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A tale of two Minnesotas: Get to know the disparate acts that borrow our state’s name

by Andrea Swensson

November 30, 2012

Things have gotten especially meta for me lately as I scan my inbox for new music from Minnesota artists, only to find two separate artists who call themselves Minnesota broadcasting the news of their latest albums and shows. What started out as a mild bout of confusion has recently developed into a fascination with these two acts—who, by the way, could not be more different from one another—both of whom are native to our fair state but no longer call Minnesota home.

With Minnesota, the 23-year-old dubstep artist, in town this weekend to play a gig in Minneapolis, I thought it'd be a good time to take a closer look at these two artists who borrow our state's name and dig into the differences between these rising acts. Minnesota, I present to you: Minnesota and Minnesota.

Minnesota, the dance music phenom

Real name: Christian Bauhofer

Genre: Dubstep

Homebase: The 23-year-old Bauhofer grew up in Minnesota, but he has spent the past five years pursuing his music in Santa Cruz, California.

Biggest hit to date: "California Dreamin'," a jittery, chopped-and-screwed remix of the Mamas and the Papas' 1965 classic. It has over 138,000 plays on SoundCloud and 337,000 plays on YouTube.

Why the name Minnesota? Bauhofer says he picked up the name when he migrated to CA. "People started just calling me Minnesota when I started DJing," he recently told Colorado music blog Swaager. "I get a lot of 'Why is that your name? You don't live in Minnesota.' There's no good reason. I couldn't think of a good DJ name, so I just went with my nickname."

What you need to know: Minnesota has been actively performing, remixing, and producing original material for a few years now, but it's only this past year that he's broken out into the national EDM scene. He's played large dance music festivals, toured the U.S. with collaborators like Zion I, and just this week dropped a new EP called Altered States that will keep him on the road through the end of the year. Grab the new EP and keep up with all of Bauhofer's latest happenings on his website.

Next local gig: This Saturday, December 1 at the Loft; 9 p.m., $15 adv/$20 door, 18+.


Minnesota, the Americana project

Real names: Peter Himmelman and David Hollander, plus other collaborators

Genre: Roots-rock

Homebase: Seasoned songwriter Himmelman is from St. Louis Park, filmmaker Hollander from Pittsburgh; they both call Southern California home these days, but met up in Minneapolis to record their new collaboration.

Biggest song to date: "Ash & Chickenwire," the first single off of Minnesota's debut Are You There? It was debuted by Rolling Stone this summer and has received some airplay on the Current.

Why the name Minnesota? Himmelman summed it up nicely in a recent interview with City Pages: "I'll always claim Minnesota as home. At this point I've been away longer than I ever lived there. It's strange how that piece of geography has become such a big part of my identity. I always feel a geographic nepotism when I meet somebody from Minnesota. There's an understanding that's hard to put into words. It has something to do with the harshness of the winters and the darkness of the late afternoons. Whenever I'm flying back home I look out over all the lakes and think, 'You were lucky to be born in an incredibly strange and wonderful place.'"

What you need to know: Himmelman, a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter who has been releasing solo material since 1991 and has been active in music since the late '70s, discovered Hollander while penning the music for his TV series Heartland. Hollander's talent for storytelling dovetailed naturally with Himmelman's narrative songs. “I immediately heard a larger narrative in the songs, saw a story within that felt compelling,” Hollander says in Minnesota's bio. Their debut, Are You There?, was just released last month, and features vocalists Kristin Mooney and Claire Holley, guitarist Jake Hanson, drummer Noah Levy, bassist Jimmy Anton, and keyboardist Jeff Victor.

Next local date: At this point, Minnesota have only performed once, at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais. If they book additional dates, they will be likely posted to their Facebook page.


Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.