Hold onto your party hats and strap yourselves in as we take you on a Journey Through Time and welcome Domino to Harderfaster.
Domino is a living legend and pioneer, recognized as one of the world’s first female trance DJs. Deeply rooted within the scene, Domino astonished Juno Reactor’s Mike Maguire and has travelled the world playing many well-respected and established trance festivals and parties.
Journey Through Time captures the sounds of some of the most respected names within the scene including Astral Projection, Etnica, ManMadeMan, Pleiadians, Rigel, Neuromotor and Uni, while weaving into its soundscape less-known names such as Goa based producer Boombaba and UK psytrance duo Lennielazerbeam, and lacing into its fabric the harmonious balance of female artists, Astrogano, Coral, DRIVE and Tomocomo.
Hi Domino and welcome to HarderFaster. Thanks for taking time out to answer a few questions ahead of the release of your long-awaited compilation, aptly titled Journey Through Time. You’re originally from the UK, raised in Goa, and now living in Canada. How is life treating you there?
Hi HarderFaster, thanks for having me! Yes, I have been in Canada for 12 years now; it’s a nice place but not very big into psytrance and it’s a long way to travel to a gig outside of Canada.
You have an immense history with UK music culture and have been DJing since you were 18. So, let’s talk Walkmans, DAT, Eat Static and Juno Reactor. How do these connections resonate with you and what got you hooked into DJing and the psychedelic scene?
I got into music at young age and everything was on cassette tape so when I started making mixes it was on a professional Walkman. The mixing was pretty much play-and-pause as I did not have a mixer then either, then I went from cassette tape to DAT, which is digital tape.
I got into psytrance growing up in Goa, going to parties at a young age. I got a chance to play my first gig opening for GMS in Goa and remember being very nervous. By chance, Mike Maguire from Juno Reactor was at that party; he came up to me after my set and said next time you’re in the UK contact me. It was about a year after that I went back to the UK and met up with Mike; he introduced me to the rest of Juno Reactor - Ben Watkins, and Paul Jackson. Then I got asked by Juno Reactor to be their opening DJ for a tour they were doing around Europe; it was amazing!
I also got to meet Eat Static one of my favourite electronic producers, and got to hang out with them lots and did some dancing for them during their live sets, it was so much fun!
It was amazing getting to know all these artists at such a young age and collecting so much great music. I never said to myself that I wanted to be a DJ, it just kind of happened, in the sense that I was in love with electronic music and the scene. I must say, back then, being a female DJ was pretty difficult and a few times I thought to stop, but that never happened and I’m still here in the scene, 30 years later.
You’ve travelled the world and visited faraway places, playing at many amazing festivals and parties over the years, and you have a special connection with Japan. What have been your highlights and can you tell us more about the Japanese story? There must be so many stories to tell?
So many places and festivals, that’s a tough one. Giving some highlights, I would say Israel is one place I will never forget as it was amazing with great vibes and I made so many good friends. But yes, Japan is definitely one of the best places I’ve played.
I made my Japanese connection when I was in Goa. I was DJing at the Shore Bar, the place on the beach where everyone went to party at sunset, and that’s where I met Jun from Equinox. He told me to come to Japan and play for him so I did! It was wow! People were so tribal on the dance floor, and pretty much that’s where I made my name. I even had a nickname, the Japanese used to call me Psycho! The first time I played in Japan one of my favourite tracks was Psycho by Infected Mushroom. I did a few CD mixes and then my first album in Japan, collaborating with some Japanese artists and UK artists. One of the Japanese artists by the name of UNI is also on the compilation that’s coming out on SpaceWarp Records called Journey Through Time - the title comes from a track I made with UNI. I had many good times and experiences working in Japan, played a lot of gigs there, did some modelling and also did my first all-female event: all-female DJs, all-female sound engineers, all-female lighting and all-female decoration. It was a big success!
I lived in Japan for 3 years; sometimes it was kind of crazy as I would walk down the street in Tokyo with fans running up to me to get pictures or autographs.
Previously you released DJ mix compilations with Equinox (Japan) and Domino Effect with Wakyo that included your studio collaboration with UK trance pioneers ManMadeMan of the same name.
Your next compilation is out on newly established UK psychedelic label you have joined - SpaceWarp Records. Can you tell us more about this and when can we find the release hitting stores and streaming platforms?
I have put out compilations in the past, mixed CDs and an album, and I am pretty excited about this project and working with SpaceWarp Records. It has been quite a different experience putting together some killer tracks that are unique for this compilation. It’s been a hands-on experience, compiling the artists together and being involved with artwork ideas, so I’m looking forward to the release. The actual release date is 29th September, available on Bandcamp, Beatport, Juno etc. There will be a link on the label’s Linktree - https://linktr.ee/spacewarprecords with a list of stores/streaming platforms. Just click on the release.
Journey Through Time is a mix of established and less familiar names; was this an important quality and balance of yin and yang for you with this compilation?
Yes, I think it is important in this scene to give everybody a chance, as when you’re not so known as an artist it can be difficult at times and I think all of the tracks are a good combination and go well with the title.
Working with female artists and DJs has been a huge significance in your career that naturally translates into Journey Through Time, with names such as Astrogano, Coral, DRIVE and Tomocomo. They have some really nice sounds and dynamics going on. What do they mean for you being on Journey Through Time?
I am so happy to have female artists on this compilation, that is super important for me. It would be nice to do an all-female compilation but that would have taken much longer to put together. Maybe next time!
It is still difficult being a female DJ or artist in the psytrance scene and Coral, Drive, Astrogano and Tomocomo have such good sounds and are all so lovely to work with. Yay, girl power!
Over your years in the trance scene you will have seen many changes, within its dynamics. What are your views on this?
That’s a tough one as it often depends where in the world you are. Personally I think maybe it all got so big that it lost something special and also, as a DJ, it’s a lot harder as lots of organizers just book big names. In that sense, it just gets more commercial as you’re hearing the same sound and DJs.
Thank goodness there are still some smaller organizations and we still get to do retro events, which I think is kind of cool as there is so much great old-school psytrance music.
Domino, you have been involved with doing online live interviews via Instagram and hosted many well-known names on your channel. Will you be continuing with these and what plans do you have coming up in the future?
Well, yeah. I was thinking about doing interviews for a while, but then the pandemic happened which was the perfect opportunity to start the interviews. It was really fun and interesting and I got a lot of good feedback; maybe I will do more in the future as there are quite a few artists I would love to interview. Also, I am thinking about getting back into making more music; I’ve already been asked to collaborate by a few artists so let’s see what happens.
Knowledge and experience come over time, wisdom also. What words of wisdom do you have for female artists and DJs starting out in today’s world?
Always think you can do it.
Be around people that will support and elevate you.
Trust your instincts.
Know your worth.
Domino, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you, thanks so much for your time. Before we finish is there anything else you'd like to add?
It’s been a pleasure, thank you! I would like to say a big thanks to all the artists on the Journey Through Time compilation and a massive thanks to SpaceWarp Records. I’m really excited for the release, and as always, good vibes...