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GRAMMY BNA Q&A: DOMi & JD BECK

The first act signed to Anderson .Paak’s APESHIT JV label with Blue Note, DOMi & JD Beck—22-year-old French keyboardist DOMi Louna and Texas-born drummer Beck, who’s only 19—have forged a unique style that deftly fuses harmonic complexity and rhythmic shiftiness. The prodigies’ audacious debut album, NOT TIGHT, features collabs with Herbie Hancock, Thundercat, Mac DeMarco, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes and .Paak. The Best New Artist nominees also picked up a nom for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.


How and when did you discover that you share a common—and distinctive—musical language?
We knew right away the first time we met in January 2018. We connected immediately because we liked the same things. Musically and artistically, we had the same goals. We also had so many musical references and influences in common and learned new ones from each other. Nowadays, with the Internet, it really doesn’t matter where you’re from. Everybody has access to the same things, and we’re just glad we met each other.

How did you manage to connect with so many established musicians so quickly and seamlessly?
We ended up meeting so many musicians because we never forced it. We hate the concept of networking and trying hard for connections to happen, because it will always happen if it’s meant to be. We meet people who have the same love for music and art that we have, so it always makes sense.

Who are your musical heroes, and how have they inspired you?
We have so many heroes, but to name a few, Jaco Pastorius, Madlib, Tony Williams, Brian Wilson, Björk, Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock… Those are all artists who took risks, made different choices from what was going on at the time and weren’t scared of exploring and writing music that wasn’t “easy listening.” And they got hate for it. So what we learn from them is that no matter what people’s opinions are, you have to do your thing, be 1,000% honest with yourself and work very hard to achieve what you want to achieve.

The world views you two as overnight sensations, but JD told NME that “It’s been an insanely long journey.” What were some of the milestones on that journey?
We started the duo in 2018, so it definitely hasn’t been an “overnight sensation” for us. We had a vision, but we didn’t necessarily know how to execute it. So that’s the first milestone: practice and work every day to figure out what we were going to do. Then, we discovered the music industry, the business and all of those “fun” things. It took a while for us to decide who we were going to trust, and it’s only in November 2020 that we signed with Anderson .Paak, because we knew deeply that he had our best interests at heart, and we’re extremely thankful to call him our friend and mentor. To put it in a nutshell, it’s been a mixture of writing, deleting what we wrote, dealing with lawyers, recording, overthinking and then finally being happy with the final product.

What was your reaction when you found out you’d been nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy?
We were at soundcheck for a show in London. Our manager called us; we had no idea the Grammy nominations were being announced. When she told us that we’d been nominated for Best New Artist, we didn’t really process it and just told her we had to finish soundcheck! We’re super-grateful for the opportunity to have our names out there, and hopefully we can lead new generations to think it’s cool to heavily practice an instrument and make instrumental music and whatever they wanna do.

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