What Goes On: Hypemom

Ahead of their show tonight at the Gold Sounds Bar, we caught up with the Brooklyn-based post-punk trio Hypemom to dig deeper into their super-charged sensations and their most recent EP.

Photo by Lee Bilsky

Shortly after a global pandemic shut down the world in 2020, the Brooklyn-based post-punk trio Hypemom charmed us in our homes with their seven-track EP Concessions. Made up of vocalist and guitarist Colin Lord, vocalist and bassist Luke Santy and drummer Matt Caldamone, the Brooklyn-based trio pound out a whirlwind of nostalgia with their serrating guitars, quick tempos and emotive shout-along choruses. Somewhere in the territory of Silkworm and Polvo, the trio's soundscapes are filled with sharp guitar hooks and irresistible melodies that's matched by their technical ability.

Ahead of their show tonight at the Gold Sounds Bar with Street Rules, Slumberjack and Monarch, we chatted with the trio about their preference of being a live band rather than a studio one and the music they're getting ready to release next year.

Paperface Zine: What music have guys been listening to lately? Any favorites from this year?

Hypemom: A big chunk of our listening lately has been local bands that we've gotten to play with or go see since the world's re-opened. It's been a kind of welcome jolt — getting out of the headphones and the polite apartment tunes and starting to feel music in your body again. Individually…

  • Luke has been getting most of his music at his local record store, The Mixtape Shop, so has been listening to a lot of house and techno 12" records. Recent favorites include Musclecars, Jacques Renault and Mr. K.

  • Matt has been keeping it close to home both in sound and zip code. Gorgeous, Pasha and The Kindred Spirits, Greg Electric, and The Armed have all been in heavy rotation over the last few months, as well as an amazing series of Japanese Jazz comps that span the '60s-'80s.

  • Colin got really into Bola Sete's The Kitchen Tapes over the winter. Deem Spencer's new tape kicked off the summer. And Editrix's LP has been the latest obsession, fucking rips.

How did Hypemom emerge and what was your vision when forming?

Matt and Colin had a couple half-songs and asked Luke to help make them into full-songs. Maybe Matt and Colin tricked Luke into playing bass full-time. Can't remember. Who remembers things like that. We've been friends for over a decade and played together in various forms before Hypemom became a steady thing, so we're very dialed in to each other's tastes and instincts. Matt and Colin come from a more punk/emo background, whereas Luke picked up a bass for the first time and just wanted to make everything sound like Phish. So we settled on Blink-182.

What has the evolution been like for this project since forming in 2013?

Our songs have gotten shorter. After we wrote our first one, we played it for a buddy whose reaction was, "That was all one song?" Kind of stuck with us. We've tried to keep things to the point since then. One of us is particularly anti-repetition when it comes to songwriting, so that probably factors in. Plus we've always liked being a live band more than a studio band, so a lot of our development has been continuing to define that sound and approach: do people hear us the way we hear us; how do we keep energy in the performance; how much sloppiness is cool (Answers: no; just shake it; not that much). Playing out a lot helps. So does watching the videos Colin's dad takes of us from the audience. Thanks Dad.

As a trio, how do each of you shape the dynamic of Hypemom's sound and style? Also are you guys part of any other projects?

Luke's got a solo project called LUKEINTERNET where he writes these maximalist pop bangers built on layers of samples, as well as remixes and mashup sets. He's also a composer, musical director and sound designer and is Co-Artistic Director of puppet-based theater company Little Did Productions. Colin plays jazz guitar at home, and has released a couple tracks under the moniker Alex in the Attic — a kind of collage of song fragments built mostly on captured sound. Both projects probably touch on what we love about making music: finding something catchy and interesting in sonic clutter. With Hypemom, that "finding" part falls largely to Matt. Luke and Colin will have some riffs or chord structures in mind, but they need cohesion and an objective ear that's saying "I don't hear what you hear; we need to step this out or build on it or give it some pulse." Plus, you know, drums. Matt plays really good drums.

Photo by Dalton Patton

What does a typical writing session look like for you guys? Do you each take on a specific role?

Luke and Matt are pretty good at riffing on ideas, working together, doing musician stuff. Colin can't hang. So songwriting usually requires some alone time for the guitar parts. But after we hammer out the foundation of it, we usually fall into a familiar process: practice what we have, record it on Voice Memo, take it home and think about it. For vocals we tend to start by yelling melody ideas and making nonsense sounds with our mouths until words slot in. As we said before, writing songs takes a long time. We're working on it.

You guys definitely wander between post-punk and emo with your crafty guitar hooks and technical abilities. Lay on me some of your musical influences.

Sweet of you to say! We released a playlist last month with songs that have informed our sound over time. As melody goes, pop punk is probably the main ingredient; hugely indebted to the skate punk era bands like Lagwagon and the newer punk reverent stuff like Radiator Hospital and Algernon Cadwallader. There's the frantic, teetering energy of post-hardcore like Drive Like Jehu, Unwound, or At the Drive-In. And we love the messiness and human flaws in more lo-fi music like Mount Eerie. But there's also just some reverence for classic '60s and '70s pop, probably what contributes to any choices we make that feel more "grown up."

You guys released the seven-track EP Concessions in March of 2020 and said that it collects songs that date back all the way to your early days. Take me through the recording and mixing of this EP.

Concessions was actually comprised of two different recording sessions, both at the forever rad Spaceman Studios in Greenpoint with our friend Alex Mead-Fox at the helm. We loved recording there; it was professional while still being homey enough to make the performances feel natural, like we were doing a house show with no audience. We experimented with a few different approaches, but always liked playing with live sound in the room. We wanted it to feel as close to a performance as possible. We also spent some time fucking around with all of Alex's gear — some really fun stuff like an old Wurlitzer and a variety of synths and noisemakers — which we recorded and used as ambient sound elements to thread together the songs on the tape.

Did you have a lot of tracks to choose from? If so, what was it like narrowing it down to these seven?

We recorded five songs for the final session, including the title track which we finalized during recording. We had eight others in the can, from which we pulled two for this tape. It was probably a decision borne out of which ones we were tired of hearing/playing by that point. Still plan on doing something with those others, but time got all bent out of shape from the pandemic. What's that, a segue?

Photo by Dalton Patton

Was it weird to release the EP right at the beginning of the pandemic?

Hardly the weirdest thing happening at the beginning of the pandemic, but yeah, we were bummed. We had shows lined up with some of our favorite local bands, had the momentum coming out of the studio. But it's hard to overstate how not important it was compared to everything else going on at the moment. If anything, it was just a nice thing to look forward to when the world started opening up again. Felt like it was there waiting for us.

Looking back at that EP over a year-and-a-half since its release, what are your thoughts on it right now? Also for somebody who hasn't heard it yet, how would you summarize the EP in one sentence?

We still like it a lot and listen to it all the time (is that gauche?). Maybe to summarize it you could be like, "Your favorite high school nostalgia band who now owns an air fryer."

What has it been like playing live shows again? Also, what's your favorite venue to play in Brooklyn? Our Wicked Lady?

Loved OWL! We'd been wanting to play there for a long time. We gotta say though, The Broadway really blew us away. Amazing sound, great crew working there, and just an all-around good time.

What can we expect from Hypemom in 2022? Can you give fans a sneak peek?

Another EP coming your way soon, maybe a music video. We're also looking at doing some northeast weekenders with friends, see the sights, play the sounds. Everyone says Philly is a nice town. Are you a nice town, Philly?

Get tickets for tonight's show here and stream Concessions below.