The first time I ever listened to Hoppipolla was when BG turned to me–knowing I am a massive, massive fan of Radiohead–and said, “you’ve got to check out this cover of Creep.”
It’s tired. It’s overdone, and I’m not the only one who’s over that song.
So, as you can imagine, “hey listen to this cover of Creep” wasn’t exactly an inviting proposition to me. But then she flipped on their cover, and to my shock, the first thing I heard was not that usual tinny drum. It was not that low bass line of the Radiohead original and every cover following it–it was a cello.
I was hooked. I didn’t blink the entire time. I’m pretty sure I had even stopped breathing. I had BG restart it. I watched it again. In the coming week, I probably watched it a dozen more times. Since then, I’ve seen their performances more times than I can shamelessly admit, and I alone probably account for 99 percent of their Spotify listens.
I’d never heard such soulfulness as I heard in I’ll’s voice. I’d never heard someone belt and hold such a difficult note like Hyunsang did. I’d never felt so much listening to an acoustic guitar, an instrument I often don’t care for. I’ve never felt a cello in my soul like I felt Jinho’s.
Hoppipolla grabbed me by my big, music-nerdy heart and has not for a second let go.
Jinho took his cello and I’ll took his keyboard and, hand in hand, Hoppipolla plowed their way to the very top of my ult list, using their instruments to shove Kim Minseok and Mark Lee out of the way on their climb to the top. I’ve never looked back.
But the real question is… have YOU had a chance to look at all?
If you’ve done me a kindness and clicked this blog without knowing who Hoppipolla even is, let me do the honor: Hoppipolla is a four-piece band consisting of leader, vocalist, keyboardist and part-time guitarist, No Jeonghun, better known by his stage name, I’ll; vocalist and guitarist, Ha Hyunsang; guitarist Kim Youngso; and last but most assuredly not least, cellist Hong Jinho.
So where did they even come from?
Hoppipolla was formed in 2019 on the talent show, Superband (슈퍼밴드) produced by JTBC. In case you aren’t familiar, the idea of the show is that indie musicians from a number of backgrounds and styles to work together to create original music.
Once the musicians individually advance past the preliminary rounds, they form their own bands. Each band competes against one another in a turn-based, round-style competition, with eliminations taking place until the final winner ultimately comes out on top.
Hoppipolla was praised for their innovation not only for I’ll’s gorgeous cover arrangements, but for the way that all four members play Hong Jinho’s cello at one time during a cover of Avicii’s Wake Me Up— something they continue to do each performance.
Like… every single one.
I’m not kidding…
No, really, they love this shit…
You get the point.
Long, beautiful story short, Hoppipolla won and debuted on July 12th, 2019. They their first single, About Time, on the label Dreamus. The rest is history. Well, to me and the other Hopers it’s history. To you? Hopefully, that’s the background you need to start stanning this incredible group when their second mini album, And Then There Was Us, drops on January 20th.
What does Hoppipolla mean?
Hoppipolla is an Icelandic expression popularized by Icelandic post-rock group, Sigur Rós. It is Icelandic for “hopping into puddles.” Pretty excellent, as that’s pretty much what I feel like my heart does when I listen to them. That was kind of cheesy but I hate to say it… it’s true.
So, let’s take a second to get to know the four members of Hoppipolla!
No Jeonghun, (I’ll)
November 13, 1994
Before stepping onto the Superband stage, I’ll was well into his songwriting journey. He studied piano at Berklee College of Music. Pre-debut, he was featured on his brother’s song Shining Love, in May of 2015.
He made his solo debut on November 22, 2017 with the single album, “Maybe We Are.” He now co-writes and composes Hoppipolla’s music in which he contributes rich, textured vocals and moving piano performances.
Take a look at I’ll solo work in this music video for his song, I Don’t Want You Back.
September 14, 1998
Before Hoppipolla, Hyunsang was an independent singer-songwriter who debuted with his first digital single, Dawn, on February 2018. After signing with Hoppipolla, Stone Music signed him on, too. He released his first single through the label, Us.
Throughout his career he has contributed to OSTs and put out singles while also frequently taking to YouTube to gift us beautiful covers for fun. Ha Hyunsang also co-writes and composes Hoppipolla’s music.
Get ready to have your heart ripped out as he covers Harry Styles’ Falling.
October 26, 2001
Youngso graduated from Hanlim Arts School in the Applied Music Department. Pre-debut, he won a number of guitar competitions between the years 2015 and 2019 for his incredible fingerstyle playing. With fellow Hoppipolla member Jinho, he composed and arranged the instrumental duet, Märchen (동화), from Hoppipolla’s first mini album, Spring to Spring.
While you’re at it, have your mind blown watching him pick his way through his original song, Like a Star, here.
April 20, 1985
Before debuting, Jinho took home awards through various music competitions in Korea, Italy, France and Germany. He graduated from Seoul National University with his Bachelor in instrumental music and from Hochschule für Musik Würzburg with his Master and PhD in instrumental music. Outside of Hoppipolla, he has released his own live album, Cellist Jinho Hong THE LIVE and contributed to OSTs.
Take a look at Jinho’s beautiful Superband audition here!
While we wait for their new mini album to drop tomorrow, enjoy the cute social distance-y single they released in 2020 called Let’s and try not to get sucked into a Hoppipolla YouTube hole like I did.
Actually, please do, and then check out a quick list of my favorite Hoppipolla grooves below. Let us know on Insta, Twitter or Facebook what you think!