According to Urban Dictionary, a hippie speedball is “a joint and an espresso.” That sounds awfully fancy, (and delightful) but I’d imagine a bowl and a cup of Gevalia would suffice as well. Either way, sign me up.
And when it comes to the sonic incarnation of the term, you’ve got Nashville indie rock band Dylan Taylor & Hippie Speedball. The band consists of (you guessed it) Dylan Taylor (singer/songwriter) Daniel DeMonico (guitar), Dennis Drummond (guitar), Jon Von Boehm (bass), and Kirby Bland (drums), respectively.
While Taylor has been a mainstay in the Nashville music scene for some time, the band that is Hippie Speedball has emerged and powered through the indie scene the past year plus. From their upcoming single “Don’t Think Twice” to their newest release “Fuck The Police”, Hippie Speedball is just getting started, and not letting anything slow them down.
And while one may immediately think to the Public Enemy track and the Rage Against The Machine cover, Hippie Speedball’s original track of the same name displays a milder indie acoustic tone, but with a similar message in light of the mass civil unrest we’ve seen this year. There’s almost an Alanis Morrisette meets John Mayer (instrumentally) vibe to it, and we’re here for it.
We had the chance to chat with Taylor and the band regarding the single, and to get a sneak peek as to just what Hippie Speedball is all about.
So what might you say is the central message and feeling behind the music of Hippie Speedball?
Daniel: Dylan has written a lot about addiction and the emotions and events that take place during the darkest periods of being an addict. Also, she has written about reflecting on those times as well. The feeling behind the music is hopefully one of reflection, but also excitement at the same time.
Dylan: I try to write the lyrics about the world around me in real time. Purposely focusing on more than just love and party songs. Then take ’em to the guys and they help me arrange it, then write all their own parts. Usually ends up sounding pretty dope.
What do you hope fans will take away from your music?
Daniel: A desire to influence the world in a positive way.
Dylan: Hopefully, if they’re struggling, let them know they’re not alone. In any case, inspire them to keep dreaming bigger than their situation.
What might you envision people doing while listening to Hippie Speedball?
Daniel: Closing their eyes and moving their head.
Dylan: Haha our biggest fan at live shows, LA, is always dancing and singing and usually gets other people going. I feel like I see cell phones start to video when Dennis and Daniel start to dual at the end of “Don’t Think Twice”. Miss that too.
Which venue in town did you/do you love playing most and why?
Daniel: The Five Spot. The sound is always good, and it has a good live setting for it’s smaller size.
Dylan: We played Douglas Corner the most. It just recently closed, and we’ll miss it a ton. I grew up playing that club.
What’s the energy like in the room at a HS show, or what kind of energy does HS try to establish?
Daniel: If Leigh Anna Thompson is in the room, the energy is very high, and there’s a lot more dancing.
Dylan: Bold but still positive. Psychedelic, real people fun with a dark edgy side.
Jon: I don’t know if this is an energy thing, but I think people are usually surprised by how tight the band is. Most of us in the band are seasoned players and I think that it shows live. So it’s easy for Dylan to give whatever kind of energy she wants to the crowd because of that. If you have to worry about what the other members in a band are doing it makes it harder for you to connect to the audience.
So your new single, “Fuck The Police” is out in the world. Now I feel like one can get a good sense of the song’s intention from the title, but what else can folks expect out of this song?
Daniel: The message of us wanting a change in America where racism is just an awful memory and police brutality no longer exists.
Dylan: They’ll have to listen to it! But is probably not what a lot of people think it’s going to be by the title.
Which of the (many) recent events prompted the writing of this song?
Dylan: Definitely the response to the murder of George Floyd. Police brutality in general is something that’s being happening since the inception of the force, especially towards the black community. Activists and family members of the victims have been fighting it for years. But, for more reasons than I probably have time or the smarts to try to dissect in this interview, the video of George Floyd being suffocated in the street had people screaming “fuck the police” from all walks of life all over the world in unison. The song was inspired by that reaction. “Now all anybody thinks is fuck the police every time they see a cop roll by.”
Can fans expect it to be on an upcoming EP or LP?
Dylan: Yes! It’s already out! With another song called “People 2020.”
What’s the band’s songwriting process like?
Daniel: Dylan brings the songs to the band, and then the band comes up with parts and tones.
We’re flashing back to 2019: what Nashville establishments can members of HS be found frequenting most?
Daniel: Carter’s Vintage Guitars, Chuy’s-Midtown, and Cyber Productions Studios.
If you could have a drink (doesn’t have to be alcoholic) or a smoke with any living idol of yours, who would it be?
Daniel: Barack Obama or Roger Daltry of The Who.
Dennis: “I wanna smoke with Willie…”
Dylan: Patty Griffin, Keb Mo, Bonnie Raitt or Jackson Browne.
What do you hope the rest of 2020 might have in store for Hippie Speedball?
Daniel: NOT CATCHING COVID-19!
Dylan: More new music. If we can’t play real shows I at least wanna be in the studio with the guys.
Jon: Since the world is a very different place right now booking gigs is tough. We will probably be writing and putting out more songs. Then hopefully doing shows with those songs in 2021.
Kirby: I hope the rest of 2020 brings more studio time & more writing. Even if we can’t do many gigs, it’s rewarding enough to put out new music, especially if that music relates to our current times.