AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio


AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio


AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio


Interview: Horse Jumper of Love


Hey WVAU readers, Web Director Zoe here once again! This is the second in my two-part series for WVAU this semester highlighting the amazing interviews with artists I’ve gotten to do. 

It was March 29th, the night of our annual Capitol Boogie concert in the Battelle Tompkins atrium. Not long before doors opened, I was led to a room off of the atrium, and there before me were three grazing horses.

JK…sort of. I was actually in the presence of the three-piece band, Horse Jumper of Love, who would be headlining the show that evening. I introduced myself to and got acquainted with Dimitri Giannopoulos (lead vocals, guitar), John Margaris (bass, backing vocals) and Jamie Vadala-Doran (drums, percussion) as they feasted on their dinner. They offered me a Gatorade, which I gladly accepted, and our conversation began.

Giannopoulos talked about how being a band has changed since they started in their late teens and early twenties. 

“Our goals were like, ‘Oh, we just need to hit the road and rock’ And now our goals are more like, ‘We still want to do that. But we also want to just make it a little more sustainable and comfortable,” Giannopoulos said.

The frontman also talked about their latest single, “Gates of Heaven,” that had come out just a few weeks prior to Boogie — even though it was written nearly a decade ago.

“It is like a relic of the past or something,” Giannopoulos said. “Time goes by so fast that it’s nice to have little reminders of the events that happened in your life.”

Staying on the topic of exploring the band’s origins and past, the conversation delved into Giannopoulos’ identity as the son of Greek immigrants. 

“They’re Greek as hell,” Giannopoulos said.

The band banters back and forth about Margaris, whose Greekness he says is surname-deep. 

“When John says he’s Greek, I tell him he’s a poser,” Giannopoulos jokes, before backtracking and offering Margaris the status of “honorary Greek.”

From lyrics referencing his grandmother singing Greek folk songs to a music video featuring his pappou (grandfather) and set at his home, the frontman’s Greek identity can be found hiding in plain sight within the band’s music — a rarity in the spheres of shoegaze and broader indie and alt rock.

Giannopoulos’ dad founded a pizza shop in the ‘80s (the setting of another of the band’s music videos), which Giannopouls called “a place that taught me how to work.”

The band noted the support that all of their families showed to the band when they were younger, including providing practice space in their basements and attics.

“A lot of parents wouldn’t or couldn’t, so we’re lucky to have that,” said Vadala-Doran, whose parents are also musicians.

Giannopoulos said that his pappou was a singer growing up in Greece, but ultimately became a tailor in his village instead. The frontman said his grandfather regretted it and urged his grandson to always keep at his own pursuits of singing and playing guitar. (Pro-tip: Watch all the way to the end of the Heartbreak Rules music video to catch a beautiful 8-second clip of his grandfather singing).

Although Greece was not on the route, the band did do their first ever European tour dates this past fall. They said there was an “old school formal” element compared to touring North America, and that promoters took it upon themselves to host the band at dinners.

“They were like ‘we really respect that you came all this way,” Giannopoulos said.

Margaris, careful not to throw any shade anywhere in particular, gave a generalized observation about touring in the different regions.

“Sometimes it’s like ‘you get to play’ and there it was like ‘thank you for coming to play,’” said Margaris, to the agreement of his bandmates.

The band also remarked that the cultural difference between European and American perceptions of distance is real.

“It was so funny, people would be like, ‘you’re driving four hours for a show?!’” Giannopoulos recalled.

Transitioning into glimpses of the band’s near future, Giannopoulos revealed that the band will be releasing a new album this August. Until then, they said their goals for their spring and summer of touring included everything from staying safe and keeping in touch with loved ones to no “depressive holes,” “insane sleep deprivation” or “doom scrolling.”

As our time ran out and the interview concluded, I retreated from the horses’ stable into the pasture of the atrium (has this metaphor gone too far?) and I was given words of encouragement upon sharing my aspirations in music journalism. And, I must say, it meant a lot to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth (OK, this metaphor has definitely gone way too far).

And yes, Horse Jumper of Love absolutely rocked the Battelle Atrium that night — a perfect last event for my time in WVAU.

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