PepperDome

It takes guts to do what John Tokarczyk did – walk away from his 14 years of success as a drummer with various bands to make music that goes against the normalcy we see throughout much of today’s scene. But in 2005, Tokarczyk created PepperDome, a decision that certainly didn’t take the singer/songwriter down an easy path. He says “It was difficult especially since some of the early material was a little out there.  I don’t think most people got it.  One of the reasons I started writing this project was because I could not find others that shared my musical vision.  I also was disappointed in the new music coming out at that time.  So when your vision goes against the grain it does make things a little difficult initially.”

Fortunately, fans now understand the vibes that John is laying down, having already released two collections. His latest and third installment is titled “Chaos Point” and no one describes it better than Tokarczyk: “Expect to be challenged both musically and lyrically.  Musically, the songs are high energy, unique, and a dynamic roller coaster.  The entire album has a smooth flow like a well-written book, yet each song is distinctly different giving the listener an earful (unlike some albums that although good, hold the same intensity throughout). Yet lyrically it challenges people to look at the world and themselves with a different perspective to try to see the hidden truth that is right in front of you.”

If you’re trying to gain some perspective through music, “Chaos Point” is your next purchase. There’s a lot to learn about the PepperDome project, so keep going for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: John Tokarczyk and PepperDome

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Being called an experience of today’s Frank Zappa, Faith No More, Primus and Tool how would you describe your sound?

John Tokarczyk (JT):  It is really a combination of all the music I listen too.  It’s a hard-hitting intensity with a quirky humorous side that is very honest and passionate with itself and the world around it.

PEV: With a unique blend of rock, alternative, progressive and new wave, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

JT:  Growing up I really stuck with hard rock music for my “formative years” and slowly branched out to jazz, classical, hip hop, world, and new age later on.  I don’t have a main influence but my initial ROCK music influences are Rush, Tool, Primus, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Anthrax, and Dream Theater.  There are actually too many to list.  The list dramatically increases when you add other genres.

PEV: After 14 years of playing music, in 2005 and after playing in several band, you set out to create PepperDome. What was it like when you first started making a name for yourselves? How was the reception?  

JT: It was difficult especially since some of the early material was a little out there.  I don’t think most people got it.  One of the reasons I started writing this project was because I could not find others that shared my musical vision.  I also was disappointed in the new music coming out at that time.  So when your vision goes against the grain it does make things a little difficult initially.  As far as the reception, it has been slow but steady.  Fans told me that you have to listen to the albums several times before you “get it” and enjoy it.  I have to admit I like that since it challenges the way my fans think.

PEV: You’ve said about PepperDome that, “All change creates new opportunities.” With that, how was has this change shaped your live PepperDome performances?

JT: It is actually still in the process of change so I will have to say…we will find out very soon.

PEV: Any preshow rituals before going on stage or do you just wing it?

JT: Usually just a nice deep breathe to help me balance and focus on the moment.  Then I close my eyes and jump (figuratively…sometimes literally) hoping someone or something will catch me.  After that, you never know what may happen, which is one of the exciting things about playing out.

PEV: Having played for nearly two decades in music, was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

JT: I think I always knew subconsciously.  Music is my passion. It became apparent just as I was leaving high school.  No matter what else I tried, music kept finding it’s way back into my life.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

JT: The lyrical content and music come from two distinctly different places.  The lyrics are either about events and people in my life, self-exploration of the body/mind/soul connection, or current events in our society and political environment.  Believe it or not my best music comes from quiet meditation time and usually has no direct inspiration from other bands.  I just wait for the music to appear.

PEV: Tell us about your latest release, "Chaos Point" – a very personal album where you describe as a time when a person has to ponder, decide and move forward with what they want to do in their life. What can fans expect from this work?

JT:  They can expect to be challenged both musically and lyrically.  Musically, the songs are high energy, unique, and a dynamic roller coaster.  The entire album has a smooth flow like a well-written book, yet each song is distinctly different giving the listener an earful (unlike some albums that although good, hold the same intensity throughout).  Yet lyrically it challenges people to look at the world and themselves with a different perspective to try to see the hidden truth that is right in front of you.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

JT: Yes, I do get writers block at times.  I really don’t do anything to try to fix it.  I just stop writing and wait until the creativity starts to flow again.  I find that patience is what really pays off in finding the best music from within.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about John Tokarczyk?

JT: He listens to native flute music and meditates on a regular basis!

 

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