It’s the end of the world, but Dom Coyote isn’t phased.
Inspired by Philip K Dick’s post-apocalyptic novel Dr Bloodmoney, the stargazing world of Ziggy Stardust and the age of austerity post-Brexit Britain, Songs For The End Of The World combines a unique mix of live music and epic theatre.
‘It’s exciting,’ Dom tells The Guide. ‘It’s our first tour of this, I’ve been making it for a long time.
‘It’s a really new kind of form, the first couple of years was trying to work out how to tell this story. I did a project in 2011 called The Raun Tree, which was the beginning of me looking at how music and narrative and theatre could work together in a form that’s not a musical, that feels like a band, but tells a story and has a design and feels like it’s part of a world.
‘Then I wanted to go a step further. The National Theatre gave me some space to start developing my ideas. Then Battersea Arts Centre came on board and we started doing a lot of scratch stuff, kind of sharing parts of the work – 15-20 minutes at a time and working on various different versions, but I couldn’t stop making it feel like Rocky Horror, which is fine, but that’s not what I wanted to be doing.
‘We originally had a narrator, and the band were just the band but sometime become characters – it had a kernel of something exciting, but with the last bit of our research and development, we kind of cracked it. And then we went and rehearsed it down at the Kneehigh barn in Cornwall, they’re an amazing theatre company.
‘Although it’s been five years, it’s been a sporadic five years, there’s been a lot of other things going on.
Set in a dystopian future, the bizarre English town of Ashley-Coombe and its inhabitants are steadily steamrolling towards catastrophe, leaving astronaut Jim Walters suspended in orbit. As Jim broadcasts his songs for the end of the world back to a silent Earth, the few remaining survivors must fight for their future. We join the four band members as they tell us a story of apocalypse, survival and the strength of humanity to change the world around us for the better.
‘Each band member plays a character – we don’t totally transform, we’re also still in the band, it’s like putting on a mask. So as well as being Dom Coyote in the band, I’m Jim Walters, the worst astronaut ever. He’s got asthma, he’s a bit of an idiot, he’s a hopeless romantic, nobody should have ever sent him up to space. It’s like a cruel joke.
‘The whole world, it’s not a real world, it’s kind of satirical. I love science-fiction and comic books, so it feels part of that world, but it’s for everybody, it’s lots of fun.’
Dom insists though that while it’s about the end of the world, the show is still fun.
‘It’s not a heavy show. It’s moving, but it’s also really silly. I think it’s kind of heartwarming, and a rallying cry to go, we can change the world around us. In this show, the apocalypse happens, but hope survives and there is a sense that humanity isn’t all bad.
‘And it’s a good old-fashioned love story.’
The show will also eventually have an accompanying and downloadable soundtrack album, which can be pre-ordered at shows.
The Ashcroft, Fareham
Thursday, March 16