HipKnosis Biography

HipKnosis is a rock’n’roll band hailing from the American Midwest - based at the legendary recording facility Junior’s Motel near Otho, Iowa. HipKnosis has performed to wide acclaim primarily in concert settings, including multiple times at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, at the NewBo Arts Festival in Cedar Rapids, with REO Speedwagon, and at other venues around the Midwest. Featuring the acutely personal but smooth, distinctive lead vocals of songstress Heather Kelly, HipKnosis is a versatile recording act, powered by the accomplished songwriting of pianist and violinist Kelly, bassist Kirk Kaufman and multi-keyboardist Dave Hearn. Melvin James fills the guitar slot with inventive use of electric and acoustic guitars, and Jon Passow provides a solid foundation for the band on drums and percussion. “Brand New Game” took nearly three years of writing, arranging and recording to produce the eight original songs the CD contains. Each song is a separate musical journey, complete in itself. Ranging from Hearn’s radio-ready power pop confection, Big Girl Now, to the moody and reflective I’ll Never Let You Down, the band’s wide ranging influences keep popping up throughout the album. Kelly’s Hurt, which catapults forward at breakneck speed features the incredible lightning-fast Flamenco playing of guest guitarist Jeremy Ober from Brutal Republic. Kelly’s Therapy harkens back to late period Beatles with a spooky Mellotron. Beautiful, with a breath-taking vocal from Kelly is an absolutely timeless love song from Kaufman. The title song, from Kaufman, is pure fantasy writing. The album is rounded out by two rockers from Hearn, Call My Name and Set Me Free.

HipKnosis started life as H&K, a “medieval pop” duo in 2006, featuring Kaufman on bass guitar, kick drum and vocals, with Kelly on vocals, piano, violin, percussion and cymbals. They were sometimes joined by guitarist Eric Hovey, and later by Melvin James. Hearn began writing songs for the act in 2010, and joined HipKnosis in the studio by the next year. Jon Passow completed the band in 2012.

Other albums by H&K and HipKnosis include “Catch a Rainbow,” “HipKnosis,” and 2010’s “Darkest Dreams.”

Kaufman, Hearn and Passow are all inductees in the Iowa Rock’n’Roll Music Association Hall of Fame, and Kelly is the daughter of an inductee. Kaufman and Hearn were members of well remembered Columbia recording act, HAWKS, James has been an MCA recording artist in his own right, and Passow is the long-time drummer for the Ski Band.

HipKnosis Discography

Darkest Dreams - HipKnosis HipKnosis - Brand New Game
Catch a Rainbow (H&K)
Junior's Motel Records (2008)

Junior's Motel Records (2010)

Darkest Dreams
Junior's Motel Records (2012)
Brand New Game
Junior's Motel Records (2015)

E-mail: [email protected]