Daria & The Hip Drops
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Daria & The Hip Drops

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Alternative Pop




"5 Questions with Daria Dzurik"

"I first heard Daria Dzurik at a performance at the Louisiana Music Factory. I was impressed by her stage presence and her ability to integrate a steel drum into her act. After a short conversation, she agreed to participate in an e-question and answer session.

1. You play a steel drum or pan as part of your act. How did you get involved in playing this rather unusual instrument?

I started playing pan when I was in high school. I went to Leon High in Tallahassee, FL. They have a GREAT steel band, (and now the middle school that I once attended has a steel band class as well!) I’m finding it’s definitely more common in the school systems in Florida than it is in Louisiana. (The first time I busted out my drums here someone asked me if it was a gumbo pot…)

Several universities in Florida (and across the country) have steel bands too, which was great because once I graduated from high school I was able to continue learning on the instrument while I was in college at Florida State University.

2. Your songs seem to have a lot of influences. They are clearly pop songs, but elements of reggae and other Caribbean grooves are obvious too. What is your approach to writing songs?

Not to sound cliché, but I listen to a wide variety of music! I’m definitely influenced by several genres so when it comes to songwriting, it can almost be a little difficult for me to rein everything in and make cohesive sounds at times. Since making pan my primary instrument for performances, I’ve most recently been writing songs based on riffs that are idiomatic to steel pan, and then I’ll hop on my keyboard to work out voicings and harmonies since I’m able to hit more than two notes simultaneously.

I do try to vary how I start to write a song though. Some days I like the element of melody to be my focus, and then on another day I’ll switch and try to create a different song just based off a rhythmic pattern or a harmonic progression. It keeps songwriting interesting for me, and its good exercise!

3. Your pan work interacts nicely with the playing of your guitarist. How do you approach soloing on the steel drum?

I like to think I approach soloing on steel drum as any other instrumentalists would, but personally I like using a lot of blue notes. I also get in the groove of montuno chord blocking patterns, which lends well to my instrument as it can switch the focus of soloing from melody to rhythm.

4. You’re from Florida. How have the musical traditions of that part of the country influenced the way you think about music?

Of course having steel band in the public school system in my town while I was living in Florida has been an influence in obvious ways. I wouldn’t have been exposed to Caribbean and calypso music in the same way—dare I say at all if I grew up somewhere else?!

Also, Florida is a little more diverse than people like to give it credit for! Even within just the College of Music at Florida State, there were so many different world music ensembles, and the school has a great international program bringing in people from different cultures from around the world into the University community.

Now that I think about it, all 4 of my roommates for the last 2 years I was in school were from different countries (Japan, Honduras, Peru, Columbia) so I’m sure I’m influenced in ways that I’m not even aware of. And as a side note, bluegrass and folk music is huge in North Florida. While I don’t intentionally incorporate it stylistically into my original music, having the same aesthetic of an organic sound is important to me.

5. Now that you live in New Orleans, have any New Orleans musical traditions seeped into your sound? And if so, how have you been influenced by living here? (I know that’s technically six questions…)

Ha, yes! I named my backup band “The Hip Drops” after a song by The Explosions for starters. It’s not just the music of New Orleans that’s been an influence, but the community and live scene too! Having support from local venues, other bands, and local radio like WTUL and WWOZ is really special—it’s great to have support and feedback from a local audience from people that you know, only slightly know of, and people you haven’t even met yet.

But for musical influences, I’ve definitely developed an appreciation and better understanding for Old New Orleans funk and soul music since living here, which has really helped my vocal lines and the groove I aim for with my band. I’ve found similarities in the second beats and strumming patterns of my pans since they both have Caribbean roots. I’ve heard fusions of traditional New Orleans brass come together with post-calypso, and rocksteady in local bands like The Local Skank, and Maddie Ruthless & The Forthrights (whom I have both played with and am looking forward to playing with again!) I feel like even Big Freedia has had an underlying influence on some new tracks we just finished up.

Being around so many other musicians helps me to create. I’m always trying to figure out new ways and genres of music to incorporate steel pan into. For a while, I really avoided playing anything that would allow listeners to generalize me as playing “reggae” and so I forced myself to use my pans in atypical styles so as not to be considered “island music,” but at this point I’ve learned to just play what feels good." - Jay Mazza

"My Music: Daria Dzurik (Daria & The Hip Drops)"

My sister played [steel pan] when I was younger. I was in elementary school and she was in our high school’s steel band and she would bring them home to practice. I remember seeing them and thinking, ‘I want to do that when I’m in high school.’ At my high school [Leon High School in Tallahassee, Florida] as an elective you could take either band, chorus or steel band and I chose steel band. And then I had the opportunity to continue with it at Florida State because they have a steel band as well as a really strong ethnomusicology program. I was able to do direct individual study with professors about steel pan.

