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Creators of the forthcoming film 'Speakeasy' discuss music, rebellion, and "blue-collar rage"

On March 5th, Joui Wine will host a fundraiser for Patrick Hague and Michael Box' forthcoming film, Speakeasy.
On March 5th, Joui Wine will host a fundraiser for Patrick Hague and Michael Box's forthcoming film, Speakeasy.

In a dystopian world where a repressive government strictly regulates all forms of artistic expression–including music–one renegade band, The Riot Police, dares to defy authority by rocking illicit underground clubs. That’s the concept of Patrick Hague and Michael Box’s forthcoming film Speakeasy. The filmmakers, who co-founded the production company EchoEterna in 2022, joined WYSO music director Juliet Fromholt to discuss the inspiration for Speakeasy and the March 5 fundraising event for the film at Joui Wine in Dayton’s Fireblocks District. The duo also previewed an original song from the film, “Fallout,” live on air.

Patrick and Michael met more than a decade ago playing in Dayton’s DIY music scene. The pair bonded over a common love of music and filmmaking— and a shared rebellious, anti-authoritarian attitude. Michael told Juliet that Speakeasy’s dystopian setting is drawn from the sense of “blue collar rage” that haunts rust-belt cities like Dayton:

“A lot of it is about class—it’s the middle class trying to scrape by, and feeling as if you can’t or aren’t allowed to do something. I’m ten years older than Patrick, but I still find myself being that anti-authoritarian kid that I was in my teens. I always connected with the rebellious side of punk music, of hardcore, and rock and roll, where it’s telling authority, ‘I’m not interested in what you have to say, I’m going to do things the way I want to do it…’ Growing up in the Midwest, you feel like you want to give the finger to the man.”

Patrick and Michael conceptualized Speakeasy as a gritty, honest portrayal of what it means to be a DIY touring band. “We always felt like there’s just this disconnect between the glamorous way that musicians are often portrayed in movies and our true experiences as working artists,” Patrick said. As the drummer of Dayton band Moira, he knows first-hand the realities of local band life—late nights, long drives, and never enough pay. To cultivate a sense of realism, the filmmakers insisted on casting actors with musical experience for the roles of the film’s fictional four-piece band. They also recorded a series of original songs for the film with Dayton producer Mikey Chappell.

To support the film’s production, Michael and Patrick will host an immersive fundraising event on March 5 at Joui Wine in downtown Dayton. The event will feature raffles and an auction in which attendees can bid to win minor acting roles in the film. Cast and crew members will also provide insights into the filmmaking process and offer sneak previews of costumes, props, and concept art from the film. Tickets are available in advance for $40. For more information about Speakeasy, follow EchoEterna on Instagram or visit echoeterna.com.

Text by Peter Day, adapted from an interview recorded by Juliet Fromholt on February 21, 2024.

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Juliet Fromholt is proud to be music director at 91.3FM WYSO. Juliet began volunteering at WYSO while working at WWSU, the student station at her alma mater, Wright State University. After joining WYSO's staff in 2009, Juliet developed WYSO’s digital and social media strategy until moving into the music director role in 2021. An avid music fan and former record store employee, Juliet continues to host her two music shows, Alpha Rhythms and Kaleidoscope, which features studio performances from local musicians every week. She also co-hosts Attack of the Final Girls, a horror film review podcast.
Peter Day writes and produces stories for WYSO’s music department. His works include a feature about Dayton's premiere Silent Disco and a profile of British rapper Little Simz. He also assists with station operations and serves as fill-in host for Behind the Groove. Peter began interning at WYSO in 2019 and, in his spare time while earning his anthropology degree, he served as program director for Yale University’s student radio station, WYBC.