By Christopher DiBenedetto
ogether a group has the chance to go beyond personal boundaries: to elevate each other as players, while enhancing the music in spirit, content and creativity, bringing forth the wealth of lessons learned from several lifetimes of study. For the members of Daria & The Hip Drops, the indie pop funk machine equipped with a sassy lead singer and steel pannist, this technique could not have worked better. This grooving group is prepped and ready to release their second album, Hipnotic, after coming off an exciting spring, and can only look forward to the future. Where Y’at is excited to speak with the band’s creator, Daria Dzurik, to see how this unique band came about, the lessons they’ve learned and what they have in store for their bright future. Where Y’at: You recorded your first EP, Calliope, as a solo artist. What made you form and stick with a group versus doing things on your own? Daria Dzurik: It was a lot of pressure to play by myself. So I put a band together to do a couple of live shows, and it was so much more fun to play with a full group than alone. That’s actually where it came from. I feel like I almost established the band in a backwards way, like I had all this stuff we’re in and this EP made but no one to play it. So it kind of evolved in this backwards sort of way like that. WYAT: So are you still the primary songwriter or is it more of a group eﬀort these days? Daria: I write and come up with a song or idea, or most of a song. Then, once I get stuck, I bring it to everyone and say, “Okay, where can we go with this?” So I basically do the song, then the band helps with the groove and then Graham comes in during the recording process and he’s responsible for how the album sounds. He used to be a sound engineer at Fudge Recording Studios.
32 | July 2015 | Ones to Watch
Honestly, that’s why I decided to record an album. I was just out of college at the school of music at FSU, and he had just started his job at the recording studio, so I was like, “I should move to New Orleans to record some songs.” WYAT: What made you choose the steel pan as one of the lead instruments? Daria: I started playing [steel pan] in my junior year of high school, and Florida State had a steel band. I was going to school for piano, and I just really liked steel band on the side with FSU’s steel drum ensemble. I guess it got to the point when I first started writing for the band that I was doing everything on piano and voice. Then I finally graduated and did all of my big end-of-year piano performances and realized I liked playing steel drum more than piano. So then I built the band around my pans and what sounded good with it; I think from the get-go I knew I wanted to use my steel drums as my main instrument. WYAT: I hear you have some new music coming out soon. Can you give our readers the lowdown on what your latest album is all about? Daria: It’s called Hipnotic; I wanted it to be a start-to-finish album and not just something that’s individual downloads or individual tracks. So we put in a lot of interludes and are trying to go for this concept of a beach on the moon. I get really excited when we record because we’ll add Ableton and Resin samples. I even went to the beach and recorded some sound effects from the waves. Recording to me is like a different monster. I actually wrote and recorded all of the material with Sean Mooney of House of Goats and Lewis D’Aubin of C.O.G. Secret Lab for the current EP. We are now writing with the full lineup and should be back in the studio within two weeks to start working on a release with the entire band.