We have Craigslist to thank for the existence of Tidy Hippy. Comprised of KCUR 89.3 Announcer and Arts Reporter Hannah Copeland and actor, director, filmmaker and musician Matthew Dunehoo, Tidy Hippy is what can happen when happenstance leads to artistic collaboration. The duo's recently released Tidy Hippy EP is short in length but filled with memorable songs and exceptional musicianship. It's a pleasure to share their music, stories and recommendations with you on Listen Local.
What’s Tidy Hippy all about? How did the band come together?
Hannah: We, Matt and I, met accidentally. I was moving out of midtown and selling junk from around my house on Craigslist. I listed a mini fridge and Matt gave me a call. Once we met, our awkward Craigslist small talk turned into a conversation about why Matt needed the fridge; he was filming a movie and wanted to keep drinks cold for his cast. A filmmaker? I thought that interesting. I said I worked for KCUR 89.3, and we both realized we were public radio fans, and musicians, so we scheduled a jam. A year later, Tidy Hippy released our self-recorded EP and started gigging. We make films, radio, and music. We are free-spirits who love peace and rock & roll, but we do all that in our respectively organized and tidy way. That's us.
Matthew: When I met Hannah, peddling that fridge, I knew we had a creative collaborative future. I'm glad it's taken the form of Tidy Hippy. I think we pretty much settled on the band name on a very leisurely post-Chinese dinner stroll in old downtown Overland Park. We're both music respecters and practitioners. We're also both perfectionistic but sloppy enough to allow our music to breathe and be imperfectly enjoyable to play.
Talk about how the songs on Tidy Hippy EP came about. Who brought what to the table?
Hannah: Our songs usually start with a Matt playing a lick on his guitar at band practice. I will add a beat, and if the beat and melody feel right, we'll keep jamming until we have made parts to a complete song. We usually add lyrics after we write our songs. My lyrics are mostly narrative, and Matt's uses lots of wordplay with subtle themes. I wrote the lyrics to "Death Accessory," an anthem calling lawmakers to allow Midwestern cities to make their own gun laws that fit the needs of their city, not their mostly rural state. Matt's SONG SONGS SONGs. We sings together, separately, and in harmony.
Matthew: Getting to practice in Hannah's parents' home has been an incredible luxury, especially after living in NYC and practicing in overpriced inhospitable 3'x3' ovens. There's always TP and her mom is an awesome cook. I always want to just crank tunes out willy-nilly without condemning them to death too soon. Hannah seems mostly on board.
What was learned about the recording process for the EP that you’ll take to future projects?
Hannah: Peaking is what happens when a sound it recorded at a higher level than the input device such as a microphone can handle. It distorts the recording. We learned that certain frequencies on guitar are super loud and difficult to capture without peaking. I learned that a mic hung above my drums picks up sound much better than one sitting on the ground. We also learned that mixing, arranging the sound levels after recording, takes hours, and sometimes months. I thinks that my perfectionist standards combine with Matt's desire to produce things rapidly balances out to a pretty thorough and well-paced collective creative process.
Matthew: For a homemade recording, especially, I'm really proud of it! I think it captures the spirit of the tunes and sounds fairly "competitive," professionally speaking. Neither one of us have ever had the luxury of recording in an atmosphere where money wasn't an issue and time was freely abundant. We really stuck out noses into these tunes to make them as uniformly acceptable to listen to across many platforms. I think it's easier to do that, tech-wise nowadays. But it's tough, I really admire GREAT producers.
What music are you currently raving about?
Hannah: I am in love with Alabama Shakes' soulful, silky, and dynamic sophomore album Sound and Color. Locally, I draw inspiration from HMPH, a Kansas City mathrock duo that plays complicated guitar and drum patterns at rapid speed using unique song structures.
Matthew: I'm always listening to ambient electronica and left-field house music as it's the best for me to write to and I try to live in as much of a drug-free blissout state as possible while still getting my homework done and if you don't count prescription SSRI's as "drugs." Otherwise I adore Beach House and I thought Kyle Craft's album was pretty smart, playing with him live was testament to his deal.
What excites you the most about the Kansas City-area music scene?
Hannah: I things the Kansas City music scene has great breadth, without so much depth that bands’ sounds overlap. We have at least one band in almost every genre imaginable, and bands can still sound district from one another.
Matthew: It's astonishing to me to see the number of record stores in town now after moving back. I love that. Even though I don't understand anyone being able to regularly spend $35 on a new album. I am a $1.00 cd dumpster diver.
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay. If you're in your twenties and feel like you have no idea what the hell you're doing, but you know you want to do something, read this.
This self-titled album by Fleet Foxes opened my mind to a whole new world of indie music that I never knew existed in high school.
Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre. The literary beacon of my early 20s.
Another Green World by Brian Eno - Contains my favorite recording in any genre "St. Elmo's Fire"
"Music for Chameleons" by Truman Capote. I'm into short stories with purple dust jackets, I get sleepy with novels. :(
Coctails by The Coctails - The ultimate autumnal driving album. Automobiles may be wasting the planet but a drive listening to this record on a crisp autumn day is sublime.
In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan. The fragile manic humor and sadness with which he views and shares the world, breaks my happy heart to tears still.