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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Meet the self-described ‘good kids’ behind Hobo Johnson

Photo by Claire Morgan – The State Hornet
Derek Lynch, left, and Frank Lopes Jr., better known as Hobo Johnson and the Lovemakers, relax in the Oak Park backyard where they produce their music. The group is set to return to Concerts in the Park after last year’s performance in Cesar Chavez Plaza.

After hours of practicing in a patchy, muddy backyard on the edge of Oak Park, clad in a flannel and a backward baseball cap, rapper Hobo Johnson may have gotten the big break he was looking for.

Hobo Johnson, whose real name is Frank Lopes Jr., and his bandmate Derek Lynch — the core of Lopes’s band the Love-
makers — received an Instagram message from Joseph Pepin of Control Music Group, who manages the likes of indie-pop band Phoenix, Indonesian hip-hop artist Rich Chigga and singer-songwriter Hana Pestle.

The message expressed the company’s interest in managing the group, to which they excitedly agreed.

“We posted (our) videos on Facebook and on YouTube,” Lopes said. “Somehow, I personally don’t believe it but … It took him through some weird YouTube wormhole and it went down to Oak Park, Sacramento.”

Since they signed with Control, Lopes and Lynch have had to raise money to buy the tools they need to improve their music.

The pair started a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $3,000, which was raised within 25 hours. Lopes and Lynch were nervous to set such a high goal, because they did not expect their fans to respond so positively at such a quick rate.

“I wanted to put it at $1500, because I didn’t think anyone would want to have anything from us, but they did,” Lopes said.

The campaign gained traction quickly and raised over $5,500 by Feb. 26. Lopes and Lynch have decided to use the funds for a re-release of their latest album, “Live From Oak Park.”

According to Lopes, the goal of the re-release is to rework some musical aspects of the album. The duo wants to add vocals, cello, violin and saxophone elements as well as their own bass and guitar.

“I wanted to make it a much more musical thing,” Lopes said. “The original project was just piano, drums, and my voice, and nothing else. The words are really good, but I want the music to be really good.”

Lopes started exploring music as a child, and said that he would make up poems to sing in the shower and rap on his walk home from school.

“I was known as the kid who would walk to school and rap the whole time,” Lopes said. “I just always kept it in my mind that it was something I wanted to do.”

In high school, Lopes turned to music after selling his PlayStation console.

He used the money to buy a microphone and a MIDI controller, which is a device that helps artists translate and manipulate their music.

Ever since, Lopes has been making beats and rapping over them.

“Just recently I became good at rapping — kinda — before I was pretty bad and now I’m not as bad,” Lopes said.

For Lynch, learning guitar was what started his journey in music. Eventually he got tired of practicing guitar in his room and branched out by meeting other local artists.

Lynch and Lopes met at an open mic night in Del Paso Heights and became close after another rendezvous at Goldfield Trading Post bar in downtown Sacramento.

“Ever since then we’ve been kickin’ it — it’s a merry relationship,” Lopes said. Lopes’ and Lynch’s goals are to make good music, but also to stay afloat.

Lopes describes his end goals among other things as wishing to buy his mother a house and to build his credit.

“Of course I wanna make amazing music, but it’s hard to do when you’re poor and you don’t know what you’re going to eat or how you’re going to pay rent,” Lopes said.

Another goal of Lopes’ is to create a production company for other Sacramento artists to be able to create and mix their music without barriers.

“We’re two good kids,” Lopes said.“We wouldn’t hurt a fly. We mean well. (We’re) gentle souls looking to have a good show. (We) just wanna make love and make music sometimes.”

(Check out one of Lopes’ music videos below)

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  • Jodi DunklingJun 25, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    I absolutely love the music of Hobo Johnson and the lyrics are even better. Hes super talented and super chill. I went over the weekend to one of his concerts, and honestly it was one of the best I have ever attended. Good Luck guys I think you will end up doing very well.

  • MayaJun 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    These 5 men… are so genuine.
    I had the pleasure of meeting all five – David, Ben, Jordan, Derek, and Frank – of them at a meet and greet and they were all so relaxed, and just great.
    My mom went to the concert with me. She’s been to many concerts but never a meet and greet and she said it was awesome as a first experience. We weren’t rushed, in fact, Frank very much took his time with everyone. He talked on FaceTime with a fans friend, was reading something off another’s phone, took individual pictures with groups of people and a group pic…
    I had a shirt customized a few months prior and they all signed it and they said it was awesome. Jordan had even said it was cooler than some of their own merch.

    The fan base is pretty chill. Though, before the show even started there was a group of drunk women who kept trying to fight each other and they were trying to do a mosh pit. It was extremely rude and annoying but they eventually chilled out so that’s positive.

    It was overall an amazing experience and I’d love to meet up with them again!

  • LucieApr 27, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Wow…I don’t know where to start. I’m just an older woman who has lived the disfunction I feel pouring out in your unbelievable music style. You are unbelievably real and artistic. Don’t let anybody change your expression…you are amazing and your expression hits my soul in a way that is hard to explain. I normally listen to VERY tame music…stuff you would probably laugh at. When I heard your live version of “Peach Scone”…I can’t possibly express how it effected me. You won’t be unknown for long…there are lots of us out there that will totally get the message. I have now downloaded everything you have recorded…and I would have paid for it too!! Please make sure you come to Canada once you are famous and try not to laugh at the old chick crying in the background…what you do MATTERS please don’t give up!!! Good luck to you and your band. Nothing out there is anything like you!!!!

  • Brittany LovettApr 18, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    I absolutely 100,000,000%, hands down think that Hobo, and his crew will hit big. With his unique, well written lyrics, and music he has gained so many fans in such a short time. I personally relate to him and his music for the depth of the lyrics and what is behind it all. He is a soft soul, in his eyes you can tell the struggle he has daily, and holds down the traumas with his music to keep him going. I love his music!

  • ScarlettApr 12, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    I think you guys are beautiful. I love the sincerity behind the music and the pure artistry that shines through… you can tell that there’s passion and love powering your art. Until we meet in ‘Real City’…
    love and good vibes only, promise.
    N. Scarlett (MontReal, Qc, Canada)

  • Megan JMar 20, 2018 at 9:49 am

    I dont even know how I stumbled upon this-one of those late night, can’t sleep, YouTube rabbit hole kind of finds. And now thank God for algorithms and your vastly growing well deserved fan base, you are a regular on my newsfeed. I said all that to say, you have a 42 year old fan all the way over in Bellingham Washington and if that doesn’t just scream of your universal appeal I don’t know what does. Hobo F**cking Johnson!

  • Debbie SousaMar 2, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Excellent guys, exepcellent article! With all of the world’s bad news lately, she shows us how right our youth can be!