interview: Slingshot Dakota
words: Kayla Carmicheal
Nearly three years after the release of their album, Break, and Slingshot Dakota are making their return. On May 24th, the duo will release Heavy Banding, a brand new album that openly explores their continued grappling with frustrations that can accompany life. Ahead of the album’s release, TGE’s Kayla Carmicheal chatted with Carly Comando about being vulnerable through songwriting, the impact of sexism in the industry, and more.
The Grey Estates: Slingy D has always been a band with relatable lyrics (nee. #banger “Paycheck”), and that theme continues with Heavy Banding, with themes like owning up to being the villain, not wanting to leave bed, and diversity in music. Which of these themes do you feel is the most impactful on the record?
Carly of Slingshot Dakota: Diversity in music and being heard is something that comes up like the opening track Moon.
Heavy Banding explores a lot of different elements, but still sounds like Slingy D at its core. Which song from the record is the most stylistically different from anything you’ve done before?
“Casino Night” is definitely No.1. “Weird Like Me,” too. I think something to note is that when we were writing this record, we were backing Petal and learning how Kylee writes her songs, it opened my writing in a new way and we challenged ourselves learning these songs and playing it. And it was a cool learning experience.
What is the main thing you hope people take away from this record?
In the past me and Tom would be like “We’re not cool” and I feel like I don’t have to do that anymore. I feel like this record is that record where it’s everything has culminated to where we wanted it to be. The musicianship level is exactly where we wanted and the acceptance level is so much bigger to where we aren’t weird, which is so lame, because we’ve never been weird!
Can you point to any other influences that you had when putting together Heavy Banding?
Yeah Kylee was a huge influence. Tom is the music guy because I immerse myself less because I’m generally writing. But the bands that we tour with, I really notice their songwriting style.
When it comes to deeply personal lyrics like “Casino Night,” how does it feel putting yourself in that vulnerable position to share with the world?
It’s super hard where its like, as an artist, you share it in the coded language that you share with people and I remember writing these songs, and when it came time for the press release, I had a panic attack. It was the first time that it hit me and I have to live this experience every day. But I know that these songs will reach people in the way we intended, too.
How was it working with the director for the video?
When you bond with someone right away and you can sit on the floor at 4am in pajamas and talk about anything and it’s really a beautiful thing and they captured that so well. When all of those artistic elements align, there was no problem and no one was difficult to work with and they were so awesome!
As a woman, more than that, a black woman, I want to thank you for using your position of influence to speak on diversity in the scene. How has sexism impacted Slingshot Dakota in general?
I never noticed that I was one of the only women on bills and I never really thought about it. Seeing other people on bills would always make me really excited. But yeah I’ve had typical stories where it’s “Bands only” and I’d just say “I’m in the band.” And of course “No girlfriends, bands only,” but you know, the whole formation of our band started with that underdog quality in general, it’s just me and Tom on keyboard and drums, and that was never intrinsically cool, so it took us playing covers of Fugazi for people to notice that we can make keys and drums sound badass and it sucks we had to do that to make people listen, because we’re totally cool!
You’ve tweeted about how you and Tom that gets backlash. Why do you think that is?
We’ve kinda always had that mindset of being different, so I always think about what I can do to shred and be loud and get seen. We’re married! Of course we’re gonna do that!
With tour coming soon, what do you think will be your favorite song to perform?
“Casino Night” is definitely up there and there’s a lot of falsetto. It’s always super fun to play and the people watching us, it seems to really vibe with them the way I want it to. Louder is one of those too, I just want everybody to sing along.