Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles
Gig Seeker Pro

Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles


Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Up Close And Personal"

He played "Jersey Finger" from start to finish -- 11 songs of his guitar-driven songwriter-pop adventures in love, travel and rock 'n' roll (along with some well-placed pianos, trumpets and flutes). The album is also a showcase of his evolving guitar and vocal explorations, which he has made steadily since departing Anchorage in 2003 when he became a full-time musician and touring artist Outside. - Anchorage Daily News

"That's Gotta Hurt"

Listening loud or listening drunk won’t hurt either—Jersey Finger might be one day be considered Hopper’s Exile on Main Street, should he ever grow up to become a craggy-faced graying pop star. - Anchorage Press

"Matt Hopper "Jersey Finger" review and interview"

Matt Hopper, singer-songwriter from Boise, Idaho, recently passed through the midwest on tour supporting his 2010 self-release, “Jersey Finger.” He took some time to talk with us about working with the young, talented producer/composer, Richard Swift; as well as sharing who he’d like to work with next; and who he’d like to get to play the tuba on a cover version of “Square One” by Tom Petty. He also has many other good things to say about his travels in music, his moments in the midwest, but first we have some words about his newest release, “Jersey Finger.” - Sock Monkey Sound

"Rockford, IL show review"

Hopper joined the Whale for the 2nd set performing his own set of tunes rooted in ‘Crazy Horse’ delivery and Americana stories of the road, people. The first thing you’ll notice is Hopper’s voice, a commanding wail from a tiny frame that can hit some bar room falsettos and yelps from deep below. A great story teller / band leader took control of the room with his own catalogue of songs, many from his recently released beauty of a record, “Jersey Finger.” The Devil Whale served as his, ‘Roman Candles,’ following Hopper’s emotional delivery and dressing up standard rock songs with Americana inflections and punk instincts. - Sock Monkey Sound

"Hopper Is a Monster Rock 'n' Roll Frontman"

I saw Matt Hopper’s acoustic set, Wednesday, at a pre-festival party in Breckenridge. His set was outstanding, even though Hopper had driven 400-plus miles that day. His set this afternoon, featuring a full band, focused on many of the same songs as his acoustic set. His songs are so solid and Hopper is such a proficient performer that neither set lacked energy or felt empty.

It truly is a test of a good song if it can be stripped down to its barest and still resonate. Hopper proved this weekend that he is a monster rock ‘n’ roll front man who writes brilliantly crafted pop tunes. He has the catalogue, persistence and the stage presence to be the next big thing in pop music’s re-birth of the singer/songwriter genre. He’s already proven he’s among the best of his class.

- Chris Kornelis / Summit Daily News - Summit Daily News

"Hopper Tries Not to Fall Asleep At the Wheel"

Matt Hopper drives a 2000 Chevy Blazer that has doubled as his home for more than 80,000 miles and 365 days.

Breaks from tour have been short stopovers in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

His cell number boasts a Seattle area code. Not that that he lives there — unless you call couch-hopping a residence — it just happens to be the port he was at when he finally gave in to his girlfriend.

"When I got off that first tour," he said, "my girlfriend was so pissed at me that I didn't call."

She's got plenty to be upset about now that Hopper's been around the states a couple times.

"I got a couple bands. I got a couple girlfriends," he said. "They're just all situated all over the place."

Hopper's backing band of choice for his South Park gig, Saturday, is the Matt Lewis Band out of Provo. Hopper likes the way Lewis drops alt-country licks on top of his tunes.

When Hopper's not gigging, drinking or chasing tail, he's dreaming of developing Hatcher Pass Records, his independent label with a rapidly growing roster.

In its present state the label is hardly more than a sticker a select number of bands stamp to new releases. The SUV-dweller doesn't have money to back any of the bands on the road and the label doesn't pay for any of the recordings — at least not yet.

"It's more like a collective," he said. "But it's still people that I like. I'm a pretty picky guy. Everyone in the label I'm pretty stoked on."

Hopper envisions hiring someone to book and promote bands' tours while he pursues his own career and acts as the label's CEO or some other "decision-making position."

