I'm sitting in the car, listening to playlists I've heard a million times, when my boyfriend say "let me put something on I know you'll like." He puts on Indie pop band, Dopamine, and he proudly exclaims " I know him really well, you know he's local right?" Some beautiful melodic high synths over, poppy melodies and an up tempo baseline, and its a match made in heaven for me. I could NOT believe this guy was local and I'd never heard of him before.
Dopamine was scheduled to play at Cyclops Cafe a few days from then, so I knew I had to get there and see them live. I get there an an extremely high energy guy greets me. Sebastian Stewart, the front man for Dopamine, had apparently heard about me, though I'd never heard of him. He shakes my hand with lightly painted fingernails, and exclaims that "Jeremy has told him lots about me" and I couldn't help but notice the script tattoo right above his eye that said 'Angel Baby'. After I inspected him further I could see that he was wearing an old oversized mens golf shirt and some printed socks. I couldn't help but smile at how delightfully 'himself' he seemed.
His stage presence was absolutely unreal. He made the small stage space look huge, running around and dancing with members of the little coffee shop audience. He was solid through and through. Sound and theatrics, everything was more than I'd hoped it would be.
Thankfully I got to speak more with Sebastian following the show, and the surprises didn't stop coming with this guy. For starters, he had only been playing with other members of the band for a few weeks prior to the show. He never did stage shows, and once he decided to take that route, he gathered a group of his friends together to bring the music to the stage. " truly I'm so honored to play alongside the people I do now. so I'd continue to do the music and what not but performing with my crew: leah, ben, and charlie is no less than a blessing."
Another absolutely insane piece of information he casually through at me during our interview, is that he recorded every album so far, on his iPod Touch. He would play each part individually and hold the iPod built in microphone up to the amplifier and then stitched everything together in post. The result is that muffled, chill, harmonic tone that I crave. I absolutely couldn't believe it. All three of Dopamine's records are all recorded that way, including the most popular The Bad Girls Club.
"Bad Girls Club is about, My 8 ex girlfriends, they all live in completely different parts of pa, but that album really summed up my living on my own for 6 months as well as my horrible experiences with what I mistook to be 'love.' Most of the relationships was just lies, cheating, followed by hatred (ya know the good stuff,) They would all hang out together once a week. It started with the two of them, but grew as break ups continued. Originally I called them the "legion of ex's" but i decided it needed a different name because someone told them that i called them that."
That experience, and many like it brought him to write beautiful (and super popular) pieces like 'Ashley Left Last Night" and " One Hundred Percent." A word that kept coming up in conversation was "experimental.' He used it to describe his writing process, his sound, and his style. I can't help help but respect the hell out of that philosophy. His, "If you want to do something, do it." attitude is truly one to live by, and an incredibly wise one for someone of his age.
Oh did I forget to mention? Sebastian is only 18 years old. He actually graduated from high school the day before this show. If you see him, congratulate him on his graduation, and if your see him and you're a promotions coordinator, book him, because this kid is going to be a star.
Catch Dopamine at Black Forge Coffee House on July 9th, and the Hard Rock on July 14th, Follow on Facebook and Instagram, and listen to the latest album "Evryday" on Spotify: