Between their mom’s concerns over not using earplugs and their tour manager’s concerns over the soccer hooligans in Amsterdam, there’s a lot I didn’t know about California-based electronic duo Hippie Sabotage. Luckily, I had the opportunity to sit with the brothers following their high-octane set at EZoo10 where we talked about music, touring, and why you shouldn’t visit Amsterdam for Easter.
“How were they?” was the reaction when I told an in-the-know friend I had interviewed Hippie Sabotage last month. While I was honestly expecting a simple “good for you, cool friend,” it’s understandable the duo have this knee-jerk reaction. In 2016 drama circulated their performance at What the Festival in Portland over an alleged altercation with festival security. Kevin and Jeff Saurer’s reputation certainly precedes them, and I don’t think it’s a fair one.
“I think that’s one thing people don’t know about us,” said Jeff, “We’re not drinkers. We don’t do drugs. We smoke a ton of pot and that’s it.” This sentiment supported was by the fact the duo seemed completely sober at our 10pm meeting. Amidst the crazy party happening on Randall’s Island, Kevin and Jeff seemed cool, calm, mature. Either a few years of growth has had an incredible impact on them, or we were all wrong about Hippie Sabotage from the get-go.
COMING INTO THEIR OWN
Kevin and Jeff Saurer are brothers who have been producing music together for a better part of a decade. Their music is a genre-bending mix of trip hop, chill wave, and trap. Their first big break was with a remix of “(Habits) Stay High” by Tove Lo in 2014, and they’ve stayed relevant in the EDM scene since.
Throughout 2018 the brothers have been releasing a steady flow of music that not only feels like a refined, cohesive sound, but are absolute bangers. Tracks like “Coffee” and “Lovely” are propelling Hippie Sabotage back into the sets and hearts of electronic music lovers.
“This year I feel super at ease with everything.” says Jeff “When you first start doing shows you’re like ‘I’ve got to be the best’ and then you’re like ‘okay, everyone’s sort of doing their own thing’. It’s not that big of a deal. You come to terms with what you’re putting out there. This year I feel really comfortable just going out there and doing us. To just smile and have fun with everybody.”
With a busy tour schedule, the ongoing music releases are all that more impressive. But, as mentioned, 10 years of touring have taught them how to manage. “That’s one thing we’ve learned is how to manage our time” says Kevin. “In the off-times we need to compartmentalize time to make music. You get a week or two to really get it in before you’re on the road for the next month.”
The new music will hopefully cumulate in a full project this fall, with the working title “Out of Spite” – a title Jeff has not approved of. When asked if there’s a reason for the working title, Kevin just replies “I think all of that will be revealed in the album.” Setting myself a calendar reminder right now to listen in for this.
THE LOST CALIFORNIA TOUR
With a new arsenal of music under their belt, the brothers are embarking on their “Lost California” tour this fall, which will hit up a few lesser-known cities in California then head to Honolulu, HI. Of the tour, Kevin says “A lot of towns in California people don’t know about. They’re actually called the lost cities of California. We’re from there, we want to show California love and play all those cities that no one knows.”
If you noticed Honolulu is on that list, they have a reason for that, too. “We played for the first time in Honolulu last year and it was the best.” says Jeff. The trip will likely not include any surfing, but both brothers skate (because if you’re a true hippie you have to do one or the other, right?). The tour is hitting up six cities this fall, and you can find more info on that here.
ABOUT THAT AMSTERDAM STORY
Because I mentioned it and it’s worth sharing:
Appropriate for their interests, the brothers decided to book a last minute trip to Amsterdam immediately following their tour last spring. “I just woke up one morning, I bought tickets for everybody, woke my brother up like ‘yo we gotta fly in three hours we’re going to Amsterdam” says Kevin.
A few things they learned? The first, that Easter is the busiest time in Amsterdam and it’s nearly impossible to find a hotel. “We showed up and the cab driver dropped us off at a coffee shop and we were smoking joints and this Irish guy behind us says ‘you know man, Easter is the busiest time in the whole year. If you don’t get a hotel by 12 you’re not going to have a place to stay.’”
Luckily after four hours and a few joints they were able to find a place to stay. As for those soccer hooligans? “Our tour manager while we were playing there was really nervous about the soccer hooligans. He told us we should go to bed at 8 every night. Me and Jeff saw them, they were fine.”
And there you have it. Hippie Sabotage: cool guys, talented musicians, Californians on the brink of their most important year yet.