BN1 chats to Dom Coyote, the man behind award-winning gig-theatre Songs for the End of the World, prior to the launch of his latest show, We Can Time Travel.
What made you combine alternative music and theatre (or alternatively gig-theatre) together in the first place?
I always did both. Often my own work was music, and when I worked with other people I worked more as a musician or as an actor. A few years ago, I got a grant from Battersea Arts Centre to start developing some new work of my own. I wanted to explore the idea of doing something really musical but that could still be story based and still be theatrical and take you on a narrative journey.
Tell us a little bit about We Can Time Travel…
A character called Dom figures out a way to time travel to try and save his grandfather who gets lost at sea. Although it’s a show about time travel, it’s also about how we forget to live in the present moment. When he first begins time travelling, he starts going further forward in time, everything becoming more dystopian. All the things that are set in place in our current world get worse until he finds himself at the end of time realising at that moment he needs to live in the present.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everything I do is very music based, it feels like a gig as much as a piece of theatre. This show is inspired by lots of electronic artists and 80s synth pop, like Kate Bush. Narratively, I’m really inspired by science fiction, so everything I do is an ode to that. This is a real ode to 80s movies, like Flight of the Navigator and Quantum Leap. It’s got political heart and emotional heart.
Who are you inspired by in theatre and in music?
A big hero has to be Tom Waits. He creates worlds built around the characters and in the stories he tells through the song. I think Nick Cave does that as well, so he’s a big inspiration. For this particular show, Kate Bush has been the biggest inspiration sonically, she’s super theatrical. Kate Tempest is a massive influence as well.
Do you prefer solo shows or collaborations?
I like doing both. It’s less nerve wracking when you do stuff with other people. Sometimes people will go into this collective imaginative space, it’s a bit like when you’re a child and you’re told a story, you forget that you’re not in the story and your whole brain becomes the story.
Do you think your projects become more ambitious and adventurous each time?
Once I get into making a piece of work then the sky is the limit I suppose. I’m a bit of an explorer, I like to take different genres and I like to put things on the stage that nobody else has seen before, so in that sense I suppose I am. Every time is fresh and every time is terrifying.
Dom Coyote’s We Can Time Travel comes to The Old Market on Tues 30 Oct.