Daria Dzurik, Photo by Frank Etheridge, OffBeat Magazine, January 2015
Photo by Frank Etheridge
[The steel pan] is Trinidadian. A lot of people think it’s Jamaican, but it’s from Trinidad. When I first moved here [in January 2009], I thought that there would be more steel pan in New Orleans. I thought, ‘This is great, I’ll find a lot of other pan players to play with,’ but I’ve actually only met two people that play it. Which is funny, because I figured being so Caribbean, and having a lot of musical, rhythmic influences drawn from the Caribbean in traditional New Orleans music, that it would be bigger here.

When I start a song, it’s usually on the piano. I try to think of a hook first and then I come up with a chord structure and words based around the hook—words are always the last thing I write. I write the songs [for Daria & the Hip Drops] and usually after I have my foundation set, I’ll bring it to Graham [Robinson, her producer, bassist and boyfriend] and say, ‘What do you think of this?’ And he’ll give me his opinions here and there and sometimes I’ll take it and sometimes I don’t. Then we work the song with the whole group and see what we like.

I play double seconds, which are two pans, so I have two and a half octaves spilled out across two drums.

I have one whole-tone scale in my left drum and one whole-tone scale in my right drum. I really love double seconds because I love the range and it works because if I have a guitar player soloing, I still have some good mid-range notes I can play to accompany it. It still has a higher end, so if I take a solo, it can really pop out.

What I’m really trying to do is take an instrument that people normally don’t listen to and making it appeal to the masses. I know steel pan isn’t for everyone, but I could listen to steel drum every minute or every day. It’s such a beautiful sound to me. - Offbeat Magazine

"I tried the Hip Drop and I Liked it!"

"There’s something very cool and unique about Daria & the Hip Drops. The style they carry in every crowd provoking performance is reflected in their latest album I Tried the Hip Drop & I Liked It. The title itself is a representation of the bands fun and funky nature. Their lead vocalist, Daria Dzurik, who is consistently compared to other female artist such as Lily Allen, Regina Spektor, and No Doubt’s female lead and solo artist, Gwen Stefani, has her own voice when it comes to the latest album. While the comparisons are great compliments, Daria & the Hip Drops are a one of a kind team that has created their own diverse style that is fashioned with the funk-rock of New Orleans and the Caribbean influenced tones of the islands.

After recording Daria’s first solo album Calliope in 2010, the band continued to grow under the name of the full band, Daria & the Hip Drops, consisting of teamwork between singer Daria Dzurik who is also the steel pianist and keyboardist, along with producer Graham Robinson, and a collaboration of other backing artists.

Categorized as indie pop, this album connects electro-synth samples with steel drums and bass like nothing ever heard before. Songs like “Lost Ur Mind” and “Battleship” bring something unusual to the very traditional NOLA music scene. Gaining exposure with I Tried the Hip Drop & I Liked It has been easy for the band. They can be seen performing their original songs in various locations from One Eyed Jacks to the 2014 French Quarter Festival." - Kimmie Tubre

"Daria Dzurik"

Sometimes a little deviation is good. Accustomed to the polished, packaged and produced, it’s always refreshing to be exposed to an artist who blatantly disregards the pop star mold.

Daria Dzurik is a pocket of fresh air in an atmosphere of homogeneity. The singer, songwriter, keyboard player and steel pannist challenges the mainstream notion of popular music with her debut album, “Calliope,” independently released in August.

Joined by her band, The Hip Drops, who are Graham Robinson on strings, Erik Golson on percussion and Andrew Witkins on trumpet, Dzurik’s “Calliope” is in the field of the most distinctive female singer-songwriter releases of the year.

A classically trained pianist and a graduate of Florida State University’s College of Music, Dzurik comes from a formal musical background. That, combined with a diversity of influences ranging from indie-pop, calypso, soul and retro, she developed a completely individual style that sets her apart from her contemporaries.

After graduating from college, Dzurik settled in New Orleans and began work on “Calliope.” The album is appropriately named after a street in New Orleans that draws its name from the Greek music of epic poetry. The move to the Big Easy saw Dzurik exploring hip-hop and the rhythm and funk pervasive in the area, sounds she incorporated into her album.

