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In this interview, Tito Uquillas, the lead singer for The Hipwaders, shares why he finds libraries and bookmobiles to be exciting and cool, and the band’s plans for a new album. Read the rest of his interview, which has been edited for clarity and/or length.
What made you decide to write music for children and families?
I started out writing songs to entertain my own kids – not in a “children’s music” style but in my usual “Beatles meets ‘70/’80’s new wave/punk rock” style. Lyrically, of course, the songs were aimed at the sort of things I thought were cool or affected me as a kid, and, apparently, this approach has appealed to kids and families [too].
Have libraries or librarians been an influence in your life or your music career?
I grew up [m]aking visits to [the] library since I was a toddler, and when I was in grade school, I moved out to a rural area where a bookmobile came out to our school once a week. I thought the bookmobile was the coolest thing ever (and the name sounded cool, like “The Batmobile”). I was excited by every visit as to what new and magical adventures I’d find in books about Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, volcanoes, earthquakes, and dinosaurs. To this day, entering a library excites me as it represents adventure and possibilities!
How did you hear about and get involved with Tricycle Music Fest and what motivates you to return to this event?
We were invited to perform at the first Tricycle Music Fest event back in 2009. What we enjoy the most is performing in front of new people who usually have no idea who we are and what we do. At last year’s T[ricycle event], we played in Bernal Heights, [and] a bunch of five- to seven-year-old boys climbed aboard a large container, took off their shirts, waved them over the heads, and danced in jubilation. Can’t ask for more than that!
Band names are usually memorable or intriguing. Is there a story behind yours?
I was just trying to find a name that could have [two] meanings, such as The Beatles (Beat music + the insects). I just thought I’d combine the word “hip” with the fishing apparel [waders]. I apologize to all the fishermen who have to scroll through [results] pages on Google [while] looking for rubber pants and seeing [information about] us instead.
2011's The Golden State was your last released album. Do you have any plans for a new CD yet, and if so, any details you can share?
We’ve recorded and released a few singles in the past year and we’re gearing up to go back in to record some new material. Eventually, we’ll compile it all onto one album to release… next year? We also hope to release some new videos within the next few months.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I have not asked you?
Yes! We’d like to introduce “Smilin’ Hal,” our new bassist. Our long-term bassist, D[arren] J. Kinville, has taken off to Fairbanks, Alaska, for the next year and we’ve been fortunate enough to find Hal to fill in. Hal is a tremendous bassist with an extensive background in classical, jazz, R&B, blues, and rock musical styles. His nickname, “Smilin’ Hal” should tell you something about his personality and kids are going to love him!
Enjoy an animated music video for the catchy Hipwaders’ song “Educated Kid.”
Be sure to catch The Hipwaders when they perform for the Tricycle Mucis Fest on:
- Saturday, September 21 at 3 pm, Presidio Branch Library (San Francisco)
- Saturday, September 21 at 11am, Redwood City Fair Oaks Library (San Mateo County)
Jessica Chung is a MLIS student and an intern for the San Mateo County Library.