Hippo Campus to Headline Heartbeat for Hunger
Last week around noon, a young man sat in a booth at a local small brunch restaurant, his hair a little messy (he admitted he had just rolled out of bed not long ago) and a friendly smile on his face.
Looking at him, you would never know he was the front-man to a band that’s grown explosively in popularity. Jake Luppen and his indie/alternative rock band Hippo Campus formed in 2013, and since their first EP release in 2014 have toured internationally, sold out a show at First Avenue, opened for bands like Modest Mouse and Walk the Moon, and played on Conan.
In just a few weeks, Hippo Campus will swing back to the Twin Cities, where all their growing success began, for Heartbeat for Hunger, a show benefitting Second Harvest Heartland. Heartbeat for Hunger is one concert in a busy year—Luppen said by the end of 2017, Hippo Campus will have played about 125 shows all over the country and in Europe. But Luppen and his bandmates are especially excited to play at the Fine Line in Minneapolis on Nov. 25 because Heartbeat for Hunger fits their values of helping others whenever possible.
“When we started, we were young kids and we just wanted to play music,” Luppen said of Hippo Campus. “We didn’t want to be political—we just wanted to write music. And when you become more mature you realize how important you are to these people, and as we’ve grown up, we’ve realized the power of our platform and what we can do with it. I want to use music to do what I can to give back.”
Luppen added this show’s support for the community where he grew up seals the deal. “It’s important to us to give back to the city that’s given us so much. Minnesota people love Minnesota things. It’s great when we can come back and give back to the city—because we feel the same about Minnesota.”
When Luppen learned that for whatever amount Heartbeat for Hunger raises he can multiply those funds by three and that’s how many meals his band is helping provide (last year, Heartbeat for Hunger raised more than $54,000—totaling more than 162,000 meals). Luppen looked blown away. “That’s amazing,” he said. “Hunger is really important to us. We give what we can—we just had a meeting after this last tour about how we can better improve what we’re doing, and the topic of being a good person came up, doing the best we can as people and as individuals. Let’s work on that first and then work on music. If we’re happy about who we are and what we’re doing in the community, that will reflect in our music.”
In past interviews, Luppen has talked about some of Hippo Campus’ songs having deeper meanings in the lyrics. “In order to have a song to connect to people,” Luppen said, “it has to mean something to you. People crave honesty—especially right now, people crave honest work.”
That meaning translates not just in the lyrics, but in their playing a benefit show like Heartbeat for Hunger. For Luppen, he said he never personally worried about getting his next meal, but there was a time when he got a glimpse of what it’s like to struggle financially when his parents divorced when he was 13. He said his mom struggled for short time making ends meet and paying all the bills. “My mom always did a good job hiding that stuff from me, but there was stress on the family about money for a period of time,” Luppen said. “I can understand the stress that finances can put on a family. And if you can’t eat on a regular basis, to put that on a family, that ruins lives, that ruins kids’ lives, ruins parents’ lives.”
Luppen and the rest of the Hippo Campus band are set on continuing to use their platform to give back. We are so grateful to Hippo Campus for playing at Heartbeat for Hunger this year!
Heartbeat for Hunger will include special guests The Happy Children and Trent Romens, and it will take place on Saturday, Nov. 25 at the Fine Line Music Cafe. Every ticket will be a donation to Second Harvest Heartland and will include a free Fulton or Bad Weather beer. Get your tickets to Heartbeat for Hunger now! If you can’t make the show but still want to give back, find more Second Harvest Heartland events here.