UM Interview: Sandlot Heroes

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Sandlot Heroes is a three piece rock band from Lehigh Valley, PA. The band is currently working on a new record, a follow up to 2012’s EP “The Trace.” Read below as Amandah Opoku talks to the band about opening for Carly Rae Jepsen, their recent announcement about donating profits to the American Cancer Society and new music!

Amandah Opoku: For those hearing about you for the first time, please introduce yourself and your role in the band
Dan: My name is Dan Kastelnik. I am the lead singer and guitarist of Sandlot Heroes.

AO: How did you come up with the name “Sandlot Heroes?”
DK: It all started back with me and a bunch of my friends in high school getting together and playing “sandlot football” a few times a week. I had been playing in a band as well. We went through about a million band names. My friend and I were toying with the idea of calling our band “Sandlot All Stars”. Spun from the same idea of our backyard football league, we decided on “Sandlot Heroes”.

AO:This past Summer, you opened up for Carly Rae Jepsen at Musikfest, how was that experience for you?
DK: Awesome. It’s one thing to play on a giant show like that in another city then your own. But since it was my hometown, I had grown up going to see shows at the main stage of Musikfest almost every single year. I always knew that one day I wanted to be up on that stage performing for my hometown. Next time we play on that stage, we are shooting to be the main act and not opening up.

AO: Just recently you announced that you’ll be giving 50% of your personal income made from November’s iTunes sales to the American Cancer Society, why did you choose this cause to donate to?
DK: There are many causes out there. This is one that affects many people and can be life changing. We love to give back to our fans, supporters, and people that are in need. Cancer is something that has hit too close to home for people involved or behind Sandlot Heroes. We feel that even if it’s not much in the big scheme of things, a little bit can make a difference in fighting the battle against cancer or at least spread the word that there are ways to help. 

AO: For your fans and our viewers who would like to do more then donate money, for those who want to get more involved with this cause, how do they achieve this?
DK: I think that anyone who believes in something can achieve it. If you feel strongly enough about something there are no limits. That being said, be the person who starts a foundation against cancer or be the person at your work who starts a collection week where people can donate to this cause. I’ve also found a ton of information about events you can volunteer your time at on the American Cancer Society’s website at http://www.cancer.org/involved/index.There are some cool events like “Relay for Life” and many other ways to participate in this great cause.

AO: You stated that donating to the American Cancer Society was a goal of yours, what other goals do you have?
DK: Besides giving back to a cause like that, our goal is to ultimately make people happy and entertained by our music. I know growing up listening to some of my favorite bands got me through a ton of rough times and inspired me to be better. 

AO: On Facebook you mentioned, that you’re currently in the studio. And I know in past interviews you mentioned that your debut full-length album would be called “American Love,” a follow up to 2011’s EP “Trace.” What can fans expect from their album?
DK: We’ve had a few internal changes that may lead us to change the album name however our fans who have gotten us to where we are, have not been forgotten and should be excited. At this point we have had a lot of creative freedom to “push our limits” and breakdown walls that had been built up throughout the years, in our writing dynamic. For me as a singer it has been such a remarkable process to push my own limits with what I can do with my vocal range. I definitely believe this is my strongest vocal work so far.. Although it sounds cliché, I believe this is our best work to date. It’s going to have more of an on edge but will still be identifiable as Sandlot Heroes.. Sticking to our roots. We’re aiming to have a new single out, early next year from there we will begin rolling more songs out and into an album.

AO: As you’re recording the album, how has it been different from the recording and writing of past EP’s?
DK: This time around we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on our creative alignments to make sure they truly make sense for what we’re pursuing. With that, I feel like we’ve been able to establish a great creative dynamic within the team working with us in and out of the studio. Which has allowed us to be more open-minded and confident when presenting “outside of the box” ideas. Previously, I felt a little held back with the way I approached writing.

AO: Last month you posted an acoustic video performing “On Your Way?” A beautiful song, can you tell us what the song is about?
DK: It was one of those spontaneous moments where Chris (our guitarist) came to me and said we should give people a little taste of what we have been working on. The song is about giving someone that you care about the reassurance that you will be there for them no matter what happens.

AO: When can fans expect an official announcement regard the album’s release date?
DK: A lot has happened in the past year and we have been really focusing on perfecting what we release. There are a ton of new things that you will see happening with Sandlot Heroes very soon and a bunch of new releases that will be leading up to the release of our album. The release date is still up in the air for now but we can confidently reassure everyone that it will be worth the wait.

AO: You’ve been through a lot this year, as 2013 comes to close what have been the highlights of this year? What do you wish for in 2014?
DK: This past year I think we have spent a lot of time building a solid foundation with our team and our new music. This has been a highlight for us if not for the public eye. Definitely opening up for Carly Rae Jepsen on the main stage of Musikfest was a highlight of 2013 as well. For 2014 we plan on lots of new releases, a ton of touring, radio shows, television appearances, new music videos, and meeting all of our fans from all over.

AO: Before we end this interview, what would you like to say to your fans?
DK: Stay with us everybody. We are working very hard behind the scenes to give you guys exactly what you have been waiting for from us. Be as excited as we are for the future of Sandlot Heroes. Seeing every single one of you smiling and living life to the fullest when we walk out onto that stage is what we love to do. As long as you are there, we will keep making music. Seeing how we can affect people’s lives in a positive way no matter how big or small, there is no greater reward then that. Let’s take this to the top together.

Keep up to date with Sandlot Heroes on the following websites:
http://www.sandlotheroes.com/SLH/home.html
https://www.facebook.com/sandlotheroes
https://twitter.com/sandlotheroes

By: Amandah Opoku

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