Listening to their latest album Landmark, one might not think Hippo Campus is a band of twenty-one-year-old guys from Minnesota. Zach Sutton (bass), Nathan Stocker (guitar/vocals), Whistler Allen (drums/vocals), and Jake Luppen (vocals/guitar) came together in 2013 after performing in various other groups while in an arts high school near St. Paul. With their sweet, beachy, and smooth sound I could compare them to an indie rock, synth-addled Beach Boys. Luppen’s crooning voice, the backing harmonies courtesy of Stocker and Allen, and Sutton’s head-bopping bass guitar riffs certainly lead to this conclusion. What’s more, the songs off of Landmark vary incredibly in mood and subject, from upbeat and positive in “Way It Goes” to upbeat and pissed in “Vines,” to perhaps the most personal song I’ve ever heard, “Monsoon.”
But sitting down with the guys in between shows at SXSW, I saw a group of chill, like-minded friends who just so happened to come together to form a popular band. And I mean popular–just ask the many, many screaming teenage girls I saw at one of their shows during the week. But honestly, with their talent and charm, it’s a little hard, even for me, not to swoon.
HIPPO CAMPUS INTERVIEW
ALLI (HIGHLARK): Hey I’m Alli, nice to meet you guys.
ALL: Hi Alli!
ALLI: What’s your favorite song to play live?
ZACH: “Buttercup” — it’s a song off our new album, it’s really fun to play live ‘cause it goes frickin’ H.A.M. near the end.
NATHAN: I’ve been digging “Boyish” recently. There’s some sort of possession at the end of that song that overtakes me, and I like that. [To Whistler] What do you like to play? What do you like to drum to? [Laughs] Nothing of ours…
WHISTLER: Yeah, I hate our music. No…[laughs] “Vines” is cool, that’s a fun one. “Simple Season…”
NATHAN: Yeah, “Simple Season” is fun.
JAKE: I think “Western Kids,” that shit’s dope.
WHISTLER + NATHAN: Hard song. Yeah, that’s hard.