With the release of their debut EP Bashful Creatures, its no wonder that Hippo Campus won the hearts and minds of both old and new fans at SXSW this year. Naturally, they commanded the attention of their audience through their high energy, titillating tunes, and rather charming stage presence. The feature song "Souls" has the power to ease the most ferocious barbarian into refined majestic civility. The tune showcases the young bands mature musicianship with the dynamics to continuously keep you on the edge of your seat.
We had the chance to ask the band a few questions regarding the featured song "Souls", as well as the bands thoughts and feelings on some of the intricacies behind the thought-process behind their endearing tunes. If you happen to be in the New York City region on June 17th, consider yourself lucky to get the chance to check out the groovy-pop rock sounds of Hippo Campus at Baby's All Right
in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
You guys are young. And after realizing the playful energy and whimsical cheer of 'Bashful Creatures,' its clear that you guys are heavily influenced by that. Were curious to know what particular or not-so-particular aspect of your youth were you looking to expose?
Nathan Stocker: Not a lot of thought concerning our age went into the writing process. We just wrote about what we were experiencing at the time and therapeutically realized a lot about ourselves in the middle of it all. Obviously, it's been a topic of conversation since we started, but it makes us kinda go, "Um... I dunno, are we actually THAT young?" We're not trying to overanalyze anything...just trying to keep it real.
What was the thought process behind emerging at SXSW as an official force to be reckoned with?
Jake Luppen: This year was our first time at SXSW so we weren't quite sure what to expect, to be totally honest. It was sort of a learn-as-you-go process. By the end of the week though, after an onslaught of different environments and audiences, I felt like we emerged a much stronger band. South By is like one huge audition for a multitude of bands all hoping for the same thing. If anything, it was an incredibly humbling experience. To be named a breakout band of the festival was definitely an honor and gave us the confidence necessary to continue on our month-long tour where the pseudo audition process never quite ended.
There's nothing bashful about you creatures in the new song "Souls." Theres an organically orchestral layering in the song that deviates from some of the EPs bouncier tropical twang. What influenced the more serious, more ambient sounds of this piece?
NS: There was a cabin in Wisconsin we all spent a few days at over the winter of 2014, and it looked out over a frozen lake - it was serene and quiet and cold as hell. We had set aside time to write new material and we started with this delay-focused riff I had bouncing around for a few days. During the writing, the melodies of the song demanded most of our attention, so we centered around that. It was a definite and momentous change in our writing process, being in an altered environment, as well as having some eyes watching us at the time, post-"Little Grace" music video. We felt a little more grown up, so the song slowly evolved into a tribute to the previous summer, being the most mischievous and intense summer of our lives thus far.
You all are planning to set the stage this summer for some pretty epic bands including Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, Real Estate, and Walk the Moon. Have any of these acts influenced Hippo Campus as a unique entity and well-established sound?
Zach Sutton: All of the bands we're playing with this summer have had a great impact on us as musicians and as music listeners. They helped established part of the niche we find ourselves in musically. Personally, these bands have been with me for a long time and it's truly an honor to play on the same stage as them.
In the interim since we talked to Hippo Campus, they also released a video for their track "Suicide Saturday" which you can check out below.