(I first saw Hank & Cupcakes at an underground warehouse off the N train way a while back. They’ve since gotten a kickstarter fully funded, an album released and are about to launch into a massive tour! I caught up with them as they were packing…)
1. It’s been a long road for you both since the underground festival at Wonderland in Queens when I first saw you, how have you been?!
Long road is right and winding too! With obstacles surprises & uphills. But we understand that as long as we keep walking that road…
2. What would be first song Hank & Cupcakes fans should play their friends to introduce them to your sound?
Bring them to a live show, there are going to be a lot in the upcoming year!
3. How did you both decide on the two-piece being the full band? Have you ever thought of bringing on more people?
At first we thought it would be a temporary set up since we started the band briefly before moving to NYC. But as we dove deeper into playing and constant rehearsing, we realized we’d compensated for the ‘missing’ elements.
4. Cupcakes, you have this incredibly memorable sound, who are your vocal inspirations? What did you listen to when you grew up?
My inspiration growing up were first and foremost the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel because those were two tapes my dad had in the car when we were children and we heard it constantly. Later in my early teens my mom introduced me to Suzanne Vega and I discovered Tori Amos. When I started smoking pot at 18 it was Pink Floyd (of course) and then Hank showed me The Doors, Leonard Cohen & Bob Dylan.
5. Hank, do you ever get shit for playing backup to cupcakes? Do you have anything to say about the way women are treated in the industry when they attempt to lead?
I can’t see why anybody would give me shit for playing backup to Cupcakes, I feel privileged creating and playing with someone I love and appreciate in all ways and forms. In regards to how the industry treats woman, I’ve never seen anybody treat Cupcakes differently because she is a woman.
6. How did the idea for “Countdown” come together? It’s a huge departure from your usual work, and is a personal highlight on the album?
As you can see my early inspirations are very singer-songwriter based so it’s very easy for me to go down that path. When we started working on the new album which Hank produced, he didn’t know how to mix drums yet! That’s why we started with Countdown.
7. Any tips for up and coming writers to create lyrics with the social relevance and hook/poppy fun that you make? It’s a hard line to walk and you do it so well.
There’s something heavy to me about music that has a weight to lyrics but also to the music. I like to ‘disguise’ heavier lyrics with a more upbeat fun tune, that way I feel I can say more
8. Do you have any favorite artists you’re really jamming on right now? Recommendations for the reader?
Yes! St Vincent is definitely our current jam. we are very inspired by her futuristic & minimalist sound. It’s very gutsy and completely different.
9. Your videos are super fun and well done for what must have been a tiny budget. Any tips for artists on how to stretch the budget to make sure the all-important YouTube video is up to back-up your release?
We realized that just as recording producing & mixing the new album ourselves was a necessity, so was making our own music videos. We bought a camera, learned how to edit and are now making our own videos with no budget!
10. What does it feel like to have a completed kickstarter, an album out & a tour about to start?! Where can people hear/buy the album now and do you have any cool plans for capturing the tour on social media you want to leak to Terry Gotham? Right now we’re still in the height of preparation, so it feels quite insane. Once we hit the road we’ll be able to ‘relax’ and completely zone into the music & performing, something we’re very much waiting for. CA$H 4 GOLD will officially be out on Sep 5th (Cupcakes’ birthday!) https://itunes.apple.com/album/id904976066