I have written many time on this blog about the pros and cons of music streaming services. While they are no doubt a blessing for the consumer, there is no getting away from the difficulties that they are presenting for artists who are trying to make a financially viable career at music. Unless an artist is regularly reaching a million streams there is very little monetary reward from making their music available to the public. However, the trade off comes with the fact that there is a strong chance that your songs will reach an audience that they might not reach usually, especially with the distribution of playlists on Spotify. Speaking personally, I can honestly say that the streaming platform has brought numerous bands that I would not otherwise have heard to my attention.
An example of which is Minnesota indie band, Hippo Campus.
The first exposure I had to the four piece came when their 2017 single buttercup was played as part of a random Spotify playlist at some stage last year. I immediately fell in love with the lively and fun guitar and driving drum beat that lead the song. The alternating vocal style of vocalist and guitarist Jake Luppen across the song also seemed like something that was worth further investigation.
Hippo Campus first came together in 2013 when Luppen, Nathan Stocker (vocals and lead guitar), Zach Sutton (bass and keyboard), and Whistler Isaiah Allen (drums and vocals) met while in college at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Many of the members were already playing in other bands before coming together under the title of Hippo Campus. Later that year, the band would record and release their debut EP, Tarzan Rejects, which would consist of five tracks.
The following year, after the band took the big step to released another EP independently, which was titled Bashful Creatures – the EP was then later released again under the Grand Jury label. The release of this EP would see the band beginning to generate some hype around themselves with performances at SXSW, on Conan, KCRW, and KEXP.
The following year (2015) was again a very active and productive year for the band with the release of their second EP, South. The EP was another very successful release for the band and would see one of the tracks, The Halocline, featuring on the soundtrack for the TV show Falling Skies on TNT. The year also saw the band appear at festivals like Lollapalooza in Chicago and Reading and Leeds in the UK, as well as this the band would go on tour supporting Modest Mouse, Walk The Moon, and others.
The growth continued and in early 2017 the band would release their debut album, Landmark, which was proceeded by the teaser single Boyish. The album was well received by critics and fans who praised the standard of songwriting and musicianship. The success of the album would also see the band perform for the second time on Conan where they would perform the second single to come from the album, Way It Goes. Later that year in March, they would embark on their first international tour.
A new three-song EP in October 2017, entitled warm glow, was followed in September of 2018 by the next album from the band, Bambi. The album was preceded by the release of three single, including the titular Bambi. The release was followed by a Fall tour and then a Winter Tour. Summer of 2019, saw Hippo Campus embarked on a support tour with The Head and the Heart.
It will be fun watching this band continue to grow and develop their sound.