He's looking forward to the day when a Hatcher Pass band walks away with a major-label gig — even if it's not him.

"I really can't do anything for these guys ... I would be stoked for anyone on our label to sign with someone with money," he said. "A lot of people think I'll be the first one. It'll be awesome whatever happens." - Summit Daily News (Colorado)

"Hopper "Pick of the Week" LA WEEKLY"

Richard Swift, Matt Hopper at Tangier.

L.A. is never short on singer-songwriter shows, but Richard Swift and Matt Hopper have it down to an art form. Swift has humbly climbed his way through the L.A. music scene, writing songs that sound like a displaced 1920s vinyl infused with bits of Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Swift’s tunes combine the low warble of an almost-vaudevillian balladeer with a straightforward pop sensibility. In earlier days, Swift also lent a hand to inimitable space-rockers Starflyer 59 and Duraluxe. Contrasting the somewhat melancholy mood of Swift is Alaska native Matt Hopper, who has the appeal and talent of a quintessential American singer-songwriter. He writes earnest alt-countrified songs that are pop without being clichéd and delicate without being sappy. In addition, Hopper has shown he has true grit, continuing a solo tour this year after having all of his gear and belongings stolen after a show. - LA Weekly (Tatiana Simonian) - LA Weekly

"Matt Hopper is NOT crap!"

Matt Hopper is not crap. No, I daresay that this rumpled-yet-natty gentleman, who quit his dayjob as a mail clerk for Microsoft to pursue his muse full time, braving the rigors of the road on his "Death of a Day Job Tour", eating a single meal a day, then crashing each night on a different friend's couch, is definitely going to make the bigtime, defintiely going to win the hearts and minds of hordes of big-eyed girls and adoring males comfortable with their own sexuality, and is definitely NOT crap. -Dean Bonzani, - Flagstaff Live!

"Hopper As Prodigy"

[Hopper] is quite the musical prodigy

- John Sant - Fine Print Magazine

"A Heatbreaking Lovestory"

"[Hopper] creates music that should be used as a soundtrack for a cute lovestory between a NASA astronaut and a deaf operator girl. Heartbreaking and beautiful."
- Hauke Schmidt, - Frantic World Scenarios (Germany)

"Indie Artist Quits Dayjob"

Nestled away in the back of the Record Street Cafe, Matt Hopper sat alone on a stool before a gathering of about 25 fans. He nervously shuffled his feet moments before his performance, waiting for just one more person to drop a couple bucks into an empty beer pitcher that was collecting his gas money... - Nevada Sagebrush

""The Gold Rush" Review"

The latest offering from Alaska expatriate Matt Hopper is sure to conflict many fans of the pop-rock prodigy.

First, we'll give it up for the sound and production quality of the five-song EP, "The Gold Rush." It's much better than on last year's CD, "Keep Your Mouth Shut," a jumble of old and new tracks built here, there and even in Wasilla. The EP was recorded in August by Hopper and Craig Gurwich "in their tiny apartments," according to the cardboard sleeve. Whenever, wherever, it sounds really polished.

As for the songs and the music, a few descriptors come to mind during multiple listens: somber, subdued, pretty, warm.

And one more: boring.

Now, hold up, Matt. That's not totally a diss. It's just that we've come to expect your so playful, rowdy, irresistible pop pearls, and this is just so tame, so acoustic, so sensitive sounding. Dude, have you got, like, a new girlfriend or something down there in California?

OK, so call it an experiment. Creative license. Bjork wears hers out. Artists should be commended for trying new stuff, and this is superb writing, singing and playing. Just shockingly gentle.

Each cut could easily fit alongside the many sensitive sounding songs on a CD that's spent much time in my player lately, the excellent "Garden State" soundtrack.

The first tune on Hopper's new disc, "Our Love Is So Soft," might be the best. It's a dreamy love thing, with an acoustic guitar nudged right up to the mike and an achy refrain: "We're getting by." Hopper seems to moan more than sing on this one, and never does he rock.

The restraint never lets up on "The Gold Rush," the acoustic guitar stretched out on a downy bed of electronic tones, twangs, pings and wobbles.

