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Articles Home » Music Talk » Wicked Garden - Discussing Post Dystopian Leisure Music With Dominick Muzio By Nina McCarthy
Wicked Garden - Discussing Post Dystopian Leisure Music With Dominick Muzio By Nina McCarthy

Wicked Garden

Discussing Post Dystopian Leisure Music With Dominick Muzio

By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio


 

Wicked Garden is a powerful alternative rock band hailing out of Las Vegas, NV.  The line up of Dominick Muzio on lead vocals and guitars, Shawn Trojahn as lead guitarist, Troy Spriggs on bass and vocals, and Jay Dardano on the drums 

In my previous interview with Dominick, we went into depth about the band and the new full length album. Read the previous interview here:

http://bostonrockradio.com/forum3/articles.php?article_id=470 

 

BRR: It’s been six months since we last talked and I was introduced to Wicked Garden when you released the EP Already Gone, which included three songs that are on your full length album Post Dystopian Leisure Music Now I know there was digital released date of April 12 for the full length, but it won’t be available in stores until June 21st?  Am I correct in saying that?

DM: Yes, June 21st in North and South America, and I think it is June 14th in Europe and Asia.

 

BRR: Why did you decide to do the release that way?

DM: (laughing) The CDs got lost in customs. It was supposed to be a full release date on April 12 and then something happened that was beyond my understanding, but the CDs got lost in transit after they came over from the printing house and they were just gone and nobody knew where they were. For six weeks we were like, “Where did our CDs go?”  They finally started showing up last week at the distributors, so that’s why we had to wait. It was a little unusual doing it that way.

 

BRR: That makes sense now. I was a little confused on the release date because I thought it was released In April. What has been the response so far from those that have heard the full length?

DM: It’s been really good. It’s been selling better than we expected. The only real numbers we can get are from iTunes, because they report in real time, so it’s doing well there. As far as what is happening on Amazon and other digital platforms, we’ll have to wait for reports to come in. I assume that if it is doing well on iTunes, it is probably doing well in other places. As far as streaming goes, it has been streamed 100,000 times already on Spotify (as of the time of this interview at the end of May). We didn’t really expect that. iTunes has been picking up lately too. It’s weird because we’ll have a week where we’ll have like 30-40 streams in a week and then they’ll be hundreds of streams a day for one song, called “Stained,” all over the world. We were trying to pinpoint how that happened, but it’s hard to narrow it down, but it probably got added to some playlist or something along those lines, because we were wondering why someone in Poland was listening to the song all of a sudden.  

 

BRR: What do you think makes that particular song special?

DM: I have to be honest with you, I don’t know. Every song to me is special and it was not a song that we thought would be a single but it just kind of took off on that platform. On Spotify it streams as much as about everything else, a few thousand times a week. On iTunes, it just went nuts and we’re still trying to figure out why. There is so much information these days to track than there was 20 years ago, but it doesn’t mean I understand it.

 

BRR: You’ll be having a CD release party locally in Las Vegas, correct?

DM: Yes, we have a show July 6 at a place called the Gold Mine out here, so we are going to make that our release party.

 

BRR: One reason I love the music is because you guys don’t try to fit in, you just do things your own way and dare to be different. With that being said, this album certainly has something for everyone with a crossover of genres. Can you explain this a little further to our readers?

DM:  It’s all in the rock vein, obviously, but there definitely some sub genres; there’s some grunge on there and some poppy punk, there's some metal. I’d like to say that it wasn’t done intentionally, but it kind of was in a way. Shawn is a big component of that. When we were writing the record he said that every song should have its own life. If we had any bone of contention while making this record, that was mine. I thought everything needed to kind of fit into a certain pocket otherwise people wouldn’t know what to make of us. In the end, Shawn was right. It shows that we can be a little eclectic but still fit into that mold. So, hopefully it is easier to reach different audiences where if you like more of a Black Sabbath metal sound then “Second Hand” is probably the song you are going to like. If you like more of a poppy punk sound then “Ask Me If I Care” is probably going to be your favorite. So it kind of worked out well that way.

