Business is booming for the Philadelphia-born band Hop Along. With a long run of tour stops ahead (playing The Suttle Lodge three days before hitting Coachella), the band has grown in many ways they never knew they could. Hop Along is about to hit the one year mark since the release of its last album, "Bark Your Head Off, Dog," which was one of the best alternative albums of 2018.
- Matt Allen
- Fun fact: Hop Along had its own beer called the Hop Along IPA, which was brewed by Love City Brewing in Philadelphia.
I spoke with drummer Mark Quinlan about being in a band with his sister, Frances, milestones, and how "Bark Your Head Off, Dog" was a big turning point for the group.
Source Weekly: I was looking at your band's Spotify stats. Do you think you could guess the top cities where your music gets the most plays?
Mark Quinlan: Based on ticket sales, New York is one, Brooklyn, Manhattan, London, Philly and... L.A.?
SW: You did pretty good! L.A., New York and Brooklyn are all on there. Seattle was one of the others, and Chicago was the top city.
MQ: Ah that's awesome! I love Chicago. Chicago was one of our first really big shows outside of our hometown. It was great.
SW: This year you guys are scheduled to play at Coachella. What's it like going from playing in your mom's yard and driveway with your sister to playing one of the biggest festivals in the country?
MQ: You know, meeting milestones is always great. Especially doing it with my sister. You set goals for yourself and then you do your best to achieve them... and THEN, on top of that, you have to maintain the perspective that you are achieving your goals and pay attention to the progress that you have made. I am always appreciative of the progress that I'm able to make with my sister who is also a great artist.
SW: Working with Frances in the band, has that given you a new perspective seeing a sibling do something they're extremely talented at, and changed your relationship over the years?
MQ: Frances is always expanding my perspectives. She challenges it in really positive ways. It keeps me focused on bettering myself morally, ethically and creatively. I've always appreciated her as a human being and as my sister, but it's unique and wonderful to appreciate her as a professional. It's a gift.
SW: Do you have any fond memories from playing in the driveway and backyard?
MQ: Fond memories? Ooh—those were funny times. Musically we were like butting heads. I would play very loudly. We were so loud one time in the driveway that the neighbor who was a good 100 yards away came over and was like 'What are you guys doing?!' But they were humble beginnings that I think back on fondly as a whole. I try to remember that's where I came from.
SW: April 6 marks a year since you guys released "Bark Your Head Off, Dog...."
MQ: Wow! Woah. I did not think of that.
SW: What memories do you have from creating that record and how have you and the band grown since then?
MQ: We truly realized our power artistically and the resources that we had. I almost want to give advice to bands starting out: Realize that you do have power, you are uniquely and creatively yourselves. You don't need these outside sources you think you need to make great music. Realizing that we could sit in a room together, creatively, and use Joe and Kyle's studio to realize the ideas we came up with was a really wonderful moment for all of us. Being sure in ourselves helped us realize the vision we had created in the studio, prior to going in better than we had with any other record.
SW: One thing I really enjoy about your music is how you convey emotion. With Frances' voice and lyrics, she's really good at transferring that over. How do you work on your emotion through drums?
MQ: Most drummers would tell you—I feel pretty good about saying this—most drummers would tell you that the drums can be very cathartic, emotionally. You're translating your energy into motion and sound and there's a lot of expression to be had there.
SW: When did you learn to play drums?
MQ: It was one of those things. We were just running around our cousin's house and she had a snare, and I went and I hit it and I was like 'Woah!' Fireworks went off in my head. It was amazing.