Beyond the Record
Music news, album reviews & interviews
Beyond the Record: Welcome! Tell us a little bit about
when Off the Dome was formed and how things came to
Off the Dome: Greetings! John Spignesi here, Lead
Guitarist & Backing Vocalist of Off the Dome. We all
actually met back in 2009 when we attended college
together in New Haven. We had a few jam sessions, but
nothing really came of it. Robert Engengro
(Drums/Backing Vocals) actually started on a briefcase,
because he didn’t have a drum set at the time. Our jam
sessions took place in the gazebo outside of our dorm
building. Usually it was Rob, Zack Borgstedt, (Lead
Vocals/Guitar) and myself leading the way. Right
before Rob transferred out of college in 2011, he told
me that he was “going to buy a legit drum set one day
and we were going to form a band.” Zack and I simply
laughed it off, but in a little less than a year he proved
his word! Zack eventually ended up transferring out
too, into a local community college. There he met
Aaron Stapleton (Bass/Backing Vocals) who just so
happened to be wandering the halls that day. The rest,
as they say, is history.
BtR: The group formed in 2012 without a lineup change.
Considering how most bands break up after the first few
shows, tell us, what plays a role in making you guys stick
together? What advice would you give to a fan that wants
to start their own band?
Off the Dome: I think what makes us so tight is that we
were all friends first. We try to remind ourselves of
that daily. It’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of
trying to run a business, as it is literally a 24-7 job. It’s
very easy to get frustrated with certain aspects of it.
But at the end of the day, if you’re not having fun with
it, you’re not doing it for the right reason. We all work
day-jobs (for now) and this is our way to de-stress! The
best advice I can give to someone wanting to start a
band is to do it for the right reason. Do it because you
love music. Do it because you want to tell stories. If
those are your main reasons for doing it, then
everything else will follow suit.
BtR: You guys have had a lot of success. Exactly what
successes have you experienced? Go in great detail! I've
heard there are quite a few.
Off the Dome: We’re always trying to work towards the
“next big thing,” whether that is playing a new festival,
working on a new album, whatever! Some of our
milestones that we’ve reached as a group are playing
Toad’s Place to a huge crowd on New Year’s Eve 2016.
That was killer! We’ve also performed at numerous
festivals alongside some great musicians, and played
some killer venues along the way. Our following in
Boston is strong, so we’re always heading up that way
and performing to big crowds up there. Furthermore,
Zack and myself recently had the honor of performing
on acoustic alongside Mark Mercier, the keyboardist
for legendary New England Jam Band, “Max Creek.”
We grew up listening to those guys, so to be standing
next to a member onstage is truly an honor.
BtR: Considering how often you guys tour, how do things
not get 'stale'?
Off the Dome: Our live shows are never the same, ever.
We don’t make set-lists. We simply play “Off the
Dome!” See what I did there?
We play entirely off the crowd and adapt to what kind
of vibe the room is giving off. Because of that, our sets
vary drastically each night. We improvise constantly on
stage, taking songs in new directions each time. We all
come from different backgrounds of music, so it’s
interesting to see where they go. If you recorded us
playing the same ten songs for five nights in a row, they
would sound different every time.
BtR: Being in a band is like running a business. There are
ups and downs. Take us through some low moments in
your life that you have overcome. What hardships has the
band been through since its formation in 2012?
Off the Dome: You’re absolutely right. It’s never easy.
We’ve had moments where we have felt like we weren’t
doing enough. We’ve had nights where we felt like
nothing was going right, and it’s tough. You feel like
you’ve laid it all on the line and got nothing in return.
Thankfully those moments are few and far between
these days. Over time, we’ve realized that as long as you
give it your all, that’s all people want. They want to feel
like you’re giving them an experience. That applies to
everything, not just music. What you get in return is
what you put in. With that, we’ve made an internal
agreement to always give it 110% as a group.
BtR: After hearing some of the latest tracks, I find it
difficult to pinpoint exactly what genre you are a part of.
How would you classify your sound?
Off the Dome: We get asked this question a lot. We’ve
actually made up our own genre because we outright
refuse to be categorized! You ready for this?
Limiting yourself to one particular type of music isn’t
healthy, whether it’s as a listener or as a musician. In
this band, we try to play a little of everything: Blues,
Reggae, Folk, Rock n’ Roll, you name it. Like I said, we
all came from different musical backgrounds, so there’s
a lot of diversity in here. People who listen to our music
keep coming back because it’s got a little bit of
BtR: Do you feel the need to cater to the masses in anyway
or do you prefer to be genuine in your approach?
Off the Dome: Zack’s life motto has always been “Live
The You and No One Else.” It’s true. You have to be
genuine; people are attracted to that kind of stuff.
Especially on stage, people can tell in a second if you’re
not showing your true colors. A lot of our genuineness (I
didn’t know that was a word until about five seconds
ago) comes from the fact that we’re all friends. That’s
what it feels like when we’re playing music together,
and that’s a good feeling.
BtR: Who inspires you to make music? Who/what is your
inspiration for your latest record?
Off the Dome: People inspire us, period. Our songs are
influenced by the people we have met, experiences we
have shared, (whether it be solo or together as a group)
and predictions for the future. Usually when something
happens, Zack and I will joke to each other, “here
comes another song!”
Our latest record is a culmination of about three years
of events, both happy and tragic. A lot has happened
since we released our first album in 2013. Our latest,
“PIXELS” (Released: 2016) shows how far we have
come, and where we’re heading.
BtR: What is the next big thing for you musically?
Off the Dome: The next big thing musically for us is
reaching a wider audience. We’re actively playing
more shows in new states and reaching new audiences.
We’ve also been working on a ton of new originals, so I
think a new Off the Dome album is in the
BtR: Where can we find your music?
Off the Dome: Thanks so much! Links are attached
Live Archive Recordings:
Instagram: @ Domernation
Twitter: @ OfftheDomeCT
*Note: Every show is recorded and uploaded (for
FREE) on our Archive page! Happy downloading!