There's even some folksy whistling, as on "City Walls," a catchy jingle about a country boy and a city girl.

Finely wrought, all of it. But it's not the amped-up Matt Hopper of Roman Candles fame we know and adore.

Let's hope he shakes this mood soon. The pop world is waiting.

-- Wesley Loy - Anchorage Daily News

"The Roman Candles' lead singer is hot; why not have two?"

What do people really think about when they hear the name Matt Hopper? The obvious conclusion is the lead singer of The Roman Candles. But there's more to Hopper than just the band. Some people may remember a certain photo of Hopper's derriere, plastered across the cover of Flowers, a local 'zine produced by Holden Attradies. That certainly made an impression.

But what about you? Are you a blond, 14-year-old girl, madly in love with Matt Hopper? If so, your reaction to his name may be something along these lines: "Matt Hopper? Oh my god! Oh my god! Matt Hopper is so hot!!"

Yes, Hopper does have his groupies. Most of the people who actually know Hopper simply see him as a moody, annoyingly talented, college emo-bum -- with incredibly stinky feet, according to band mate Gina Gastaldi.

But let's go with the groupie premise anyway. If one Matt Hopper is good, would two be better?

According to Hopper himself, any replica would have to be "hard working and persevering." While Hopper's stunning marketing skills and godlike body may be difficult to match, we began our search for the next Matt Hopper.

Enter Zack Nelson, a sophomore at Palmer High oozing with savvy emo charm and clad in a Bright Eyes T-shirt.

He is perfect as a Hopper double. Plays guitar; check. Blond girls flock to him; check. Takes no more than two showers a week; check. Nelson had all the main components to be a Matt Hopper, but the physical aspects needed work. So that's where Perfect World came in. So what does it really take to be Matt Hopper?

Well, we learned it's not just about looks.

"What people see is only about 2 percent of what I am," Hopper says.

If you really want to become a Hopper, you'd have to be serious, determined and truly love music. Being in the limelight is not always a wonderful thing. It takes perseverance and a steady mind to block out the negatives.

There is a big difference between Matt Hopper the person and Matt Hopper the lead singer of The Roman Candles. As Hopper says, "Giving up is not in my vocabulary."

- Kate Gibbs - The Perfect World / ADN

"Replacements-esque take on soft alt country"

On his self-recorded, five-song EP, singer/songwriter Matt Hopper explains, "I come from the country/beyond your city walls/I got some stories/but you're going to have to write to me and call," conjuring a Replacements-esque take on soft alt country. His stripped-down arrangements place subtle acoustic guitar work beneath melancholic vocals. In places, Hopper's whistle is the loudest part of the song, but there's something endearing and sweet in his vulnerable admissions and delicate instrumentation. JENNIFER MAERZ - The Stranger (Seattle, WA)


Matt Hopper "Bedroom Pop Vol. One" LP
Matt Hopper "Bedroom Pop Vol. Two" LP
The Roman Candles "Firecracker" EP
The Roman Candles "Bang! Bang! Bang!" LP
The Roman Candles "Keep Your Mouth Shut" LP
Matt Hopper "The Gold Rush" EP
Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles "Reverse Odyssey" LP

2005 Southpark Music Festival Sampler
2005 Squealing Fans in My Tune : Tribute to Evan Dando (UK)
2005 Other Songs & Dances (Blacklight)
2005 SBS Independent Music Sampler Vol 8
2001 Burning Ears (Velvet Blue)
2001 Seen / Unseen (Absalom)

"Stick It To Your Man" off of "Bang! Bang! Bang" won the Alaska Public Radio Networks "Song of the Year" award for "Best Rock Song".



Matt Hopper formed The Roman Candles in the year 2000. Their first performance was at Gig's Music Theatre in Anchorage, AK opening for Joy Electric. He formed different versions of the band with different members of the Anchorage music scene and within a few years had somewhat of a following in Alaska, released an EP on a Canadian indie label, and a self-released full length in 2003 - also the year they were named "Best Rock Band" via reader polls in Anchorage Daily News and Anchorage Press.

