Dolo - Raleigh, NC

Dolo - Raleigh, NCDolo - Raleigh, NC
By Pat Ferris

Dolo first caught my eye because they were one of the top referring bands to, so I guessed they must have some sort of decent following to be drawing good website traffic.

I reviewed their band last June, and have popped in on their growing number of sites from time to time. Their official hompage at is a great place to start, and their and BeSonic websites had lots of great free downloads.  

"Alternative Groove" as they call themselves, Dolo is no doubt turning some heads and bending some ears with their catchy and hook-laden songs. They have continued to be one of the strongest referrers to us, and I wanted to catch up with the band to find out what they had to say.

<HotBands> Howdy

<Dolo> Hi

<HotBands> I'm going to pull up some of your songs while I'm chatting with you to get in the right frame of mind for the interview.

<Dolo> Great

<HotBands> How did your band get together in the first place? When did you meet, did you morph out of another band etc..

<Dolo> Bill (lead singer) and I (Doug) have been playing together several years;   since college. We were doing some recording together and he knew 2 other guys who played drums/bass, so we all came together on a project.  We decided to form the band because we were really enjoying playing/writing together.  Since then we went through a few personnel additions/changes, but the core of the band has been together for about 3-4 years.

<HotBands> and the core is the 5 of you?

<Dolo> The core is Bill Guandolo, lead singer/guitar,  Doug WIlson (myself) on keys/sax/vox and Neal Chapman on lead guitar.

<HotBands> So you four have been playing together for about 3-4 years, and have changed other members? Do you normally perform/record as a 5 piece or do you have "floaters" that do sessions for you?

<Dolo> We are a 5-piece band, we are firm in our membership.  What happended was that we had to get a new bass player recently, but the other 4 of us have been together for quite some time. Jack Cornell is the new bass player.  Our previous bass player, Todd Jenkins,  transferred to Texas, so he resigned.

<HotBands> I'm listening to "The Ride"  at right now. Do you folks get the chance to tour much, or has the project been (like a lot of musician's) a evening job while you all hold down the day gig?

<Dolo> Interestingly enough, I just quit my day gig to promote the band full-time.    We don't tour in the conventional manner at the moment, especially because we spent the last 9 months doing the CD project.  We are ramping up our bookings now and we are planning to work toward showcase gigs.

<HotBands>So you are becoming real professionals !  It's a hard life... I have several bands that I've watched for the last few years do it full time.

<Dolo> Yes, it's hard, but we love the music. We also feel as though we have commercial viability.

<HotBands> How would you best describe your music ? Dolo - Raleigh, NC

<Dolo> "Alternative Groove"

<HotBands> Definitely good vocal harmonies happening over the groove. Who would you say your musical influences have been shaped by?

<Dolo> Our members have such a wide variety of influences, everything from Steely Dan to Zappa, to Lenny Kravitz to Wallflowers and Counting Crows etc. A wide variety.

<HotBands> It sounds like your style of recording (at least on this CD) uses a lot of compression on the vocals.  Almost like a "vintage" type sound. Would you say that comes from Zappa? (sounds kind of like it)

<Dolo> We used a "Manley" brand tube compressor - it does have a warm sound, also Nuemann mics.  Not sure who the influence comes from, but our producer really likes that sound.

<HotBands> is definitely a recognizable and brandable sound.  Have you played much live, or have you solely pursued studio work?

<Dolo> We are playing a number of clubs in our region (Southeastern US), but we are also pursuing some large festivals like South-by Southwest, Atlanta Mid-Town Music Festival etc.

<HotBands> Right now, I'm in the Northwest, but we are opening an office in Ft. Lauderdale and I may be throughout some of the Southern states over the winter.  I've not been through North Carolina, but I'm always game for a good gig.

<Dolo> We'd love to have you hook up with us as you come through this way.   Also wanted to mention that some of our concerts can be seen on in the archive section under Dolo.  We were filmed at a club called "The Brewery" in Raleigh - a great club for regional and national acts.  I think you need to join the digital club website (free) and then you can access the pages.

<HotBands> As far as digital music and the internet goes, what are your feelings on Napster, and the RIAA?

<Dolo> First off, and Napster are different in several respects.  I personally like the idea that our music can be accessed more freely over the web.   However, we put it there by our choice.  If it were to make it because somebody else put it there without our permission, that would be a different story.

<HotBands> If the goal of the band is to get recognized and sell CD's, T-shirts, etc... tell me how giving away your songs to build an underground following is bad (in your opinion).

<Dolo> It's not necessarily bad - it is a marketing decision (like deciding to do a loss-leader).

<HotBands> I agree. I think of the MP3's as a loss leader.  In fact to take it one step further, in this day and age it seems the public wants the music but (of course, like everything else) wants it for free.  If they could get the music free and the band could be compensated in other means such as the ability to sell band-related products, doesn't it seem a good idea to get more people trading your "loss leader" of music?

<Dolo> As far as making money in music, there are indeed several avenues, including merchandise, publishing, mechanicals, and performances.  If the music is free, it potentially cuts out a major portion of revenues, and may or may not necessarily be made up in the other areas. It is a difficult balance.

