Saturday, December 19, 2009
A Kindie Christmas: Interview with Tito of The Hipwaders
The Hipwaders rock this holiday season with tasty power pop rock for the whole family on A Kindie Christmas. At my house we love the toe-tappin' rhythms & grooves of "Wake Up" & "It's Wintertime."
Frontman, Tito Uquillas, shared some thoughts about this great holiday album:
1) What got you started in this kindie biz?
I think like you a lot of children’s music performers, I was already a songwriter who had performed music for a long time and began writing songs to entertain my own children when they were born. I never considered what I was writing for them was children’s music but my own style of music with lyrics I thought they’d most appreciated when they reached grade school age. Actually, the first song I wrote for my kids was a song called, “So, You’re a Boy” for my unborn son, Aidan. During her pregnancy my wife was convinced she was going to have a girl and very soon had been convinced and mentally prepared on how I’d act as a father to a girl. When she had her 22 week sonogram we were told it was to be a boy and the song immediately came to me. We have yet to record it as a band – although there is a live version of it on YouTube – but hope to have it on our next release.
2) What spirit were you trying to capture in A Kindie Christmas?
I was trying to capture the spirit I feel for the Christmas season. I grew up in a house with adults that enjoyed the religious and secular aspects of the season. I always enjoyed the ‘tinsel & lights” and the memories of those times are always good ones. There are some things that always stick in my mind like how during our teenage years my father attempted to find the perfect gift for my hard-core punk rock-loving younger brother and got him a Ted Nugent album because it looked like a punk rock record. My brother, who usually knocked heads with my Dad, recognized the attempt my father made and with all sincerity thanked him and didn’t make any kind of issue of it. That in a nutshell is Christmas for me.
3) I love your pop sensibility & I’m hearing influences like REM, XTC, & even Johnny Cash. Are these some of your early influences?
Ah, you nailed it. What kid doesn’t like Johnny Cash? They say your teenage years and early 20’s is the time that your taste in music is forever shaped and for me that’s ’78 – ’83. Give me all that punk rock/new wave/ska/rockabilly music from that era and I’m happy. Earlier than that I was a huge Beatles/British Invasion and ‘60’s American Garage Rock fan.
4) What do The Hipwaders do when not playing music?
I’m a paramedic and try and balance work, music and raising two boys with my wife of 23 years. Nick (drums) is a High School art teacher and DJ (bass) is a mystery man. We know very little about him and Nick and I feel if we pry too much our livelihood, citizen status, and perhaps even our lives may be in jeopardy.
5) I love the groove on “It’s Wintertime.” Was that born of a jam session?
The main verse music was forged during a jam session & I just tried to keep the James Brown feeling it had. At first I was trying to sing a melody over it like James Brown but realized I sounded silly and came up with the legato vocal lines that seemed more natural to my “white boy” style. It’s hecka fun song to play!
6) What’s next on your drawing board?
We just did some performances at Children’s hospitals in San Francisco and I would really want to pursue some more shows like that. On a personal level it was wonderful as a children’s musician but more so on a paramedic level. I’ve been a paramedic for over 25 years and performing for sick children reminded me of why I became a paramedic and to be less of a clinician and more of a caregiver.
Looks like we may have a song included on a very high-profile compilation coming out next spring so we want to take advantage of that by performing as much as we can and get ready to be a available for any gigs that may come our way. We also want to save up our money to get back into the studio and try and make the perfect Hipwaders album!
Enjoy The Hipwaders: http://www.hipwaders.net/