After kicking ass on the Israeli rock scene for years, lawfully wedded rock star duo Hank & Cupcakes decided it was time for a trip to the Americas. So they hung out in Cuba for six months before trekking up to NYC where they joined the hipsteriffic population of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Once Stateside, the pair almost immediately began building a reputation as unrestrained pop junkie party-starters with a propensity for sexy sonic emissions, Joy Division covers, and random explosions of riot-like energy.
So, in order to prepare ourselves for tonight's inevitable electro-raunch onslaught, Crossfade quizzed Hank & Cupcakes on a shortlist of important subjects, including '90s rap, dumbass record execs, and the fragility of our undergarments.
Crossfade: You two are billed as a husband-and-wife tag team. How did Hank meet Cupcakes?
Hank & Cupcakes (in perfect unison): We are best friends, husband and wife, music partners, everything. We started making music together long before Hank & Cupcakes existed. We had several bands/projects together. And even though the music was very, very different, you could say it all somehow led up to us becoming Hank & Cupcakes about two and a half years ago.
The new EP was recorded with Mark B. Christensen. He's done lot of rap in the past. Are you big hip-hop heads?
Cupcakes: I personally love '90s party rap music. I'm not sure they even called it hip-hop yet back then. It's great music to dance to, very groovy, very cool, and fun in general. It's harder for me to relate to the heavy gangsta stuff. It's very negative heavy music and I guess I don't get it. We have a guest rapper, Shane MauX, on our song "Ain't no Love." He's one of the leads in the band Belikos. We're playing our end of tour show with them. They do a lot of rap, which is totally up our alley. Very Outkast-ish, totally cool.
Hank: I'm not a big hip-hop fan probably because my control of the English language isn't perfect. So a lot of times, it's hard for me to understand the lyrics. I do feel and enjoy the energy and the grooviness of it, though. I think that hip-hop is the most innovative kind of pop music done today. It always amazes me how eclectic and wide the music is.
Beyond rap, let's talk influences, record collections, and musical obsessions.
Cupcakes: We are '90s kids. And although there's nothing specific we're obsessed with, your early influences in life are usually so powerful that they don't fade away. Having said that, we love sound that is new and different and always strive to create new sounds in our 'lab'. Hank has an obsession with his Moog and with creating musical patterns that have an internal logic and aesthetic. I like to keep it dancable and fun even though we do have a dark side.
Hank: I just spent last night listening to the Beatles on vinyl next to a fireplace in Nashville, Tennessee. It just doesn't get any better than that! In general, I try to be an open listener and I don't really have any preferred genres or bands. One week, I might get blown away by John Lee Hooker and the week after by Die Antwoord and then a band I saw in the subway. I feel that influences come in random ways. And that's the way I like it!
What's the story behind "Ain't No Love"? What spurred the birth of that song?
Hank & Cupcakes (in perfect unison): "Aint No Love" is the first song we wrote upon arriving to NYC. We absolutely love the city. But we were a bit shocked by the masses of people in the streets, on the subway, and the way people learn to isolate themselves. People are 'alone' while they are surrounded by so many people. It's a technique that everyone learns, a mask you put on when you hit the streets. But it was very weird at first.
You've got another track, "Hit." It was written in response to a record exec's comment that he loved your band but you didn't have any hit songs. How do you write a party starter on command?
Cupcakes: I guess that's what you call inspiration! I can get hot-blooded at times and that remark pissed me off. I sat down at the piano and it just came out of me. It was a good way to turn a negative remark into something really positive. Flip it around in your face!
Describe a Hank & Cupcakes throwdown? What should 305-ers bring? How should they protect themselves?
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Hank & Cupcakes (in perfect unison): We're gonna melt your panties so bring a spare!
Download: Hank & Cupcakes' "Hit"
Hank & Cupcakes. Thursday, February 17. Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and admission costs $5. Call 305-576-7750 or visit bardotmiami.com.