'407.7' more than just a number to rocker, athlete Attila Domos
Attila Domos' new album, "407.7," is more than just a number. The Greenfield musician, paraplegic athlete and hand-cyclist set an unofficial world record last year, traversing 407.7 miles in 24 hours at the Bud Harris Cycling Track in Highland Park. Later this year in Borrego Springs, Calif., Domos will attempt to set the official record on a course sanctioned by Race Across America.
Formerly of the band Big Bad Wolf, Domos broke his back the night the group signed a record contract in 1993. Since then he's released music on his own, and is working with Marty Schiff, a Pittsburgh native, director, producer and actor, on a television series called "Attila's Next Step."
Musically, "407.7" incorporates rock, techno, classical and jazz, and features Domos, with contributions from his brother Csaba Domos on drums and guitarist Ron Ciciarelli.
Question: There's a lot of variation on "407.7", not only from song to song, but within the songs themselves. Do you strive to compose songs that are complex and diverse?
Answer: I love doing that stuff, taking people on a rollercoaster ride of spacey stuff, of emotions. I don't mind writing lyrics, but if I don't have to, I don't. … It doesn't mean that I don't mean what's in my lyrics. I try to be as forward and direct as possible. A song like "Touch," that's as mysterious as I get in my lyrics.
Q: Do you ever come up with musical ideas while you're cycling?
A: Sometimes when you're out on a trek for 5-6 hours, I get sick of listening to music. … Sometimes a melody just pops up in my head. As I'm going around and around it's almost like I'm brainwashing that melody into my head. Eventually when I go home, I remember what it was and I start working on it.
Q: You start the album with the title track, an instrumental.
A: I always like to open up with an instrumental. … A lot of bands got away from that, but it was very popular in the '60s, '70s and '80s, to start an album with an instrumental. Or an intro, like on Van Halen's "1984" going into "Jump." I like that sort of thing as a way to introduce the music.
Q: The song "Train Station Love Song" stands out because it's unlike anything else on the album. It has a vibe similar to what the Beatles were doing on "Yellow Submarine."
A: When Sean McDonald (of Red Medicine Recording in Swissvale; McDonald mastered the record) and I were working on it, he always looks for one song that is the jumping point: We like how that sounds, so we'll make all the other songs sound like it. We agreed it was that song. I enjoy it because it has a sort of a Beatles, Ozzy (Osbourne) and Bee Gees influence.
Q: The song "Alone" also stands out because it's perhaps because it incorporates so many sounds.
A: It changes a lot. It starts out classical, then goes a little jazz, a little Nine Inch Nails-ish, and it ends up with a harder and more modern rock sound. The tricky thing about that song is the last note. It's a high note and you gotta hold it out for four measures. If you miss that note, it's all people are going to remember.
Q: What's been the biggest change in your life since breaking the world record for hand cycling last year?
A: People are taking me more seriously. When I tell people I'm going to swim the Atlantic Ocean, they no longer look at me like I'm a total idiot.
Q: You are going to attempt to make the world record official in Borrego Springs in early November on an 18-mile loop course. How is the course going to change your approach?
A: I'm going out three weeks ahead of time to get acclimated. I'm going to start at six p.m., which is beautiful because we're going to get the night out of the way. But it's also dark at night so it's not as easy to see. I want to make sure I don't have to read signs at night. I want to be able to do the course with my eyes closed.
For more information about Domos and "407.7," go to attiladomos.com.
Shows of Note
Bout to go on another business trip next week pic.twitter.com/3AH9GtXg4D— The Stray Birds (@thestraybirds) August 16, 2017
Stray Birds, Aug. 31, Club Café, South Side
Originally from the heart of Amish country in Lancaster, the Stray Birds have evolved from buskers to a threesome that features vocalists and guitarist Maya de Vitry and Oliver Craven, and bassist Charlie Muench. The sound is an invigorating blend of folk and Americana, laced with gorgeous vocal melodies. 412-431-4950, clubcafelive.com.
Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, Sept. 2, Club Café, South Side
it's safe to say with songs titles such as "Undying Love for Humanity" and "Psychology Active (Finding You" Laetitia Sadier is not writing silly love songs. Formerly of Stereolab, Sadier composes precise and spare songs that are the rare breed of warm, experimental music. 412-431-4950, clubcafelive.com.
Cindy Wilson, Sept. 5, Hard Rock Café, Station Square
After four decades with the B-52s, Cindy Wilson might be best known for singing the lyric "tin roof rusted" in the song "Loveshack." Wilson's new album, "Change," shows a different and more dynamic side filled with lush compositions that often recall the work of Bjork, with a homespun Southern twist. 412-481-7625, hardrock.com/cafes/pittsburgh
Rege Behe is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.