Years of the Canine:
Off Ice, and Ready to Melt Your Ears!
By Shawn Sturges
“When you spend a long time in a darkened room making records it is so nice when people hear and go ‘I like that’, ‘I’m interested and want to talk to you about it’, ‘I want to hear how you made it’. For me, that’s one of the things that pushes you forward and it’s worth doing this.”- Dom Beken
Five years in the making, Years of the Canine is the collaboration between vocalist Dynamax and multi-instrumentalist/producer Dom Beken. The two met during Dom’s High Frequency Bandwidth project. High Frequency Bandwidth was a project created by Alex Paterson of The Orb and Dom Beken who was a fellow band member, simply because Dom wanted to start a Hip Hop project. Dom was interested in guest artists to feature on HFB’s album Hell, Fire and Brimstone so, Kris Needs, (iconic Rock writer and mutual friend of the two) suggested Dynamax. He and Dom got on really well with one another throughout the sessions, and they looked at each other and said, “We should figure out a way to do a lot more of this. What do you want to do?”
Dynamax followed with, “I have this idea I want to do which is this crossover between rock and rap, and you’d do real music as well as the electronic music. What do you think?” Soon after the two sat down and wrote a record.
Where do these two musicians receive their influences? Well here it is. Dynamax had the opportunity to lead Afrika Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation in Europe, and was also inducted into Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate by Afrika Islam. Dynamax stated, “Afrika Bambaataa told me basically, ‘don’t be afraid to experiment with other styles of music.’” This drove Dynamax to pull influences from the collaboration with Dom on High Frequency Bandwidth and Dom’s jazz eclectic Hip Hop vibe, which provided a huge opportunity for Dynamax to work in fusion. Dom Beken pulls his influences from Jazz and Hip Hop. His main job is as a film composer, so he writes a lot of orchestral and classical music, and infuses that with as much Jazz and Hip Hop as he can. He has also played in various bands, one of which was The Orb – pioneers of ambient house music.
When asked where the influences for Years of the Canine came from Dom followed with this-
“We were kind of looking for a way to kick start the record, and give it a feel and flavor. A group of friends of mine on the same label as us in the U.K., a label called Malicious Damage… the label originally signed and started the band called Killing Joke. They are quite a legendary rock outfit now. They sort of had a feel that we liked, so I started writing some stuff for them to play. We needed that flavor to give ourselves a direction, and that’s where tracks like “Resurrected Angel”, “No Evil”, and “Long Ride” came from, and set something of a template for what we wanted to do in terms of flavor.”
Simply put, “Years of the Canine is sort of an equilibrium of different styles of vibes”, which is Dynamax’s own personal opinion of the record.
Dom worked with punk rock band Headcount to develop the music for “Resurrected Angel”. After the initial track was created, Dom worked to balance the music and mellow out the music which made it suitable for Dynamax to lay down the vocals. Dynamax then wrote the lyrics to record in Dom’s studio Projector Room 2. The rap sections of the song were then freestyled by Dynamax. Dynamax simply stated, “I was really in love with the track.”
However, the project stalled and came to a halt due to a loss of momentum. Dynamax had this great analogy to share, “The record got frozen like Captain America in ice”. Soon, Emma Walker, the founder of Love Music Magazine, discovered the music of Years of the Canine, and absolutely fell in love. Furthermore, Dynamax got in contact with Carrie Dowd, founder of OMO Entertainment & Management, to share their music with her as well. Carrie, like Emma, also fell in love with the music, and just like that a new pair of legs attached themselves to the project.
Under Dog Nation Volume 1 was the title given to the record. Dynamax had a shear vigor, enthusiasm, and passion about him when he spoke these words, “Who wants to join the nation of underdogs? And be a part of us, and help us push this record forward. It’s all about peace, love, and unity. It’s about being a human being first and all the other things second.”
Under Dog Nation Volume 1 is set to drop in the fall of 2015. The record was recorded in the U.K. at Dom Beken’s studio Projector Room 2. Currently there are hopes to develop a tour to support the release of the album in the fall. The goal is to have two show styles with one set up being just Dynamax and Dom to provide a more intimate show atmosphere, while the second set up being that of a full band. As an avid music lover I urge all of you other music fans to check out the rock infused hip hop sound of Years of the Canine. “Resurrected Angel” is the single which was released on July 3, 2015, and soon the entire full length album will be upon us. Years of the Canine has a smooth sound with high energy that will surely not disappoint your musical ears.
I will leave everyone with this quote from Dom Beken:
“You can either be one of a million other people just being beige in a beige world, or you can try and do something that’s going to touch people, and then you stand a chance of standing out.”
- Aaron Gum – Director of video for “Resurrected Angel”
- To all the people that participated in the project
- Carrie Dowd – OMO Entertainment & Management
- Dom Beken – Multi-instrumentalist/Producer
- Guy Pratt – Pink Floyd Bassist
- Kris Needs – Iconic Rock writer
- Donald D – Dynamax’s partner in the Rhyme Syndicate
- Beatrice Davis – Sassy B Worldwide Productions, Inc.