Logjam Presents

Hippo Campus

With Charly Bliss

The ELM

Bozeman, MT
Add to Calendar 05/11/2023 20:00 05/12/2023 01:00 America/Boise Hippo Campus

Logjam Presents is pleased to welcome Hippo Campus for a live in concert performance at The ELM on Thursday, May 11, 2023. Tickets go on sale Friday, January 27, 2023 at 11:00AM at The ELM Box Office,  online or by phone at 1 (800) 514-3849. Reserved balcony loge seating, reserved premium balcony seating, and general… Continue Reading

Logjam Presents - Missoula, Montana false MM/DD/YYYY
7:00PM (door) 8:00PM (show)
$29.59-$40 (Adv.) + applicable fees
All Ages
Tickets

Logjam Presents is pleased to welcome Hippo Campus for a live in concert performance at The ELM on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

Tickets go on sale Friday, January 27, 2023 at 11:00AM at The ELM Box Office,  online or by phone at 1 (800) 514-3849. Reserved balcony loge seating, reserved premium balcony seating, and general admission standing room tickets are available. All ages are welcome.

Additional ticketing and venue information can be found here.

About Hippo Campus

In the years between 2018’s BAMBI and LP3, Minneapolis’ Hippo Campus — made up of vocalist/guitarists Jake Luppen and Nathan Stocker, drummer Whistler Allen, bassist Zach Sutton, and trumpeter DeCarlo Jackson — has grown up and into itself. Although the five-piece has been friends since middle school and put out a number of studio releases since its inception, it’s the new record, LP3, that’s the most honest portrait of who Hippo Campus is.

It’s also a study in the nuances of growing up — coming to terms with mortality, the confusing journey of sexuality, bottoming out, seeing decisions from the night before in the harsh morning light; finding your identity as a person and as an artist — how that can be a collision of elation and shame, painful and joyful all at once.

LP3 marks a sort of ego death — and ultimately feeling okay with that. So much of LP3 was written in the chasm between grappling with the value of your own art and the larger, chaotic context of the world. It traverses the end of relationships, of careers, and the chance of meeting yourself as a brand new person. If you take the signifier of “musician” away, what does it mean? And how do you expand your identity outside of work? Here, it’s something the band works through. And, in the end, it happens with the same ride-or-die crew at your back to hold you down — or up — the entire time.

Over the last few years, the Hippo universe has expanded outward. Luppen and Stocker both put out solo records as Lupin and Brotherkenzie respectively, and the two also teamed up with Caleb Hinz to put out the debut Baby Boys record while DeCarlo Jackson founded, and collaborated with multiple bands around the Twin Cities, including DNM, Arlo, and FPA. Navigating solo projects and new dynamics and the spotlight alone is humbling, bringing up new insecurities and defense mechanisms. It was challenging in its own way to branch outside of Hippo — and it made the eventual return to the project feel like coming home.

“With LP3, Hippo felt like a very safe space to express those things because you have your best friends around you, rallying behind you,” Luppen says. “And each person could chime in with their own experience. I felt like it was a very safe space to be earnest.”

Here, Hippo Campus killed what they knew and started again. Death, in all its metaphorical and lyrical forms, looms across the record. Album opener “2 Young to Die” sets this up most explicitly, the push-and-pull of simultaneously weighing mortality and invincibility, of youth, of wanting to kill parts of yourself and be born anew; “Bang Bang,” a fan favorite from the live set, explores the death knell of a long-time, fizzled-out long-distance relationship, while “Blew Its” captures the same chaotic burst of energy in Maggie Nelson’s prose-poem book; and “Semi-Pro,” a pop gem, explicitly charts the death of a career, the meaningless of fame, how dreams change.

What Hippo Campus wanted with LP3 was something all five of them could agree on, the way they’d made music in the early days of the band. As their profile grew, they found themselves compromising on their visions, thinking about how fans would interact with their music, and plagued by an unsustainable industry ecosystem. Now, they just wanted unity.

Luppen explains: “Songwriting-wise, we wanted to place a priority on more personal lyrics and more self-referential storytelling as opposed to larger concepts like we did on Landmark and Bambi. In that way it’s similar to what we did on the [Bad Dream Baby] EP, but in a more earnest way. The priority was on finding the feeling that we had in the early days — when we were really happy making music, you know.”

“There’s so much insincere bullshit in this climate that’s making everything more and more confusing,” Stocker adds. “So being able to distill something down to what it really means in a way that’s really accessible and honest and earnest was definitely, definitely the goal.”

They also give enormous credit to producer Caleb Hinz (Baby Boys, Samia, Miloe) for his hand in shaping the album. A rising St. Paul producer and another friend since high school, Hinz is a relatively new name in the studio, but someone who ultimately had the biggest influence. He put long hours into the record, and left his fingerprints all over its production — the distorted drums on “2 Young to Die,” the drumkit on “Boys” crafted on a literal trash kit of garbage cans, pots, and pans, or “Listerine,” where Allen was playing inside of a makeshift blanket fort. Aside from his experimentation and long hours spent tinkering with the sounds, he also served as a rallying call for the band, pulling them back on track, an encouraging and confident force who helped shepherd the band into the best version of itself.

Luppen also explains it was the first time Hippo Campus, as a concept, got to be “dead.” There was an open timeline, no tour lined up, no necessity to lean into the grid — just breathing room, and the experience of their last five years as a band naturally exposing itself. The five-piece wrote somewhere in the ballpark of 35 songs for the record, the most they’d written for an album since their debut, Landmark. They joke that it was a return to form in “quantity over quality” — but in a way, it’s true. They had the time to simply write, to expel a sonic catharsis, and then use their honed, incisive editing tools to put the best ten songs on the record. “It’s finally the album that we always admired from other artists,” Stocker says. “It’s just airtight.”

