It has been a few years since we chatted with one of our dearest friends, Dom Liberati, so we sat down to talk about the brand new single, “Call It In The Air”, the future of Bel Haven and more. Luckily, the Malibu-based singer/songwriter took some time to sit down with us to not only talk new music, but also his songwriting methods, new sounds and some other interesting and fun facts! We hope you enjoy the interview as much as we had talking with up and coming artist, Dom Liberati. Enjoy!
Lemonade Magazine: I think I said this the last time we chatted, but it’s been couple years since you toured with 5 Seconds of Summer and Roy English! How is everything going?
Dom Liberati: It’s been incredible! Looks like those boys are doing great too! Haha! Since then, I’ve set up my studio in gorgeous Malibu, CA, I’ve been writing and recording my new album, as well as producing and writing for other artists, Roy included! I have never felt so inspired and thankful.
LM: Great! You graced us with a brand new single, “Call It In The Air”. Tell us a bit about the new single!
DL: This song came actually came to me in an odd way. I was working on the new record, and was already a good 3-5 songs deep. I thought for sure one of those would make the first single release. But, one day I wanted to force myself to come up with some new sounds and production approach, so I forced myself to work in a different recording program. I tried to fight every initial instinct of going to my typical sounds.
The verse groove of “Call It In the Air” came first, and then the rest of the song structure. I pretty much finished it in a day or two…or so I thought. I went through about 3-5 different chorus iterations over the course of a month or two, and finally landed on what you hear. This one started as easy peasy and then got WAY tricky as time went on. We even added the ending solo in the FINAL MIX SESSION! Who does that? But, I was obsessed. I knew it was the perfect first look into the new sounds and aesthetics of the new album, and I wanted to make sure it was simple and right.
LM: You say simple, but that does not seem to be the case! Ha! You said that the single is the start of a new project. What kind of similarities and on the other side, what kind of changes should we expect from Bel Haven’s sound?
DL: Yes, “Call It In the Air” is ushering in a new level of songs. The move to Malibu inspired a common and coveted concept that I adopted as this next BEL HAVEN chapter: the Endless Summer. My most joyful memories and intense nostalgia were born in and stirred up by that dreamy summer feeling. When you’re a kid, summer is such a magical time without school or responsibilities. You feel young and free and that anything is possible. It’s a time of huge growth and excitement. That’s how I feel driving up the coast on PCH or through the mountains in Malibu. The whole sensation sparked something in me that I hadn’t felt since I was a teen. I saw it fitting that the name BEL HAVEN comes from the name of my street growing up, and translates to “beautiful landscape.”
I am trying to recreate that aesthetic with these new songs. Not that they are all happy and cheery and summery, but that they all resonate and stir up a nostalgia and hope for the future. Sonically, my two biggest focuses have been 1) to properly pay homage to the 80s sounds that inspire me heavily, and 2) trim all fat whatsoever. In the past I’ve had closer to 75-100 tracks per song. I love the big “wall of sound” approach, but less is definitely more, and I’m trying to be more effective in being much more selective about what instruments and sounds are going into the production of each song.
LM: Your previous projects where influenced by bands like M83. Who inspired you, not only on “Call It In The Air”, but for your new venture?
DL: “Call It In the Air” has a slew of influences, both old and new. Most notably, the chorus groove was heavily inspired by the popular shuffle feel in those classic Tears for Fears and Michael Jackson songs we all love, though the verse encompasses a more modern approach. There’s a manipulated vocal part that I turned into a bit of a synth pad that was inspired by a Disclosure track.
LM: We all know that a musician’s workflow is important. So for our younger readers who might be looking to start a career in music, how does your songwriting process go?
DL: This is a common question that I always feel like I’m answering wrong! To be honest, I have no set process, and I struggle with that. I have voice memos of melodies and grooves when inspiration hits that turn into full on songs. I have lyrics upon lyrics in notes in my phone that may or may not ever turn into anything. I have fully produced tracks that may or may not become released songs. I guess my process for this record has simply been: DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. I don’t always start with lyrics, and I don’t always start with the music. I guess I’m learning to let go and be lead rather than force creativity. That being said, I did adopt a sort of routine for days I dedicate to writing for the record.
1. Coffee and ocean/prayer walk.
2. Voice memo record ideas that come to me on the walk.
3. Shut off the phone and the world while working on one thing at a time.
4. Don’t force a song to be done if it’s not ready.
This worked for the first few months of this year to the point where I was cataloging more material than I could keep up with. Then, my entire workflow shifted into a night routine. I would work throughout the night instead of during the days because I felt more inspired then. My goal then just became…
1. Chip away on something one at a time. Progress is progress.
2. Create something that you’ll wake up to and smile about the next day.
LM: Those are great for inspiring creativity and keeping anxieties low. Now that Bel Haven is releasing new music. When should we expect the new album and a subsequent tour?
DL: See #4 above…haha! My goal is to release a few singles throughout the rest of this year to preview the album, and then release Endless Summer Vol. 1 early next year, with Endless Summer Vol. 2 following next summer. So, for the listener, it should just be a constant flow of new material for the next year.
In terms of a tour, that will happen in the right time. I want nothing more than to hit every city possible and perform every night. It’s a real bear economically, and making that work is key before taking off. The days of slugging it in a van have pretty much vanished in today’s industry, for better AND worse, but I know a tour is on the horizon, and I’m excited about it! In the meantime, I’ll definitely continue playing in the L.A. area and will start expanding from there.
Check out the brand new single, “Call It In The Air” by BEL HAVEN on Spotify below and do not forget to purchase the new single on iTunes now!
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