Dorian Small
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Dorian Small

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This band has not uploaded any videos



"OK Film & Music Office"

Norman’s own Dorian Small produces a wild mix of instrumentation, along with some electronics and extremely genuine lyrics. The band took the Norman Music Festival by storm in 2008, attracting large crowds and serenading the audience with their distinctive capacity for musical influence. Said to be similar to the sounds of Pink Floyd, this group hashes out an extreme set of cleverness and imagination. After a good response from their first CD “Contradictions”, Dorian Small recently released their new album titled “Newlyweds”, and reactions have exceeded expectations. - OK Film & Music Office

"Local musician takes new approach in creating upcoming album"

Dorian Small is a busy man.

Part time gardener, carpenter, glass-blower, landlord, musician and recently a full-time dad, Small has built for himself an opportunity to spend every waking hour of the day doing something. He’ll be even busier April 25 when he headlines the Dreamer Concepts stage at the Norman Music Festival.

And he couldn’t be happier.

As I walked through his house in Norman, I could tell Small had many interests. In the backroom where he is currently mixing his new album “Dorian Small gives you an Ultimatum,” many different projects are strewn about the large, open space where he’s knocked down some walls and renovated the area. Through large panel windows a prenatal garden lies tilled in rows, next to a colorful metal spaceship Small built for a video that never materialized.

“I stay way too busy, or just busy enough I guess,” Small said.

Staying busy is part of his creative process, he said, and a new approach to life as well as his music.

Since the birth of his son last year, Small now devotes a majority of his time providing for his new family, or as he called it “grown-up things,” as opposed to meticulous and obsessive devotion to music.

“[On my earlier albums], “Contradictions” (2006) and “Newlyweds” (2008), I put so much time into them, it was just stupid,” Small said. “I’m such a perfectionist, to an unnecessary degree, so like, I’d do 20 versions of one song if something wasn’t right.”

But on “Ultimatum,” due out within the next few months, Small decided to take a different approach—the biggest of which, he said, was an effort to spare his sanity.

“I wanted to take a different approach and just kind of let go of some control,” Small said. “So I decided to have someone else record it and I’d mix it [at home].”

Small also wanted to capture something he didn’t feel like he could with the earlier albums: something more stripped down, less refined—something that could be authentically recreated with a live band.

Small said though his earlier albums, recorded at a home studio, still retained somewhat of a live-band sound, he still sat, psychotically obsessing over them for hours. But now, with time and mental health as motivating factors, Small and company recorded “Ultimatum” in just six days, and some songs they recorded in just one take.

By letting go of control, Small said a lot of interesting things have happened: songs were written faster, ideas and images came a lot more fluidly, and through this cathartic process, he said the songs now feel a lot less confined.

“The songs now [sound] a lot more like a “song,” Small said. “On ‘Newlyweds,’ it almost sounds like there’s 10 songs stacked up. With [Ultimatum] I kind of just got an idea in my head and I was either sitting at the piano or playing my guitar, and then I’d just write the whole song [in one sitting].”

To explain the difference, Small and I sat down at his computer, and he played a handful of his songs from “Ultimatum” for me, to juxtapose his earlier sound with the new, live-band sound he had been striving for.

He animatedly described the story behind each song before he played them, as if to correct any presuppositions I may have had.

“I’ve never played these songs for anybody,” he said admittedly.

And as we listened to the new songs, Small sat glowingly as he showed off his new stuff, but still with an element of vulnerability, explaining at one point that this song is missing a keyboard part, or this part still needs some work, still viewing his music with the perfectionists’ ear of the earlier albums.

But the tracks were exactly what he had described. They sounded less refined and electronic as the earlier albums. It gave an aura of a rock band that loved keyboards, instead of the guy-with-a-computer style of old.

Small described a new song called “Ultrasound Dance Party,” which he wrote about the joy of seeing his son for the first time.

“After we went to the first ultrasound for my son,” he said, “walking out of the place I had this feeling of just, pure excitement, pure happiness, and I wrote this song, and I wanted to capture that somehow. So the beginning of this song is just this big scream.”

Small then let out a high-pitched, imitative shout, as the keyboard lick erupted with the drums and bass grooves.

Small played another song called “If You Leave Me, I’ll Go Back to the Drugs,” a catchy, tongue and cheek warning to a lover. The chorus threatens “If you leave me I’ll go back to the drugs / And if the drugs don’t work I’ll have to join the church / So please don’t ever leave me.”

“It’s romantic,” Small said. “It’s kind of like a threat but you know, in a joking way. It’s rockin’ too.”

As we listened to the new album, which sounded like a rocking, synthy mixture of Weezer and Of Montreal, with soft, warm vocals reminiscent of Iron and Wine but with more range and keyboards—it became obvious that Dorian Small is a man of many talents.

The most amazing of which, is the positive attitude he continually holds, which fuels the drive to keep going, keep innovating his music.

“I think my lyrics are always, most of the time positive, and romantic,” Small said. “So in that sense, maybe I’m in a way trying to lift myself up when I write a song, as well as other people.”

And it’s this positive attitude that keeps him going. And going. His chandelier business (he sells high-end chandeliers to restaurants and houses), the new gardening and home improvement projects, mixing the new album, and overall, raising his new son—all keep him busy, and surprisingly happy.

“I want to make the best use of every free hour that I have,” he said. “So I’m not freaking out about perfecting everything.”

By extension, this attitude crept into “Ultimatum,” and Small produced something truly unique this time around.

And what is the ultimatum?

“It’s an ultimatum to do something, create something, you know, be a part of something, Small said. “To get off your ass and do something.” - The Oklahoma Daily


2006 Contradictions - LP
2008 Newlyweds - LP
2009 Dumb as We Wanna Be - single
2009 Ultimatum - music video
All available at,, CDbaby.



Dorian Small is a delicious, four-piece synthy rock band from lovely Norman, Oklahoma. In a short time, they have created a signature sound: multiple genres blend together behind a distinctive voice with a songwriting style that could move anyone from your Britney Spears-obsessed teenage sister to your ex-hippie Grandmother to swoon and sing along.
Since its inception in 2006, the band has worked with a number of musical professionals, a testament to the accessibility of their on and off-stage personalities. From experimental jazz and electronic projects like Club d’Elf and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey to pop and indie rock groups like Colour Music and the Starlight Mints, Dorian Small has shared the stage with a variety of acts, reaching a wide range of audiences.
Dorian Small’s first live performance showcased its first full-length album Contradictions on its official release date in December of 2006. In June of 2008, the band released Newlyweds. While both albums are characterized by intricate harmonies and an imaginative blend of synthetic and organic instruments, Newlyweds is noticeably more upbeat and thematic. Recording for a third album has already been completed; Dorian Small Gives You an Ultimatum features some the band’s best work to date and will be out this summer. The satirical music video for title track “Ultimatum” embodies the light, care-free tone of the album.
The ambitious and prolific quartet are bound to serenade your town and inject their sonic contagions into your earstreams. File beside Beck, Zombies, Wilco, Stevie Wonder, Plastic Ono Band, Snoop Dogg and Steve Miller to sample the band’s kaleidoscope of influences.