“Every Morning,” which opens “Calliope,” probes Dzurik’s recent additions to her musical palate. Her cherubic voice, layered over hip-hop beats and conjoined with raps from artist JusKwam, describes the hectic early hours in a metropolis. “Outside I hear a song, of engines, screams and shouts, are what this place is about,” she sings. She creatively translates the inquisitiveness brought on by the sights and sounds of her new landscape into her music.

Dzurik transitions into more familiar territory in “Somebody,” a peppy ska-style song that explores a woman’s search for ideal man, preferably one with “a pretty ring and a flashy car.” Her unadorned voice, with unusual emphasis on particular sections of verses, hearkens back to Gwen Stefani’s early days in No Doubt.

Dzurik, like Stefani, is a desirable oddity. She’s an imperfect, yet honest voice in a field of female artists who have been known to strain their vocal chords to the point of collapse. Dzurik is laidback and natural, due in part to having no need to make up for any lack of quality in her music.

The most accessible song of the album, one that could be presented next to the pop giants on radio, is the break-up song, “Reminds Me Much of You.” The lyrical content of “Calliope” is not amazingly compelling, but as displayed in this song, Dzurik can be quite witty with her words. “This move came a little too easy – I put your things up on eBay,” is her disclosure about the remnants of her relationship.

Dzurik’s musicianship on “Calliope” is superlative. “I’m Going Home” may be the best example of her combined talents on the piano and steel pan. Her playing at the forefront, along with several layers of vocals in the background, plays games with the ears and makes for an animated departure of “Calliope.”

Dzurik describes her music as being “quirky-pop.” Indeed, her version of pop music is much more unconventional than that of many young artists. From her voice and instruments to her musical arrangements and collection of influences, she’s anything but ordinary. Daria Dzurik may be too outlandish for some people, but honestly, those are probably the type of folks who aren’t willing to seek out anything that challenges the mainstream notion of good music.

To listen to “Calliope,” visit http://www.daria.bandcamp.com. For more information on Daria Dzurik, visit her website, http://www.dariaandthehipdrops.com. - Mountain Times

"Daria & The Hip Drops: Every Morning"

Thought of by fans and listeners as “…early No Doubt meets Regina Spektor,” Daria combines fun and quirky lyrics and melody lines against upbeat grooves with the help of backing band “The Hip Drops”. Daria recently self-released her first full length album “Calliope,” recorded and produced in New Orleans by the same team that brought you the latest albums from Ani DiFranco, Better Than Ezra, and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band Tribute album. The members of this Nola-based group fuse their skill with soul playing a blend of funk, pop, and calypso.

Color me obsessed. So comfortable in her own skin, Daria merely forces nothing and her performance is spot on. Her demeanor is confident therefore relaxed, her vocals are strategically placed and therefore the harmonies lure you in, and in, and in. The lead track, “Every Morning” has something for everyone. Without warning, a quirky pop beat, anything but shy vocals, soulful horns and even a hip hop guest spot. I could go on, but I’m keeping you from just pushing play – seems wrong. I’ll tell you this, you’re in for a treat! Grab the download below, and click on the bandcamp below to download the full LP. - Kick Kick Snare

"February CD Reviews - Daria Dzurik: Calliope"

Daria Dzurik

Besides a local street name of debated pronunciations, Calliope, which in Greek means “beautiful-voiced,” was the mythological muse of heroic poetry. In her first full-length release, vocalist Daria Dzurik channels the many faces of Calliope by combining her own heroic poetry and striking voice with the palatable mixture of genres found in New Orleans. A collection of pop in all shades and textures, the album explores Dzurik’s far-reaching spectrum of influence and inspiration: calypso, reggae, soul, indie and retro pop and New Orleans funk, to name a few. Besides Dzurik’s own contributions on vox, keys and steel pan, Calliope features her band The Hip Drops and others, such as hip hop artist Juskwam, whom she backs with a simple, catchy piano line and sunny vocals on “Every Morning.” A crackly static heard over the track provides a distinctly retro feel; this is conversely accomplished on “Remind Me Much of You” with a combination of ‘40s and ‘50s vocal trio influences in the intro and steady, classic rock n’ roll rhythms from the drums and piano. Even when singing about more serious topics, Dzurik maintains a light, bouncy mood for an overall fresh, versatile pop record guaranteed to leave you smiling.—Carolyn Heneghan - Where Y'At Magazine


Daria Dzurik’s quirky idiosyncrasies and mischievous charm carry her debut effort, Calliope. A fetching songbird with a pair of pipes and a fair for theatrics, Dzurik takes pleasure in toying with hearts: “I’m indispensable to you,” she taunts on “Indispensable” before belting, “Until I’m outta here.” The young chanteuse sings with a spunky, girlish ring in her voice that gives her melodies a playful, light-hearted feel, even when they sting.

