Exactly at 11am this past Friday, my phone began buzzing. The last thing I was expecting was to make a movie. What I was expecting on the other end of the line was Jake Luppen, or lead singer and frontman of Hippo Campus, an alternative rock band from St. Paul, Minnesota. Known for their infectious guitar riffs and catchy vocals- most notably on Suicide Saturday, a tune that dissects the action of taking a personal day on a Saturday- effectively committing a social suicide. Over the next few minutes we chatted everything from politics to casting a movie about the band, or exactly what this editorial is. Partially my column, partially a show preview, and partially a film- dim the lights, grab some popcorn, and keep your eyes open as you devour this visual through words, casted by none other than Turntan himself.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Jake Luppen (Turntan)
Harry Styles as Nathan Stocker (Stiches)
Eddie Redmayne as Zach Sutton (Espo)
Orlando Bloom as Whistler Allen (Beans)
Scene 1: Minnesota
April 21st, 2016. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Camera shots of the city-wide dance party celebrating the life of music legend Prince. Zoom into all four of the guys, dancing wildly with the rest of the city out on the streets.
AK: “Are you in Minnesota right now?”
JL: “Yes, I am in Minnesota right now.”
AK: “Is it pretty… lit over Prince right now? Sorry, lit might not be the correct adjective…”
JL: “No, that’s a great adjective!”
Jake then told me all about the massive dance party he went to in Minneapolis for the recent passing of fellow Minnesotan Prince. “Everybody’s just celebrating. Like if I were to go, that would be the way I’d want to go- everybody have like a massive party.” Prior to this moment though, Hippo Campus have been in self-proclaimed hibernation. Taking the past three months or so off to record some new music and recover from almost non-stop touring in a creative space at home, Jake told me about their process inhibiting them from writing music on the road. “It’s kind of impossible for us to write music on the road in the way that we write music because our process is so collaborative. We all have to be in a room with our instruments and our entire setup for the way we write songs.” There was a quick pause, and then he immediately added, “We’ve been home for a bit longer so I think now we’re itching to get back on the road.”
Scene 2: Hibernation
Winter 2015/2016. Slow pan zooms of all four boys working diligently on the new record.
A few months ago, I noticed that the band’s Twitter handle was not their name, and that it was the name of one of their songs off of their South EP, titled The Halocline. A quick Google search gave me a bunch of chemistry and physics and not English or anything relating to Hippo Campus. Although the band learned that a halocline is the illusion of oxygen in water back in high school, the metaphor of not taking things at face value still is an important symbol to the band. Jake explained, “[We] basically keep questioning everything, and it applies to a lot of stuff, those first two EPs and what we were doing, and I think now we’re starting to move on to other things, but [it] still is always there.” After hearing about all the recording that’s been going on in the past few months, we moved into talking about the music that has come out of it. To ease some of your doubts, the product of this session should be their first full-length LP. Comparing the process to a writer writing his first novel, Jake laughed and says, “It will definitely be something… we’re pretty close to being done with it.” Adding that they still have a little ways to go, I’m hoping to hear the final product by the end of this year.
Scene 3: On Tour
May 1st, 2016. Flashing lights, sweet sounds, and so many angles of the band performing at their headline show this Sunday May 1st, at The Crocodile.
If you venture out to The Crocodile this weekend, it’s likely that you’ll see a lot of younger women. After eyeing Turntan’s tweet about an article from The Guardian talking about the stigma of having female fans, we discussed how he feels about the large majority of his followers in greater depth. “I started noticing every review of our show said there were so many girls there, in some negative way, like why is that a negative thing? It’s crazy something a liberal as music can still have all these elements that are oppressing. It’s ridiculous. They’re the most loyal fans in the entire world- they are the most fulfilling fans. I’m very grateful that people like our music and… I’m just glad they’re identifying with the music.” Being outspoken and political is not anything new for the band. Last time they were in Seattle, Jake sported a Bernie Sanders tee, and their Twitter spans on plenty of topics.
So if you’re in the Seattle area on Sunday, you can catch my film playing in real life when Hippo Campus headlines The Crocodile on May 1st with special guests Riothorse Royale. Tickets and full tour dates available here.
ANNA KAPLAN | Academy Award Winning Director | KXSU Reporter