Through the heat and the high energy of Warped Tour, MEB writer Kristyn Shannon managed to grab some time with the rock power trio Dash|Ten, a band made up of three Army veterans. They discuss joining the Warped family, being in the Army, and copywriting words, so check out the chat below!
MEB: To start off easy, what’s your favorite song to play during the Warped set?
Corrin (Campbell): [Laughs] Go for it.
Steve (Ebert): I’ll go. I think mine would be “What You Wanted” or “Sunbeam.”
Peter (Greenberg): I’m gonna say “Sunbeam” because of the drum solo.
Corrin: Yeah, Pete likes drum soloing. Actually, it’s funny because solos actually make Pete very nervous but like, once it’s over he realized he liked it cause he’s really humble like that. I’d have to say “What You Wanted” also. It’s our closer right now and it’s just got a lot of raw energy. I say that’s our collective favorite.
How did you come to join the Warped family anyway?
Corrin: We’ve actually kind of been developing as a band for a while. I’ve done Warped as a solo artist before and then these guys were kind of like “the band” when it was still a solo thing and it felt really weird because they were obviously up there and they’re very cute; the girls always want to know about them anyway. So, we kind of decided to go with the band and become Dash|Ten. I’ve actually known Kevin [Lyman] through mutual friends for a while and I told him about this new project and he was like, “Well, it would be really cool if you played on the Full Sail stage” because I’m a Full Sail student. I was like, “Yes, that would be a great idea.” [Laughs] We’ve been in and out of the work family for a while and we just love being here.
Now that you’ve gotten a few stops under your belt, what has it been like to be touring with such a big name tour that so many people go to yearly?
Corrin: I think it’s been great. I mean, it’s cool because you’ve got these multiple stages so we’re able to go see bands that we grew up listening to. Then we’re also able to make new friends that are going through the same thing as us where we’re new and getting new fans and the audiences are smaller. I think that’s been really fun.
Steve: Yeah, I’d agree. It’s just nice that you have a bouquet of whatever you’d like to find and it’s still all kind of in that Warped Tour-centric genre, but especially with the Mayhem Festival being absorbed in the Monster stages. It gives you a wide variety.
Corrin: A plethora of choices.
I like that “little bouquet.”
Steve: You can use that. I’ll authorize it.
Thanks, I’ll put that little “C” next to it.
Corrin: Copyright it. It’s mine, it’s mine. Well, it’s Steve’s. But, we’ll claim it as Dash|Ten’s. We’re gonna copyright it.
How is it different this year now that you’re with a band instead of as a solo act?
Corrin: I like it because these guys have really quirky personality traits and stuff. I think people are already kind of interested in what they are doing and they’re very good at the instruments that they play. For me, it’s fun because Steve is just as primary a guitar player as I am a vocalist. It’s not all about me; it’s about the collective sound. Especially our live sound, these guys just contribute so much creativity and totally shape the sound in a different way because it’s actually them putting themselves into it. For me, that was the biggest goal of making it a band as opposed to a solo act.
You talk so highly about your bandmates. Do you prefer being in a band versus a solo act?
Corrin: Absolutely. I actually get socially anxious and I don’t like being the center of attention unless I’m at home. It’s nice to share it and they’re great guys. That’s why too.
How do you manage to coexist in the Army life and in the music life?
Peter: Very carefully. (Laughs).
Corrin: It’s also a full time gig right now. We tour 300 days a year as our job in the Army. I would totally love to dye my hair purple, but I can’t do that in the Army. There are some rules about tattoos going past certain marks. We still have to have our physical training, be able to qualify on our weapon and do all of the safety courses that we do every quarter, every year. It can be a lot, but any indie band out here knows you hustle to do what you love and I think that’s the kind of mentality we have with it.
How is it possible that you’re able to sell free merch here on tour?
Corrin: The Army actually pre-purchased merch for us. Basically if the kids sign up for a mailing list, they get free stuff. For us, that’s really cool because the Army is giving back to the Warped Tour community. It really shows how much they support a lot of the individualism that’s going on here. It may not be what typical people think the Army would be embracing and for us, that’s cool. We’re also able to do that and not be competing for the kids’ last five bucks. So, other bands that are out here selling stuff still get to buy that album and there’s no competition. It’s all because the Army did it; they wanted to be here.
I bet it’s pretty amazing to have a full length album under your belt. How have the fans been reacting to it so far?
