Doves enjoy current lineup

All Kidding Aside Left to right, John Barry (bass/vocals), Matthew Shiflet (drums), Ezekiel Calabrese (guitar), Chris Copp (vocals) and Cale Michael (guitar/vocals), like to joke around, but are very serious about their band and promoting their music around Topeka. They look to help the local music scene expand as well as to get more people out to their shows by having a unique sound.

Formed in 2010, progressive/rock/hardcore/metal sonic experimentalists, The Soiled Doves, have quickly become one of Topeka’s most unique and exciting acts.

The Soiled Doves were hatched by guitarist/vocalist Cale Michael who was writing music at home while trying to piece together a lineup that shared his desire to perform. A drummer and lead singer soon stepped into the picture, but things quickly picked up when Washburn alum John Barry, a bassist with whom Cale has an extensive musical and personal history with, joined.

“From there, things just began to build, and we started getting out there and doing shows,” said Michael.

After a year of gigging shows with this lineup, Michael and Barry parted ways left the band and recruited current Dream Killer University drummer Matthew Shiflett and vocalist Chris Copp (both ex-members of Schuman’s Resonance,) who splits his time between the Doves and local rap outfit The Blos.

To round out the lineup the band started to aggressively seek after the talented guitarist Ezekiel Calabrese, who had spent several years with Barry and Michael in local metal band Given With Honor, to round out the lineup.

“Basically, Cale bugged me until I joined,” said Calabrese.

Shiflett confirms his guitarist’s assessment of Michael’s stubborn recruiting tactics, which are indicative of his determination.

“My brother sent me a text and said they were looking for a new drummer,” said Shiflett. “I was already in another band and didn’t really have time. They said, ‘We’re coming over to your house and we’re gonna play.'”

Copp’s story was similar to Shiflett’s on why he joined.

“Basically, Cale started the band and forced everyone to join,” said Copp.

Kidding aside, The Soiled Doves’ founder couldn’t be happier about the musicians he’s surrounded himself with.

“I just wanted to jam with people I liked and loved,” said Michael. “I didn’t want to jam with anyone else but [Barry] on bass, and I definitely felt the same way about [Calabrese] as far as bringing another guitar player in. [Shiflett] and [Copp] came in like the last two pieces to the puzzle; it’s just awesome.”

Personal connections are only a part of what gives The Soiled Doves their undeniable chemistry, which one can easily sense from spending time with the quintet. The variety of styles each member brings to the table also gives the band an interesting and attention-getting presence.

“The whole idea behind this is that we’re all so aggressively different in what we want to play, but are able to put everything into the mix effortlessly,” said Michael. “There are so many styles that go into this. [Barry] and I have played in bands together forever. He and I don’t have exactly the same styles when it comes to writing stuff, but we’ve always made it work. I’ve had the same the connection with [Calabrese], as far playing guitar together goes. We’re different, but we make it work.”

Currently honing their wild blend of progressive hardcore, rock and metal (among other things) with shows in and around Topeka, The Soiled Doves are looking ahead to the future, but with a sense of reality that only comes from the years of experience the members have.

“We’re trying to piece together an album, but money is kind of an issue. I think the main goal is to have fun,” said Calabrese.

Michael also agreed on the main goal of the band

“We’re not here to be the most bad ass band around,” he said. “Of course, we want to play good stuff, but it’s more important to make sure that we’re having a good time. If you see us onstage and one of us messes up, you’ll see the rest of us up there making fun of him. We try not to take things too seriously. When you’re younger, it’s easy to get caught up in all that stuff.”

Looking back at the approach he and many other musicians took in his youth, Calabrese commented¬† that it used to be if a band didn’t get signed, they would just break up.

“It used to be this balls-to-the-wall attitude, which we still have, but we try to maintain a sense of fun as well,” said Michael. “If you don’t, things start to suck and people start quitting, the music suffers and bands fall apart.”

A level of maturity also contributes to the band’s laidback approach.

“We’re all at that age where we know better than to expect anything,” said Copp.

A recent decline in the support of local music can lead to frustration at times. When asked about the current state of Topeka’s music scene, Barry answers with mixed emotions.

“People don’t go to shows like they used to anymore,” said Barry. “It used to be that if you knew at least one band on the bill, people would go out to the show to have a good time and see everybody. These days, it seems like if someone doesn’t know everyone involved, they just don’t bother coming out to the show. It’s so hard to get people out anymore. I don’t know if it’s due to oversaturation and social media where people are constantly bombarded with show events and flyers. There’s not that sense of unity that we used to have around here when, even if you weren’t a fan of something your friend was in, you would still go out to their show, hang out and support them.”

Ever the optimist, Barry sees ways that local musicians can work to improve things.

“Just more bands willing to work together and do shows together again. That’s one thing we’re trying to do with our sound,” said Barry. “Instead of being full-blown metal like our old bands, we’re trying to open our minds a little and reach bands and fans that aren’t strictly metal. We have elements that appeal to other people. We want to hang with and learn about these other bands just as much as we want them to hang out and learn about us. It’s about sharing a fan base. Let’s get your fans out here along with our fans; it works out for everyone.”

For more on The Soiled Doves and to check out their recently recorded two-song demo, visit