Please Listen To My Debut Single "Old School Radio" As You Read
My name is Dominic Ellerbee, I am 19 years old and I live in sunny Denver, Colorado. I have been playing music for the past 5 years, my primary instrument being the electric bass. My mom had me at the early age of 17, she raised me on her own for my entire life. For much of my life I was a gamer, one of my favorites being guitar hero 3. I ended up wanting to play real instruments, and had taken a liking to the electric bass. At the start of 2011 we saved up enough money for me to get one and the rest lies in the hundreds, if not thousands of hours of practice, performance, and composition. In 2013 my family and I were evicted from our apartment a few days after the new year. During this time my family initially spent our time in distant cities with family friends, relatives, and in hotels. When things got really bad we slept in our minivan. For the latter half of the year we were forced to split up and live with others. I stayed with my best friend, my sister with her god parents in Colorado Springs, and my mom took the worst of it and slept in the van every night. When 2014 came, my family and I finally made it into a decent place. Things were amazing here for a time. News coverage here:
Though things like power, food, and water water were difficult to attain, we didn't mind much though because we had a roof over our head, and I had my instruments. We managed to scrape up enough money to attend the Berklee College of Music's 5 week summer program so I could enhance my learning and settle on the college I would go to. When I began my senior year of high school I began work on my first musical, I had been in all of the musicals and plays throughout all of high school and wanted to write my own before i left. I finished the script at the end of November, and all of the music and lyrics by January. Once finished I auditioned the cast, directed and rehearsed them 4-5 days a week, choreographed all dances, and towards the end rehearsed, conducted, and played bass/guitar in the orchestra. This was one of the best times of my life as I had also been given a scholarship to my dream school. My story was featured on The Ellen Show, NPR, and Local News.
Every high point is followed by a low point though, and when I left for school I left on June 1st as I had to secure my own apartment before school started. Long story short I wound up working at a pizza place in Quincy, MA and going to school in Boston 5 days a week. I maintained a decent level of stability, I was self-sufficient, so much so I would often send money back home to my mom to help with whatever she needed. I passed all of my classes my first semester with flying colors and went back home in late December. Things went south from here. I lost my job, my girlfriend, and many close friends who I had missed while I was away. On top of all this, when I returned to Boston I was greeted with the news that I did not have enough funds to attend my second semester. I tried to raise money as best I could, going so far as to make a video of my playing and asking for support from friends and family.
This was met with little success, the money that was donated by my generous friends and family went towards my safe return and transport of all of my belongings. When I got back home I was in a state of deep depression. Over the course of about a month I picked myself up out of it, I got a job and lived life again. I got my old band back together and played a few shows, we were supposed to move to Boston together but all plans fell through at the start of July. I lost my band members, and with them my best friends. During this time the power and hot water were shut off at my house for a month, I had to fix the breaks in my car, and other things that you just can't plan for. Everything seemed to be toppling down again. I was hurt, but determined. I saved up enough money to book studio time at one of the best studios in Colorado (The Spot Studios) and began work on my album.
Now before I go any further I want to get something off of my chest. I am not seeking pity, nor am I seeking sympathy for what I have been through. I know there millions of people who have it worse. Everyone has their own story, their own trials and tribulations, their own personal struggles. I don't think it fair to compare any one person's personal experience and hardships to anyone else. But, one thing that I bring to the table is positivity, drive, and ambition to my ultimate goal. I have worked so hard to keep my head up, to let nothing stop me, let nothing hold me back from what I want to do. This past September I lost my job and I haven't been able to find a new one. But I am 19, and I have so much to offer. I have over 250 completed compositions, hundreds more if you include drafts and ideas. I have a definite ear for music of all genres, I am jazz/classical trained and I have expertise in thrash metal, indie rock, and hip hop. I can play over a dozen instruments fluently, and I have a hyper-advanced knowledge of music theory. It was over this past month that I realized that I can't waste my life away anymore. I have an entire 15 track album ready to go right now. Not just that, but dozens more. I am overflowing with ideas, solutions, and topics to talk about and write about in many ways. I'm not here on this Earth to make coffee, or manage a pizza place, I am here to make music.
Here It Is Again, My Debut Studio Single "Old School Radio"!!
