Artists in the Army: An Interview with Dash|Ten

Combine a dash of nineties grunge with a punch of pop then scour off the sheen of post-production trickery. What you’re left with is the organic, straight-from-the-garage power-prog trio Dash|Ten, who released their self-titled debut album this past week.

The band consists of bassist and vocalist Corrin Campbell, guitarist Steve Ebert, and drummer Pete Greenberg. We had a chance to catch up with them and talk about their latest release, their military beginnings, and their upcoming stint on Van’s Warped Tour.

The Daily Slice: Can you tell us a little bit about where you’re from?

Dash|Ten: We are based out of Louisville, KY, though we are kind of from everywhere because we’re in the Army. It’s funny, though, because we’re all mid-western kids originally, so we have a bit of common ground there. We all moved south to get to warmer climates! 

TDS: Dash|Ten is a recent addition to the scene. For those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your sound?

D|T: Organic rock. Pop-neogrunge (if that’s a thing). We have pulled a lot of inspiration from 90s grunge in our sound – just guitar, bass, vocals, and drums. There isn’t a lot of “sheen” or high-level production tricks in our music. We don’t use auto-tune or beat detection. Most of the performances on the album were done in just a few takes. We like the music to be as real as possible. It should sound like you walked into a garage and started listening to a local band rocking out. That, paired with some catchy, sing-along style songwriting makes our sound!

TDS: Are there any artists or bands that you would say held particular significance in developing your style or sound? Who are your influences?

D|T: Late 90s and early 2000s rock have influenced a lot of our sound, from No Doubt and Silverchair to Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World. We love that “raw” time in music, the more straight-ahead the better. That era really made musicianship and songwriting important, and we try to do the same in our music.

TDS: All three of you have a background in the United States Army. First off, we’d like to take the time to thank you for your service and dedication. Secondly, how do you feel the skills you’ve learned through the military have impacted your attitude or style performing in a band not affiliated with the armed forces?

D|T: It’s our pleasure to serve; thanks so much! All of us are combat veterans and have deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan in our military careers. We joke that this has made us more poised to withstand the temperatures and long days of Warped Tour! We also can feel the influence of the discipline and moral values in the way we approach our music. Being an indie band takes a lot of hustle and hard work, which comes more naturally thanks to our time in service.

TDS: A track off your self-titled debut “Where I Stand,” is a powerful lyrical testament to your feelings regarding military service. How much of your songwriting is inspired by this sort of personal reflection? Is there a message you’re attempting to get across within that soul-searching?

D|T: Honestly, each song is kind of a diary entry. We never go in the studio to record a song that isn’t about personal experience, or whatever mind space we may be in at the time. “Where I Stand” is really a song about the personal support of individuals. The whole point of serving is to support the American way of life, which is freedom to succeed and fail, to figure out who you are. So many media outlets make it just about war, and that sucks sometimes. What we are passionate about is the ability to support military efforts through our talents, our passion, which is music. That song really allowed us to communicate that to those interested or even confused by our service status.

TDS: Your record has a refreshingly raw, gritty feel. Can you talk about the choice to embrace grungier sounds? Is there something more communicative, emotionally authentic, in leaving things without pop-polish?

D|T: Thanks, that’s exactly what we’re going for! Of course, no judgment about how anyone else does it. For us, though, music is an opportunity to get back to basics. All the polish kind of takes away the sweat and passion. We want fans to be able to hear the guitar picks hitting the strings, really hear those drums ring after being beat to hell, hear the imperfections. Music is just a way for us to represent real life in art, and people aren’t perfect. So we don’t want our music to be either.

TDS: Your debut dropped May 21st, 2016. How can fans get their hands on a copy of the release?

D|T: Digitally, the album will be everywhere. Fans can search for us on Apple Music, Spotify, Rhapsody, Amazon, etc. and find the album. However, the hard copy will only be available at live shows this summer. We wanted to make that a special exclusive for the folks who come see us. Once Fall rolls around though, it’ll start making its way to other places.

TDS: On the topic of incredibly exciting news, Dash|Ten is playing Warped Tour 2016 this summer! How are you all feeling about the gig? Are there any cities or towns you’re particularly excited to make a stop in?

D|T: It’s kind of a dream to be kicking off our album release with a run on Warped Tour. Corrin has played that tour as a solo artist previously, but this is really Dash|Ten’s debut tour. Not a bad place to start! It’s such a cool venue for discovering new music, and we’re as excited about finding new bands we love as we are about people discovering us! We’re probably most looking forward to the Seattle area stop, though, just because of how rich that music scene still is. We have a feeling that the crowd there will be really supportive of our sound.

TDS: With such a tour ahead of you, you must have a killer mix set up for the trek. What tracks are you currently listening to? Any recommendations?

D|T: There have been so many bands reviving lately, so getting new music from bands we’ve loved for a long time is always great. Radiohead just put out a new album that is so good. We’re also pretty stoked about the new Garbage album coming out next month. The first single, “Empty” is just quintessential neo-grunge. The guitars are just sick raunchy, and Shirley Manson is a badass. We also have some go-to music on the bus like Marmozets, who Corrin toured with on Warped in 2014. Their debut full-length is killer. We also have some of our Warped alum favorites like Paramore, Echosmith, and PVRIS. It’s not a coincidence that we love listen to women rock out!

TDS: Besides music, the one thing we’re particularly passionate about at The Daily Slice is, well, pizza. What’s your favorite place to get a slice in your hometown or on the road? Any favorite toppings?

D|T: Oh, man, we just had the best pizza in Chicago at a pretty well-known place called Giordano’s. That pizza is INCREDIBLE, and even a personal size can feed you for a couple days. The most insane thing was how they put sausage on it – it was almost like it was a perfect circle under the cheese on the whole pizza. It’s almost better from the fridge the next day because when it’s cold, it’s like eating just a solid brick of pizza. We need to tour back to Chicago ASAP so we can go get it again!

Check out Dash|Ten’s debut on SoundCloud and Spotify here!

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