in December 2005. “Return of the Rogue” is a step further into the depths of drum, synth and vocal explorations. Remixing is also continuing nicely, with reworks for Tortured Soul, 24 Carat and Nathan Haines coming soon.

New for 2009

Domu is putting together a compilation of his remixes, rarities and b-sides for Brighton’s Tru Thoughts label. Expect a 12” before the summer and the CD in Autumn 2009. Work has started on the 3rd Domu LP, and the second Bakura and Umod LPs are well into production, all of which should all be completed this year.

Treble O…the mp3 based label Domu is running…watch the website for links to releases from NS2, Yannah Valdevit and Ben Mi Duck this year. The Compilation HERE COMES TREBLE was released on 28th April 2008, distributed by Kudos. Check www.trebleo.co.uk for more info!

Domu has also regularly featured on BBC’s 1Xtra hosting the Xtra Talent show from January 08 to March 08, covering Benji B’s Deviation show on numerous occasions. For more information & show archives pls visit: www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra

Domu has also been DJ’ing since 1998 touring worldwide in Japan, Australia, Russia, USA throughout Europe and most of Scandinavia playing on the international circuit. Among these have been tours and one offs with many of his musical heroes and contemporise: 4Hero, Bugz in the Attic, Jazzanova, I G Culture, Phil Asher, Rainer Truby, Chateux Flight, Kaidi Tatham, Gilles Peterson, Theo Parrish, Photek, Patrick Forge, Kyoto Jazz Massive, Jazztronik, DJ Sunshine, Raw Fusion (Mad Mats), Nu-Spirit Helsinki, Swell Session, Titonton, John Tejada, A Few Among Others, Ayro, Eddy meets Yannah, Rednose Distrikt the list goes on. Domu is also resident at the world renowned 8yr old GPWW award winning CO-OP club night in London, Miami & Worldwide.