Slingshot Dakota Interview: “The Ever Persistant Urge To Follow My Dream”

slingshot dakota interview

New Album Break  Is Out 11th March Via Topshelf Records.

Slingshot Dakota are an indie punk duo out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I know what you’re thinking. Sounds pretty familiar, right? You’d be incorrect! This duo are not a guitar and drums duo but a keyboard and drums duo! What this means is the ferocious is melded with the tender. One second there’s thick fuzz washing through your ears and the next you’re presented with a much more delicate prospect. We’ve not heard anything quite like it.

Carly Comando, vox/keyboard with the duo, took some time recently to shoot the shit with us. Twas very nice of her. We discussed how religious her hometown of Bethlehem, PA is, the reaction Slingshot Dakota get live, and what Ernest Hemingway means to her. Have a read below. We’re off to listen to their new album, Break. Good times.

Overblown: Thanks for taking the time to talk to Overblown. How do you get that fuzzed up and chunky keyboard sound on ‘Paycheck’ from the new album Break? I love it.

CC: Carly Comando: Moog came out with a new brand of pedals within the past few years called the Minifooger series and they are absolutely amazing. The overdrive one ended up replacing my bass boss overdrive, which was really great but picked up on the high end EQ too much, which created a really piercing noise. This new pedal allows my keyboard to fuzz out, without being irritating to listen to (in my opinion). I am in love with the thick wall of sound it creates and I have a good feeling our new record after Break will feature it a lot more.

O: You have a song on the new album called ‘Monocracy’. I had to look it up to find out what it means. Apparently it means the same thing as ‘Autocracy’. Why use the word ‘monocracy’? What drew you to it?

CC: The title of that song is “Monocacy” and comes from the Monocacy Trail, which is a nature trail right near our house in Pennsylvania. During the writing process for Break, I’d walk the trail to let my mind wander. It’s actually where a lot of the songs were written in my head. The song is actually about someone close to me, but instead of me just singing about them, I tried to write about their situation from their point of view and put an empowering spin on it.

O: You recently released a song called ‘Lewleyweds’. Where did the ‘lew’ part of the title come from?

CC: It’s a subtle hint to the name of the person the song is about.

O: You are from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Is it as religious a place as the name suggests?

CC: Bethlehem is known as the Christmas City, so there definitely is some religious association with our city. However, it’s a huge college town and located an hour and a half between both NYC and Philadelphia, so we’re a very artistic, diverse community. I’m not super religious but it is pretty awesome to see how decked out and cute our city gets around the holidays. We have a ton of indoor and outdoor markets, Christmas tree lightings and live pageants. It’s enjoyable even if you’re not religious and honestly, it is really adorable.

O: Your new album is coming out on Topshelf Records. How did that come about? How do you feel about working with them?

CC: Topshelf released Dark Hearts and they were the first ones to hear the demos for Break. They were pretty stoked and excited on the new stuff immediately. It felt good to know they were genuinely excited on our progression as a band, so we felt extremely comfortable working with them again for the new record. They have been great in terms of listening to exactly what we want as a band and have supported us from day one. We love and appreciate everything they’ve done and do for us. Plus, they’re a great label overall and have exposed the world to amazing music.

O: What inspired this new album? How?

CC: This record is inspired by my life. It’s about my marriage to Tom. It’s about my friends, my family. It’s about the ever persistent urge to follow my dream. It’s about mistakes I’ve made. As a whole, the word “break” applies to each song, whether it’s emotional breakage or a breaking free from some kind of terrible situation.

O: What kind of reaction to you get live? When you set up with just keyboards and drums do you get any surprised reactions from people?

CC: For people who have never seen us before, we are usually welcomed with baffled looks or rolled eyes. I don’t know when the keyboard became “lame” but I think people just expect a 2 piece band with a keyboard in it to be soft and boring. Once we soundcheck, however, people usually change their mind and check us out. I’d say we’ve mostly won people over, but it’d be naive to say we’re for everyone. We let our music and performance speak for us, and if people stick around, they’re in for a face melting. I love playing for new audiences because it gives me a renewed sense of purpose and I end up playing as hard as I can.

O: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” You recently quoted this Ernest Hemingway quote on your Facebook page. What does it mean for you?

CC: That quote, in a nutshell, is how I felt in my life while writing Break. For a while, I just felt like I was constantly fighting with the universe instead of living with it. I felt like I was owed something, and instead of working hard for it, I was getting resentful and depressed. Not only for me, but with my friends and family around me. I felt really broken down, until I realized the only problem was with me and my own mindset. I needed to let go of that entitled feeling and move on. I feel like you can keep blaming the world for breaking you or making you stronger, or for whatever you want, but ultimately it’s how you live your life that matters. At some point, all of us are tested and it’s up to us to figure out how to live through it.

O: What is your favourite gig memory? Either your own gig or a gig that you attended.

CC: I have a ton of favorite show memories of my own concerts, but the most important show of them all is the Blink 182 concert I attended when I was probably 13 or 14. I went with my best friend Donna and it was my first concert I ever attended alone with a friend, and probably ever at the time. I was blown away with the entire experience. I got sucked into the mosh pit and a girl pulled me in by my shirt and I fell down. I was convinced my soul mate pulled me out, but I never found him again. Oh to be a teenager again! I could not wait to go to my next show. I’m also pretty sure I didn’t know all of the lyrics and mouthed fake words most of the time.

O: Tell our readers about an unusual talent that you have.

CC: I have an incredible sense of intuition and gut feeling. Ask Tom (Patterson, dums/vox), I’m always right. 😉

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