The DML Conspiracy

band bio

The DML Conspiracy is driven with a guttural sense of purpose and determination to forge their own and leave behind a legacy of quality music that will live well beyond their time.

From the ashes of a disbanded DML Cartel, singer/songwriter, Dodd Michael Lede, formed the DML Conspiracy out of necessity. “It was time to put together a band in order to play these songs live,” Lede admits. “I had been writing and recording these songs over the span of a four-year period. I wanted someone else, outside of my inner circle, to hear what I had been doing.”

With a full assortment of instrumentation, including two guitarists, Landyn Lyerla and Lance Stephens, coupled with Steve Green on keyboards and backing vocals, all areas of the sonic spectrum were covered.  Add the solid rhythm section of Marty Flynn on drums and Shawn Carr on bass, and you have an unstoppable force. The cherry on top is the addition of female lead vocalist Shawna Cole.

What Lede created, was a band that possessed a desire to go the distance.  This is a group of musicians with diverse influences that reach well outside the traditional territory of rock music. 

The DML Conspiracy consists of common denominators that gravitated to each other because they understand that music is more than just a soundwave drifting through the in-betweens of inner space. It is a deep rooted calling that drives them to carry it one step, or possibly several steps, forward, to leave it as a calling card for future generations to pick it up and continue the process.

Their new release, An Act Of Defiance, contains fourteen tracks that dig deep into the soul of Lede’s musical core.  Each song telling a story about the inner-turmoil of individual suffering, as evident on songs like California, Secret To The Grave, and Cancer, to relationships (All I Need, Butterfly Tattoo), and a tribute to Elton John, with a stellar rendition of Rocket Man.
By aligning their unwavering dedication to the do-it-yourself work ethic, The DML Conspiracy has stepped outside the cookie-cutter trap that most bands fall into, not to invent a new genre, but to create a musical experiment that breaks down genre-stereotypes and unites listeners with a diverse range of musical flavors to suit all tastes. 

Musically speaking, An Act Of Defiance is dark, moody, and confident, but if you strip back the electric guitars, and the driving rhythms, the bare essentials of each song would still tread water well enough to be recognized for what they are; truly great songs.

With this release, Lede breaks through the plastic to capture the soundtrack to his life’s endeavors.  An Act Of Defiance has attitude, and it has passion.  There is a sense of maturity about the songwriting, but there is no mistaking the underlying influences.  With his signature sound, Lede continues to wear his rock & roll past on his sleeve like a badge of honor.

Dodd Michael Lede

Vocals & Guitars

When you hear Dodd Michael Lede’s Americana/Blues infused southern rock stylings, it’s clear this Houston transplant, from New York via Los Angeles, is deliberately trying to make a permanent brand for his style of music. Lede is a natural born talent in the songwriting arena.  He has a knack for finding melodies that hook you, but also make you pay attention. He is a story teller with a penchant for descriptive word-play. 

If you look a little bit closer, you find out that his success isn’t an overnight run, but rather the byproduct of an artist working tirelessly, seizing every opportunity and breaking free of genre conformity. 

From his grassroots beginning, it was evident that Lede was destined for greatness. He has earned a reputation as a leader in his field by setting the bar high, and then going above and beyond his own expectations. He is constantly challenging his piers to step up their efforts. He is an advocate of the DIY philosophy, and has taken measures to insure that his fans leave with nothing less than a spectacular experience and a story to tell their friends. 

Under his indie label, Sonic Smack Records, Lede has constructed an enticing stage production, recording studio, and a management team to handle every aspect of his career, and he is now expanding his musical community to help others with their personal musical endeavors. 

No doubt that his latest release “Perfect Storm,” hot on the heels of the sultry favorite, “Memory Interrupted,” is gaining accolades and is propelling Lede in the Houston Rock charts, where he has resided in the top 10 for the past 15 weeks.

He is at the forefront of the singer/songwriting class of 2020. His musical flexibility makes a bold statement that he will not be bound to one specific musical genre. 