They shared stages with artists such as Young Dubliners, Gin Blossoms, Dan Bern, Anatomy of a Ghost (now Portugal. The Man) Their album climbed to #134 on CMJ's Top 200 and they co-headlined at the Alaska State Fair, but by fall the current lineup dissolved and Hopper had to recruit a new drummer and guitarist for their first west coast tour. Ironically, Hopper's first gig in Los Angeles was at the Troubadour.

Upon completion of that tour, Hopper stayed in Seattle and recorded the Roman Candles' third release "Keep Your Mouth Shut" with Shawn Simmons, and then eventually moved to Los Angeles for the winter. He launched a solo career there and was soon playing esteemed venues such as the lauded Hotel Cafe, while growing disenchanted at an alarming rate with his sweet new day job as a mail clerk for Microsoft. When not trying to seduce his older, financially secure co-workers he was plotting an escape route fueled in part by Kraukauer's "Into the Wild" and Kerouac's "On The Road" amongst other adventuresome reads.

While messing around with summer touring, he decided to make a go at it and his leash was cut loose in fall of 2003 when he launched a 3 month solo tour with his friend Andrew Norsworthy. By the end of that epic journey, he continued to gig solo logging over 400+ self-booked gigs and 200,000 miles.

A five song solo EP, The Gold Rush, was recorded in his kitchen in Los Angeles and released in 2004. He has since sold thousands of copies of it out of a suitcase in his Chevy Blazer and along the way came across the desk of entertainment lawyer Robert Reynolds (The Killers, Louis XIV) who struck up a legal agreement after hearing Hopper's "City Walls" - a tune that Seattle's The Stranger described as "conjuring a Replacements-esque take on soft alt country".

Brian Whelan of The Broken West put it simply when he said "Matt Hopper is a real life troubadour"...and this holds true. He toured until his car broke down at 3 a.m. near the Mexico border on an overnight drive from Tuscon to San Diego. Crippled by the cost of fixing his car, he took up an offer to move to Madison, WI and record an album there with a band called The Downtown Brown...who promptly became The Roman Candles within weeks of Hopper's arrival. Living on a couch for most of his stay in Madison, Hopper took on a tour with up and coming band Cold War Kids to help pay some bills. They backed him up every night of that tour. Hopper returned to Madison and continued to write and live north of Chicago, the band did a tour to Nashville with Cameron McGill and Hopper played some festivals that summer such as the South Park Music Festival, where a nice reviews came in: "Matt Hopper proved this weekend that he is a monster rock and roll front man who writes brilliantly crafted pop tunes. He has the catalog, persistence and the stage presence to be the next big thing in pop music’s re-birth of the singer/songwriter genre. He’s already proven he’s among the best of his class."

Matt Hopper's music is an infectious blend of folk, psychedelia, and rock. As a songwriter, he included quite a variety on his latest record "Reverse Odyssey" and his jam "Head To Feet" resulted in him being asked to play four weddings in the past year, and one song \"Our Love Is So Soft" was featured on the ABC drama "Brothers & Sisters". His rockers got him hand selected by Kings of Leon as potential openers for a benefit concert in Chicago...where he ended up third in fan voting against some stellar talent.

Alaskan’s revere and curse him with titles such as "Alaska's only rock star" and their "prodigal son" and he has set a record for playing Miss Alaska Pageants. Love him or hate him, he left a distinct mark on his tenure in the Alaska music scene, where he served the local music community as a performer, radio DJ (KNBA & KRUA), music reviewer, blogger, website operator, booking agent, concert promoter, and rock and roller.

The LA Weekly has said "Matt Hopper has the appeal and talent of a quintessential American singer-songwriter. He writes earnest alt-countrified songs that are pop without being cliché and delicate without being sappy.”

Hopper has performed with a blazed Todd Snider keeping time from the side stage, recorded jams and sang with Richard Swift, barked on Old St. John with Cold War Kids, name dropped by Dan Bern in song at the Atwood Concert Hall, literally ran into Jeff Tweedy on a mountaintop, downed pints with the Young Dubliners, traded g