FLYER Q&A: Arkansas rockers DOT to celebrate new album with virtual event on Nov. 7

Melanie Castellano, Jordan Wolf and Correne Spero of DOT / Courtesy photo

One-of-a-kind Little Rock three-piece DOT have just released their debut EP Welcome To The DOTosphere. The DOTosphere is a world where you should already feel welcome. DOT members Melanie Castellano and Jordan Wolf were in legendary Fayetteville punk band Color Club, and along with Correne Spero, have played sold out shows in town with Bleached and BRONCHO.

The band describe themselves as “The Doors without Jim Morrison”, and we have additionally dubbed them “a Midwestern DIY version of The B52s”. Their long awaited debut is lightning in a jar. Its five songs are exuberant punk rock colliding with escapist pop. The best songs open doors, and DOT have always built exciting and tangible portals with vibrant worlds inside. Aside from the band, the members of DOT have applied their DIY ethics to music education and are longtime enablers of the underground art scene in Arkansas.

DOT will celebrate the release of Welcome To The DOTosphere with a live streamed virtual event through their social media channels (Facebook or Instagram) this Saturday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. “DOT TV” will consist of performances and commentary.

Who: DOT
What: DOT TV – Welcome to the DOTosphere
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7
Where: Facebook or Instagram

I miss seeing DOT in Fayetteville – How have you been?

Jordan: It’s been a rough year. Sometimes I feel like the whole world is rolling off a cliff.

Correne: We miss coming up to Fayetteville. We always have a blast. We’ve been on “Rockdown”, practicing outside, doing virtual events, and trying to stay as safe as possible while still getting our EP out and doing all the things we planned for this year before we knew about Covid. I’m especially amazed by Melanie and Jordan who are public school teachers.

Melanie: Work has been insane! To all the teachers and students, hang in there! As for DOT, we laid out goals and made a plan, and the timeline for our first release fell on 2020. Somehow 2020 can’t keep DOT down. So we concluded that it must be the YEAR OF DOT!

Welcome To The DOTosphere is out now. Any writing/recording stories you’d like to share?

Melanie: Some of our songs like “Party Cat” and “Bull Shoals” are about specific memories from adventures with close friends. When I’m singing the song, I’m usually thinking about those times, which is how I wrote the words in the first place – just jamming and singing about a treasured experience.

Correne: I wrote “Radio” one night when I heard a radio station coming through my guitar amp. I love when that happens. And we have awesome memories of recording in Heber Springs, dancing in the woods together in a ‘goddess circle’ and watching “Coyote Ugly”…

Melanie: …blaring country music at 2 a.m., having epic meals, burning palo santo to keep the good vibes flowing.

Jordan: Everything we do is both a marathon and a sprint, so recording is always a super special event and we are so lucky to have a very talented Jordan Trotter to record us.

These songs are all earworms and the perfect getaway from a bleak 2020, any plans to connect with fans online or do virtual shows while live shows are on hiatus?

Correne: Yes! We just did a virtual show with the Historic Arkansas Museum through their Facebook in October and we are doing a virtual EP release show we are calling “DOT TV” that will stream live on Sat 11/7 at 7pm on our social media. It’s a multimedia extravaganza!

Jordan: I don’t ever remember sitting down and deciding we were going to do DOT TV. It’s like we just knew it was happening and now we’re trying to figure out how to transform my garage into a clamshell.

Melanie: For DOT TV, I’m envisioning an MTV/Disney Channel-worthy production for all the youths out there to enjoy. I always wanted to be a VJ.

What have you been reading and watching lately?

Jordan: This is the perfect chance to talk about the unofficial DOT book club! First we passed around “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. And we’re currently reading “Reckless: My Life as a Pretender” by Chrissie Hynde. I’m also knee deep in the current drama that’s unfolding on the Bachelorette and as a middle school art teacher and a millennial, PEN15 truly speaks to my soul.

Melanie: Shout out to Leslie Jones on the new Supermarket Sweep!

Correne: I am no joke reading a book Bonnie Montgomery sent me called WILD POWER: Discover the Magic of Your Menstrual Cycle and Awaken the Feminine Path to Power.

What are your favorite venues to play in Arkansas – who should we be donating to while they can’t host live shows?

Melanie: White Water Tavern in Little Rock! It’s the official venue of DOT – Buy their merch!

Correne: We always love getting up to Fayetteville and playing, especially at Backspace. We’ve had some of the most fun nights there. I really hope they’re surviving Covid somehow, and I hope this is still a good place to donate.

DOT has been a band for a while now – and you’re a band where everyone writes and trades instruments. Is this an intuitive process or does it start with a plan?

Jordan: I think it’s both intuitive and planned. Sometimes we start a song all together and sometimes one person comes with an idea or writes a song and brings it to the group, but everyone is always encouraged to do what they want and feel comfortable with.

Melanie: We all have some input and help shape the song into what it’s going to be. No matter who starts it, the magical mermaid union of DOT finishes it.

Correne: It’s cool to have flexibility in terms of people being able to move into different positions and it allows us to have more than three instruments in our band even though we’re a three-piece. I think it’s one of our secret weapons – we have a lot of options.

Melanie: My joke response to this question, though is I’m secretly trying to slowly become the drummer of this band. Let someone else sing already!

What has inspired you to make music this year?

Melanie: For me, it’s been a major stress relief. It’s really fun and special when we can play music together. It’s one thing that feels right in this strange time. I haven’t been very bothered by not being able to go to my usual places, but not being able to play music with my soul sisters is just cruel! I’m so grateful to be able to create with my favorite people.

Jordan: The only song I wrote this year was about being bored and wanting to go out to eat. Music has always been a good way to clear my mind, so it’s played an important role in getting me through this year.

Correne: I’m working on a song right now that’s inspired by some magical moments spent with my DOT sisters under the stars. Just getting to come together and play, even if outside and socially distanced, has meant a lot to all of us this year. I think DOT has kept us all inspired.