CUMMING — Vivian Zingleman, one of the members of local band Dot 22, is quick to point out that the group is “friends first.”
“We’ve been doing this for several years and it’s only been uphill,” she said. “I think that’s mostly because we’re friends first, band second. And that’s been the most beneficial for us.”
That philosophy apparently is paying off for the group, which also includes Aaron Sanders and Alex Crain. All three are graduates of Forsyth County high schools.
Zingleman, 19, and Crain, 20, both graduated from South Forsyth High, while Sanders, also 19, started at South but finished up at the Forsyth Academy.
Now, Sanders and Crain attend the University of North Georgia, while Zingleman goes to the University of Georgia.
The trio has been playing together as Dot 22 since 2011. They came together after the guys had been working together to develop a band and were in need of a bassist.
“Vivian was the best bass player I knew, so I was like, ‘Please join our band,’” said Sanders, the drummer of the group.
That drew a response of, “‘Sure, totally,’” Zingleman recalled. “And we went to one practice together and then we were just a band. That’s it, there was no discussion. We were just a band after that.”
Crain handles lead vocals and writes most of the music for the group, which for the past three years has been playing wherever it can around metro Atlanta and north Georgia.
“We’ve just performed at a lot of small venues and at the Masquerade, which is pretty well-known, in Atlanta and Rome,” Crain said.
Over the next couple of weeks, however, the band will be traveling much farther.
This weekend, Dot 22 was scheduled to take what the members jokingly referred to as their “first road trip” to a venue in Virginia.
They were scheduled to perform Saturday night with their friends from the band Bottom of the Ninth, whom they met in Atlanta earlier this year. Later this month, they’re scheduled for a performance in Alabama.
But July 25, they’ll be going all the way to California for the International Pop Overthrow festival. They’ll take to the stage at a club in Los Angeles on July 27.
They’re hoping the miles traveled to perform during the event, which was begun in 1998 by former music journalist David Bash and has since spread to cities all over the world, will help take them far in the industry.
“It’s a huge music festival all about our genre — power pop, pop-rock, all that stuff — and it’s grown so now it’s in a number of cities every year,” said Zingleman of the festival, known as IPO for short.
“[Bash] invited us to perform at the one in L.A. and then also perform at the one in Atlanta, which will be this September.”
According to the IPO website, each festival features “between 25 and 180 of the best pop bands from around the world” who perform for hundreds of spectators.
Dot 22 members are looking forward to the experience and hope they can catch the ear of someone who could help move their career along.
“I think it’s a little more industry-geared, so there will be a lot of key players wandering in and out,” Zingleman said. “We’d love it if someone heard us and wanted to pick us up [for an album].”
So far in that arena, the trio has put out two EPs, musical recordings that contain more music than a single but are too short to be considered a full album.
Their first was “White Noise” in 2012, and in February they released the second, “Bottle Rocket Romance,” which includes an introduction and six original tracks.
“Bottle Rocket Romance” can be found on the group’s website, www.dot22band.com, its Facebook page, and through music sites such as Spotify and iTunes.
As far as their musical style, Sanders said Dot 22 started off as a Green Day cover band.
“So every show we do, people always come up to us and say we sound just like Green Day,” he said. Other influences range from Yellowcard and Blink 182 to the Jonas Brothers.
Zingleman said the band’s somewhat eclectic sound likely stems from the broad array of musical influences the trio had growing up.
“My mom was a singer,” she said. “She did, for a long time, show choir and competitive women’s barbershop, so she’s gone around the nation competing for that a while ago, so there has always been music in my family.”
Sanders said his family always figured he’d become a drummer one day.
“I know from my dad’s stories that we used to go to all these music stores and I would walk right over to the drum sets and start messing around, and you could kind of tell there was some sort of rhythm there,” he said.
As for Crain, he said his family listened to “a lot of Christian and country music” when he was growing up.
“And when I was little, I had this CD player that I walked around with and I had one CD that I listened to all the time,” he said, “and that was Brittney Spears.”
While they come from different backgrounds, the members share a vision for the future of Dot 22.
“We’d love for it to continue to be moving in an upward direction,” Zingleman said.
Crain added that he hopes the same because he can’t see himself doing anything in life other than music.
“I’d like to be able to make a living out of this because it’s something that I love to do,” he said. “I haven’t done anything that is as satisfying as this.
“If I did this, it would not be work. I would get paid to do what I love.”