This is Rock and Roll
An Interview with Jonas Sharpe, the Lead Singer of The White Dominos
The White Dominos played on a concert in the Akvárium Klub on 26 November. Before their gig in Hungary, Jonas Sharpe, the Danish rock and roll band’s lead singer gave some insight into their music, the process of songwriting and their future plans.
Where does your name The White Dominos come from?
Our drummer Mads and the former bass player, Casper, moved to Aarhus to look for people to play rock and roll with. They had already decided on the name before I joined the band. Some people ask us if it has any connection with some drug also called White Dominos but no one in the band knew about this drug so it’s just a name we all think it sounds kinda cool.
How did you meet?
In Aarhus Mads and Casper found Daniel and asked him to take the lead guitar part. After trying out a handful of lead singers with auditions and such, one evening I surfed on the Internet to scout a little and I saw their ads. Having sung as a classical tenor for six years the first thing I told the guys in the rehearsal room was the following: “Well, guys, I’ve never tried to sing rock before… But it can’t hurt to try, right?” After maybe a year or so Casper chose to go on a different way, and we had to look for a new bass player. Daniel had once met a cool dude in a bar, he played the bass, and that’s when Magnus came into the picture, and boom, The White Dominos was complete.
Have you played in a band before?
I’ve played many different genres as a guitarist but never anything as serious as The White Dominos. This feels right, you know. It’s a feeling of well-being.
What do you think the greatest challenge of playing in a band is?
Put your ego aside often. Listen to each other’s ideas and never stop caring about how everyone else feels. When playing in a band, you get really close to the other band members. You’re like a family, and that family has to work just right. Everyone is equal, and that’s really important to us.
Your music sounds quite universal in the sense that one cannot really tell which country you’re from. But is there something particularly Danish in your music?
I really like your question, but, unfortunately, I’m not that certain about an answer. The easiest way to find out is to maybe ask some person from England if there’s something he/she particularly hears as non-universal or a Danish sound.
Please talk a bit about the Danish music scene. Is it rather diverse or uniform compared to Norway and Sweden?
The Danish scene is very diverse, there’s something for everyone if you directly search for it. But as in any other country living the dream as a performer of any kind is really a tough road to go but unbelievably rewarding when you succeed. I don’t have so much knowledge of Sweden and Norway but I know they have some great hard rock and metal bands.
Bands tend to sing in English to reach out to a wider audience, which is — of course — understandable. Have you ever thought of singing in Danish?
I’ve grown up listening to songs in English so it feels quite natural to me to write in English. Of course, it’s a bonus that music can get out to a wider audience as well. I feel so privileged that people want to hear our music. We’ve had some amazing concerts and good times in Hungary as an example.
Please tell us about the process of songwriting.
Songwriting is such a hard topic to discuss and trust me when I say that I’ve read a lot about it in books. It is important to just sit down and give it a try, and don’t stop and walk away if nothing good comes to your mind in the first 10 minutes. Put hours into your writing and don’t just write one song at a time. I tend to have at least 5–10 songs in the making, but NOT all of them make it to your ears. Remember to record your ideas and don’t be afraid to write something bad.
You’ve said in a video that you can probably find an audience in Germany. Could you explain in more detail why you think that?
Since we did that interview The White Dominos has played in Hungary, Italy and Slovenia, and I’d like to expand with these countries as well. I really think people show so much interest in coming to live shows and that’s just a musician’s dream. So, in general, it’s just the interest people across the borders show for foreign bands, which we love very much. We also have good friends in Denmark with the same experience.
This isn’t your first time in Hungary. Do you like playing here?
We love it so much! The Hungarian people took us in with arms open wide, and we really can’t wait to return to you all.
What do you expect this time?
To expect something is so demanding, but we really hope that you, guys, are ready to party with us again and have a great time. We’re playing with our good friends, the Ozone Mama, and it’s gonna be awesome.
What are your plans for the future?
Work hard as well as grow our music and audience. We’ll definitely keep on touring and write new music. It’s what we do and it’s what can’t stop doing. Pretty neat.