Musically, the album blends punchy pop and whimsical sing-song with spices from the Big Easy. Nods to Crescent City funk and R&B pop up in almost every cut. It’s a true culture collision, the distillation of vintage sounds set to the diary of a millennial mademoiselle. But it doesn’t come off without a hitch. On the first few numbers, Dzurik’s vocals seem to get swallowed in the mix, almost submerged under the jangle. Still, the minimalist, rough-around-the-edges production and Dzurik’s full-throated verses maintain an authentic vibe that settles perfectly into the rolling piano triplets and “ooh-wha-oohs” of the breakup ballad, “Remind Me of You,” a springboard for the punk-y, ska shenanigans of “Don’t Look Now.”

Lyrically, Dzurik’s stories take just as many twist and turns as her band’s spry flings. “I got a bed that’s ft for a queen, like me / You can take it away any day / There’s no way it was made for just me,” she sings atop the synth-bass strut of “Wake Up Alone.” Even when’s she’s pining for the not-so-perfect bf (“Somebody”) or putting off a pitiful breakup (“I’m Going Home”), she keeps up her coy, kittenish composure. Eventually, she let’s her guard down on the sweet yet satiric “Slowly Sinking,” the album’s most revealing number. But she’s back to playing the muse again on the closer, a duet with rapper JusKwam, “Every Morning,” Calliope’s biggest catch. - Offbeat Magazine

"Daria Dzurik, Calliope"

Daria Dzurik and The Hip Drops bring you their first full length CD, “Calliope”. This is an interesting piece of work. I was struggling to find a genre to compare it to? It is a cross between calypso, ska, funk and well, maybe a few other things.

Daria’s vocals are refreshingly different from anyone else I’ve ever heard. She has a peculiar way of phrasing her words to fit the rhythm. It is kind of hard to sing a long with, even though you almost can not help yourself. The tunes are catchy. Not catchy in a hooky sort of way, but in a toe tapping contagious vibe. Lyrically it is a ramble of what seems to be on her mind at the moment. Musically it is a force of nature causing you to get up and prance around uncontrollably.

The closest thing to a ballad is the song, “Slowly Sinking”. It is a cute little ditty about meeting someone and kind of digging them. But then I think she changes her mind, maybe? Even after reading the lyrics I’m still not a 100% sure? My favorite song was, “Remind Me Much of You”. Being a songwriter myself, that leans more toward story telling; I particularly liked it. Mainly because it told a story and I got it. I also really enjoyed, “Running in the Night”, it was vivacious and groovy.

Ultimately the entire CD is full of hip swinging tunes. No downers in this one. I can’t imagine anyone being in a bad mood after listening to this music. If you need a pick me up, then grab Daria Dzurik’s, “Calliope” and put on your dancing shoes. - Skope Magazine

"Caribbean Steelpan meets New Orleans Sound"

Daria Dzurik throws a curve into the familiar pop singer-songwriter scenario: She plays steelpan.
Steelpan originated in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Also known as steel drums or pans, the pitched percussion instruments produce bell-like tones when struck with mallets.
Dzurik leads local band Daria and the Hip Drops. She’s the group’s singer, principal songwriter and, of course, steelpan player.
Daria and the Hip Drops will play an album release show for “Hipnotic,” the group’s full-length debut, Saturday at Chickie Wah Wah.
“Hipnotic” features Dzurik’s unusual mix of influences: Caribbean and steelpan music, eccentric British pop singer Lily Allen and the contemporary and classic New Orleans music she’s come to love since moving to the city from Tallahassee, Florida, in 2009.
In Tallahassee, Dzurik performed with her middle school and high school steelpan bands. She later studied piano at Florida State University.
The job Dzurik’s partner, Graham Robinson, got as engineer and producer at the now-closed Fudge Recording Studio brought her to New Orleans, too. Robinson, a multi-instrumentalist who plays bass with Daria and the Hip Drops, produced “Hipnotic” at Fudge.
Although she was steeped in steelpans music, Dzurik’s knowledge of New Orleans music was sketchy. She did know The Meters, Dr. John and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. She’d also attended the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival during college. And when Dzurik’s older sister was a Tulane University student, she’d given Dzurik a CD by New Orleans’ Rebirth Brass Band.
“My knowledge of New Orleans music wasn’t deep until I came here and started playing and got more in touch with the local scene,” Dzurik said last week.
Once in residence, Dzurik’s trained ears made the connection between local second-line beats and the Caribbean music she’d played since childhood.
She experienced another revelation when she heard “Ball the Wall: Live at Tipitina’s 1978.” The album by singer-pianist Professor Longhair features steelpan. Of course, Longhair famously featured Caribbean rhythms in his highly influential, unique, quintessential New Orleans sound. She hopes to feature her steelpan in a re-recording of Longhair’s “Ball the Wall” album.
Besides Longhair, other classic local artists Dzurik loves include James Booker and Allen Toussaint.
“Anything Allen Toussaint touches is amazing,” she said. “But since I’ve moved here, what’s been eye-opening is seeing who’s playing now.”
Dzurik cited some of her contemporary favorites: the soulful, funky singer-keyboardist Jon Cleary; bounce music and TV star Big Freedia; Trombone Shorty; exploratory percussionist Mike Dillon; and the theatrical Quintron and Miss Pussycat.
“There’s a lot of talent happening in the city right now,” she said. “I’m happy to be a part it.” - The Advocate