Although his musical childhood was spent fronting rock bands throughout the greater Houston area, his songwriting has matured into a more polished and refined Americana pop sensibility. He is continuously redefining his musical identity to incorporate flavors from other genres. 

Lede was born in New York, but spent most of his formative years in Los Angeles before eventually being forced to relocate to Houston when his father accepted a new job offer. Each of these unique city’s has had a major impact in influencing Lede’s songwriting and musical direction and growth. 

Shawna Cole

Lead & Backing vocals

Where were you born?
I was born in west Texas, in a small town outside of Odessa.

How long have you been singing?
I’ve been singing most of my life.  I can remember singing back when I was 6 years old, but I didn’t start singing in bands until I was 22.

What made you want to become an entertainer?
I had a vivid imagination as a child.  I remember my brother and I would have pretend concerts on our front porch.  I would wear my black Delta Dawn dress and use a hair brush as a microphone.  We would sing along with the radio.  We would sing our little hearts out to anyone who would listen.  My parents nurtured my love of music and I’ve been entertaining ever since.

Name 3 people who influenced your music, and why?
There are so many, it’s very difficult to settle on only 3, but I’ll do my best.  Steve Perry was influential to me.  He had so much passion in his singing.  You could feel his voice down to your soul.  I also love, love, loved Stevie Nicks.  She had so much style and grace.  Pat Benatar brought out the rock side of me.  We typically listened to country when I was growing up, but Pat just made me want to belt out my vocals.  Of course, I loved the Eagles for all of their harmonies. I found inspiration in all of these artists.

What inspired you to pursue music?
I had a major crush on Jon Bon Jovi.  Watching him perform made me want to get up on stage.  I also loved the energy of Ann & Nancy Wilson.  Heart opened up the doors for women in rock.  And like I said before, Pat Benatar and Stevie Nicks inspired me to get up on stage. They all empowered me, as a woman to pursue my passion for music.

How do you connect with your fans to get them involved with your music?
Typically, I hang out after performances to meet and greet everyone who comes out.  I don’t believe in strangers.  I make sure to introduce myself and become friends with the people that come to our shows.

What are some previous bands you’ve been in?
I have only been in 3 other performing groups.  In Odessa, I played in a band called Take Two.  Then I moved to Houston.  I met Dodd in a band called Bare Necessity.  We sang together in that band for several years.  I have also done some work in another trio with my friends Ruben & Misty.  I did some background vocals in Dodd’s previous band, The DML Cartel, but I wasn’t really part of that band.

What do you see in store for The DML Conspiracy?
As soon as we can get back on stage, I am sure that we are going to play live like crazy.  We are all itching to get back on stage.  I’m sure we will also continue to write and record new songs.  Dodd is always writing.  He never stops creating.

How would you describe yourself?
I am a social butterfly.  I am energetic and always on the go.

Steve Green

Keyboards & vocals

Where were you born?
Port Arthur, Texas.  I grew up in Nederland, Texas.

How long have you been playing keyboards?
I’ve played piano for ~30 years ... added keyboard/organ/synth 2 years ago.

What was your gravitation to play keyboards?
Piano is my home-base but I love the versatility of the organ and synth sounds, especially for rock music.  Fell in love withe the sound of the Hammond B3 organ in my fav classic rock music.  

Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why? Living or dead.
Elton John sets the standard for me on piano - his use of creative chord progressions, use of piano as a rhythm instrument.  For awesome original music Rush is my lifetime fav ... Peart, Lee, Lifeson are all musical geniuses that (thank heavens) wound up in one band.   

What inspires you to make music?
Music is joy in vibration.  It’s like why climb a mountain ... “because its there”.  Why make music ... because I can!  Playing music always energizes me and when you get to do that with a group of folks you enjoy playing with its even better.

How do you connect with fans and get them involved in your music?
On-stage ... high energy, interact with the crowd, keep songs upbeat.  Online ... frequent posts, vids, links to new music. 

