2012 is shaping up to be one of the best years for emerging new artists. One such “emerging new artist” you should know about is Hank And Cupcakes who are about to release their debut full-length NAKED following a scorching EP and their unprecedented, much talked about live shows. They chatted with The Blerd13 recently via email to fill you in on their origins and to tell you why they are a band you need to know about yesterday:
1. First off, listening through NAKED, how do you recreate some of these songs live?
There are two kinds of scenarios, in one we play the song live first and then get in the studio and create the “studio version” of the live performance, and in the other, you create the song in the studio and then need to figure out how to “translate” the recording into a live performance.
Since we are mainly a live band, we recorded most of the songs exactly the way we play them live and then added some additional musical elements. In shows, we play the songs as we always played them and it sounds more “raw” then the album. However, the energy of the live performance, the live sound and visual aspects complete the picture and generate a full experience non-the less. Some songs like “Liquid Mercury”, “Jersey Girl” and a few songs that are not included in the album were actually arranged in the studio and we had to adjust them to the live show.
2. When did you decide that Hank & Cupcakes would be better off as a duo?
The circumstances around the time we started the band were such that we were about to leave our home and move to the US. Since we were leaving just the two of us we decided to jam as a duo and found no point in involving other musicians that would not be traveling with us. The duo setup was never a conceptual rule for us and when we got to the US we were still playing with the idea of adding more band members. But at this point we were rehearsing daily like madmen and were so full of such fierce intention that I guess we just couldn’t handle the idea of sharing this special and intense passion (for the band) with a complete stranger…
3. Where did the name “Hank & Cupcakes” come from?
Hank is the nickname for the author Charles Bukowski and Cupcakes is the nickname of one of his lovers (Pam Miller). We were watching the documentary ‘Born Into This’ about Bukowski’s life and learned that he was apparently going completely nuts after this woman he named Cupcakes who would just disappear for days and weeks without any notice. At the time we were thinking of names for the band our friend suggested Hank & Cupcakes, which we thought was quite a brilliant idea since we’re both Bukowski fans!
4. How did Hank & Cupcakes form?
Hank & Cupcakes formed out of our necessity to make music. We left our homes and musical career in 2006 and went on a 6 months trip to Havana, Cuba to study music. When we came back we had nothing, it was like we were kicked back to square one. We started teaching so we could make some money but were dying creatively. After the intense emotional and musical experience we had in Cuba we needed some kind of a creative outlet, a way to express ourselves. That state of mind is what led us to start jamming and eventually forming Hank & Cupcakes.
5. Musically, I can hear everything from Duran Duran to The Cure to ’70’s soul. What were some of your influences going into NAKED?
This is always a hard question because we both have a very un-organized taste in music…We like anything from classical music to bluegrass to funk, anything that has soul in it and an energy that communicates with us without confining ourselves to any one genre. We were kids in the late 80’s and 90’s, so popular music from those eras is probably what had the biggest influence on us since it’s the music that one listens to growing up usually really gets into your DNA.
6. How long did it take to put NAKED together?
We were rehearsing for a couple of months in Brooklyn, playing the songs that we where about to record and then did a week of rehearsals in Berlin with the producer, Ludwig Boss. The Album itself was recorded in 10 days at the Hansa Studios in Berlin. We then mixed for a torturing period of 6 months in which time we did our best to make everything sound the way we envisioned. Then we mastered and did all the post-production stuff in another month. Over all about 9 months to deliver!
7. “Ain’t No Love” was released around the same time as “She’s Lost Control”. Why did “Love” make the cut over “Control”?
We wanted our first album to be 100% Hank & Cupcakes. Maybe for our second album we’ll include a re-recording of “She’s Lost Control”.
8. NAKED will be released on Friday June 1st which is not a Tuesday. Do you feel that the conventional ways of releasing music is over?
To be completely honest, we had no idea that albums we’re supposed to be released on Tuesdays… Is that really the case? What’s so special about Tuesdays?!
9. With that, how do you feel the internet and social media in particular helps or hurts independent artists nowadays?
Social Media & Internet are certainly a big advantage for us. We can connect with people from all around the world, make new friends & fans and sell our music independently without being dependent on a larger entity. The only disadvantage we see is that it can get quite addictive…
10. What would be the dream tour bill for Hank & Cupcakes to be included on?
Gogol Bordello, The Gossip, Die Antwoord and any artist who has a great bumping audience!
Hank & Cupcakes debut full-length NAKED will be unleashed on June 1st. Get yours here.