After a few years playing under a few different band names, they released their first album, State of Confusion as Broken Sea in 2015.
The alt-rock outfit eventually found themselves rebranding again to suit their style a little more and subsequently debuted their first album as Hippo Crush, Grass Fed.
Now, the band look forward to borders opening so they can show off their skills. With Gavin Stumpers on guitar, Nina Reissinger on vocals and piano, Carleton Freeman on bass and backups and Lance Callard on drums, Hippo Crush are finally bringing their wild energy to the world.
HAPPY: Your music sounds like it’s packed with so many different influences, can you tell me a bit about your writing style as a band?
HIPPO CRUSH: It varies really, most of the material we had in the bank was written by Gavin and Nina. Some of our newer songs have been written together as a band I.e. What Just Happened and Don’t Mind Me.
With the writing process, we usually approach a topic of relevance and come up with different ways to express it. The main thing we try to achieve is that everyone will hear it in a different way and hear a different message.
So many times people have told us what they thought the song was about and it’s been totally different to what it was about but that’s the beauty of music and trying to be creative. If you write lyrics in a certain way the song could be about anything you want it to be.
HAPPY: The cover art of Grass Fed is so perfectly unique, can you tell me the story behind it?
HIPPO CRUSH: It must have been fate that album cover, after finishing the album, Gav wanted to ask everyone one night what we were going to do for an album cover. Later when Carleton arrived we asked him and he said ‘wait here’. He went to his car and came back with the painting.
How the story goes is Carleton’s son Bon Freeman had entered an art competition at his school and drawn and entered the album cover without anyone even knowing, He then went on to win the art competition!
When we all saw it we were all blown away by how perfect and relevant the painting was to us and it was a no brainer that it was perfect for the album.
HAPPY: Are there any songs or artists that totally divide your opinions as a band?
HIPPO CRUSH: Yes and no I guess, only when we are approaching covers. One cover Nina really wanted to play from Journey went down like a lead balloon at the start with the boys. After playing it live it was received really well and is still used.
When we started to learn a few Tool covers there was no discussion, they are one of the greatest bands ever and how could you not love them and want to give a few of their songs a crack!
As a band, we all have such a wide range of tastes in music between us all and at the end of the day regardless of genre or style songs either work or they don’t, it’s something you can feel pretty early on.
HAPPY: Your social media presence is pretty damn funny, who would you say considers themselves to be the comedian in the band?
HIPPO CRUSH: I’d say that were all bunch of clowns really. We’re pretty laid back and don’t take things too seriously. We love nothing more than a good laugh and taking the piss out of each other. At our live shows, it’s quite common for us to start burning each other on stage and having a good laugh.
HAPPY: Who would you say gets into the most mischief at gigs?
HIPPO CRUSH: These days we all try to save the mischief till after the gig but probably Nina I’d say. Pre-gig she can get a bit nervous and jittery but once she’s on stage she turns into a natural performer and doesn’t hold back.
HAPPY: What do you have planned in the way of live shows as the borders are starting to open up again?
HIPPO CRUSH: We’ve been blessed in a way in W.A over the last few years as far as playing live goes and have only had to cancel a handful of gigs. We will continue to play at our local watering holes until we can somehow find a way to line up some shows interstate. We would also like to get over to Germany in the near future and do some shows where our singer Nina is from in Bavaria. It’s all up in the air but really with the way the current situation is like through the world.
Grass Fed is out now.
Interviewed by Chloe Maddren.