“Dom was like the rowdy rock-and-roller,” Brent “Ritz” Reynolds explains while recounting how he and Dominic Angelella came to work together and form DRGN KING. Before DRGN KING, Angelella was a common face in many different Philly-based bands. “I felt like people were hiring me more because of my stage presence than because I was a good guitar player,” he laments. “I didn’t really have a lot of confidence in terms of my own songwriting, I was just sort of playing guitar with people, trying to figure out what I wanted to do.”
Meanwhile, Reynolds was busy producing tracks for big name acts like The Roots and Mac Miller. Prior to working with Angelella, Reynolds took on the more traditional producer role. “It was very spelled out that I was the beat maker or producer and that person was the artist.” When Dom went into the studio to play guitar on some of Ritz’s productions, they bonded over the music they loved and, soon enough, they were making their own. “Dom and I just kind of got together and had fun and made stuff.”
It seems like an unlikely pairing. Dom the rock guitar player who “was always the first person to leave the studio,” Ritz the hip-hop producer who “was probably in the studio most of the time.” Together, they would end up spending many late nights working on the record together, further developing the chemistry that is clear just sitting in the same room as them. Dom would take the bus from Port Richmond to their studio in a warehouse at the southern edge of Pennsport and lose track of the time. All of the sudden, he can’t get a bus until 6:30 in the morning, so they would “watch a weird movie and work on music all night.”
Paragraph Nights, their debut LP, has been done for over a year now, so both Reynolds and Angelella are understandably anxious for its release next week. They have big plans ahead, including heavy touring (“I wanna try to play like 200 shows this year,” says Dom) and a few videos in the pipeline. Oh, and they are already working on a new album. But for now, the focus is on Paragraph Nights. “I feel like next Tuesday, it’s like the ‘Go’ mark,” Dom explains with nervous excitement. “I feel like I’ve been waiting for this for a really long time, so, it’s stressful, but it’s also very exciting.”
“We take turns being stressed,” chimes in Ritz—perhaps one of the many reasons the duo’s collaboration has already produced one of the best records that will come out of Philly all year.
DRGN KING’s Paragraph Nights will be released on January 22nd by Bar None Records. We are very happy to premiere the final track on the record, “Looking at You.” Inspired by his love of reading about cults when he was younger, Angelella explains it’s “a song written to someone who has recently joined a cult and has excommunicated you from their life.” Stream it below and pre-order the album here.