"Ones to Watch: Daria & The Hip Drops"

Together 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 out better. This grooving group is prepped and ready to release their 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 album 'Calliope', as a solo artist. What made you form and stick with the 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. I feel like I almost established the band in a backwards way, I had this album made and no one to play it. So it kind of evolved in this backwards sort of way like that.
Where Y'at: So are you still the primary songwriter or is it more of a group effort these days?
Daria Dzurik: I write and come up with the song or idea, or most of a song. Then once I get stuck I bring it to everyone and say 'ok where can we go with this?' So I basically do the song, then the band helps with the groove and Graham comes in during the recording process and he is responsible for how the album sounds. He used to be a sound engineer at Fudge Recording Studios. 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 working at the recording studio, so I thought I should move to New Orleans to record some songs.

Where Y'at: What made you choose the steel pan as one of the lead instruments?
Daria Dzurik: I started playing pan in my junior year of high school, and Florida State had a steelband. I was going to school for piano, and I continued to play steelpan on the side with FSU's steelband Mas N Steel. 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 my big end of the year piano performances and realized I liked playing steel drum more than piano. So I built the band around my steelpans and what sounded good with it.

Where Y'at: I hear you have some new music coming out soon. Can you give our readers the low down on what your latest album is about?
Daria Dzurik: Its called Hipnotic; I wanted it to be a start to finish album, and not just something thats individual downloads or individual tracks. 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 are able to include ableton and reason samples. I even went to the beach and recorded sounds from the waves. Recording to me is like a different monster. - Where Y'at Magazine

"Daria & The Hip Drops, Hipnotic"

The latest from Daria and the Hip Drops adds to their range while still keeping to varied, dancing grooves.

Despite the band only having three pieces, they generate a lot of sound. There is a lot going on in the music, including slinky, 1960s organ in “Tip Toe,” or the echo guitar in “Hole in Heart.”

All this sound never bogs down the songs. They are light and buoyant and marked by leader Daria Dzurik’s steel pans, which add both a rhythmic and melodic flavor that is rare in New Orleans. The music runs the gamut of Caribbean beats including ska, reggae, and a little rock steady.

However, there is a second generation tinge to the songs. There is a great 1980s New Wave aesthetic in this record, like the slightly distorted guitar that English musicians added or the synthesizer sound that New York bands put to this.

Graham Robinson’s guitar, bass, and keyboards lock in to each other and make for a tight ensemble. Both the synthesized and more natural lines are integrated together into a coherent pop sound. Druzik’s vocals are bright and airy. Her singing has a 1960s girl-group tone filtered through a Debbie Harry phrasing.

Occasionally, her vocal style doesn’t match the lyrics. Sometimes she sounds a little removed while describing the sadness of “Felicity” or the sarcasm of “So Hard.”

But the sunny, warm vibes of this record make it perfect for summer, beaches, outdoor parties and other fun activities. - Offbeat Magazine

"Read + Spin"

POP/CALYPSO/FUNK: Daria & The Hip Drops will celebrate the release of their full-length album Hipnotic at Chickie Wah Wah on Sept. 12. The 12-track effort features beachy dance grooves, such as the catchy, steel drum-infused opener “Battleship,” and reggae jam “Lost UR Mind,” as well as a trippy yet delicate and melodic piano ditty aptly dubbed “Lovely Interlude,” of which the latter would be right at home on the soundtrack to a David Lynch film. - New Orleans Magazine

"New Music Spotlight: Daria & The Hip Drops"

Daria & the Hip Drops released their new album, Hipnotic, on Saturday, September 12. Upbeat with strong vocals, the group pulls influences from indie pop, rock, Caribbean, and electronic genres to end up with a truly unique and modern New Orleans sound. Astute listeners may hear whispers of artists like Santigold or the Talking Heads. Their name comes from a song and dance, "Hip Drop," by the Explosions, a New Orleans funk band from the 1960s.

