The Hippo Campus interview:
On Friday night, Taylor Hanson and Connor Siedow sat down at The Bad Waitress with the guys from Hippo Campus to ask them a few questions. From left to right, Turntan, Stitches, Espo and Beans had a lot to say about their experiences so far, and what’s to come. Humble and driven, these Minnesota natives have worked hard to get to where they are, and are looking forward to what lies ahead.
Where are you guys from? Woodbury right?
Stitches: We’re kinda from Woodbury. We all went to school in downtown St. Paul. But us three are from Woodbury and Whistler lives in Richfield. So St. Paul is usually where we say we are from I guess.
So you guys went to SPCPA. Why didn’t you guys go to Woodbury High or East Ridge or something like that?
Espo: I don’t know. Jake and I went to this thing called School of Rock before hand, so we had a musical feel at a younger age before high school. So when we got out we heard of this arts high school, and just decided like, “Hey, why don’t we just go there?”
Is that how you guys met then? At SPCPA?
How old are you guys?
How long have you guys been playing music together?
Stitches: Umm, coming up on two years I think?
Is that what you’ve always wanted to do?
Turntan: Uh, yeah. More or less I think. It’s really starting to become more apparent now that it’s what we want to do. It kinda started off as a hobby and then it kinda worked its way into a potential career.
Stitches: Going to SPCPA was like a more forcing out what you want to do. Art classes a lot throughout the day, instead of just regular classes. That was a big part of self-realization, and the fact that we like to play music and perform.
What’s behind the name Hippo Campus?
Stitches: I was in psychology class, and we were reading about the brain. About the good ol’ B, and came across that fantastic word, hippocampus. It’s the memory center of the brain. Figured it’d be cool if it was split into two words, double entendre sort of thing, and just rolled with it. It’s very vivid, very original, so…
Turntan: I’d say it’s very original hahaha …psych class. There’s no other band named Hippo Campus out there. It’s just us!
Is it hard to be such a young group in a community where everyone who are just as established are much older, and have been working together a lot longer than you guys?
Turntan: Well we were all in bands when we were even younger so it was even harder when we were under 18 to do this, so when we finally turned 18, it only got easier. And it just keeps getting easier. So it’s not too hard I guess. I think it’s a good thing that we’re young because it’s viewed as more impressive if like a bunch of young guys are playing music that’s tight.
Stitches: And that’s a plus. It’s a big plus. It sucks that we can’t drink I guess. It takes a while for people to latch on and realize that it’s just music and that it doesn’t matter what age you are and if you can get past years, you can be at ease with the people around you more.
You guys have a video on YouTube. A lyric video of South. Do you guys have that recorded? I haven’t been able to find a recording of that.
Turntan: Not out.
Is it going to be released anytime soon?
Turntan: We’ll see. I’ll say that much.
Stitches: There is a possibility.
Espo: I’m gonna say, a really really strong possibility.
Like new album type possibility?
Beans: No. I don’t know what we can say.
Turntan: But we got something!
Every show I go to, there are young girls, freaking out all over you. Any thoughts on your super young fan base?
Stitches: I’d rather have one really old dude, than fifty young girls. Nah, it’s chill. They’re young I guess, but we’re not that far out of high school still, so it’s like they’re kinda growing up with us. Which is just chill to see that they’re along for the ride with us in that way. I don’t really care much. As long as people are coming out and seeing shows, that’s cool.
How do you guys make your songs? Does one of you guys make the beat, and go from there? Or does Jake write the lyrics, and you guys create from that?
Turntan: It’s a really collaborative process. It’s usually one person who will have an idea, and we’ll all work on it. It’s all really spontaneous and organic, which is great. Then Nathan and I will usually write the lyrics together so it’s a really collaborative process.
You guys are going on tour soon. Are you guys used to traveling a lot?
Turntan: No. This will be our first real traveling experience as a band together. The farthest show away that we’ve played was in Beloit Wisconsin. So we’re in for a surprise!
What are you guys looking most foreword to?
Stitches: The drives. The long drives. The long arduous drives.
Do you guys have a van then?
Espo: Pretty close. It’s tough to get money for that. It will figure itself out. We will have a van hopefully haha
Has it become super overwhelming for you guys yet?
Beans: It’s about to be.
Espo: We only allow as much pressure as we want. Like, we don’t flip out too hard. We’re doing what we like to do, so any work that we have to put in is not even work.
Turntan: We’re taking it day by day. We’re not too worried. Everything works itself out in time.
Were any of you guys watching the Super Bowl when the Explore Minnesota commercial came one with Little Grace in it?
Turntan: No. We were recording actually.
How did you guys hear about it?
Stitches: Twitter. Thank God for the bird.
Did you guys know that it was going to happen? And be on the Super Bowl?
Beans: We knew about it. I think we actually forgot about it though. Then it happened and we were like, “oh yeah!”
How does it feel to be getting all these opportunities at such a young age? The Current seems to be in love with you. Minneapolis is in love with you guys! And now that you guys announced that you’re playing SXSW, it’s got to be surreal.
Beans: Like you said. It’s surreal. We’ve been together for almost two years. I don’t know. I’d like to think that it doesn’t happen that often, that in two years you’re playing big named festivals and doing a two-month tour and getting to live your dream. It’s a huge thing for us to be able to do this. It’s like a fantasy for us and it’s coming true and we’re just getting closer and closer to our own little paradise.
Are you guys planning on going to school after this? Are there even any plans?
Turntan: Not thinking that far ahead. Honestly just really enjoying living in the moment right now and enjoying what we have.
Stitches: I’m not going to school. I’m never going to school again.
Do you guys have any future goals for Hippo Campus then?
Turntan: Playing Red Rocks in Colorado.
Stitches: Be the next U2. Buy The Bad Waitress. Right now our biggest goal is getting a van.
So have you guys had any funny or interesting fan interactions?
Turntan: One of our fans got some of our lyrics to South tattooed on her foot, which was pretty crazy. We just saw it on Instagram. We all thought it was fake. We were like, that’s Sharpie. But no. They literally got out lyrics tattoed on their foot.
Espo: That was awesome.
What’s your favorite show you’ve ever played?
Stitches: There was one of our good friends who had a birthday party when we were first just starting out. It was like our second show that we’ve ever played. It was a house show, and it was like life was just good. There was nothing bad happening. It felt like there were no bad things existing in the world. Everybody was very supportive and into it. I think it was one of the first moments when we realized that this was good. This was a good thing that we had going on. That was a heck of a show. It was fun. All of our friends were there. House shows are pretty fun. Otherwise First Avenue is great too.
Espo: The people at the house party were pretty awesome. That was like a big part of it. Life was great otherwise, but without the people standing two feet in front of us, packed in a tiny little room, the energy that was happening. It almost blew the roof off the top of the house.
Stitches: Allan Kingdom played it too. It was fun.
Where’s the connection there? How did you guys meet Allan Kingdom?
Stitches: Hanging out in St. Paul. Allan went to St. Paul College I’m pretty sure. He would hang out with us during lunchtime. Not us specifically, but our friend DeCarlo. He slowly meshed in.
Turntan: Our first three shows were actually with him. The house party and we also did this show at a place called, “The Beat” which is in Uptown. We used to play a lot of our shows there with our old band. So yeah, we’ve been playing with him for a while now. He’s a great guy.
Stitches: Soloman’s Bakery too. That was pretty cool.
Catch Hippo Campus at The Aria on March 12th before they head out on tour and on their April 3rd stop at the Varsity Theater!