What are some previous bands that you've been in?
Texas Retreads - a classic rock cover band

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
Energizer bunny ... always doing something, always eager to learn/create a new song or cool sound.

What do you see in store for the future of the DML Conspiracy?
Gig like a MF, pitch the new CD release, write and record new cool songs.  

Do you have any additional sites where your music can be heard?
iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, our next gig, and (hopefully) your radio


Marty Flynn


What first got you into music?
Listening to Santana as a 7 year old boy.  I knew right then, I wanted to play drums.  The polyrhythms just filled my head and I it was the coolest thing I’d ever heard.  Then came Zeppelin, and I knew what I wanted from drums at that moment.

Who inspired you to play drums?
John Bonham, Neil Peart, Terry Bozzio, Cozy Powell, Bill Ward, Buddy Rich, & Bernard Purdy.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?
I try to serve the song as tastefully as I can without taking up too much space in the room.

What is your creative process like?
It changes all the time.  As I grow and change musically, it becomes more spiritual than mechanical. 

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Right now, I’m collaborating with the musician I’ve wanted to play with since arriving in Houston.  I saw a passion in his writing, and I knew I wanted to be part of whatever Dodd was doing.  Then one day, I saw a post saying he wanted to put a new band together.  I contacted him, and the rest is history.

If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be? 

What is one message you would give to your fans?
We do this for you.  The happier you are the happier we are. 

What is the most useless talent you have?
I can play drums with my mouth.

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
I don’t have a musical career, I have a musical journey. But if I wasn’t doing music, I would hopefully be doing something with the same passion.

Where have you performed?  
I’ve played all over the Northeast growing up in New York.  I’ve played various parts of Texas since moving to Houston. 

What are your favorite and least favorite venues?
My favorite place to play is the Penny Arcade in Rochester NY.  My least favorite place is BUBS in Pulaski, NY.  Every time we played at BUBS, a major fight would break out, and all the girls would hide behind the band. It always ruins the groove for the rest of the night.

Do you have any upcoming shows?
Once the virus threat is over, we will begin aggressively gigging again. 

How do you feel the internet has impacted the music industry today?
It’s gotten free music to the masses, all kinds of different genres.  It’s really cool.  Some of today’s popular music is an absolute travesty.  The Radio stations are all owned by 3 major conglomerates which has become a huge challenge for newer bands breaking out.

What is your favorite song to perform?
Nothing But Dead and Testament by The DML Cartel.

Which famous musicians do you admire?
Neil Peart, Joe Satriani, Tommy Aldrich, & Sammy Hagar. 

What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t shit where you eat.

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be? 
I’d send the industry back in time to 1976.  Back when fans could decide for themselves what was good music. 

What’s next for you?
Whatever God has in store for me.

Landyn Lyerla

Guitars & Backing vocals

Where were you born?
Indiana, but I moved down to Texas as fast as I could.

What was your gravitation to play guitar?
The versatility. The potential. The expressiveness. The girls, lol.  At the time I had been playing trumpet for almost 10 years, all state just in case you were wondering, but when I picked up the guitar at 16, it was over. There’s so much that has been done on guitar, even though electric guitar is a newer instrument. So many people have found their voice and, for me, that’s one of my end goals.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?
I have a pretty balanced musical diet, but there are 2 categories of any music; GOOD or BAD. I’d like to think that whatever I write is good, or at least something the listener enjoys and relates to.

What is your creative process like?
There are a lot of fragments that hit me at the worst time: work, dinner, sleep. I try my best to document them for a later time. During my brainstorming sessions these fragments connect and eventually give me the foundation of a solid song.

3 people who influenced your music and why?
That’s a hard question because there’s no telling how much I soak in subconsciously on a daily basis and over the years. But here goes:
1.    Andy Timmons – If you don’t know that name, YOUTUBE him. Not only is he incredibly gifted, and far more technically savvy than I’ll ever be, he is extremely musical. That’s the takeaway for me. No matter what you play, make it musical.
2.    Chris Cornell – Do I even have to explain? Hearing Euphoria Morning was a revelation later on in my life because he demonstrates superior skill in ultra-melodic lines over unusual chords. 
3.    Stevie Ray Vaughan – A good friend first showed me Texas Flood and, at the time, I wasn’t getting it. Many years later, after the metalcore phase, I finally started to understand what he was doing and have been loving it ever since.

