Monday, January 2, 2012

Interview with Slingshot Dakota (Top Shelf Records)

Infectious indie rock/punk duo Slingshot Dakota are on the verge of making their debut on Top Shelf Records with a new full length, and we were blessed with the opportunity to shoot them a few questions regarding it over email. They’re awesome and you should be as excited as we are about this upcoming release!

How would you two compare your Top Shelf Record debut release with your 2008 album ’Their Dreams Are Dead, But Ours Is the Golden Ghost?’

Our new record  has the same honesty that "Their Dreams Are Dead" has, except it's a bit more dark and introspective. Since the release of "Their Dreams," we've lost our friends to tragic accidents and encountered a lot of hardships in our lives that felt impossible to overcome.  The new record focuses a lot on what was going on in our lives the past few years, and how we can possibly move on. We're still earnest and hopeful, and we're still pouring our hearts and souls into the music, it's just in a more real and difficult way. With "Their Dreams," we were trying to prove that we could be a kick-ass two piece band. You can hear it in the record; it's very impulsive. Now that we've let our friends and fans know that we can form a band that's as punk, or loud, or whatever as the next band, we're writing songs that we really want to write. And those songs aren't just about "doing what you love" anymore. It's about living.

I know there was definitely a lot of positive feedback for ‘Golden Ghost', because I’m pretty sure I heard praise of the record from like everyone and their mother. Plus I loved it. Would you say this created any sort of stress for attempting to top it in the future?

I think it creates the same amount of stress that any band encounters! Because writing a great record is relative, and we think "Their Dreams" AND the new record are amazing; they're just different. The Golden Ghost has this child-like positivity to it that we still believe in, but the new record is about how our positive attitudes got shaken up when life happened. It's hard to believe in yourself or your friends or humanity when terrible things happen. So, I guess people might be bummed out that we're not singing the same anthems as what's on the Golden Ghost, but we're still trying to get them out. The positive hope is still in there, it's just shaken. Also, to try to "top" any record or song isn't how we view songwriting. We just try to write what we love and convey some kind of message in our music, or we just hope that someone can relate to what we're writing about. That's more meaningful to us than writing the newest hit song. 

I saw on your twitter page that somebody considers your live show to be preachy, and I guess they also thought of this negatively. What are your thoughts whenever something like this occurs? I’m hoping you have the Propagandhi approach to it (sarcastically releasing a record titled ‘Less Talk, More Rock’.)

Oh yes, the anonymity of the internet!! It gets hard, because I have this natural tendency to want to please everyone. I don't go online and search anymore, and if I do see something negative, I usually leave it alone or confront the person about it (if it's something messed up). I don't care if people don't like our band; I don't like a lot of things. I get it! It's cool. But, when you are writing on "punk" message boards about my boobs and how Tom is a "faggot" and you don't want to hear us talk about how rape isn't okay, then seriously, what are you doing here? Honestly, what are those people doing in life. It gets frustrating. But we just keep talking about it anyway. That's how I grew up liking the bands I like to this day.. I liked knowing what their songs were about. And people don't have to like that about us, too. I get it.. you don't have to like a band talking a lot in between songs. But, 1.) we're old. we need breathers. and 2.) the things we talk about are absolutely important to us and we WANT to talk about them in hopes that it reaches someone who needs to hear it, or someone who needs to feel like they are not alone. If you aren't into bands that talk about their songs, well, you probably won't like us. But you can't possibly call yourself "punk" or in my opinion, a good human being, if you can't appreciate a band taking the time to talk about rape, sexual assault, any kind of violence in hope that it HELPS someone. 

How did working with Topshelf Records come together? Did you approach them or did they approach you with the idea of working together to release the upcoming record?

After releasing the Golden Ghost by ourselves, we realized we wanted to be touring a lot and we wanted our music to be our jobs. Putting out your own record is the best thing you can do; you can give it away to people who don't have enough money, you can take your time, you don't owe anyone anything. But there are things as a band that you can't do, or afford. In order for us to tour all the time, and possibly go on tour with bands we couldn't reach ourselves, we realized it was time to reach out to possible labels who could help us out. Tom did all of the contacting and research on labels that he respects and looks up to, and Topshelf was one of the first that came to mind. We sent them a demo my cousin did a year ago, and luckily they decided to work with us on our new release.

You guys are doing a mini-tour this winter with The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. That sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Do you have any more planned tours on the horizon? Is there anywhere you’ve been really wanting to tour to but haven’t been able to put it together yet?

We are beyond stoked for our upcoming minitour!! Our last tour was another mini-tour with Now, Now and Mansions, two bands we absolutely love. So it's awesome to go on another mini-tour with The World Is, because not only do we love them as people but their music is amazing and we will get to see them every night! We plan on doing a tour in the spring that coincides with the release of our record, and it will be a full-US tour. We would LOVE to go back to Europe and we'd also love to visit Australia, as we've never been there!!

If you were to compare your band’s style or message with any other band (or person, or anything really), what would be the comparison you’d make?

We always describe ourselves as a two-piece indie band with the energy of a punk/hardcore band. We're pretty poppy if you just turn on a CD and listen, but if you see us live, you get a whole other story. You get a lot of talking, as mentioned above. You get a lot of stupid jokes. But, you also get a lot of head banging and broken drum sticks and keys. We put everything into our performance, because it is what we love to do. Music is our hearts, and we do a lot of driving and work a lot of part-time jobs to be able to play the shows we play, so once we get to play, we go nuts. 

People love comparing us to other 2 piece bands that we don't sound like at all (Matt & Kim, really?!). It's like comparing The Beatles to Weezer because they all have 4 members. It's not that easy, people! 

Thanks for doing an interview with us! I hope everything goes smoothly with the tour and release! 


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