<HotBands> I'm thinking that most of the musician's that are unsigned and making money are making it touring.  Most of the successful bands (not necessarily signed bands either) have said they sell more CD's at their live shows, festivals, etc than they do through any other distribution channel.

<Dolo> We, too, have had success selling our CDs and other merchandise at our performances, but we are starting to get airplay and distribution, too. Publishing revenues are also starting to come into play.

<HotBands> Have you had offers for soundtracks or anything of the sort? I'm listening to "cigarrette" right now, and it almost sounds like Prince, so I'm thinking there must be some areas of interest in this area.

<Dolo> Yes, we have been submitting to TAXI, which is an A&R service.  We have been forwarded to several film and TV opportunities, as well as some labels.   One of our songs ("A Passion") was being considered for the movie "GO".  We have been getting a lot of activity through that service, and are very optimistic about it.  In addition, Neal and I do some work outside the band for pure instrumental soundtrack stuff.

Bill Guandolo<HotBands> That's sounds pretty cool. When you tour, do you pack up and leave for months, or are they local or weekend gigs? Also, are you planning on heading over to Europe or elsewhere to get a following over there?

<Dolo> Currently, we do most of our gigs Thurs-Sat. We don't really go on extended tours (yet).  We have been concentrating on our region, which extends from Atlanta to DC, but we are open to playing outside that area.  As far as Europe is concerned, a couple of our tunes made a huge impact in France, especially on , which is an international MP3 site.

<HotBands> When did you start playing music? you mentioned that you and Bill got together in college, but did you get the itch to play when you were little?

<Dolo> Personally, I have been playing music since age 6, and been in bands since 10th grade.  I know Bill also started playing in high-school up in the DC area.   Neal made his own guitar amp out of a record player as a kid, and Fran has been playing drums since he was very young.  Jack is a very well-known musician in this area and played with several internationally-acclaimed bands, such as "The Woods" (of Battleship Chains fame).

<HotBands> How did you all end up in Raleigh? bad luck? (just kidding)

<Dolo> True, Raleigh isn't the "mecca" of great music as we all know, but it's the "next Seattle" as far as some of the great talent coming out of this area....or a good cup of coffee! ;-)

<HotBands> There's great music everywhere. If you listen to bands in Seattle, they'll tell you that "The Seattle Music Scene is Dead" or things of the like.   The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  I've had the opportunity to travel around the country quite a bit over the last couple of years and in my opinion, Seattle is one of the best places to find a supportive community for live music.  The musician's are good everywhere, but without the crowd and club-owners to support them, it's a pretty tough life.  Are there many places to play in Raleigh, or do you have to travel to Baltimore, DC, Richmond, Atlanta, etc.

<Dolo> In the Raleigh and surrounding areas, there are over a dozen universities, such as NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke, ECU, etc.  It makes for a good local music scene. There are lots of cool clubs and some good mid-sized clubs, too.

<HotBands> I'd like to get some cross-country and international swapping of bands.   I'm currently helping a few select bands get known in the Northwest, and would like to create a world-wide family.

<Dolo> It seems as though each town (Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Wilmington, Richmond) each has one or two really good places to play, so we try to reach all those venues.

<HotBands> We featured a gal from Charlotte last year named Melissa Reeves, and I'm getting her package in front of the right people out here so she can establish a following out here. She tours 6-7 months a year and does it full time, but if you're willing for some summer shows on the West coast, I'd be happy to get your name in with the club owners and festival putter-onners around here. (hemp fest this year had over 100,000 people at it and next year they are looking at having a 2 day event)

<Dolo> Right on!! We'd love to extend our reach. We would love to do a festival(s).   We are currently planning on submitting to NxNW, SxSE, Atlanta, Charlotte and Big Shindig in Raleigh at a minimum, but we are evaluating other such festivals, as we think they are a great way to ....(meet chicks) no, to get great national exposure.
Dolo - Raleigh, NC
<HotBands> Yeah...great way to meet chicks! At least you have your priorities right. Sex, drugs, rock-n-roll

<Dolo> Aren't those the main reasons why guys play in bands? It ain't the money!

<HotBands>I like to close the interview with some words of encouragement for younger artists, or perhaps insight you've gained that you can pass on to other up and coming bands. What would you say is your inspiration, and what would you suggest for the readers?

<Dolo> We gain inspiration from writing, recording and playing music.  We set goals and constantly measure our progress.  I would say to the young bands out there that being a truly great band is hard work, but rewarding if you keep your goals realistic and attainable, and as you meet them, set the next ones a little higher and a little higher after that, and keep at it until you succeed.  Sounds hokey, but it has worked for us.

<HotBands> Hokey is sometimes the only thing that works. Like the trudging along to get to any goal. If goals are lofty, they're usually difficult, if goals are too easy, they're usually not worth as much.

<Dolo> Yep.

<HotBands> Thanks so much for the interview, and I look forward to seeing your band live the next chance we can.

<Dolo>Thanks Pat!  You can check out the archived performance from that website I gave you earlier to get a feel for our live show.