A Stark Release in a Senseless World: An Interview with Death of Lovers

DEATH_OF_LOVERS_2017_0300Photography: Ben Rayner


Often our patience is tried in the years anticipating a band’s release, but Death of Lovers proves their craft is worth the wait. Following up to their 2014 EP, The Acrobat (released last November off Dais Records) is a remarkable album drawing forth nostalgic 80’s synthscapes yet pulses with a distinct vision and voice. Amidst a perpetually busy touring schedule with Nothing, the quartet’s small pocket of recording time for their LP  still allowed their innovation to thrive, juxtaposing polished with rawness, the grittiness of life with light at the end of the tunnel. Death of Lovers has announced three upcoming tour dates with fellow Dais labelmate, Choir Boy – January 21st at The Echo in Los Angeles, February 3rd at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn and February 4th at PhilaMOCA in Philadelphia. Ticket sales are low so you’ll want to jump on those now. You can also order The Acrobat on vinyl and CD off Dais’ website here. We snagged the chance to speak with frontman Dominic Palermo about the band’s recent release.



ANON: Congratulations on the release of your debut LP, The Acrobat! Due to the time constraints of a constant touring schedule with Nothing, how did the recording process pan out?

DP: Much appreciated — yeah, it was quite difficult finding the time to pick up anything music related in any of the small breaks between bookends of the busy Nothing schedule. Whether it be tour or recording, domestic or overseas, it’s pretty much non stop as it’s become our sole occupation. There’s always this fear of trying to write music when it seems forced or when everything in your head that helps feed creativity feels drained because it tends to be awful, so Kyle, Nick, and myself were very careful and apprehensive when trying to get this LP done. When we finally found what seemed to be the right window, it wound up being way less stressful than imagined and believe it or not, dare I say… kind of fun?


ANON: What initiated your signing with Dais Records?

DP: Gibby and myself have been like family since 2000 and I’ve always appreciated him being way around the block when it came to music and art. Connect him and Ryan’s like-minded unique ability for scouring this wretched planet for unique and beautiful music and you have Dais. I’ve only envisioned this LP being released  by the two and would only have done it as so. To be exact though, I think we solidified the idea on the phone in the winter of 2015 while i was on tour with Nothing at a gas station somewhere in Utah.


ANON: Where did the inspiration behind shooting your music video for “Orphans of the Smog” stem from?

DP: I think when sinking yourself in this particular genre, it’s easy to let yourself be portrayed in a way that doesn’t really suit your actual self. We wanted to embrace our identity as irregular as it seemed when on scale with the music. The song speaks to this as well. It’s very much about being born into a world you don’t feel related to, and the pressure it applies to make you think otherwise. So Kevin and myself figured going back to the old shit neighborhood with $80k cameras, blinding white hair, and an oversized bright blue Balenciaga breaker  in contrast with the current inhabitants would convey that awkwardness even though I was indeed born amongst it all. So we ran with that and long, almost excruciating steady, shots, walking up and down the avenue lip-syncing with everyone down there, just confused as fuck as to what’s going on. Almost like a poverty stricken Bittersweet Symphony rip.



ANON: There is a recurring theme of the baseless nature of humanity wanting or needing physical things as well as juxtaposing light with dark throughout The Acrobat. In what ways does the intangible nature of your music play with some of these ideas? And how do you strike a balance between the positive and negative aspects of your lyrics?

DP: Getting older helps. I think I’ve managed to cut down my constant swinging at shadows. You get to a point where you become comfortable enough in your situation to let it all bounce off you rather than exhaust yourself trying to deflect it all. The chaos, the humility, the agony and pain, it’s all just so unreal at times that all a sane person can do is laugh. I still have my times, as do we all, but I’m learning to keep a balance and that balance is what I believe to be [where I am] at this point. How to wake up and not wanting to hurl yourself in front of a Prius.


ANON: The Acrobat reveals elements of a lot of 80’s nostalgia yet remains distinct and modern in its sound. What recent albums have you been listening to as of late? Are there any that came as influential while recording your LP?
DP: I personally was listening to SO much Talking Heads for months prior to us writing and recording. I became obsessed with David Byrne and subsequently what Eno had brought to the table. Even though it doesn’t directly stream through into Death of Lovers or anything, it was all that was on my mind when we were writing and in  the studio. That, lots of Wang Chung, and the To Live And Die In LA soundtrack. When we finished in the studio in Oakland, I’d take the rental car and cruise San Francisco just listening to it, driving aimlessly until I felt tired.


ANON: What other plans does Death of Lovers have in store for 2018?

DP: Unfortunately not much after the release shows. It’s tough. I really would love to run with this for awhile and see how it progresses, but I do enjoy the fact that we have something special that we can keep special by not over-doing it. I’m really great at over-doing.



Trish Connelly is the Austin-based guru who does booking & promoting at Cheer Up Charlies under The Nothing Song. She’s always down to collaborate and plan an event in town. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


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