Please keep in mind that when I recorded this, all parts including drums, 2 guitars, bass, vocals, harmonies, and lyrics were all written and performed by me. As I said before I used to have a band, but when they left me I was determined more than ever to get things done. I reinvented my sound, my brand, and my music. I promise you, I am so much more than just a songwriter, more than a musician, I have so much to offer in terms of writing, art, and ideas.
About The Album "The Party"
When I say I have so much more to offer than just music I really mean it. I am a huge fan of comic books and superheroes, my whole life I have idolized spider-man and batman. The Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy were some of my favorite movies until the Marvel Cinematic Universe was launched. For those of you that may not know, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU for short) is a collection of movies and TV shows that tell a larger story, they are all interconnected in one way or another and each movie affects the outcomes of the next. They all eventually come together in mega hits like "The Avengers" (2012) or "Captain America:Civil War" (2016) and will continue to go on until at least 2019 with more movies each year. I think this idea is absolutely brilliant, and I wanted to apply it to musical storytelling. Music is a story telling platform that I think has been thoroughly explored through the ages, but some corners lie hidden still. I thought to myself "Wouldn't it be cool to create my own universe but through music?" and so I began drafting up ideas, writing short stories, enlisting the help of a friend to begin work on preliminary art. What I eventually settled on was what I am calling the "Stella Nova-Verse" set in a retro-futuristic setting inspired by 90s street art and video games like "Mass Effect" and movies like "Interstellar". I think this is the logical next step in musical storytelling. We used to express stories through Operas and Musicals, then through folk songs, then through a plethora of genres that span the wide range of emotions we have. In more recent years, the "Concept Album" has been more frequently utilized. Albums like "To Pimp A Butterfly" (2015) by Kendrick Lamar tell a story with an over-arching theme to it all. "Lemonade" (2016) by Beyoncé also tells a story with an over-arching theme. But I aim to go one step further, to tell a story on an album, but expand it and give it more depth with supplemental material. So far we have comics and graphic novels on the table, concept art, short film, short stories, and perhaps even a full length feature film as well. All set in this newly developed world, that might just be the next step in musical storytelling.
Abuse both emotional and physical is something that I think hasn't been talked about enough in our society today. Every single day there are millions of people from all walks of life who get abused everyday. Things like "hook-up culture" and poverty, racism, gender equality, and death are all things that we people deal with or hear about every day. Some music reflects this, but most chart topping music ignores it, and there are very few celebrity advocates for it as well. I want to go through track by track and give you an outline of what this album, and each song will be about.
Most Queens Keep Their Heads
Boy meets girl at a party, girl has abusive boyfriend, boy thinks girl should be treated like a queen, girl wants to but manipulation and lies keep her from finding new love, boy uses drugs/alcohol to cope with issues, party ends, they leave together
Boy and girl spend evening together, they find safety in each other, find real feelings in one another, open up to each other
Girl tells story of Cocaine addicted boyfriend, explains manipulation, lies, hurt, and abuse
In Her Prime
Boy tells girl she is worth so much more than this, explains she is "In Her Prime" and she can do anything she sets her mind to, and that he will support her every step of the way, girl rouses courage to split with boyfriend and find ways to love herself and put her happiness first
The Age Of Last Night
Time passes as boy and girl become great friends, start "hooking-up" and develop more feelings for each other, commentary on "hook-up" culture as a whole
Boy asks girl why they cannot date, girl says because she is afraid of falling in love again, and being hurt the same way again, boy states he would never ever hurt her intentionally and that he means every word he says, girl opens up further at another party
Alcohol And The Butterfly
Girl explains what happened to her in more detail, explains anxiety, PTSD as a product of rape, and more problems that she deals with on a daily basis, boy responds with understanding, care and guidance, explains that he uses alcohol and drugs to cope with his problems, girl explains boy doesn't have to, and can find peace in music and nature
Most Queens II (Working Title)
Boy and girl give love a chance and enjoy the rest of the night, find safety in each other and grow as people
What it's like falling in love in the city of Denver, CO and explaining the poverty faced, the racism, general issues with the country and people as a whole, general commentary on the state of the world today
Old School Radio
Boy and girl have to leave each other, start long distance relationship, explain that it won't be so bad, listen to music on radio
Now I don't want to give the ending of this story away but I am going to include the track list and the general message from here on
The After Party
What long distance is like, what leaving home is like, growing up
Color In Black And White
Seeing someone for more than they appear to be, reading between the lines in every situation and nostalgia
What life is like in dreams
Most Queens III (Working Title)
Reflections on the past
Moving on from what you knew before, saying that just because something was bad before, doesn't mean you should condemn it, always give everything, but not everyone, a second chance, what life is like after we die and the aftermath
The Moral of the story is that though things may get hard, whether it be in a relationship, at work, with kids, with things in general, never ever condemn something and always give things another chance. The characters all have names, and stories but that will be explained in the songs, remember I am at a very early stage in the development of this all but I do have a plan, and I do have it documented and mapped out.