 

BRR: It’s definitely a way to reach a broader audience. Now, in our last interview we discussed a couple of the songs. “No Fear” and “Ask Me If I Care” are two that are new to me. Tell me a little about them.

DM: “No Fear” was the first song that Shawn showed me that he came up with when we started writing original stuff and I loved it instantly. When he played it to me I said, “That’s incredible. We have to work on that.” We called it “Skank” at first because it was funk and it reminded me of old Soundgarden. As far as the lyrics go, I wrote the lyrics literally on the spot in the studio when we were rehearsing it and it turned out to be about my son. My son is on the Autism spectrum and it’s basically about how he has come a long way. People wouldn’t give him a chance when he was younger. He’s 18 now, but when he was born, Autism was just getting to the forefront and they didn’t know what it was and they told me he’d never be “normal.” Now he’s a YouTube star and writing music  and he filmed our video, so he defeated everybody’s expectations.  “Ask Me If I Care” was written the day Pat DiNizio from The Smithereens passed away. I love The Smithereens. They are one of my favorite bands.  I never got to see them live, unfortunately, so I decided to write a song since he was in that band and I was a big fan. This was the only song that I actually sat down to write something specific. Lyrically, it is about people who claim to be something they are not; people that say they can help you but then leave you in the dust, which happens a lot in this business. The irony of that song is that Dave Tedder, who is our A&R guy, worked with The Smithereens when they were signed for Enigma Records. It’s complete irony because that song was written well before I knew Dave, so what are the odds of that? It’s funny because when Dave heard that song for the first time he said to me, “That sounds like The Smithereens!”  “Second Hand” is the first song that was written by the entire band at one time, it completely came together organically with everyone in the studio, which is not common for us. I tend to write things by myself. I am not a very good collaborator. I can admit that in my older age now. If you come to me with something, I am happy to work on it with you. Shawn and I have that type of relationship where he writes a riff and I put words to it and it works out good. I can’t bring my stuff and say, “Here, work with this.” It’s not how I operate. I write the entire song: the lyrics, the bass, the drums, the melody...it’s all in my head. “Second Hand” was cool because Troy just started playing the bass riff and we just started jamming on it, and then Shawn came up with chorus. Jay, as a drummer is really incredible, but he also has a really good sense of arranging stuff, so he came up with the whole middle part, and not being a guitar player, he just verbalized what he thought should be done. So, that was really cool doing that whole collaboration as a band together. It’s funny because they guy that engineered the record, Ron Corso, was talking about that song and he mentioned a song I had never heard before and I asked him who it was and he said, “Black Sabbath.” I told him I didn’t listen to Black Sabbath and he told me Wicked Garden was 3 minutes away from being them with that song. “How Do You Sleep,” which we call Shawn’s opus or his Bohemian Rhapsody, and which I wrote the vocals for, is just about the unsettled society we live in these days where everybody is so quick to go off the deep end for no reason. So, every song has a story behind it that I can tell you, or say that happened by mistake.

 

BRR: I enjoyed watching the video filmed for “Already Gone.” It’s stated that it is a throwback to the days when people would discover new music at the local record store. Can you relate the story told for those who haven’t seen it yet? 

DM: That’s basically how to record a video with no budget. The original concept of the video I came up with was very similar to what you see. There was another idea where tons of people would come into that store and listen to that song. Unfortunately though, that is a real record store (11th Street Records in Las Vegas). In the back, where we are playing in the video, is National Southwestern Recording and that’s where we recorded the album. We did it there for two reasons: 1) because we felt the whole feel of that album belongs in that studio and 2) We wanted to give back to Ron and the staff there because they were so awesome to us let us do this record. We basically rented the place out for two hours before they opened on St. Patrick’s Day. We brought in my son, who you can see as the engineer playing with the buttons, and the girl in the video is my daughter, Mia. My son Nicholas and my fiance shot the video on their cameras. We kind of did an hour in the front of the store shooting all of Mia’s parts and then a couple hours of us in the back just playing the song over and over again until we never wanted to hear that song again. My son, who I said is just a wizard with stuff, sat down and edited the whole thing in 3-4 hours. The final cut that you see is the second cut. He did the first cut and I asked for 3 changes and he did it in 45 minutes. We had asked professionals what they would charge to do it and it was thousands of dollars and a full week turn around.

