Interview by digitalbath
Slingshot Dakota has become one of my current obsessions ever since I reviewed their latest album Their Dreams are Dead but Ours is the Golden Ghost! I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the two-piece band and needless to say, our interaction was nothing short of delightful!
John Berry (JOHN): To start things off, I know Slingshot has had kind of a jaded history. How did Slingshot Dakota come to be a two piece band?
TOM: I\'m not sure where you got that we had a jaded history.... it hasn\'t been jaded at all. Pat left the band to put all of his time into playing drums for Latterman. I then joined the band as his replacement. In late 2006, Jeff left the band because he wasn\'t interested in being in a band. The day Jeff quit, Carly and I had band practice, and decided to keep going as a two piece. We didn\'t really feel comfortable just getting anyone to play guitar for us, and after writing a few songs, we felt that it would only make sense to remain a two piece band.
JOHN: Is there any particular reason you chose the name "Slingshot Dakota?" It is certainly a name that merits a question considering neither of you seem to be from Dakota.
TOM: The band was named after Carly\'s great, great, great grandfather who went out west searching for gold. He was quickly disappointed with the lawlessness of the west, and decided to become a sherriff. He always felt uncomfortable carrying a gun (even though he had it with him at all times), so his first weapon of choice was a slingshot. The locals thought it was unusual, and over time started calling him "Ye Ol\' Slingshot Dakota." It sounded like such a cool name, so Jeff and Carly decided to use it for the band.
JOHN: After researching you all a bit I\'ve come to find that Carly has dabbled in classical piano and having a bit of experience in music theory myself, your technique seems to play on that experience in many songs. Do you specifically try to write complex piano parts that show your technical abilities?
CARLY: I just try to write what comes out. When we were a 3 piece, it was harder to write with Jeff because we had different ideas of where the songs should go melodically. I think that\'s where my musical training would subconciously come through and try to dictate how a song "should go", even though there is no such thing, really. I just try to fill up the space between Tom and I, and have fun doing it! It\'s hard to show off my technical abilities when Tom is such a freaking good drummer!
JOHN: What are some of your major influences in music right now? Are you listening to any one band more than another?
TOM: I would say that my number one influence in music right now is hip hop. Mainly just for the beats. We don\'t really listen to things to influence our sounds, and we don\'t sit down at practice and say "oh, this should sound like this band, or that part should sound more indie rock." We just write things that come to us... and if they don\'t sound right, we throw the parts out.
JOHN: Unfortunately, I haven\'t been able to come to a live show of yours yet, but everyone that I\'ve spoken to seems to think you are a "fun" group. Why do you think they would say that about your live performances? Do you all do anything live that you feel no one else does?
TOM: I think the reason why a lot of people might think we\'re a "fun" group is because when we\'re in front of people playing, we\'re just being ourselves. We\'re not trying to act cool or better than anyone else. I really think that people can relate to a band just being themselves. We talk about dumb stuff like how we have pooping problems or we make fun of eachother... that\'s just the way we are. I\'ve seen too many bands get up on stage and act like rockstars, and i felt alienated. That\'s not something i want to do to someone who is watching us.
JOHN: I\'ve noticed that you all focus heavily on a DIY method to getting your music out to the public. Do you have any specific problems with the music industry that have fueled this decision?
TOM: We are just doing what we know - we both grew up in the DIY punk community, we\'ve seen how it works, and it works well. It also just makes perfect sense- why trust someone else to do something for you when you can do it just as well, if not better, yourself? I can print shirts, do graphic design, and book shows. Carly takes care of all the money, mail orders, booking shows, and a lot of communication for the band. Now maybe if the band ever gets so big that booking shows or whatever starts interfering with our day-to-day lives, then we might look to someone to help us out, but for now, we prefer to take care of all that on our own. The only thing that we don\'t do on our own is promotion. Our friend Chuck Daley, who runs Beartrap PR, takes care of all of our promotional stuff. He works with bands that are DIY bands that need a little extra help with getting their music heard. He\'s a very cool guy who is not like those creepy music industry people.
JOHN: Specifically regarding your music, the lyrics found within "Their Dreams" seem to be very personal and have a strong story behind them. Is this album specifically referencing a relationship of yours or were you simply narrating a story?
TOM: It deals with Carly and I wanting to follow our dream - which is to play music as much as possible, and share it with as many people as we can. We wrote it in response to people in our lives who have discouraged us from doing what we love, and tried to convince us to get "real jobs." Also, the album as a whole carries that message through it - to follow your dreams and to be happy with what you are doing with your life.
JOHN: What is the deal with "Beer and Fried things?"
TOM: An ex-girlfriend once asked me what Carly was like, so i told her that she likes to eat beer and fried things- i was totally just making it up to be funny. I totally forgot i said that, and then my ex told Carly that i told her what i had said, and Carly got a bit upset with me. It then turned into a joke between us. Also, Carly and I are huge fans of good food and quality beer, and we will never turn down a plate of fried things and a pint of beer.
JOHN: Now for some off topic questions of general concern to me, personally:
Coke or Pepsi products?
TOM: coffee, espresso, and coffee.
JOHN: When on the road, is there a particular song you guys jam out to? I know that in my high school band we would always pop in some "Amon Tobin" to get us in the playing mood and driving always warranted some "Final Countdown" from Europe.
TOM: Carly and I have varried musical tastes, but we meet in the middle on a bunch of stuff that we pump in the minivan... Cheeky, Kanye West, How We Are, Dan Deacon, Good Luck, and Matty Pop Chart are some of things that are always playing when on tour.
JOHN: Anything else you\'d like to add?
TOM: Cheeky is the best punk band playing right now - check them out.
You can check out the Slingshot kids at www.myspace.com/slingshotdakota and if you haven\'t already checked out their latest album, do so!