Air For Ants // Interview
INTERVIEW BY: Emily May
NY indie pop band Air For Ants, the once solo experimental electronic project fronted by singer Dominic Sahagun, have been garnering praise since the release of their 2015 album We Think It Was Raised By Wolves. The band's latest album, Once Again With Feeling, was released on October 26th, with seven songs that took over two years to finish and explore relationships, emotions and self-reflection. The album combines their ambient pop and indie-rock influences with elements of jazz, funk and electronic sounds. Sahagun wrote a majority of the album himself and, besides singing, played the guitar, keyboard and synth, with Adam Benham on drums and Tyler Luppi on bass. Aside from the band, Sahagun also teaches at Berklee College Of Music in Boston, with the frequent travel resulting in numerous recording locations during the album's production. You can stay up-to-date with the band and all upcoming tour dates, along with where to stream and purchase the band's music, from the following links. Check out "Did You Know You're Gold" from the new album below.
You have been praised for your voice and unique songwriting style. What is your process for writing songs and what do you feel makes it unique?
A lot of the songs I’ve written the past years happened because a student was late or didn’t show up. So the rehearsal studio would be paid for, and I was just sitting there at the piano.
The band's sound is a blend of alternative indie rock, ambient pop and elements of jazz. Who were your musical influences growing up? Who are you currently listening to?
I just said to someone the other day - I think I write rock songs and Adam and Tyler play jazz. And you know, they’re the rhythm section.
Your upcoming album, Once Again With Feeling, will be released on October 26th. What can you tell me about the inspiration behind the album and what was the recording process like? How do you feel that your music has grown over the years? How do you feel that you have grown as an artist?
We recorded bass, drums and piano a few years ago at The Institute of Audio Research in Union Square. And then I just sat with the tracks for a while, and started recording on top. Sometimes I would record vocals, or a guitar thing, and it was just this thing that went on for a few years - I always thought it was done, but never was. Sometimes I would put it away for a few months, then come back, I would mix it, and then go back and record a keyboard, or completely delete parts of songs, so it went on like that for a while. Once I finished I felt like a different person.
What can you tell me about the single, "Did You Know You're Gold"? I read that it was mostly recorded at The Institute of Audio Research in Union Square in NY, but that some of the guitars were recorded in your living room and vocals were recorded in NY, LA, Las Vegas and Wellfleet (in MA). What led to the various recording and vocal locations?
Yeah, it was like I said before. Sometimes I would pack up mics and the computer and go to Las Vegas for a few days where I have some family, or Wellfleet for a week in the summer which is actually my favorite place in the world. I would just hole myself up and record ideas, and a lot of them I kept for this song.
You were raised in San Francisco, lived in Boston for 4 years and currently reside in NYC. What drew you to NYC and what do you love and find inspiring about the city? What do you love about the NY music scene?
NYC is the best, that’s all I’ll say.
You are an assistant voice professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston. How long have you taught there?
I’ve taught at Berklee for a few years. Great school.
You have performed professionally in National Tours, Off Broadway and in major films. Can you talk a bit about your professional career, as well as some of the highlights? How did you become involved in film and theater?
So I have a line in the film “Milk.” When I saw it in the theater, everyone laughed when I said my line. I can’t repeat the line, so you have to watch the movie.
Is it difficult to balance your schedule between your teaching job and the band?
Yeah, my schedule is crazy, but fun. I really enjoy driving, so that part has been nice as I commute. I can listen to full albums on long drives.
What's next for Air For Ants?
The release date for the album is 10/26. We’re throwing a party.