Donny Donovan and Carolyn Hilliard are partners that make up the dark indie pop band Dinosoul. Donny and Carolyn, who also work together in various projects around Pittsburgh, came up with the name when Donny got a haircut that made them look like a Stegosaurus (BTRtoday).
The pair have completely different vocal styles - but between the two of them, it makes for a really powerful sound. Their web bio describes it best. '"The joint contrasting vocals, one lower and raspy, the other ethereal and airy, adds another element to draw the listener into the group's emotional songs and messages.'" -Dinosoul
Donny, previously from Hearken, Roulette Waves and Dream Phone, brings a heavier rock element that pairs so well with Carolyn's vocals, often and accurately described as ethereal. Dinosoul is a much different direction than Donny's previous pursuits, which we discussed on an episode of my local music podcast, Scene Unheard (linked below). It was an important outlet for them to express themselves fully, and Dinosoul was founded when the pair were going through a period of spiritual and personal discovery, which they discussed more at length in their interview with BTRtoday in 2018.
They're both strong advocates for animal rights/veganism, the sober movement, and LGBTQIA+ rights. They also spoke with Jen Dan from Rebel Noise last year and delved into how they express their views, the issues that are important to them, and their message. '"None of our songs really talk about any of these issues specifically. Our lyrics are more universal and relate to these topics, hoping to empower and help others create self awareness and self actualization, which leads to courage to be yourself and go against the norms of society, which may or may not be these topics that we are activists for. Our activist side is more through our lifestyle and endeavors outside of our music. Dinosoul gives us the platform to be able to talk about these issues and life path and to spread awareness through social media, our shows, and conversing with our fans. Basically spreading the love and awareness.'" The full interview can be found here.
Dinosoul has opened for artists like Bones UK, Mae, Le Butcherettes, Wolf Parade and Brick and Mortar, to name a few. Donny has also filled in on guitar for Anti-Flag, which we talked about at length on our podcast episode.
Dinosoul's story is intricate and important, and yet Donny and Carolyn are both involved in so much more here in Pittsburgh. Together they founded Empath Sober Bar. It's a wonderful effort to provide sober pop-up events around town. It combines wellness and sobriety to provide a fun, inclusive space in the entertainment world for those who don't drink, which is incredibly difficult to find.
Donny is also the founder/head trainer of Free Will Health and Wellness, located in East Liberty.
The pair are dedicated, BUSY, and completely focused on celebrating individuality and overall wellness. Enjoy the resources linked above to learn more about Dinosoul's story.
Dinosoul currently has one album, Eleven, home to their single, "Garbage Truck," which is currently in rotation on the X through the end of the month. They did release a new single this year, "How to Survive," which you can check out wherever you consume your music.
Thumbnail courtesy of Dinosoul.