About a year ago, partners Heather Donny Donovan and Carolyn Hillard began casually jamming in their home. Donovan, already established in the Pittsburgh music scene as a member of bands such as Dream Phone and Roulette Waves, enjoyed collaborating with Hillard, and they quickly realized it was leading to something more.
Hillard recruited her brother, Steve, to play guitar, and the trio started playing small shows.
“Our first show, we played as a three-piece with no drums,” Donovan says. “Afterward we realized we … needed a drummer.”
Glenn Durham ended up filling that role and, with a fixed lineup, the foursome continued working on material for the EP Dimension (the release show is Sunday, at Spirit). Dinosoul’s intricate indie pop features lush instrumentals with compelling vocal duets from Hillard and Donovan. The band’s sound has been a perfect match in opening spots for Florist and Diet Cig, and will please fans during its biggest opening performance for She Wants Revenge, Saturday.
Since forming, Dinosoul has worked to solidify a cohesive sound, incorporating each member into the creative process.
“Usually our writing process is very collaborative,” Steve Hillard says. “Somebody will bring in a riff and together we’ll develop it from there with more structure.”
Moving from the city’s DIY spaces to studio recording and larger stages has been a learning process. Recording Dimension at Very Tight Recordings, in Sharpsburg, exposed the band’s sound in a way that felt larger and more raw than in live performances.
“This was the first time any of us had ever done a studio recording,” Donovan says. “It was a lot to prepare for, but it … went really well.”
What follows now is not far from the members’ minds. Donovan acknowledges the band has had amazing opportunities, but doesn’t intend to stop.
“We want to start writing and recording more, and we’re already working on new songs,” Carolyn Hillard says. “We’re thinking of how … we move forward from this.”