Hippo Campus releases debut EP

Hippo Campus, the young indie-pop phenomenon out of Woodbury, Minn., celebrates the release of their debut EP at 7th Street Entry

by Robb Larson

After holding the Twin Cities’ attention for over a year with their hit single “Little Grace,” Hippo Campus has finally released their debut EP, “Bashful Creatures.”

Hippo Campus will perform songs from “Bashful Creatures” and others at their EP release show at the 7th Street Entry on Saturday.

“It’s pretty exciting to get some other stuff out there,” drummer Whistler Allen said. “We’ve been riding on ‘Little Grace’ for a while.”

For being an irresistibly catchy pop tune, “Little Grace” is an impressively minimal arrangement. Tight vocal harmonies, clean guitar and smooth bass are all the song needs to achieve a timeless sound. Frontman Jake Luppen’s Ezra Koenig-esque vocals complete the package with the chorus, “Save a little grace for us.”

“Our producer kept returning to the idea that we should make a timeless record, not give in to gimmicks or effects that are time-specific,” Luppen said. “We wanted to create something that would hold up, like a Beatles record or a Beach Boys record.”

Before they knew it, “Little Grace” was being played on 89.3 The Current, and the band started to amass an impressive following. Since then, the band has played several cornerstone venues in the Twin Cities, including the Varsity Theater and 7th Street Entry.

“Bashful Creatures” isn’t Hippo Campus’ first recording project. Before they attained the notoriety they enjoy today, the band recorded a debut LP called “The Halocline.” They scrapped it in the final stages of mixing, deciding that releasing a full album so early in their career might spoil future recording endeavors.

“It seemed immature, pulled off in a really insincere way,” guitarist Nathan Stocker said. “For the band the size that we were to release an album, it wouldn’t have a lot of traction.”

The band is hoping that “Bashful Creatures” will attract the recognition needed to create a full album in the near future.

“An EP gives you a little window into a band,” Luppen said. “An EP gives us a launching point to go make a really great record.”

Luppen and bassist Zach Sutton are both current students at the University of Minnesota, but they’ll drop out next semester to pursue music full time.

“It wasn’t a hard decision to make,” Luppen said. “[But] I think it was tough for the family to wrap their heads around.”

Although they’re apprehensive to take that leap, the band members are excited about the prospect of releasing more music.

“It’s like giving birth, you know? You wait this long time and then it’s out,” Stocker said. “But all through that time we just wanted to make more babies. We can’t carry octuplets; our hips can’t take it.”


What: Hippo Campus

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: 7th Street Entry, 701 N. First Ave, Minneapolis

Cost: $12 (Sold Out)

Ages: 18+