Here’s What Museum Mouth Have to Say About the Bill They Curated for Hopscotch

On Thursday, the Wilmington pop-punk trio will share a stage with Charly Bliss, Illuminati Hotties, Kississippi, and Tomberlin.

When Wilmington pop-punk trio Museum Mouth first played Hopscotch in 2014, drummer and vocalist Karl Kuehn ended up crowd-surfing. What’s more, he wasn’t even performing when this happened: Guerilla Toss had taken the stage at Slim’s, and Karl was simply trying to pass a water pitcher to their drummer, who shouted, “Lift this guy up!”

Five years later, Museum Mouth have curated their own bill for Hopscotch, featuring Charly Bliss, Illuminati Hotties, Kississippi, and Tomberlin. We recently caught up with Karl over the phone about Museum Mouth’s history at Hopscotch, putting together this week’s line-up, and the band’s upcoming performance, which will include plenty of songs from their next album. “Since it’s our local fest, we’re trying to up the showmanship a bit,” Karl says, nodding to his earlier Hopscotch shenanigans.

Catch Museum Mouth at IMURJ at 9:30pm on Thursday, Sept. 6.

What’s your personal history with Hopscotch?

I was excited about the first year of the festival—no one else was booking the bands that I was obsessed with when I was younger. When we got asked to play in 2014, I felt incredibly honored.

What is your favorite Hopscotch memory?

Playing Hopscotch in 2014 was really cool. There was a great sense of camaraderie. We consider the Triangle our unofficial home, and many of our friends were also playing that year. We came to each other’s shows and went buckwild. We’d just put out a record, so all of our friends were screaming the words. To open a showcase with my band doing our fucking thing and playing with three other bands that we were obsessed with at the time, like Diarrhea Planet and Guerilla Toss—it was a big honor.

Tell me about the bill you put together for this year’s festival. Why did you pick these artists specifically, and what sort of commonalities were you looking to highlight?

We’re in a really cool space where a ton of the artists that we all love are our friends, so having the ability to book them is an honor. It feels nice to be like, “Hey, come to North Carolina and hang out with me for the weekend! It will be really cute, and we’ll play an amazing show, and the kids will go wild!” We booked three of our friends and one band that we’re all just really big fans of. We’re friends with Tomberlin, Kississippi, and Illuminati Hotties. With Charly Bliss, it was like, “We love this band, it’d be so sick to get them.”

What do you love most about being an artist in North Carolina?

I like being remote—it keeps you uninvolved with how crazy the music business can be. There’s a lot of trite stuff that comes with commodifying music as a business. Being remote and separate from all that lets me continue to be a fan of bands. When we were booking this bill, we weren’t worried about booking any bands that have drama. It was like, “These are our friends and bands we’re fans of—let’s just put on a show that we would want to see.”

How does living here influence the music you create?

We’re making the music that we want to hear based on what’s coming down the line to us. We’re not necessarily influenced by the bands around us, because everyone in North Carolina is making different music. We’re seeking out the music that we like and want to hear, and we’re transferring that into our band’s sound.

What should we expect from your own performance at the festival?

Since it’s our local fest, we’re trying to up the showmanship a bit. I usually sing and play drums, but I’m singing and playing guitar in this show. Our friend Elise Jaffe from Truth Club, who’s also playing the fest, is filling in on drums for us. We’re playing a bunch of new songs. It should be cute! We’re recording a new record this fall, hopefully. We’ve got some touring coming up where we’re going to workshop the new songs in a live setting and track them this Fall, and we’re putting out a compilation of B-sides, rarities, and demos to coincide with that tour.

– Matt Wallock