October 28, 2020

Webster student helps local band Dots Not Feathers find fresh start with new lineup

Katie Brooking, senior, sings background and plays the keyboard during the Dots Not Feathers performance on Saturday, Feb. 23 at The Firebird. After playing its original songs, the band’s finale song was The Cranberries’ “Dreams.” PHOTO BY BRITTANY RUESS.

Senior Katie Brooking has been playing piano since she was 7 years old, and has studied classical piano all four of her years at Webster University.  After honing her talents, Brooking finally had the chance to show off those skills at her first live show with Dots Not Feathers — which she recently joined — on Saturday, Feb. 23 at The Firebird.

“I’ve been trying to take aspects of pieces I’ve been working on for the past couple of years and trying to apply it to this music,” Brooking said. “This (band) has re-sparked my love for music.”

The members of Dots Not Feathers, a six-person indie/pop band, aren’t new to the music scene. Vocalist and guitarist Stephen Baier, along with guitarist Ryan Myers, formed the band about four years ago. The band’s new lineup came together about three months ago. Other members of the band consist of vocalist and pianist Jessica Haley, Chris Dickey on bass guitar and Nick Blackburn on drums. Brooking is the only Webster student in the band.

At the Feb. 23 show, Dots Not Feathers unveiled its new sound to fans.

“I had a lot of people come up to me afterwards and say how this is a totally different band,” Brooking said. “I saw a lot of people dancing (and) clapping. We just had a lot of really great crowd interaction between us.”

With several new members, the band has transformed its sound.

“I think DNF has always had somewhat of a jazz influence, but now we have less of a folk sound,” Brooking said. “I definitely agree we have more of a pop-rock edge, but we’re trying weird things and we’ve added more electronic instruments with my playing two keyboards and a drum pad and with Jessica playing omnichord.”

Jessica Haley, vocalist and pianist, and Ryan Myers, vocalist and guitarist, of Dots Not Feathers perform Saturday, Feb. 23 at The Firebird. Senior Katie Brooking is a band member and is helping create a new album. PHOTO BY BRITTANY RUESS.

Dots Not Feathers is recording a new album with its new lineup. The band has been in the studio for the past two months writing and recording, with about another month before it’s finished. This will be Brooking’s first time recording with a band in a studio.

With every member bringing something new, the band feels this album is not only a new sound but also a fresh approach to composition.

“We’ve been doing a lot more focus on getting it right as opposed to getting it done quickly,” Baier said. “(These are) all my No. 1 picks. I called everyone my team of all-stars.”

Luke Arens, Webster audio production graduate, is producing the album at Shock City Studios, the studio he works for.

“(Arens) is really passionate about what we’re doing,” Myers said. “His vision for what he wants to put out is very in-line with our vision. He has his own entity as far as what he’s bringing to the record.”

The band’s new lineup has brought new ideas for how the band will operate and grow together.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to a band,” Myers said. “There are days where we open up a Facebook thread and we’ll chat about things for the record the entire day. There’s never been so many ideas being thrown out. Even if we don’t keep them, everyone is contributing to the final product.”

The band will perform April 17-19 at Middle of the Map Fest in Kansas City, Mo. Dots Not Feathers will play alongside bands such as Grizzly Bear and The Joy Formidable.

Share this post