KSUA studio show features Matt Hopper

Alan Fearns/Sun Star Reporter
March 5, 2013

UAF students, DJ's, and KSUA employees all look on as musician Matt Hopper performs in an intimate setting on March 1, 2013. Brady Gross/Sun Star

UAF students, DJ’s, and KSUA employees all look on as musician Matt Hopper performs in an intimate setting on March 1, 2013. Brady Gross/Sun Star

Sixteen fans and students crammed into the KSUA studio March 1, for an up-close performance by Matt Hopper.  This was the first of three shows Hopper played last weekend for his Fairbanks tour.

Prior to the show, attendants walked around the halls of Constitution Hall drinking the coffee and cookies provided by the KSUA staff.  Hopper took song requests as he set up his equipment.  His equipment consisted of a semi-hollow Gretch guitar, reverb and looper pedals, into a brown Traynor amplifier.  These ingredients recreated his soulful Americana tunes without his band, The Roman Candles.

While Hopper warmed-up, listeners were drawn into the room.  KSUA Music Director, Brady Gross, welcomed the audience to the second studio show in KSUA history.

Hopper played a song of each of his three upcoming albums, opening with “The Entertainer,” which will be feature on the album “Husky.”

“Its about the sacrifice you have to make being a touring artist, and how that affects your relationships,” Hopper said.

Cameras of all kinds were focused on Hopper as he played.  After the song Hopper realized he had played the same verse twice and asked if the video production students could edit it out.

“I didn’t hear anything, I thought it sounded awesome,” said KSUA TV Program Manager, Brennan Manes.

In the next track, Hopper used his looper pedal, which allowed him to record the rhythm section of his guitar, and play the melody over it.  He made several guitar faces as he soloed, and gave a shout out to KSUA before ending the song.

“That song was actually off the same record, so it fulfills my obligation to play a song off each,” Hopper said.

The show then moved into songs from the next record Hopper will release that features Paul Jacks, of The Smileys.  Jacks plays piano and drums on the album and recorded the album with Hopper in Anchorage, Alaska.

“I still don’t have a title for it, but its being mixed currently so I’ll have to name it soon,” Hopper said.

He will come up with a name while at Chena Hot Springs.

“I’m not comin’ out until I have a name for it,” Hopper said.

A motivational song called “Happy Girls” was performed next.

“It’s about me,” Tegan White-Nesbitt, a Linguistics student said.

The song featured a looped offbeat riff, layered with chords coated in modulated reverb.  This allowed Hopper to let the loop run and sing without playing his guitar at certain points in the song.

The next songs were off third record Hopper will be release, called “Grand Ole Opry.”  He says the new album will be in a country vibe, recorded all acoustically for a more organic feel.

After the new songs, Hopper played songs that were requested.  He closed the night with “City Walls” a song from the 2004 EP, “Gold Rush.” Students said they heard Hopper play the song at the College Coffeehouse when they were in high school.

When the show was over, fans talked with Hopper about his experience with music and touring.

Check out the interview to hear how Hopper puts together his setlists, got powers from Lindsey Buckingham’s guitar, and his songwriting process.  All music in the interview was pulled straight from the live show.

Pt.1 Hopper Interview Pt. 2 Hopper interview Pt. 3 Hopper interview

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