The Caribbean-influences are immediately apparent on the album's opening, "Battleship," and the closing track, "Quantimplative." The latter is a particularly delightful and surprising mishmash of Caribbean-style, hiphop, and shoegaze. Throughout the album, Daria's vocals shine with her energetic, beat-influenced voice. She comes with sounds reminiscent of Gwen Stefani, Lily Allen, and a more sophisticated Cyndi Lauper, particularly on "Hole in Heart." The steel drum percussion resonates on many of the tracks. The keys rock on "Tip Toe" and "So Hard." The group also pays homage to their hometown's brass traditions, pulling in the horns on "Felicity." The record comes across as thoughtfully ordered, with peaceful, lilting respites coming halfway through and near the end with "Lovely Interlude" and "Interlude for Felicity."

The band has a few upcoming local performances: October 2 at Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge, October 31 at Voodoo Fest, and November 5 at Maison.

Hipnotic is available on CD at the Louisiana Music Factory and MP3 from iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby.

dariaandthehipdrops.com - WWOZ

"TVD Video Premiere: Daria & The Hip Drops 'Hole in Heart'"

We’re proud to present the exclusive world premiere of the first official video from Daria & The Hip Drops’ brand new album, Hipnotic.

The band is on a roll since the album dropped two weeks ago. They sold out the release party at Chickie Wah Wah and welcomed numerous special guests to the stage.

The video was shot in an old Tobacco factory in Quincy, Florida and was produced by Los Angeles group Chaos Labs, the same company that brought you the most recent Pepsi ads featuring David Beckham and Sophia Vergara.

Chaos Labs teamed up with the Hip Drops to create a “down the rabbit hole” theme featuring the band’s core members, songwriter and front woman Daria Dzurik and producer/bassist Graham Robinson. - The Vinyl District

"Daria & The Hip Drops Album Release Party at Chickie Wah Wah"

Daria Dzurik fronts the band as vocalist and steel drum player—and was featured in a TVD 5 Questions in 2012. Daria & The Hip Drops have been performing for the past five years in their home base of New Orleans and at major festivals and venues across the region. The band blends rocksteady, pop, and funk styles into a unique amalgamation.

Since forming the Hip Drops, Dzurik has played with Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, the Mike Dillon Band, and Disney’s Imagination Movers. Bassist and producer Graham Robinson tours with Grammy nominee Zachary Richard and members of the Radiators.

I’ll let the band explain the music on the new album: “Hipnotic (is) a genre-bending, nautical meets cosmos soundscape… the concept behind the recording is based on the oddities and similarities between the ocean and outer space.”

The band paints that picture thoughtfully by blending electronic samples with funk bass lines and Caribbean based rhythms, reminiscent of recordings from early No Doubt and Santigold. Hipnotic was created with a start to finish listening experience in mind, complete with interludes and abbreviated song recapitulations, but tracks are catchy and stand strong independently. - The Vinyl District

"Daria & The Hip Drops"