 

BRR: That’s amazing and very helpful that he has that skill.

DM: Not only did he do the video, but he designed the album cover as well. The actual photo was shot by Shawn’s wife Jennier, who is a photographer, and Nicky went into his room and picked up PhotoShop and next thing we knew, we had an album cover. We kept a lot of it in the family.

  

 

BRR: You can’t beat that! I’ve seen expensive ones done and you probably can’t tell much difference between them. It’s good quality.

DM: Not to be too heady on it, but it’s the same concept as if a cheap guitar is better than and expensive guitar. You can make a million reasons why it’s true, but in reality, if you know how to play, you can play either one. When it comes to a video, you need a good idea, equipment to do what you need to do, and someone to put it together.  We didn’t want to do a typical Vegas video on the Strip, gambling, or in a stip club. Somebody had the idea of setting a house on fire, but where were we going to get a house to burn down? Shooting it in black and white also added the realism to it in a way. It kind of added that throwback feel to it. Shopping in a record store wasn’t that big of a deal 20 years ago like it is now. I think as a first time director, I did OK. (laughs)

 

BRR: And there’s a nod to the stealing of music at the end of the video too, as she grabs it and runs.

DM: That was always the plan that she was going to steal it in the end. The original idea was all these kids coming into the store and listening to it and by the end of the video and they all loved it. Then the band comes out of the back room and sees them and says, “Hey, we’re the band” and everyone sees them and walks out. We couldn’t really pull that off so we had her steal the album. In hindsight, it shows what music has become, ”I like this and I’m just going to take it. She actually would have bought it, but everything was sold out and she couldn’t wait anymore.

 

BRR: Or the rest were still lost in customs.

DM: Kids these days are so used to everything being digital and they don’t even know what linear notes are. Linear notes are such a big thing to me. I remember when I first made a record and saw my name in print and that was a huge deal for me. When the CDs came in, I opened one up and showed Nicholas his name for being given credit for the artwork and he had that same look in his face. If you look on Spotify and iTunes and click on credits, it shows you the producer and songwriter and that’s it. They don’t tell you the million of other people that busted their ass behind the scenes.

 

BRR: And you can even get the lyrics online now too. What are you tour plans now that this album has been released?

DM: There is a fine line between tour plans and what is going to actually happen. It is hard to book a tour these days as a newer band. It’s not like it used to be. The main plan that we are trying right now is to set up weekend swingouts, a weekend in California, come back, then a weekend in Utah, a weekend in Arizona, and do that. It kind of keeps the cost down. I know we are talking to the guys in Baker's Dozen to see if we can do something together, because they are good friends of ours. That would be a fun thing to do. We do have some feelers out with more established artists too, letting them know we are available if they need an opener, but the deal has to be feasible. There’s four guys in this band that have families and mortgages. We can’t go out for six weeks for $100.

 

BRR: Exactly, you have full time jobs too. I’ll be on the lookout and I know you will let me know if you guys are coming out East. I’ve taken up enough of your time so in conclusion, what’s next for Wicked Garden? 

DM: Believe it or not, the second record is almost completely written at this point. For this summer, playing local shows and hopefully pick up some tours. There is going to be another video in a couple weeks. “Stained” will be the next single released. So we’ll just keep going out to play, do more interviews such as this, and hope people buy the album and if we’re lucky enough, we’ll do another one next year.

 

BRR: Good luck and I’ll keep my eyes open.

DM: We really appreciate the interview and people who work hard behind the scenes at radio stations and blog writers. It’s awesome, so thank you.

 

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