Dornika is here, and the revolution has begun. The queer drag artist released her new EP Revolution in June, four new songs that marvel with their diversity and versatility. Electronic pop, house music, and dark electronica all coexist under one musical roof, as Dornika harnesses her influences to create a sound of her own. The tracks are highly personal and address matters very important to her, such as body autonomy, migration, healing generational trauma, and the ongoing revolution happening in her native country of Iran.
Dornika was born in Iran but relocated to Berlin, which she now calls home. She is a well-accomplished singer, songwriter, rapper, and producer. Within Berlin and its vibrant queer underground scene, she is known by her drag persona Many Faced Godx. Activism, as you might expect, is very important to her. She uses her music as a platform to address larger issues of importance to her. You can hear it in her lyrics, like in Revolution’s opening track, “All Eyes On The Revolution.” “The patriarchy must be aborted now” is a strong statement of intent and very much describes her modus operandi.
Today, we are joined by Dornika herself to discuss Revolution, the music industry, being an independent artist, and more.
How would you describe your own music?
Dornika: “Bold, emotional, queer, rebellious, with a hint of performance art.”
What is the story behind the name Dornika?
“Well, my stage name is my given name Dornika. My mother and grandmother made it up together when my mom was looking for names for me. She wanted something special, and they made just that! Now there’s more Dornikas roaming the earth, but let it be known I’m the OG.”
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
“I guess the accessibility and profit shares for artists. Most artists are taken advantage of by the industry, and that is because it’s not designed to be accessible for us. I feel we need a shift that would give more power to creators and level the playing field that is monopolized by big labels.”
What’s the best show you’ve ever played?
“Honestly and unexpectedly, I’d have to say Munich Pride last year. The crowd was so energetic, and it was magic to perform for so many young queer babies that were out there in the protest and knew who they are from a young age. I felt the energy for sure.”
Which do you enjoy the most, writing, recording, practicing, or playing live?
“I definitely love writing and seeing it come to life. I always feel nervous with recording, though, and I don’t really like practicing, but I do love the exchange with the crowd at the shows. It’s a different magic to create the music than it is to play it, but I love them in different ways.”
What are you still trying to figure out?
“Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out everything about how to live with this career and the music industry. I do everything myself and just winging it most of the time. I have come a long way on my own, but happy to find the next steps on building a team around me in a way that flows with my intentions and vision as an artist.”
What’s next for you?
“I’m playing at Berlin Pride, which is probably the biggest audience I’ve had and then continuing on my intense summer tour. After that, I’m working on my debut album and going to go back to the studio, which I’m really excited about. Some amazing things are coming up, so looking forward to that.”
What is the story behind the name of the new record, Revolution?
“It’s inspired by the ongoing Iranian revolution as well as the global revolution we need in order to move forward as a species on this planet. I wanted to raise awareness and also bring people on a personal journey of change from within.”
Is there anywhere you would like to go that you have not been?
“I would love to play in New York, London, and Tokyo. I feel my music would do well with the big city queers.”
Do you receive a lot of support from your local scene and fans in general?
“Yes! And I’m very grateful for that. Berlin has been great to me, and my community and listeners support me a lot in this journey.”
Tell us about your experience going it alone as an artist. How hard is it to get your music distributed, promoted, shared, etc.?
“It’s definitely been a learning process, and I feel there’s only so much you can do all on your own and with little resources. But I love to challenge myself and learn a lot by doing things independently in this stage. If I do sign to a label one day, I want to know how things work and establish my brand in a way that doesn’t compromise my values.”