The spirit of steelpan has a way of
leading people, and steelpan began
taking over her life!
In the diverse musical landscape of the United
States, players of the steelpan find themselves in
a variety of performance situations. The steelpan
is often featured in steelbands and, increasingly,
finds itself as part of a mixed ensemble with
other traditional western musical instruments.
One of the more eclectic ensembles featuring
steelpan is the New Orleans-based band Daria
and the Hip Drops. This pop group is a mainstay,
performing in the vibrant New Orleans music
scene as well as touring all over the Gulf Coast
region from Louisiana to Florida. Daria and the
Hip Drops have a unique sound that mixes a bit
of Soca with a Pop joyfulness and lots of New
Orleans Funk. The band is led by vocalist and
double seconds player named Daria Dzurik.
New Orleans is a town full of musicians and
bands of all styles and makes; yet, Daria and
the Hip Drops are the only local band led by a
steelpan soloist.
Daria Dzurik was born into a musical
family in Tallahassee, Florida. Her father,
an engineering professor, is a devoted
jazz pianist and music lover. Daria started
learning piano at age four and not long after
discovered steelpan when her older sister
joined Lion Steel at Leon High School. Lion
Steel is a well-known school steelband
program in Florida and recently celebrated
its twenty-fifth anniversary. Lion Steel is a
real success story and currently boasts ten
different steelbands of various age levels and
It was into this fertile atmosphere that Daria
ventured when she entered high school it was
almost natural for her to follow suit in the Lion
Steel Band. “I was president of Lion Steel
while I was at Leon, designed their logo and
t-shirts, and wrote my first steelband scores
for them which included “Stayin Alive” by the
Bee Gees and “Ob-la-Di, Ob-la-Da” by the
Beatles.” After high school Daria continued her
training at Florida State University which itself
has long boasted a strong steelpan program.
A devoted student and member of the Florida
State University steelband Mas and Steel, Daria
earned an undergraduate degree in music—
though she thought she’d never focus on
steelpan. The spirit of steelpan has a way of
leading people, and steelpan began taking
over her life and that has remained her focus
since she relocated to New Orleans. “It’s
simple, really, she notes, “Pan is the sweetest
sound. I listen to iit everyday. Why not try to
make a career out of iit?”
In 2009, Daria came to New Orleans to
pursue a career performing and recording
alongside bassist Graham Robinson—himself
a talented musician who doubles as an audio
producer/engineer. The pair learned recording
technology and Robinson is now a skilled
producer working with such legendary musicians
as funk master Papa John Gros, Cajun great
Zachary Richard, and many others. These
intersections put Daria in contact with many of
the greats of the New Orleans music scene and
her refined musical style on the steelpan displays
the marks of a variety of influences.
Daria released her first album Calliope in
2010 and then formed her current band called
the Hip Drops shortly thereafter. The name
Hip Drops comes from a beloved 1970s New
Orleans R & B classic called the “Hip Drop”
made popular by the band the Explosions.
Daria has since led the band playing mostly
her own distinctive upbeat and danceable
compositions and the past few years have
been specifically devoted to songwriting and
A wide-ranging performer, Daria is adept at
performing as a singer/steelpanist in a variety of
situations and the band lineup of the Hip Drops
changes periodically and ranges from a duo
with her and Robinson to the full quartet. Daria
prefers the full quartet with guitar and drummer
as it shows the full range of steelpan within the
context of her band’s sound. In 2015, Daria and
the Hip Drops released their first album as a
band titled Hipnotic and have recently produced
a slew of new music videos for many of the
songs from the album.
In addition to steelpan playing, Daria is
involved in several aspects of the Mardi Gras in
New Orleans. Her interest in the Carnival arts
led her to join the New Orleans-based Cherry
Bombs, a dance troupe that regularly performs
for Mardi Gras parades and other events in
the Gulf Coast region. The Cherry Bombs
have grown to more than thirty members and
Daria finds the experience of being in a dance
troupe and performing in parades liberating and
inspiring. Her time in the Cherry Bombs further
inspired Daria to choreograph a soca-inspired
routine for her last video “Sun Goddess.” The
routine was created with the aid of dance
teacher Jeremy Guyton and features several
“Cherries”. The connection between music
and dance has since become very real for Daria
and she now approaches composition thinking
of body movements to match the lyrics, melody,
and rhythm! As one of her band members said in
an interview, “It’s all about having fun and getting
people to dance in the sun!”
Daria is also involved with other band
Daria is one of only a handful of steelpan players active in
the New Orleans music scene. However, the region has a long
history of steelpan dating back to the 1960s. The US Navy
Steel Band, itself formed in Puerto Rico in 1957.
projects and has recently lent her steelpan skills
to a new band called Mike Dillon and the Punk
Rock Percussion Consortium. Band leader Mike
Dillon is an accomplished vibraphone player
and wanted to put together a large ensemble of
over a dozen percussionist that play a variety of
As Dillon told Offbeat magazine, “The
main concept is taking the percussion
ensemble out of universities or the classical
world and bringing it to the jazz/rock/punk
world. Bring percussion to the people!” The
Mike Dillon and the Punk Rock Percussion
Consortium features wild musical arrangements
that display roots in jazz, free jazz, minimalism,
and Punk Rock music. Daria serves as the
resident steelpannist for the band and this work
has allowed her a whole new musical outlet.
Daria is one of only a handful of steelpan
players active in the New Orleans music scene.
However, the region has a long history of
steelpan dating back to the 1960s. The US Navy
Steel Band, itself formed in Puerto Rico in 1957,
made regular trips to New Orleans as early as
1959 and the band relocated to the Algiers naval
base in 1972. The US Navy Steel Band was a
fixture in the New Orleans music and school
scene until their disbandment in fall of 1999. The
band made numerous local appearances and
were very active during the Mardi Gras season in
New Orleans, participating in fetes, parades, and
other related Carnival-inspired events.
Two former members of the US Navy Steel Band
have continued to be active in New Orleans
for many years teaching in the schools and
performing in the clubs. These include Gregory
Boyd who has since relocated to Denmark and
New Orleans native Roland Lawes who led
his own steelband called the Executive Steel
Band. Lawes was forced to relocated following
Hurricane Katrina and the latest version of this
band is currently based in Austin, Texas. Several
Trinidadians also now call New Orleans home
and Reynold Kinsale, who was for many years
was the leader and arranger of Blue Diamond
Steel Orchestra in Port of Spain, moved to New
Orleans in 2012. He has since been teaching
steelpan at several schools in the area and
working with the newly formed Neptune Steel
Band which is comprised largely of Trinidadian
The city of New Orleans has always shared a
kinship with the Caribbean and the annual Mardi
Gras celebration is witness to the connection
between Carnival and American culture. What
better backdrop for the progressive sounds of
Daria and the Hip Drops, where Daria Dzurik is
creating a new steelpan sound in the Big Easy
on a nightly basis that embraces and expands on
its Caribbean forefathers.
Ray Funk is a retired Alaskan judge and a
Fulbright scholar who is passionately devoted
to calypso, pan and mas. Dr. Andrew Martin is
an ethnomusicologist, percussionist, pannist,
and Professor of Music at Inver Hills College
in St Paul, Minnesota. - Ray Funk and Dr. Andrew Martin, Pan Podium Magazine

