INTERVIEW: Dahm Majuri Cipolla returns to talk about Soft Gang, NYC, and Success!

Pictured above: Cipolla eating light. Like you do.

Dahm Majuri Cipolla has an impressive CV. Cipolla spent his formative years in Louisville performing with bands like Dead Child, Starkiller, Sapat, and Brothers of Conquest before forming Phantom Family Halo. A few years ago, Cipolla relocated Phantom Family Halo to NYC, where he has remained in residence since. Most recently, Cipolla has joined Soft Gang who are making waves with their own brand of psych-pop. You can hear there newest record below, out now on Sophomore Lounge, and you can catch them this weekend playing with Young Widows and Pet Eunuch at Kaiju. We caught up to Cipolla to see what he’s been up to, where he’s heading, and to ask about his best lie.






Never Nervous: What is the story with Phantom Family Halo? Tell us what we’ve missed since we last spoke.

DMC: I took some time away from PFH to just focus on being a drummer, I’ve been doing that with several different projects and spent majority of the last year and a half touring playing drums for MacKenzie Scott/Torres. In the last month I’ve finally got a chance to work on a new PFH record. I’ve been working with Martin Bisi at his studio in Gowanus Brooklyn, and just yesterday finished 13 ruff mixes for a new PFH record.

NN: How did Soft Gang start? How does it differ from your previous work?

DMC: Soft Gang was pieced together by Jason Loewenstein, he put all of us in touch with each other and thought we would be a good match. It is different, because I basically concentrate on just being the drummer rather than guitar or vocal duties.

NN: Is there a specific aesthetic vision that you all are trying to achieve? Is that something that you discussed before coming together?

DMC: We definitely wanted to have a interesting front person and we think we found that in Kaori.

NN: How would you describe the band to someone perhaps unfamiliar?

DMC: Kraut rock-ish rhythm section with melodic yet dissident guitars and vocals.

NN: Were you the only constant in PFH? If so, what makes a band a band? What’s the soul of an artist collaboration when people come and go? How does it stay static and cohesive?

“I am the only constant in PFH. I use that name mainly as a umbrella that covers my kind of song writing. As long as I am reaching a familiar  interesting enjoyable place when putting the songs together then I’m satisfied. Many different people have added great ingredients along the way.”

DMC: I am the only constant in PFH. I use that name mainly as a umbrella that covers my kind of song writing. As long as I am reaching a familiar  interesting enjoyable place when putting the songs together then I’m satisfied. Many different people have added great ingredients along the way.

NN: Relative to that, how do you write? Is it singular or collaborative? Is it unique to each project?

DMC: PFH always seems to be just me writing and recording a version of a song then bringing it to others to maybe elaborate on. But I do collaborate with people in other projects where we start together from scratch.

NN: When is a song done? Can it change in the moment on stage or is it a picture in time of a particular set of ideas?

DMC: Definitely can change on stage with moods, but I think it’s done when you confidently feel like you can’t add anything else to it.

NN: How would you compare the NYC scene to the Louisville scene? What are the pros and cons of each?

DMC: First thought would be size difference, there are many different scenes in NYC and probably just a few in Louisville. Louisville is much more tight and together, everyone mostly knows each other. NYC people come and go all the time and faces change regularly so it’s always changing and less of a solid community in comparison.

NN: Do you ever miss Louisville?

DMC: Yes, I miss people I love here regularly.

NN: How did you all come to work with Sophomore Lounge?

DMC: I have known and worked with Ryan Davis off and on in the past. He liked the record and we love him.

NN: What are the stresses involved in touring? How do you prepare?

DMC: I love touring. Only stresses are missing my wife, cat, apartment and neighborhood.

“I love touring. Only stresses are missing my wife, cat, apartment and neighborhood.”

NN: Is music your only job? If so, congratulations, and how have you managed? If not, how do you balance adult responsibility with artist pursuits?

DMC: Yes right now it is.  I play as much music with as many people possible. I try to save money and have really learned to stretch the dollar.




NN: How do you identify success?


DMC: Being able to survive “working” at something you enjoy. Being healthy and having your loved ones healthy and supportive.




NN: What’s the best lie you’ve ever told and why?

DMC: That I was in Black Oak, Arkansas to a trucker at a truck stop. He was really excited to meet someone from Black Oak, Arkansas, made his day.




NN: What is your proudest achievement in life and why?

DMC: Realizing my world is full of music, good people that I love and cats. Those things are great.




NN: What non-musical things get you excited lately? Have you read, watched, eaten, or drank anything worth mentioning?


DMC: I love ufo cults, Indian buffets, watermelons. Lately…




NN: Last but never least, what have you been listening to lately and

DMC: Brian Eno, Klaus Schulze, Rodion G.A., Suicide, Jaki Liebezeit, Badfinger, KISS