If you’re a guitar aficionado and have an internet connection, there’s a strong chance you’ve heard of Rob Chapman. He gives lessons, reviews gear, performs demonstrations and much more to his almost half a million subscribers – and he’s frontman for Brighton-based hard rock troupe Dorje.
Dorje are premiering their new video for Flower Of Life exclusively with Metal Hammer, that you can watch below. Speaking to Hammer about the new song, Rob says it’s “about the pursuit of peace.”
“Flower Of Life is one of those bizarre situations when you wake up from a dream and manage to recall and write it all down – it’s about conflict, struggle and essentially how precious life is,” he continues. “There’s quite a bit of hidden meaning, and a few lyrical ‘easter eggs’ in there for people who have followed the band since the beginning.”
But how do you juggle being an internet superstar and fronting a rock band? We caught up with Rob to find out…
So, Rob, what can you tell us about Dorje?
“Dorje is a band of brothers – best friends working together in a way that feels naturally effortless and incredibly musically satisfying.”
What’s it all about?
“It’s all about perfect timing. The guys had been working together for years as a unit, locked in and mentally linked. I have been involved with bands for years, but never really settled into a unit that felt like home until now. They needed a singer, I needed a band, and I am incredibly grateful that I found a crew with an amazing work ethic, passion and drive to create music.”
The ‘flower of life’ imagery has been used by both Bring Me The Horizon and Coldplay for album art. Are you trying to claim it for Dorje?
“I don’t really think it it would be respectful or appropriate to ‘claim’ a piece of sacred geometry which has been used by many cultures for many thousands of years. Instead I would simply say it strikes a chord with us, pun intended.”
Would you rather play guitar for Bring Me The Horizon or Coldplay?
“I would rather play guitar for Dorje.”
People might know your guitar skills from your YouTube channel, how did you get into YouTubing?
“Originally I was just making fun videos on MySpace to give to my guitar students after private lessons for additional practice. Eventually I was bitten by the bug and became addicted to making them.”
Is it weird being ‘internet famous’?
“Yes, we are continually humbled and amazed by the number of people who know all of the members of the band. The fact that people are happy to spend their hard earned hours watching us and listening to us makes us feel incredibly privileged.”
Social media, especially YouTube, is vital to brands and bands alike. What advice do you give to younger bands wanting to make a name for themselves?
“I love being in a band, it’s such a fun experience that you get to share with your friends, creating music and being creative in general. If that is your focus, then I think provided you don’t stop, you will be successful in some way. I think if your aims are to be better than the next band, make lots of money or anything else like that then you won’t have a great time… Or at least the journey will be hindered. Don’t put restrictive barriers in the way of your creativity, make content using affordable guerrilla tactics.”
What do the rest of Dorje think about you being an internet celebrity?
“My online success is a huge blessing and something that I am incredibly thankful for. However, thankfully I really feel that Centred And One marks a change that I have noticed for a while, where Dorje is much less about me and much more about the band. The real celebrity is the music.”
Is this band just a pet project to run alongside your YouTube career, or is Dorje your main focus now?
“My main focus is my friends, family and music. I’m really not much of a ‘career man’ – I’m always too busy following my heart. I will continue to be involved in writing great tunes with my brothers and having incredible experiences all over the world.”
Dorje are heading out across the UK this November at the following dates:
7 November: London, The Borderline
8 November: Glasgow, Audio
9 November: Manchester, Star And Garter
10 November: Leeds, Key Club
11 November: Gwynedd, Hard Rock Hell
12 November: Nottingham, Rock City Basement
13 November: Birmingham, O2 Academy 3
Dorje’s new album Centred And One is out October 14, via Invisible Hands Music.