I was very excited to do the interview with Dominique Persi from Stolen Babies. She was very punctual, which is appreciated. Persi was calling from California. Luckily, we had our timing right in spite of the difference in time zones.
This interview was going to be recorded but due to some technical difficulties, we had to do an old-school interview. Luckily, they still make pens and paper.
How old were you when you began playing the accordion?
15, 16, 17. . . I can’t remember. I started taking lessons when I was 17. It was brief, for about a year.
How did you become interested in the accordion?
My father had one in the house. He was forced into playing it. My brother played it. He was a big influence. Since he played it first, it peaked my curiosity. I was probably about 13 when I heard my brother play.
In the band before Stolen Babies, it was more instrumental. So I didn’t bring material for vocals. The accordion was my instrument. I play the electric bass but I wasn’t going to bring it. Rani already played the bass.
There was an incentive to play the accordion around other musicians. As a vocalist, I felt connected to the accordion. It breathes, has a set of lungs. I felt connected to the way it breathes. I had a knack for the breathing.
Do you have any favorite venues?
I have a lot. We started touring frequently about two years ago. We’ve played the Palladium in Wooster, Massachusetts. We’ve played the big room and the second slot in the smaller room. It was a lot of fun. Both rooms have appeal. I like being closer to people.
Peabody’s in Cleveland, Ohio also had multiple rooms. It was dirty and smelly but I like dirty, smelly venues. The old cigarettes and old beer have the smell of a club. It’s a comforting smell to me. Peabody’s had that smell.
Do you feel like you have to work harder because you are a female in a rock band?
Not harder. There’s a difference in the way genders are looked at. I’m in a band with guys that it doesn’t matter that I’m a female. I work harder because I’m not a Sharone brother.
Females may feel like they have to make a name for themselves.
I’m not trying to make a name for myself. I’m not an icon. The female voice may be a turn off in certain genres.
If you’re not attractive or too attractive, in that way – it’s hard.
Who does your makeup when you’re on tour? </strong
I do my makeup. Eyeliner is like a pair of shoes. It’s second on the list of priorities – shoes and then eyeliner. Makeup is a huge thing. I’m not comfortable until I put on a mask. So the makeup is a layer.
I admire people who can co on stage without makeup. I’m not at that point yet.
What is your favorite Tim Burton movie?
I’m not a fan of current Tim Burton movies. Sleepy Hollow was the end of the Tim Burton fandom for me. Beetlejuice and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is a perfect movie. Tim Burton’s appeal is the comedic timing. Pacing is important.
What do you do during downtime?
I like to go hiking. There are great forests up here. I spend as much time as possible in the forest. I need that escape. I love the beach too.
Do you have any side projects?
I don’t. I write material thinking if I want to do a solo album. I’ll turn Rani’s stuff down because it’s not the right vibe.
We try to make material that will work in the band.
I want to work with my boyfriend who writes great stuff. It’s nice to have our own projects separate from each other. He is brilliant. I’m a fan of what he does musically.
I did a guest vocal on Devin Townsend’s album, Ziltoid 2. (http://universalchoir.insideoutmusic.com/)
Do you have any goals?
I’d like the Stolen Babies to be more prolific. We write but have trouble. The execution is the challenge. I’d like to do more stuff with the Stolen Babies before we end. More songs, more albums. Things that we want to do to put a period on it. I’d also like to do a concept album based on the band we were in, the Fratelli’s.
Do you have any mentors?
Not mentors. No. My boyfriend, people that I surround myself with. Rani has been a mentor since I met him. No famous idols right now. When I was a kid, Danny Elfman was but not now.
For more information, visit their website at http://stolenbabiestheband.com/. They have some great shirts in the merch section.