Wearhaus Featured Artist: Hippo CampusOctober 12, 2015
Hippo Campus is a rare breed. The band broke threw with their hit ‘Suicide Saturday’ and their star only went up from there. They were stellar musical guests on Conan, small stage headliners at Made in America, and toured the UK opening for a little band you might have heard of called Modest Mouse. All of this on a foundation of being a high school garage band.
That’s right, the band that is straight outta Woodbury, Minnesota formed when the four bandmates were still in high school….and that was only a few years ago. The performing arts grads seized the opportunity and have taken their sound from battle of the bands to the national stage. Starting out on tour with JR JR, we chatted with co-frontman and guitarist Nathan Stocker while he was in the back of a moving van. Read to learn all about their wild ride.
Wearhaus: You guys formed while still in high school. How did you end up taking things to the next step, as opposed to dissolving like most high school bands?
Nathan Stocker: It was a pretty fast change because. Throughout high school, before we started Hippo Campus, we had been playing at these smaller scale venues around the city but we had all these different connections through either our teachers at the school or friends of friends. Everybody was really supportive of each other at that time. Being a performing arts high school, it was pretty easy to find all these small scale venues and coffee shops to play and a lot of what we learned at the art school about the music business was that if you don’t ask, you won’t receive it.
So we just put ourselves out on a limb and asked ‘Hey, do you guys need an opener for this show?’ and stuff. We got a pretty good foundational start throughout high school in previous bands so by the time Hippo Campus started, we had all these avenues available to us to the point where one person saw us at a house show and for the next couple weeks, we’d have like ten people emailing us like ‘come play this show’, ‘can you play this house show?’ It was a really fast process of playing a couple house shows and then playing these bigger venues and then from there, we got connected with management and the record label.
What was it like touring with Modest Mouse?
It was a cool experience. First of all, we were in the UK and it was only our second time being there and we were still getting the lay of the land. It was pretty weird and we are opening these shows and it’s not our kind of crowd, it was an older crowd of die hard Modest Mouse fans. The Modest Mouse guys were cool and we got to celebrate Issac’s birthday with him. It was one of those things where you don’t really recognize how cool it is until after it’s done.
Now you are on tour with fellow Wearhaus Featured Artist JR JR. What do you want to do differently this tour?
I don’t think we’ve really thought about it yet. We have been in summer festival mode for so long and we just came off of a headlining tour so it’s kind of nice to be able to go back to a half hour set instead of an hour set every night. There is sort of a lot of relief being a supporting band but I think we are just doing the same thing we have been doing. Just trying to have a good time and create a moment for people.
Your AV Under Cover video was awesome! What was that experience like?
We were pretty excited for that! We had been watching all those videos for a while now so it was one of those things that ‘it would be really cool to do this one day’….and then it happened! It wasn’t exactly how we thought it was going to be. The song that we played, we were told it was the last song and chosen for us — we didn’t get to choose it. But it was fun! Everyone there was really nice and it was cool seeing where The Onion goes on.
So you are told you need to cover a song — how long does it take until you have it down?
You know, we are all pretty lazy dudes sometimes. So it was a matter of “In a couple weeks, you have to do this” and we were like “Cool sweet, chill.” And then it was the day before and we don’t have the song we have to cram it all in, pounding Red Bulls. It was pretty easy though, we ran through the song like three times we were like ‘Yeah, that’s fine.”
The South EP just came out. What’s the perfect way someone should listen to it for the first time?
You should probably smoke some weed and sit in your living room by the fireplace, and pump that shit over the loudspeakers.
You are all super young (Nathan is the oldest at 21). Does that ever become a problem on the road?
Yeah, we weren’t allowed in the green room last night because we were too young. Well, I was allowed in but the other guys weren’t. Some people are more chill about it than others but it is definitely an issue.
Categorized in: Artist Interviews