There’s something hauntingly beautiful about the harmony of Lior and Domini’s voices. It’s easy to lose yourself in the music as you listen to their melodic tones and heartfelt lyrics. As Lior explained over the phone, there’s something magical about it. And anyone who listens to their latest single will most definitely agree.
Lior, who is one of Australia’s most treasured singer-songwriters, constantly embraces his Judaism and the Jewish community. He collaborated with composer Nigel Westlake on Compassion consisting of original melodies and orchestration set to ancient Hebrew and Arabic texts. He also made his theatre debut starring as Motel in Fiddler on the Roof alongside Anthony Warlow and Sigrid Thornton. Now, he’s partnering with Domini, one of Melbourne’s brightest emerging songwriters.
Their partnership started when Lior was invited to be a guest performer at a university songwriting competition. It’s a competition that Domini almost didn’t enter, locking her keys in the house and taking that as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. Thank goodness the organiser was understanding, because it was at that songwriting competition that Lior spied, in his words, “this beautiful songbird”.
“We can sense by each other’s breath where the other is going to go vocally. We often say that when we sing, it feels like our voices are being wrapped up in a warm blanket.”
Domini became one of Lior’s supporting artists on tour and then a backing vocalist in his band. It was an experience that meant the world to Domini.
“His crowd are a listening audience,” she told The AJN.
“As a very new artist, I hadn’t found my people yet. I had gotten beautiful responses for my music before, but I hadn’t had a crowd who was there to listen. And they embraced me from the get-go.”
Both Lior and Domini speak about their synergy as artists when it comes to their voices and their writing.
“There’s something about our understanding of each other,” Lior said. “We can sense by each other’s breath where the other is going to go vocally. We often say that when we sing, it feels like our voices are being wrapped up in a warm blanket.”
He describes singing together as weaving in and out of each other’s shadow and when you listen to the songs, you understand exactly what Lior means.
Finding their way through lockdown
Lior and Domini had already started writing together in late 2019. And then COVID-19 hit. The songwriting was completed over Zoom and then plans were made to record the album in the very brief time that Victoria was not under stay-at-home orders.
“We just took advantage of that straight away and we went into Montsalvat, which is this beautiful little artists’ colony, with gorgeous old stone brick buildings, full of artwork and sculptures, and we recorded a lot of the songs there,” Domini said, with Lior explaining that quite untraditionally, the other musicians had to be recorded remotely. “I missed having the human exchange in the studio and all those beautiful energetic moments,” Lior said. “But it was really a way for us to keep being creative during such a challenging time.”
Both Lior and Domini credit their producer, Lachlan Carrick, for pulling it all together. Domini said the silver lining was that they were able to play with musicians from across Australia and even around the world. While it meant surrendering some creative control, Domini acknowledges that it brought a new kind of magic to the songs.
Prophetic seed of the project
While it wasn’t their original intention, the songs tend to reflect the recent period of uncertainty and isolation. The title track, Animal in Hiding, taps into the idea of winter and hibernation.
“Being kind to yourself really through a process of isolation,” Lior said. “And that was before we knew anything about COVID.”
“It’s an important part of being human, but too much of that can be really painful,” Domini adds. “Human connection is a basic need. It’s food, water and love.”
As Domini expressed, all of a sudden, the whole world was being challenged by this situation – having important connections either severed completely or at the very least, radically changed.
When asked what they want people to feel when listening to the album, both Lior and Domini explain Animal in Hiding as a pure piece of work, focusing on voices and words. Listening to the harmonious tunes, it’s hard to disagree.
Animal in Hiding will be released on October 15.