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Exclusive Interview with DoM: Mashup Creator, featuring “A Forest for Lazarus”

When I posted the mashup of “Suffragette City” and Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” last April, I wrote that I knew nothing about the artist who took the two songs and made an new, third song out of some of their elements. But I was impressed — “the marriage between words and music is perfect to the point that it’s slightly disturbing,” I wrote.

Little did I expect that the artist, DoM would come across my post and send me a message. Thus began a text exchange that led to the following interview, a first for this blog.

But before we get to that, DoM is French and posts his mashups and covers on various platforms including his own YouTube Channel, which you can link to here.

“A Forest for Lazarus,” comes with a mashup video. The video itself was produced by Minor Arth, another French mashups producer. The visual elements, like the song, seems like the combined elements were always supposed to be part of a unified whole. Its worth watching, not just hearing.

I played the video for someone with limited familiarity with both The Cure’s “A Forest” and Bowie’s “Lazarus,” and her reaction was that “it sounds like that’s how its supposed to sound.” DoM’s mashups sound like original, coherent songs.

I was interested in how DoM selected songs to combine, how he made his art, and who is his audience. This is what he had to say:

Q. What’s your creative process when combining two distinct tracks, like “Lazarus” and “A Forest”?

A. Most of the time I start with the instrumental, on which I try to sing the melody of another song. If it works in my head, then I try to produce the mashup.

Q. How do you choose which songs to mash up, and what criteria do you consider when making those selections?

A. I have to like both songs, I couldn’t do a mashup with songs I don’t like. Then there are technical criteria. The two (or three) songs must be in the same key, or a close key. If I pitch a track to raise (or lower) the tone by more than one tone, it significantly impoverishes the sound quality.

Q. In combining elements of two songs you are creating a new song- does that song have new meaning? What are you trying to say with, for example “A Forest for Lazarus?”

A. I’m not trying to say anything, just to have fun remaking a new song from several others..For “A forest for Lazarus”, it was easy because the connection between Bowie and Cure is obvious. However, I often mix very different styles, sometimes the results are very interesting, sometimes it is not harmonious and homogeneous (in which case I let it go).

Q. What is more essential to a song- the music or lyrics?

A. For me the main thing is the music. English is not my mother tongue, so I don’t always understand the meaning of the words. And even for my mashups in French language, I’m more interested in the melody of the vocals, in the sound of the words than in their meaning.

Q . Have you heard from any of the original artists? What do they think of what you do?

A. I have received some feedback from about ten artists (Chris Frantz from Talking Heads, Youth from Killing Joke to name the best known), each time the comments are positive, even very laudatory. On the other hand, some fans don’t like people touching their idol and consider mashups to be sacrilege, are not at all happy and tell me so. But I understand and I don’t blame them: I know mashups are a very particular genre, and you can’t please everyone…

Q. Who is your audience? How do they access your songs?

A. The producers of mashups (called “bootleggers”) actually have a limited audience: the mashups being unofficial, they can’t be burned on disk or put online on Spotify… People have access to my mashups through YouTube, Facebook, X, TikTok, remix.audio (a site specializing in mashups), or… bloggers. My audience is essentially made up of people between 45 and 64 years old, this which is normal considering the artists I mix. (I myself am 58 years old). But I have younger bootlegger friends who use more recent songs and therefore reach a younger audience.

Q. What else do you want to tell readers of my blog about you, your work and how they can hear more of your mashups and covers?

A. I want to tell the readers of your blog that they continue to go to your blog, to introduce it to their friends, because you are passionate, curious and open, and your work deserves support. I’m a big Bowie fan myself and I discovered a lot of things on it. And for your readers who would like to discover more of my mashups, I recommend my YT channel: https://www.youtube.com/@DoMmashupscovers/videos
or/and my fb profil https://www.facebook.com/DoM.mashupscovers

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