Corrin: I think really good. We’re definitely playing more of the hard stuff out here. We only have like 25 minutes, so you really just gotta give them epilepsy and go home. Like, give everybody a seizure and leave. That’s kind of the goal of the Warped Tour stage, I think; there’s no soft moments for us. I mean, it’s cool since we’re so new. We’ve been playing this music for a while, some of the songs have been recorded for a while, but we’re kind of coming out with this new platform, so people are giving us a lot of feedback about songs they love. Especially the bands are coming up to us lately, saying “I love “Not For Sale” and it’s stuck in my head.” No, I’m sorry, they don’t say they love it. They say “I can’t get that song out of my head” and I always wonder if they’re happy or mad about it. But it’s so cool. Most people who are seeing us on this tour have never seen us before. So, when they say they really love it, you know it’s out of no loyalty to anything except the music. For us, the music is first. I think that’s probably the coolest thing about the fan reactions here.
What is it like to be on tour, singing live songs versus being in a sound booth at a recording studio?
Corrin: Well, what’s funny is that when I’m recording vocals in the studio, my producer is always like, “quit trying to sing it so perfect” because when you’re in there and it’s being put down on tape. Well it’s not tape, it’s bytes, but still. When you put it down, you just want it to sound perfect. They always tell me, “It takes away some of the emotion of it” and I just want to do well. So, live, when you’re running around like a crazy person and just trying to not trip over your cables and get everybody all excited, you think less about trying to be perfect and more about the connection. You really want to make sure people are hearing the lyrics, so live, the vocals are actually better than it is when I end up going into the studio because it’s not so perfect. It’s like being recorded; there’s pressure. Even if you’re recording something for YouTube, how many times do you edit that? Or when you’re posting a selfie on Instagram, how many people are putting 8,000 filters because they think they don’t look quite right. Just love yourself and put it out there. So, the vocals on Warped are like that: just put them out there.
Steve: For me, it’s kind of like if you were drawing with spray paint or a pencil. In the studio it’s like a pencil where if you’re not really happy with something, you erase it or keep going over it, making it thicker and thicker. But, with spray paint, it’s pretty much once you push down, it’s gone.
Corrin: Might as well love it. In music or in art, like Steve said, imperfection is what makes it human. The whole point of art is to connect humans. So, we should edit ourselves less, either as an artist or a musician or a person. We should really edit ourselves less and demand more authenticity from ourselves. I think that’s what makes Warped so real.
What bands have you enjoyed being around on this tour, or rather, who were you excited to see on the lineup?
Corrin: I’ve already checked out New Found Glory more times than is really fair, even if it’s just a couple of songs. I think Mother Feather, who is on our stage, are so eclectic in their look and they look very different from how they sound, but they are very sweet girls and I love them. We’ve been on the tour before with State Champs, Knuckle Puck, Trophy Eyes, and a lot of bands that have been returning this year. So we’ve been running into them and hitting them up. Teenage Bottlerocket, we’ve toured with them before and they’re just such nice dudes. I still haven’t had a chance to see Yellowcard and I am so angry.
Steve: We hear them a lot during tear down.
Corrin: Oh yeah, we always hear them. They play a lot of evening stuff. We’re usually tearing down the Army stuff because we actually run the whole Army tent. The guys set it up in the morning and we tear it down. There are guys that come during the day, but these guys are hustling first thing. So, if they’re playing in the evening, it’s really hard to catch them.
Peter: Palaye Royale. They’re on our stage, but every time I see them, it’s like, “dang, these guys rock.”
Corrin: Oh yeah, they’re sooooo good. Hail The Sun, they’re on our stage. There’s kind of a vibe of old school rock but going progressive, so it’s really poppy and catchy, but also there’s a lot of heady stuff in it. Both fans and music enthusiasts or other musicians can geek out on it, so it’s multifaceted awesome.
Steve: I think I’m with them. All the guys on our stage, especially Payale Royale and Mother Feather, I’ve really enjoyed. I got to see a little bit of White Chapel yesterday, which was awesome.
Corrin: With Confidence, I also like. We’re just going to name the whole roster. Everyone’s awesome, be our friend.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Steve: In the words of Bill and Ted, “Be awesome to each other.”
Corrin: Yeah, we’re totally down for that. We’re all for you supporting something positive and being for something positive. We’re totally against hate. If you want to be for whichever presidential candidate you’re for, totally awesome, do that, but make it for that person and not against the other person. We just don’t need negativity like that. We’re also about having fans hit us up online. We spend a lot of time chatting with them and answering questions. We’re on everything. Our handle is DashTenMusic, all one word, we’re on pretty much everything and we love hearing from people!