Wednesday, April 8

Bandmates pair up as duo Robopope, premier at Kerckhoff

Robopope, comprised of third-year vocal performance student Dominic Delzompo and third-year jazz studies student Donnie Laudicina, will perform Monday night at the Kerckhoff Coffeehouse, as part of the Cultural Affairs Commission's concert series. (Owen Emerson/Daily Bruin)

In hopes of moving forward through the busy midterm season, Donnie Laudicina and Dominic Delzompo have formed a duet called Robopope, a name they said embodies their musical philosophy – to please nonmusical and musical audiences alike.

Third-year vocal performance student Delzompo and third-year jazz studies student Laudicina have temporarily broken off from their seven-member student band, Like DAMN, to form the duet. They will perform both covers and their original songs Monday night at the Kerckhoff Coffee House, as part of Undergraduate Students Association Council Cultural Affairs Commission’s concert series.

After meeting during their first year in a music history class, Delzompo and Laudicina began playing together at the end of the year and joined Like DAMN, a student band that plays a mixture of rock and R&B;, in November 2013. Like DAMN is temporarily taking a break from performing so that the members can focus on school and other aspects of their music career, Delzompo said.

Robopope is a side project the duo is working on, in addition to being a part of Like DAMN, Delzompo said. The duo wants to continue performing while the rest of the band continues to prep for concerts later in the year. Delzompo and Laudicina have been preparing songs as Robopope for the last four weeks.

Both Delzompo and Laudicina play the guitar in the duet, with Delzompo providing the vocals. Delzompo said Robopope’s genre is similar to futuristic R&B; and ambient music. Together, they are softer and quieter compared to their other band Like DAMN, Laudicina said.

“Like DAMN has more of a rock feel to it – we’re a little more on the acoustic, mellow side,” Laudicina said.

Laudicina said it was easy for Robopope to grow from an idea to a reality. When band members of Like DAMN didn’t make it to rehearsals, Laudicinia and Delzompo would still practice independently with one another. The experience of performing in Robopope is similar to Like DAMN, only smaller, Laudicina said.

Robopope will perform adapted originals from Like DAMN as well as covers, including “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers and “Pusher Love Girl” by Justin Timberlake. They will also perform “Song For The Moon” and “Instantly in Love,” songs that Delzompo wrote specifically for the Kerckhoff performance.

“In my song-writing, I pull a little from past experiences, but also from characters I could never be, like ‘(The) Lord of The Rings,’” Delzompo said. “Any good story deserves past embellishment.”

Delzompo said he began writing one of the songs called “Valinor” because Laudicina invented a new chord while playing around in practice. Afterwards, he worked with Laudicina to create a melody over the lyrics.

Michael Liao, third-year jazz performance and chemistry student and the tenor saxophonist of Like DAMN, said Delzompo has a strong voice, while Laudicina has never had issues with techniques, and masters chords.

Liao said the duet will be a learning experience for Delzompo and Laudicina because in a band of seven people such as Like DAMN, the focus is on communication between everyone at once. This differs drastically in a duo, as the musicians have a conversation with one another and must focus closely on what the other is doing more so than in a larger band.

“I think (Robopope) is a really cool idea because it is interesting to work with both of them, and it’s cool to see how the two of them can put what they know together in a different setting,” Liao said.

Delzompo said that the main difference between working as a band and as a duet is that in a band there are more musical ideas and the final end product is an amalgamation of everyone’s ideas. In a duet, the musicians have specific ideas, and the end compromise is different, yet better than what either had originally expected, Delzompo said.

Laudicina said the intimate venue of Kerckhoff Coffeehouse will fit the nature of the duet because the duo will accommodate the small-room acoustics.

Delzompo and Laudicina have performed for background music for an engineering dinner on campus, as well as during Act III Cabaret, but this is their first concert that is centered exclusively on Robopope. Delzompo said that the duo is considering making a small EP, but is hesitant because it is still in the beginning stages of Robopope. The band members said they are also thinking about auditioning for Spring Sing.

Liao said he supports Robopope’s efforts and believes it will be successful in the future.

“Donnie comes from a jazz background and Dominic has a classical background with his own singing style but they have the common ground of pop music,” Liao said. “They are very compatible together.”

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