LP3 is, then, their strongest and most complete work yet — a freshly-inked portrait excavating young adulthood and identity and, more importantly, how that personal identity fits into a larger camaraderie. It looks at how growing up can just feel like something that’s always moving past you when you’re trying to grab a hold of it; it’s a push-and-pull of letting go or holding tighter — and figuring out what matters the most. Through cinematic, sonic clarity, LP3 is a sweeping account of courage and tenacity; tender-hearted stumbling that leads you on the right path after all.

With Charly Bliss

With Charly Bliss Image

About Charly Bliss

I don’t know why it’s easiest for me to frame the darkest lyrics in the context of upbeat songs,” says Charly Bliss` Eva Hendricks. “It’s completely instinctual and not something I ever plan out. It sort of mirrors how I am, and maybe it’s a way of protecting myself. In my opinion, the two best emotional releases are crying and dancing, so it makes sense to me to marry the two.”That combination is the core of Charly Bliss who, on this record, embraced both sides of that equation more than ever before. Challenging each other to be exposed, to be seen for who they really are as people, and then to double down on the sound that emerged from that process is the story of the band’s evolution from the scrappy upstarts who made 2017`s brash punk LP Guppy, to the confident, assured artists behind the comparatively dynamic, unapologetically pop Young Enough. “We definitely go to different places on this one,” says bassist Dan Shure. “But it still sounds like us. It’s still fun.” As they started writing, they tapped into their mutual love of pop music. “You know, bangers? Songs that just stick with you for a really long time,” Dan says. In particular, the expansive but gritty title track and the synth-driven, emotive song “Chatroom” served as key points of reference for the overall direction of the album.For Eva, the path to these moments of exaltation was fraught. Many of the singer’s Young Enough lyrics were inspired by a past abusive relationship, one that had Eva – as such relationships are designed to do – doubting herself on many levels. Songwriting, which “wasn’t something that I grew up thinking I could do,” as she puts it, became a new source of respite, and, eventually, of redemption. “You go through experiences of loss or extreme pain and you just keep moving,” Eva says. “You look around and wonder, how has the world not stopped? But it’s also powerful. I’m still here, I’m not a person who is ruled by pain, I still like who I am.” If the singer had any lingering doubts about her craft, they’re gone now. “For a long time I understood my ability to write songs as like, OMG another one just fell from the sky what luck – another one will never come again!” Eva says. “Now I know, I’m meant to be doing this. And I accept and honor that.”Exposing oneself emotionally, even to close friends and creative collaborators, is never easy — especially when one of those people is your brother. Growing up in Connecticut, it was their parents` “wildest dream,” as Eva puts it, that she and Sam, the band’s drummer, would wind up playing in a band together, so of course they avoided it for as long as possible. The Charly Bliss origin story begins instead at performing arts summer camp, where guitarist Spencer Fox first met Dan. Eva and Dan also knew each other through musical theater they did shows together as pre-teens. “We are super hardcore,” jokes Spencer. It was Spencer who first saw in Eva the possessed energy the bands` fans are so drawn to, this tornado of joy and rage and celebratory sorrow spinning out to mesmerizing effect on stage night after night. “It was just there,” he says. “It was obvious.” He eventually asked Eva out of the blue if she’d been writing songs, which shocked her a little dudes didn’t usually care. “I would always ask the guys at my high school who played music if we could start a band or write or do something together, but they pretty much ignored me,” she remembers. “But Spencer totally encouraged me.” Before long, the pair was writing together, and they called on Eva’s big brother to join on drums. “It was kind of like, oh why didn’t we do this a long time ago,” Sam says.By 2014 Charly Bliss was a fully formed band, living in New York, working the standard barista/bartender circuit by day, rehearsing by night. They recorded and released their debut EP, Soft Serve, and played lots and lots (and lots) of shows. There was a purity to those years. “I loved it,” remembers Eva. “I really loved working in a coffee shop. I’d write songs while I was putting away milk.” After they released Guppy through Barsuk Records in 2017, time spent out on the road increased, as did the Charly Bliss fanbase. But the essence of the band’s sound, two and a half minute torrents of blissfully tight chaos that blew the roof off the place, (not to mention the bandmembers’ lifestyles) didn’t change much. When it came time to record a follow up, that’s when things shifted. They all quit their jobs to focus full time on music and challenged each other to write as many songs as possible. Sam and Eva collaborated more closely than ever and found a prolific songwriting rhythm. After penning 20+ songs, they solicited the input of producer Joe Chiccarelli (the Shins, the White Stripes), who won their hearts immediately. “He just got us,” says Eva. For Chiccarelli, the “infectiousness” he was initially drawn to when he heard the band play live in early 2017, was more apparent than ever. “There is a high level of energy in the vocal delivery, there is a sophistication and musicality in the guitar parts, the rhythm section just works, the parts are simple but they come alive,” he says. “It’s all the elements that make a great band.” The first five or six songs they wrote, felt good but a little too familiar, like Guppy 2.0. Then things started to open up. “Chatroom” and “Young Enough” were lynchpins, as was the soaring, mini epic, “Fighting In the Dark.” The delicate synth confessional “Hurt Me” also felt, as Eva puts it, “like something we hadn’t explored yet.” The entire record sounds like a newly explored realm, from the deceptively easeful confessional “Capacity” to the propulsive, more classic pop of “Hard To Believe.” In the end, Young Enough feels joyful and celebratory, but also infused with a new sense of depth and maturity. “I want people to feel strong when they listen to this record,” says Eva. “Like you’re working through some shit but you feel really strong and beautiful, even if you’re in a lot of pain. That’s what I want people to feel. The opposite of broken.”