By Madison Kazar
City lights, the new Riverwalk, and the Hillsborough River provide the perfect backdrop for Curtis Hixon at this week’s Rock the Park. Dropin Pickup will be taking the stage accompanied by Synergy In A Cup, and Brandon Barnett. This free for all ages event will be held on Thursday, Oct. 1 at Curtis Hixon Park, located right across the river from campus.
Dropin Pickup, a band since late 2009 or “forever” as they say, came to be after “endless hours of butchering cover songs and an unwavering sense of self-assurance.” Dropin Pickup has had an incredibly productive couple of years. They won The Ritz’s Battle of the Bands in 2013, released their EP A Settling of Sorts in 2014 and recently receiving Creative Loafing’s 2015 Best of the Bay Local Rock Band award.
Founded on the concept of balance, Dropin Pickup’s co-founders Mike Farrell and Milo Buitrago emphasize a yin and yang dynamic, which stems from their differences in personality traits. The balance they have discovered within the band as a whole has served them well, propelling them onto the Tampa music scene and making them a prominent band within the local music community.
Delving into their inspirations, past shows, and overall experience as a band, Dropin Pickup shares with The Minaret their immense excitement about performing at the upcoming Rock the Park and all of the exciting aspects awaiting their fruitful music career.
Minaret: What was the Battle of The Band process like?
Dropin Pickup: Pick your best two songs. Practice the hell out of them, day in and out. Learn another popular tune and attempt to meld it to your particular style and genre. Convince all your friends, family and fans to attend the show and scream their asses off. Leave everything on the stage. Repeat for the finals.
M: How has winning The Battle of The Bands affected Dropin Pickup as a whole?
DP: Do you remember the twenty-first night of September? We do. Permanently memory-banked! Earth, Wind, and Fire knew what they were talking about.
The competition certainly solidified some great connections in and around the Tampa Bay area. We were guaranteed a few shows as a result of winning. One huge byproduct was a partnership with Symphonic Distribution. They’re a music distribution company–and that’s saying the least of it. Just a bunch of great people that only want the best for artists and are willing to help in any way they can. They sent our debut album all over the world and we’ve received great airtime and royalties from that.
M: What are some of your favorite performances that you guys have done?
DP: Too many. Heatwave at New World in 2014 and then playing their mainstage in 2015. The Ritz before Grouplove and Young the Giant. Jannus for a 97X free show. Ample times at Sacred Grounds. The time at Skipper’s where Mike (lead vox) had an ailing throat and the rest of us, and the fans, covered for him. Cafe DaVinci, in Deland, for Delandapalooza.
M: How was the recording and writing process of A Settling of Sorts and what inspired you while writing this EP?
DP: That CD took us a good five years worth of fights, stories, experiences, performances, to muster. Really, from the inception of the band is when the process began. We always had our sights on recording an album. We even made a few shitty demos in the earlier years. Many a song were cut from our repertoire over time and we ended up with 10 tracks that we were solidly behind. Took us almost an entire calendar year just to record it due to various work and school schedules, the recording engineer’s schedule, shows, redo’s and edits, ectrea.
M: How have things changed for your band since the release of your EP A Settling of Sorts?
DP: We’ve only grown and continued to set ourselves up for bigger and better opportunities. The album has given us great return both financially and professionally. Doors we would be pat down to even knock, now are already open with grand reception. Having an album, in any form, is imperative. It’s who we are to the world. Those songs and messages say more about us than we’ll ever need to explain.
M: How has winning Best Local Rock Act in “Best of the Bay” for Creative Loafing affected your band?
DP: We’ve garnered a great deal of congratulations and compliments. Other than that, it’s too recent to tell. Means an unbelievable amount to us that we were even considered.
M: What was the band’s initial reaction when you discovered that you won Best Local Rock Act?
DP: We were split up in a couple groups at the time of the big reveal. But, probably, a bunch of celebrating, jumping, beer spilling, chaotic cheering. . .you know, the like.
M: Who are some of your musical inspirations behind A Settling of Sorts?
D: Hard to say if there were any direct influences on the album. Undeniably, there were plenty of indirect influences…Coldplay, Mumford, Young the Giant, Half Moon Run, Edward Sharpe, Miles Davis, Taking Back Sunday, Mutemath, Dresden Dolls, Bright Eyes. The list is endless of influences over our collective lifespan.
M: On your band’s Facebook page you describe your genre as “Everything.” What kinds of sounds and genres do you tend to incorporate in your music?
DP: Tends to be a blend of indie, folk, rock, jam, funk, blues. Nothing is really off the table. As long as it fits and sounds good to everyone, play ball!
M: What are some of the thoughts that go through your mind on stage?
DP: Does anybody else smell that? Is that me? Why is it so hot up here? This stage is tiny. This stage is huge! Where is everybody? Look at all those people! I’m starving right now. Don’t [mess] up! Hope it doesn’t rain. Does LaGuerta catch Dexter? You’re only as good as your last performance. I love seeing (insert person) at our shows!
M: How did the opportunity to play Rock The Park come about?
DP: We played it last year. THX MGMT and Brokenmold Entertainment help run it and book it and were kind enough to give us a spot.
Madison Kazar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.