The Music industry Today
I have done my fair share of listening and analyzing music that tops the charts on a weekly basis. I do this in order to have my music stay relevant and fit become more than just a few songs by an indie artist. "Trap" music is one of the most popular and successful genres in the music industry today, Now, I'm not trying to combine trap with indie rock, and pop music, there are different genres for different moods. I am trying to apply principles of new and successful music to my own. Not in a formulaic cookie cutter way either. I have made each of my songs unique, and I take inspiration from everything both past and present that has achieved major success.
The Science Of The Trap Beat
Most popular contemporary western music revolves around the downbeat on the 1st and 3rd counts, and upbeats on the 2nd and 4th counts. Trap music flips this around and puts the downbeat on the 1st count, an upbeat on the 3rd, and partial upbeats on the 2nd and 4th count. "Minnesota Remix" by Lil Yachty is a fundamental example of this rhythm, if you skip to about 14 seconds you can hear the beat in action. Now, take a listen to "Old School Radio" one more time and listen in on the drums.
Notice the down beat during the verse is on the 1st count, the snare is on the 3rd count, and the alternate upbeats are punctuated on the ride cymbal on the 2nd and 4th count. Most of the songs on "The Party" follow this example, I have found several new and unique ways to implement this into each of the songs that use this beat. I believe it helps maintain some form of relevance in today's music scene.
The Evolution Of Guitar Music
In the 20th century guitar found it's home in jazz music, eventually leading to rock n' roll which evolved into metal, then heavy metal. Pop music began to dominate the charts, and people thought guitar was dying, until the rise of Grunge in the 1990s. Once again the turn of the century was met with skepticism as to what would be the future of popular guitar music, and with the introduction and accessibility of computers would lead to electronic music. The Strokes in 2001 were one of the pioneering bands that breathed new life into guitar music and paved the way for The Killers and The Arctic Monkeys. Now, in 2016 guitar music is in the backseat of the music industry. The most popular new bands today Wolf Alice and Nothing But Thieves. Most guitar oriented music is given to us by old bands that are either stuck in their sound, or not evolving. I'm not saying any music is bad or good. What I am saying is that it is time for guitar music to evolve once more, apply it in a new way and rediscover the instrument, with application of old and new techniques I feel as though guitar still has a place at the top of the charts.
Campaign launches alongside "Old School Radio" debut.
Campaign ends, if successful recording of the album will begin likely not stop for several months.
April 5th, 2016:
Album release date, early access given to any donors of $500 or more
It is very very important that I specify to you all that the goal I set of $3,500 is only but a fraction of what I need for the album. That amount is what I need for a finished EP so that I can send that around and see about getting signed to a label that would assist in the further recording, but as I have said before, I have this entire thing ready to go right now.
It Breaks Down Like This:
$1,000 Per Song Including Recording, Mixing, And Mastering
$250-$500 For Physical CD Printing And Distribution
$100-$350 For Licensing And Copywright
Again, I want to emphasize this. If I don't raise at least 14,000 I will be unable to record the full album, replace "Album" incentives with "EP" instead. I chose $3,500 because I feel as though this is achievable, I don't have a massive fan base or a rich family. It's hard for people to really hear my music when I have never had a permanent lineup of musicians with a solid rehearsal schedule, since this is my first studio single it is the first proper representation of what my music should and can sound like. I am willing to almost sell my entire life for this album. I believe in it with all of my heart, all I want right now is to get myself and my family out of the current living conditions we are in. My mom works incredibly hard, and my sister is incredibly bright, talented, and goal oriented just like myself. If there is anything you can do to help, whether it be sharing this with your friends, spreading the word, or donating yourself, please, any and all help is welcome.
