DOT DASH is definitely something you’ll love. This post-punk pop quartet hails from Washington D.C. have released their full-length album “Winter Garden Light” earlier this year. What can I say.. it’s full of very energetic sounds, punk dynamics, dream-pop energy, high-tempo funk, catchy hooks and edgy charms :) It’s all really creative and competent. It’s simply worth checking out. Play the album below and dive into our chat with the band. We discussed the album, their upcoming plans, post-punks bands and more. See for yourself.
Hey, guys. Pleasure to have you here. I bet you’ve heard this like thousands of times, but I really must admit that I love your new album. Aren’t you overwhelmed by such great feedback? Has there been even one negative review? [smiles]
Thanks so much! You’re right, the reviews have been really great – haven’t seen any negative ones, but that’s not to say there couldn’t be a few in the works… who knows. So far it seems like people who write about us either connect with the melodic side of it, or the energetic side of it, or some mix of the two – so, maybe the record is ‘heard’ differently by different people… i.e., ‘Pop’ people hear it as pop; people into punkier stuff hear it as punky, etc.
Tell us about the time spent in Lord Baltimore Studios. Was the album hard to put together?
No, it was actually really easy. Lord Baltimore is situated in the basement of an old 19th century mansion in downtown Baltimore and was a good place to work. Branden, who recorded us, was really good, too. We recorded the album over a Saturday-Sunday-Monday stretch and, as they were all songs we’d been playing live for the better part of a year, it went pretty smoothly. Going forward, we’re hoping to make a third album. We’re currently already playing six new songs (written after Winter Garden Light was recorded) in gigs and might try to follow the same format – i.e., play the songs live in gigs over the course of six months to a year and when we have 10 or so songs that we feel really strongly about, just go in and record them over a long weekend (or whatever.)
Did the great punk energy emerge in the recording, or was it already there in the writing? What’s the relationship between the writing and recording process in your case?
They’re written to be energetic and intense and (usually) fast-ish – so the punky energy is already there in the writing, but then all of those factors get amped up in the process of the band working up the song. Terry has written all of the songs so far, but everyone writes their own instrumental parts – so the songs get ‘bigger’ and more energetic via everyone’s inputs. The songs arrive ‘fully formed,’ but once people add their own parts, they turn into their own thing.
“Winter Garden Light” has been released via The Beautiful Music (CD) and Bandcamp / iTunes (digital). What about a vinyl version? We remember your 2010 adventure with Edition 59 Records. Are there more labels you’re working with?
We certainly wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to have our music on vinyl, but we don’t buy into the whole ‘Ooohhh, it’s on vinyl’ thing…. We’re old enough to have been around when buying music, by definition, meant it being on vinyl (there was nothing else), unless you wanted it on cassette (another medium now fetishized by people with ironic facial hair.) So… while we ‘get’ its appeal, the cult of vinyl doesn’t mean that much to us. With all that said, if someone wanted to put out a vinyl record by us, we’d be all for it! But we’re just more into the songs themselves than in thinking about what format they’re on… The only label we’re affiliated with is The Beautiful Music – they’re based in Ottawa, Canada – we love working with them.
Tell us about your next gig and any touring plans.
Our next show is opening for ASH on November 15 at DC9 in Washington D.C., where we live. We hope to get further afield but, so far, we’ve mostly played around D.C. – with occasional forays to New York, Baltimore, etc. We’ve done about 25 shows to date and played with lots of interesting bands, some of whom include Jack Grisham (from TSOL), URGE OVERKILL, THE CHAMELEONS, Hugh Cornwell, and THE DRUMS, among many others. The ASH show in a few weeks should be big fun.
Will there be any chance for you to visit Europe anytime soon?
That would be amazing. Maybe some kindly promoter or eccentric millionaire will read this interview and be uncontrollably moved to bring DOT DASH to Europe…
I think you just need more attention and an honest DIY promoter to do that [smiles].
Do you feel your ideals have changed since being in your rookie bands?
No – it’s always been the same: just trying to write good songs, play good gigs, and have fun. (Repeat steps 1-3, as necessary.)
So what prompted you to put this band together and play out?
Just seemed like the thing to do. As far as playing out, would never want to be in a band that didn’t play shows – they’re the best thing about being ‘in a band.’
True that [smiles].
There have been a lot of labels attached to you and I know you’re cool with that. Let’s focus on just one of them. What does “post-punk” mean to you?
Post-punk = people wearing gray shirts, buttoned all the way to the top, with a worried look on their face. (And us.) But we’re more post-punk pop – i.e., all the ‘downer’ stuff of post-punk, but with some light and energy, too. Who knows… as a term, post-punk just sounds cool and it’s maybe less of a devalued tag than some of the others out there. It can also mean lots of things – ‘post-punk’ is not just JOY DIVISION and that sort of thing… The Postcard label was post-punk, and so was Wire, and early R.E.M., the dB’s, THE BONGOS and lots and lots of other things — the list goes on… It’s kind of a flexible term…
What’s the most DIY and the most mainstream thing about Dot Dash?
Hhhmmm… suppose the most DIY thing is that we’re an underground band, on an underground label, and the interest or support we’ve generated has come from the underground… The most mainstream thing is that we don’t seek for our music to be underground. We’re actually trying to do stuff that’s universal – it just exists in a DIY/underground context.
Alright. So tell us guys, are the ’80s back? I mean the clothes, the music, the everything [smiles].
Hey, baby, they never left.
Booyah! [smiles] Do you go to hardcore punk shows?
Danny (drummer) and Hunter (bassist) are the hardcore types in DOT DASH. Danny was in THE UNTOUCHABLES and YOUTH BRIGADE (both of whom recorded for the Dischord label) plus SOCIAL SUICIDE and MADHOUSE — and Hunter loved/loves hardcore stuff, too. Terry and Bill dig the energy and maybe some of the attitude of hardcore, but don’t connect with the music all that much… Except DAG NASTY, who rock(ed.)
Ok, let’s finish with promoting the locals [smiles]. What’s the best thing about the Washington, D.C. music scene? What local bands are you into?
Thanks so much. Famous last words?
Hmmm… none at the moment – thanks for talking to us!