We like people called Domimic Dunn, with or without the e. But Kirkdale’s Dunn is definitely the one to watch nowadays. The 15 year old is a one-man whirlwind, setting up weekday gigs for under 18s, playing around town in venues he can’t even have a cheeky tequila in, and, this week, playing at the 2012 Paralympics. A true Renaissance man with a bruised and bourbon-tinged voice and a rucksack full of quality tunes he is, in our humble opinion, far too smart for his years. What were we doing at 15? Oh yeah, that. Far too much of that. We caught up with him before he headed down to London. And we pray he’s coming back.
What inspires you?
In general, I like influential people who can successfully get a message across. I look at people like Woody Guthrie who had nothing but managed to be the voice for loads of people. Same with the likes of John Lennon, he used his music to send a message. I like to listen to their music and think how it affected the people who listened to it. I like to read too, books inspire me a lot. I’ve just finished John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ – I couldn’t put it down and found it was really relevant to what’s happening today in many ways. I suppose thinking about it, working hard inspires me, I admire people who work hard to get to where they want to be.
When did you start writing?
I suppose that started by just putting things I wanted to say to music. I wrote my first song when I was eight, it was called ‘Momma Don’t Take My Game Away’ and I wrote it in my room after my mum had taken my Nintendo DS off me for being cheeky! Since then it’s just made sense to me to write what I’m feeling down and put some music to it.
For one so young, you have a broad and impressive musical taste – where did it come from?
My Granddad plays guitar around town but he’s never made a living from it, he just does it because he loves it. I still go and jam with him and the rest of the oldies around the pubs and play all the classics with him. I got the majority of my influences by going through my dad’s CD collection and finding obscure bands and artists and wondering what they sounded like and upon hearing them, took a liking to them and they soon became a little part of my inspiration.
Bands such as Steel Pulse, Simon and Garfunkel, Talking Heads, The Clash, Deacon Blue and The Blue Nile are only some of the names from vast variety of genres that I’ve been brought up listening to. My mum’s CD collection isn’t too bad either but the only groups and I ever took a liking to from her collection were Blondie and No Doubt.
Do you like modern music? Who, currently playing, do you rate?
Yes I do, I’ll listen to music from any era and I really rate loads of bands on the scene right now. The main ones I really like are: White Rabbits, Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes, Two Door Cinema Club, Bombay Bicycle Club, White Lies, Snow Patrol, The Killers, Paolo Nutini, Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling, I could go on for ages but they’re probably the ‘most played’ current artists on my iPod.
Is it frustrating not being able to access venues in town?
It can be frustrating, I understand that the venues are businesses and have to work within their licensing restraints but for many I’m sure they could pick a quiet afternoon during the school holidays where they could open their doors to the younger musicians and their mates/fans. That’s all we’d ask really, there are great venues like Elevator on Parliament Street and Brink on Parr Street which are more relaxed about allowing younger people in. This means that not only can young musicians perform, but we can ask our mates to come along and watch us too, which isn’t normally allowed in other venues.
Tell us how WeekdayWeekend came about
I set up WeekdayWeekend Promotions to deal exactly with the problem of underage musicians not having access to venues. I was having problems getting gigs as most venues ask that you bring a crowd in. Because my crowd are mostly my age, the venues wouldn’t allow them to come in. So I’ve played many events with just my mum and dad as my crowd, which is a bit sad really. That’s when I decided to approach the venues and ask them to allocate some time purely for underage events.
The Harbour Bar in South Road was the first place I ran my events and then I started to work with Darren Caine from The Lomax to set up underage nights in Brink on Parr St. That’s an excellent venue which is a dry bar anyway and they don’t charge to get in so young musicians can play, their mates can come in and watch them and they don’t have to sell any tickets or get involved in the whole ‘pay to play’ circuit either. The Lomax were really keen to help me out but there are aspects of their license that just won’t allow under 18s on to their premises.
What do you think of the Liverpool music scene at the moment?
I think the Liverpool scene is alive right now. I go to loads of gigs and I’m always amazed at the amount of talent we’ve got in this city. I played the Threshold Fun(d)raiser a few weeks ago and spent the whole day and night thinking exactly that, this place is just alive with talent. I’ve been involved with a film that’s coming out soon called ‘The City That Rocked The World’ which is looking at Liverpool’s music scene from the 1950s right through to the present day.
Because of the film, I’ve been learning more about the history of the city’s music scene and how it was Liverpool that caused a bit of a musical revolution back then, probably more than a bit. I think we’re about to do it again. I listen to bands like Bolshy, an amazing ska-punk band who are all around my age, Science of the Lamps, Bird and Stealing Sheep and then you’ve got people like The Hummingbirds, Clever Little Tramps, The 4.20s and Ratty Little Fingers and the adopted Scousers, Thom Morecroft and Simon Maddison from Silent Cities.
The sounds these people make just make the mainstream seem boring. Liverpool has never really waited in line to be a part of the mainstream, if the big radio stations won’t play us, we’ll find independent stations who will and we’ll make them better than the mainstream!
What’s your ambitions?
I want to work in the music industry in some way. I’m going to keep writing and performing and I intend to keep building my promotions business too. At the same time I plan to study Law. That way I can move into Entertainment Law if all else fails.
Seven words to describe yourself…
Creative, friendly, enthusiastic, organised, professional, ambitious, realistic.
feature pic: Ethan Wykes