About The Studio
The Spot Studios is the home of Producers Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop. The duo has over 30 years of production and engineering experience between the two of them and take pride in delivering polished radio ready productions in a variety of styles and genres. The Spot itself is a 7800 square foot house that has been converted into a studio with some great acoustic spaces and an artist apartment that's included when the studio is booked. The primary live room, The Cathedral, has stone floors, brick walls, and 25 ft vaulted ceilings and sounds amazing. The Spot also offers a wide range of gear and instruments so tones and flavors are never an issue.
In early August I received an email from Glenn telling me he likes my sound and was asking if I was interested in a tour, I replied fairly soon and took a bus a few days later for a tour. When I arrived I was enamored with the place, not only was the building itself beautiful but so was the land and the view it was on. When I walked inside I was given a very in depth tour on all of the facilities and tools that would soon be at my disposal. From any pedal I wanted on almost every great amp model there is, to numerous guitars and basses, to the most beautiful sounding drum kit I have ever heard in my life. Rich and Glenn have a very cool setup, and they basically complete each other in terms of their audio engineering abilities. What one lacks the other excels in. I was almost sold but I needed to hear how they mixed and mastered their finished tracks. Glenn showed me several bands and artists, and the quality of their work is incredible. I was sold. When I recorded they were very dilligent about getting just the right tone and sound out of every instrument, and they were also honest, direct, and very helpful. They helped me with harmonies and balancing instrumentation, and they are all around super cool guys. For the price they charge, and for the quality of the work they put out, they are the best recording studio in all of Colorado. Take a listen to some of their work here.
About The Graphic Designer
"I’m Travis Ybarra, a young content creator a year out of high school. I’m an avid PC Gamer and live primarily off of cartooning Commissions. I’ve been drawing since before I could walk and I hope that one day it’ll show."
Travis and I met in high school, we didn't talk or interact much until late in my senior year. I had always had a far away connection with him knowing that he too was an avid gamer and all around cool guy. I figured I would contact him and ask if he knew anything about graphic design, in that regard pixel art for my "8 bit" promotional countdown campaign. He was awesome and super kind about he sent me a sketch and I was blown away, the sketch eventually was refined and became the final draft. I used it for the entirety of my promotional campaign.
When it came time to make art for the single he helped me also. (You saw earlier in the "Old School Radio" single art.) One thing I would like to point out is his work ethic, he stayed up with me until 5:30 in the morning the night before I launched this campaign working on the single art, knowing how important it is to me, and to him. He helped me get my ideas drawn on paper, onto the screen and in a refined image.
As graphic designer Travis will aid in getting drawn pictures done by myself, and my sister onto a computer and we can begin the design process. Drafting up panels for the comic and graphic novel, starting character design and art, it will be quite the adventure.
About The Concept Artist
My sister has been drawing and sketching things most of her life, at only 15 she boasts some of the most impressive work I have ever seen. She is particularly talented at drawing people and things but is expanding her reign to environments and entire scenes. Almost all of the art, panels, and visual stories will be drawn out and sketched by her.
All In All
If you've made it this far in reading everything I salute you, I know I write a lot but none of it is without purpose. This is my all or nothing campaign, this is my dream. This album is my ticket to a better life, and you can help me get there. People who know me know I don't normally ask for help from anybody, but when the circumstances are as dire as they are right now I figure I should ask. The timing just seems right, and I am putting my all in this campaign, and I work hard everyday. If I am still unsuccessful, I'll continue to push, and work even harder than I am now. I am doing this alone, but I know there are good people out there who can help me succeed.
If there is anything more I can do for you, or anything more you'd like to know about me please let me know. I am open to any and all suggestions, comments, questions, and concerns. Thank you all so much and have an amazing day!!
Risks and challenges
A major risk is that my music is unpopular or unsuccessful. Though myself as well as many others fully believe in it, no one knows if it will be loved universally. Thus is the choice you have to make when donating, art is subjective. Perhaps my ideas are horrible, perhaps the expanded universe will not be as interesting or captivating as I had thought. You never know with the music industry, but there are a plethora of people who believe in me, and I believe with your help, I can get this to a higher platform.
There is also the risk that the donations will not cover the cost of the full album, as I said before my eventual goal is $14,000 but my achievable goal is $3,500. If I only hit my achievable goal I will have to go through my incentives and change everything that says "Full album" to "EP" and only release 5 studio quality songs. I do believe however, that we will overfund this and have the capability to do a full album, who knows, maybe we could even fund my second album as well. That one is ready to go too!!