"Calypso, Rock And Alt Pop Merge To Make Daria & The Hip Drops"

With an original mixture of alternative pop, funk and caribbean influence, Daria & The Hip Drops have been gaining recognition for some time now. Today (July 9), the band is premiering the music video for “Day Too Long,” reminding everyone of their influences and what their style means for New Orleans music.

“Lively, upbeat and energetic are a few words that I would use to describe the band’s sound,” said the band’s effervescent frontwoman, vocalist, pannist and keyboardist Daria Dzurik. “Genres like calypso and funk are a big influence in our playing and songwriting, but we like to record more true to traditional rock and pop. I love reggae, rocksteady, soca, dancehall, calypso and ska, but this is not that. I don’t know that I could even pull that off. But I listen to one of those genres everyday, so I think bits of that come through when putting songs together, and of course the fact that steel pan is my main instrument swings the sound a certain way.”

Along with a bricolage sound constructed from myriad surrounding styles, Daria & The Hip Drops wear their indebtedness to New Orleans funk on their sleeves–or their name, rather. Naming themselves after the “Hip Drop” song and dance, which was created by the New Orleans-based funk band The Explosions in the ’60s, Daria & The Hip Drops hope to highlight the mix of funk and Caribbean sounds found in New Orleans.

The video for “Day Too Long” depicts the band having fun at Courtyard Brewery–dancing on an old car, playing dominoes and embodying their own brand of carefree funk/pop. “I wrote the lyrical theme about challenges being faced in everyday life, but having song and power of singing together as a tool of unity to try and power through tough times,” explained Dzurik. “Hence our lyrics: If your day seems too long, sing, sing a song with me. I, I believe that you will see along, they try and keep you down, but they can’t take your song.” - Offbeat Magazine


"Calliope" - 2008 - Daria Dzurik
"I Tried the Hip Drop and I Liked it!" EP - 2012 - Daria &The Hip Drops



Daria & The Hip Drops utilize Caribbean influence with an alternative pop and funk aesthetic to create catchy hooks and danceable upbeat tunes. If you are a fan of artists like Santigold, Vampire Weekend, TuNeYards, No Doubt and The Talking Heads, this band may very likely be a favorable addition to your playlist.

Songwriter Daria Dzurik fronts the band, who plays steel drum, keys, and sings lead vocals for the group. Dzurik and producer Graham Robinson brought together a collaboration of artists that provide backing grooves to create The Hip Drops. Songs put together by Daria & The Hip Drops have been sculpted to bring out certain music elements, whether it be harmonies or rhythms with a blend of genres. "I Try to vary How I start to write songs. Some days I like the element of melody to be my focus, and then on another day I'll switch and try to create a different song just based off a rhythmic pattern or harmonic progression. It keeps songwriting interesting" says the lead singer. Lyrical content for the band's songs range from the intricacies of relationships and political injustice to the simplicity of just dancing. With the fusion and unique style Daria & The Hip Drops bring, there is something every listener can enjoy

The band is currently based in New Orleans and is playing festivals and touring throughout the Southeast.


Follow the band on Facebook for new and show updates! www.facebook.com/dariaandthehipdrops