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click to enlarge Hayley McNicol. - JACOB FLOYD

  • Jacob Floyd
  • Hayley McNicol.

What’s in a name? Well, for Hayley McNicol, who performs lush alt-rock alone and with bandmates under Bombastic Dream Pussy, the name started as one of those jokes you come up with when you’re, like, really high and then just decide to stick with it.

“So, that was kind of a joke,” McNichol snickers. “I was hanging out with my ex and, of course, we were smoking a ton of weed at the time. And we were just making a joke about how we should record music that’s like … it’s so stupid. It’ll be ambient but we’ll also take drum samples and we’ll take like, moaning sounds from porn or something. And I was like, oh, yeah, we should name it Bombastic Dream Pussy,” she says. “Obviously, that never happened. But I really liked the name.”

McNichol says the crass stoner name has actually worked out in her favor because, she says, when people read it, their curiosity gets the best of them and they have no choice but to see what Bombastic Dream Pussy is all about. What they’ll find is that, well, first off, pornographic pleasure sounds didn’t make the cut. Instead, BDP creates daring Snail Mail-meets-Neko Case-sounding explorations of very real reality and aggregated fantasy. On BDP’s 2020 self-titled EP, McNichol takes a page straight out of her real life on opener “Blood on a Bike Seat” and turns to a famous horror writer to flesh out the closing track.

“I changed the narrative a bit within ‘Blood on a Bike Seat’ and embellished certain parts, like the whole ending, basically,” she says. “And I made up my own story for the song ‘Pet Sematary‘ based on the book by Stephen King. When I write, it’s not very deliberate, not usually. It’s only with a lot of revision that what I’m doing becomes deliberate. But a lot of times, I’ll just be playing and I’ll try to think of a line to start the song and it’s usually an image or a feeling. And then from there, I’ll just kind of just let the words flow.”

“If you’re not afraid of endings/ Then let me show you mine,” she sings threateningly on the swelling “But Who Is the Dream?” — the type of track you might send an ex you’re trying to hook up with.

McNichol, who shoulders the songwriting, is joined by collaborators Anthony Zito on bass, Jacob Hanlon on drums, and new to the mix, Jared Talcott on guitar and synth. Though they didn’t get a chance to perform live as a foursome last year due to, well, you know, McNichol is somewhat bashful when she admits her creativity was at an all-time high in 2020.

“I feel bad, but I’ve been writing so much,” she says. “I wrote a whole album, plus multiple B-sides, and I wrote an electronic album and a dystopian electronic EP. I wrote a lot.”

Though she errs on the side of not getting her hopes up about when exactly bands will be able to safely perform live again, she has her fingers crossed that she and her bandmates can record a new album and, in an ideal world, she hopes BDP — or whatever you feel like calling them — could achieve what she describes as being a “mild success.”

“I would love to have enough of a fan base where I could go on a countrywide tour and not have it, like, destroy me financially,” she says. ” I don’t want to be in the situation where I can’t go to the grocery store because people are bothering me. I don’t think I would ever be even able to get to that point. Like, not to be weird about age, but I’m 28. If you’re gonna be famous, it would’ve already happened,” she jokes. “But if I can just keep doing this without it destroying me, that would be great.”

Part of our cover story, “12 metro Detroit acts we think will do big things in 2021.”

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