As he walks his newborn daughter to sleep, John Hancock III is excited that he’s finally going to attend one of these Third Thursday Poplife Social events at the Perez Art Museum Miami he's been hearing so much about, even if it’s only because he’s headlining it. The monthly concerts — which have been rapidly gaining popularity — mix art, music, and happy hour.
“I’m not a social butterfly," Hancock says. "I stay in my bedroom and make tracks. But I’m sure between soundcheck and playing, there’ll be time to check out the new stuff in the museum. When I went before, I really liked a sculpture by Nicolas Lobo that showed the trajectory of a landing plane. The view is nice there too. It definitely gets my seal of approval and all three thumbs up.”
Growing up in the D.C. area, Hancock was influenced by the city’s post-Fugazi scene, especially the Dismemberment Plan. Eventually he moved to South Florida to attend the University of Miami, where he met Brian Robertson and formed one of the most acclaimed local bands around, Awesome New Republic. And despite being dormant for quite some time, Hancock says, Awesome New Republic might not be over for good.
Take a break in between songs to swing around at PAMM.
Photo by George Martinez
“We quietly took an indefinite hiatus," he says. "We hit a wall trying to make a new album. We worked together for 13 years, but Brian’s helped me on a couple of my tracks, and I’ve helped him on his. We don’t have official plans to make a new Awesome New Republic album, but we talk about it. Maybe in the next year or two.”
Despite being in a near-constant state of sleep deprivation thanks to his new baby, Hancock is excited for what he’s going to bring to PAMM. “It will be a 30-minute set of electronic tropical stew. I’ll be cutting up my original songs with samples of bands like Outkast and the Beach Boys.”
The Beach Boys were especially on Hancock’s mind as he’d just seen the new Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy the day before. “It’s worth seeing in the movie theater. The way it’s mixed is really cool. They make the sound crazy just like him.”
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But Hancock assures we don't have to worry about his having a Brian Wilson-esque breakdown. He says Miami’s natural environment, the beaches, the Everglades, and — oddly — the road rage keep him inspired to make music. “When it gets so hot here, it gets everyone passive-aggressive. That’s what gets me going — that Relax, bro; you’re in paradise. Let me cut you off.”
PAMM Third Thursdays: Poplife Social with John Hancock III. 6 p.m. Thursday, June 18, at Perez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Call 305-375-3000, or visit pamm.org. Tickets cost $16 via pamm.org.