How do you connect with fans and get them involved in your music?
I have been lacking on that for several years now since I play the sideman role.

Other bands you’ve been in?
You name it, I’ve done it at a local level. I was on the path to increase my musical versatility so I joined as many different groups as possible: metal, country, rock, jazz, and variety acts.

Shawn Carr


Where were you born? Groton, CT

How long have you been playing bass? Almost 35 years

What was your gravitation to play bass? A couple of things stick out in my mind.  I always liked the fact that you didn’t just hear the bass.  You felt it too.  More than anything else, the bass carries through walls and over distances that the other instruments don’t.  I also remember reading Circus magazine as a teenager and seeing these advertisements that Yamaha had.  One ad would show a guitar from a low angle looking from the bridge end towards the neck.  The other would show a bass from the same angle.  I remember thinking how thin and wimpy the guitar strings looked, as though they would snap if you barely touched them.  By contrast, the bass strings looked massive and strong, like you could abuse them and they could take it.

Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why?  James Jamerson, who was the main bassist in the golden years of Motown, Jimmy Page, and John Lennon.  Only Jamerson directly influenced me on my instrument, but all 3 have because they inspired me to want to create music in the first place.  There are many others, but those are definitely near the top.

What inspires you to make music?  Music, more than any other art form I think, conjures images & emotions, brings back memories of certain time periods, and brings joy to people’s lives.  We don’t have to agree on the same type of music, but almost everyone loves some kind of music.  If someone tells me they don’t like any kind of music, then I don’t trust them.  That person has to be a sociopath.

How do you connect with fans and get them involved in your music?  When playing, I try to make eye contact with someone and smile make sure I get them to understand how much I’m enjoying myself.  I think that sort of attitude is infectious.  If I ever start to get self-conscious about how I appear, I try to blow it off and just not care what I look like.  That seems to work pretty well.  Being in a band is a license to act strange and get away with it.  I’ve played onstage with my pants around my ankles for 10 or 15 minutes before.  I got some laughs, got a few phone numbers, and even got a few dollar bills in my boxers.

What are some previous bands that you've been in?  I’ve played off and on with Snit’s Dog & Pony Show for almost 20 years now.  I played for about 5 years with Rick Lee & the Night Owls.  I played for a bit with a very talented country songstress named Jennifer Fitts.  I met Jennifer when I was playing in an early incarnation of the Tony Vega Band, who is pretty well known in the Texas blues scene now.  I also currently play in a band with some of my coworkers called Mister Meanor.  That’s been fun and a good public relations outlet for the police department I work for.  There have been quite a few fill-in gigs with other people over the last 25+ years since I returned to the Houston area too.  There were others in my college and high school days, but that’s been a lifetime ago.

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?  I’m just an angry man trying to be good.

What do you see in store for the future of the DML Conspiracy?  Who knows?  The music business has changed so much in recent history that it’s become even more difficult to go anywhere in some ways and completely blown the doors wide open in other ways.  I think most artists today have to embrace the changes rather than fight them and find new ways to reach new fans and expand their audience.  The bottom line for me is that I play music because I love it and have fun doing it.  That’s why we all do it in this band.  It’s for the joy of creating and performing music.  I think we’ll keep plugging away in some respect as long as it’s still fun for us.

Do you have any additional sites where your music can be heard?  You can find websites for some of the bands I mentioned and several of them are on the usual suspects (iTunes, Spotify, etc.).  Most of that stuff wasn’t recorded when I was with those bands though.  YouTube is probably about the only place you’ll find me with any of them.

Lance Stephens


One of the great things about music is that it lives on forever!!”

— Dodd Michael Lede